The HOPE Process: Breath, Body, Belief for Addiction & Grief with Hope Zvara (Podcast #8)

Mindfulness & Grief Podcast Episode #8 Overview ...

Hope Zvara has turned her suffering into a mission: Help Others Purposefully Excel by using the three Bs: Breathe, Body, and Belief. In this episode, you will learn how Hope turned to yoga and mindfulness to help her overcome her struggle with bulimia as a young woman, and manage her grief after her first born daughter, Faith, died only twenty minutes after her birth. Listen and then learn more about Hope Zvara & her work at http://hopezvara.com.

Show Notes from Heather

No words can describe that I felt that day. It’s interesting because it’s almost thirteen years later, but I still have that feeling of what that was like. I realized I don’t think that ever goes away. For those of you who have lost a loved one—that numbness, that void, you don’t even know what to feel, or how to explain what you’re feeling. I remember walking out of the hospital feeling “Every mom walks out with a baby. I’m a fraud. I’m not a mom.” And that process of grief, and learning how to live with loss, really settled in that moment.

- Hope Zvara

In the eighth episode of the Mindfulness & Grief Podcast, I interview Hope Zvara, bereaved mother, eating disorder survivor, and creator of an online yoga and wellness studio and The HOPE Process. Through her own experience, Hope has learned firsthand how yoga and mindfulness can help  calm the mind and help us take a step or two away from self-defeating behaviors, such as addiction and eating disorders. She has also learned how to cope with the reality of her loss by  living her life in honor of her daughter, Faith, and helping other people live their best lives.

But all that didn't come right away.

For those of you who lost someone, it's not a textbook experience. It's not a "you're gonna go through this, and then you're gonna go through this, and then you're gonna go through this," it is such a raw emotion, and what yoga has taught me through working through addiction and being in recovery now for almost 15 years, and losing my daughter, and finding life after the loss of my daughter, what I've learned is that you have two choices... You either have to choose to live, because they don't get to anymore, or you choose to die with them.

First came yoga.

For me yoga has transformed my life. I remember walking out of my first yoga class... and thinking "Oh my gosh. I have no thoughts."

Once she befriended her breath, and was able to get back into her body, Hope  began the journey of rediscovering her life's meaning.

I had to choose life because my daughter didn’t get to. Every single day after she had passed away, I had to wake up and tell myself that, and look in the mirror and say  “I have to life because she didn’t get to. Please give me my purpose."

In addition to discussing managing addiction and our own grief reaction, Hope generously shares how her marriage not only survived the death of her child, but how their relationship thrives because of mindfulness and mutual respect.

We can grieve differently, but we don’t have to grieve alone.

​One of my favorite parts of this podcast is Hope's willingness to share how she and her husband made it though this very difficult time. Losing a child can strain a relationship, but in their case it brought them together.

Other Notable Grief Quotes From This Episode of the Mindfulness & Grief Podcast

Through all of these struggles, through all of this challenge through middle school and high school and through my early twenties, something always kept telling me to keep pushing forward and keep going. At the suggestion of a caring soul, I found yoga.  -Hope Zvara

No words can describe what I felt that day. For those of you who have lost a loved one, that numbness, that void. You don't even know what to feel or how to explain what you are feeling.  - Hope Zvara

I always say that my Wednesday night yoga class became my weekly ritual of second chances. Those second changes eventually lead me to a yoga teacher training. That training became a platform for me to really heal and feel. -Hope Zvara

What my daughter Faith has shown me is the HOPE Process: Helping Others Purposefully Excel. This actually came to me at a point where I always say when we see a butterfly, it’s Faith saying hello. One afternoon I was thinking about her, and thinking about what a butterfly means. I Googled it and to my surprise, it means hope. -Hope Zvara

When I first found yoga, I did not realize I was holding my breath all the time. I don’t think anyone ever told me that I was breathing. Until that point in that first yoga class, and then in my training, I didn’t realize that this whole breathing thing was really important. -Hope Zvara

Our yoga mat is like our laboratory to practice how we want to be in life.  -Heather Stang

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I hope you enjoy this episode, and welcome your feedback and reviews on iTunesGoogle PlayStitcheriHeartRadio and YouTube.  Subscribing, rating or reviewing the podcast will help it become more visible so others can benefit from these teachings.

With gratitude,
Heather

Show Engineer: Todd Campbell of Hub City Recording
Music: The Atomic Mosquitos

Heather Stang

Heather Stang, M.A. is the author of Mindfulness & Grief. She holds a Masters degree in Thanatology (Death, Dying, and Bereavement) from Hood College in Maryland, and is a certified Yoga Therapist. She has led mindfulness-based grief workshops for organizations such as the National Fallen Firefighters Association and Hospice of Frederick County, and is a member of the Association of Death Education and Counseling. Heather’s mission is to help people who are grieving to stay healthy and benefit from the transformative experience of grief, using mindfulness-based practices, relaxation, and expressive arts. She has an established practice offering Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy sessions, day-long retreats, and 8 Week Yoga for Grief groups. She is based in Maryland. You can find her on Google +.