Alone in an Alaskan winter, isolated and with no support, Karissa Becker was raising her two young children, while her husband, a US Army Airborne Infantryman, was deployed for the third time to fight for our freedom.
Looking for inspiration, Karissa found yoga, through Instagram. “When my husband deployed for the 3rd time, I was tandem nursing our two children, my daughter was only 3 months and my son was 2 years old. I found yoga through inspiration on Instagram and found myself utilizing yoga as a tool to cope with the isolation of being without my husband and without my family. I was living in Alaska during the six-month winter at the time.”
All of us yogis know, Instagram is a great place to connect with like-minded people, and a wonderful way to build a community of support. Karissa says, “Being alone, being isolated, for anyone, is a hard thing to manage. Even an introvert needs the company of peers. But, a company of peers means like-minded people, and that’s an important distinction. So, the internet has been a wonderful tool for me to attract and empower mothers like me who have had similar experiences. Or who have similar beliefs.”
“Yoga,” says Karissa, “helps me find inner resolve and peace; something I truly needed while my husband was away at war. I’m constantly unfolding new layers of self-realization and witnessing inner and outer transformation through my daily practice. I am convinced of its healing powers.”
The tough part about putting yourself out there on Instagram or on any platform means that sometimes you face harsh judgement. Karissa is not alone in that experience, but those judgements have strengthened her resolve to build a strong community of yogis, mamas and healthy living women, around her. She says that, “when you are raising children, everyone has an opinion about what is the right and wrong way. That has brought me a lot of conflict when out in public. And, in the midst of those greatest challenges, mostly psychological, and emotional distress, I have found my greatest inspiration in sticking to my inner truth and guidance.” And she remains beautiful inside and out, with her golden dreadlocks and shining soul.
She goes on to say, “When I tandem breastfed my babies well beyond their infancy, and had to isolate myself even further, I found joy in seeing both children holding hands while sharing their special connection to their mom. And, seeing them so close now, and from our yoga practice, spontaneously meditate throughout the day, has also shown me that inspiration follows trusting myself. That I am doing the best I can for my children, and it is showing up in the most beautiful ways.”
Even though she has faced criticism Karissa maintains her open heart, and steers away from judgement. “I don’t advocate for a specific way of mothering or disparage mothers who have to make hard choices to make a living and raise their children in whatever way they see fit. Being a mother is hard enough without that kind of criticism or judgement. I am only sharing that I can validate and offer encouragement to other mothers that share experiences I have been through, or women who are not yet mothers that see those experiences as a future goal, and I can inspire and support them as well.”
Today Karissa’s “little oms” Lilith 5, and Jude 7 love to sing and chant mantras. They meditate alongside Karissa, do yoga in nature, and Jude who is an “Airbender,” loves to practice his moves Tai-Chi style. “They are my favourite people and greatest inspirations,” says Karissa. “We travel often and have become used to life on the move; living and loving through the madness of it all. We are homeschooling our children and I am grateful for my husband and family’s support in that venture.”
Karissa’s goal as, “mamaste to her little oms,” is to love and raise her children at home. Through yoga and Instagram, she is able to find a living, share inspiration, and deepen her relationships in the community she has built. “Finding a livelihood that would allow me to continue to give my children quality time, work from home, develop my professional skills, like photography and networking, has been a blessing. My sponsors and my husband deserve a great deal of thanks, because they have supported my efforts, and I would not have been able to do it without them.”
Karissa’s support group includes Instagram yogis like Kimberly Repp who have wise words of inspiration. “Through divine intervention and the outstanding support of a little known yoga community on an amazing platform called Instagram; I connected with the sweet divine soul, Karissa Becker. Through my own growing holistic self care practice, I was drawn to her platform of love, motherhood, and healthy living.”
With her little oms at her side Karissa now spreads the joy of yoga and healthy living. Her Instagram handle TheGivingMom is a fitting title for her mindset of reciprocation, giving back to moms who may be in the same place she was in a few years ago during that dark Alaskan winter. “I believe that women are more powerful than they sometimes know, and that we all need and deserve support in our journey, we need to encourage and uplift our fellow sisters, to empower them to strive for their greatness, and healing mothers is what I believe I’m starting to do.”
This giving mom believes in, “creating a women’s circle and helping people change their lives and bringing them together to keep them strong and empowered. My goal is to inspire others to join me in this mission and lock arms with me and create a movement of change in our communities and in our world.”
It looks like we share the same mission. Here we go little oms!