I Came to Yoga Because of an Unspeakable Tragedy

By Bea Cronin
April 2006

I came to Yoga because of an unspeakable tragedy. During the summer of 2002, my 29-year old son, Court Demas, was traveling through the majestic Andes in Peru with a young Peruvian woman, Raquel Paredes. Court did not return home to the U.S. when expected. An intense search began; after 5 weeks, their bodies were found. They had been robbed and killed. The horror of this loss put me on a path of searching for meaning.

One day, I was drawn to an image on a poster in a store window describing an art exhibit, “Art That Heals.” I went to that exhibit and was very moved by the beautiful images and insightful narrative – I realized I was not alone in my suffering. I met the artist, Ellen Miret, and we became fast friends. She learned my story and brought me to Shree Yoga. During my very first class, I experienced something very profound. I felt a strong connection to something beyond myself – an ancient wisdom, a higher power, and a connection to my son and to the rest of humanity. Since that time, Yoga has become an important part of my spiritual journey. That journey prepared me for accepting the illness and loss of my husband last year with equanimity and peace.

When my husband’s illness worsened, and he went into the intensive care unit, my life stopped. My days were spent at the hospital. The only activity I continued was my Yoga practice. Those classes sustained me, centered me, calmed me, gave me courage, and reminded me that this life is fleeting, but there is more.

When I come to class, I benefit not just from the physical activity, but from the spiritual lessons presented each time. The meditation and the chanting help me focus, and look inward for truth and knowledge. I am motivated by my love for my son and my husband, and my intention for each class is to honor them, to push myself harder for them. I try to move with care and mindfulness, and am helped by Chaya’s loving prodding. I try to surrender and open myself to grace, to possibilities, to mystery and the unknown. The readings brought to class come from another time and place, but they are such relevant teachings and have helped me grow spiritually. I try to apply the teachings to my day-to-day life.

Headstand is a particularly challenging pose for me. It represents the challenges of my life; surviving when life has turned upside down, finding strength, balance, faith and trust, confidence, courage and a new perspective.

My life has been filled with joy (I now have two beautiful grandchildren from my daughter) as well as sorrow. Death, birth, growth, impermanence, acceptance, surrender, joy, sorrow, love, peace – life, I try to accept it all. I am grateful to have had a beautiful son like Court, and a wonderful husband, like Dan. They were both very special people, gentle souls who gave so much of themselves – so many lives were touched by each of them, and I am so proud to have been loved by them – I continue to feel supported by their love. I am grateful to have a loving circle of family and friends, good health, good work, a good life.

I feel blessed to have found Chaya as a yoga teacher. Her wisdom and compassion inspire me. Through her guidance, encouragement and support, I have become stronger physically, emotionally and spiritually. I see Yoga as a metaphor for life, focusing, breathing, being aware, being present, facing obstacles and challenges, overcoming fear, accepting limitations, being compassionate with myself and others, and connecting to a greater force. Thank you Chaya.