This is the eighth in our ongoing series celebrating our happy customers. This week we’re profiling Jessica Riser, a yogi and mother from Maryland. Jessica is special to us because she was the first person for whom we created a personalized mat, in memory of her son, William Michael, who passed away after only 18 days. We’ll have more to say about her tomorrow and why this yoga mat is so important to her, but knowing just a little bit about her mat is the key to understanding her profile.
Jessica’s personalized yoga mat began life as Symbols of Remembrance, which is this week’s Design Highlight in honor of this past Monday’s Memorial Day holiday.
QTell us a little bit about yourself…
AI’m 31, married to Travis for 7 years (together for 13!), mama to Henry (3-½ years) and William (my forever-baby, with whom we only had 18 days). I have 3 furbabies (cats, Benny and Joon, and a pit bull pup, Luna). I’m a social worker/therapist by trade, but have been out on indefinite bereavement leave since William passed on 8/8/18.
QWhat kind of asanas do you practice?
AAnything included in gentle, yin, restorative and yoga for stress. Nothing crazy!
QHow long have you been a yogi?
AI’ve been doing yoga on and off for more than 10 years, but have had an unlimited membership at my favorite local studio since February, 2019. I get there 5+ days a week typically. It’s definitely been an incredible tool in coping with my grief.
QWhat role does yoga play in your life?
AFor sure mindfulness, getting into my body and out of my head, relaxation and flexibility.
QDo you have a favorite pose?
QHave you ever had a “yoga moment”, something that happened during practice that you didn’t expect? That made you laugh, brought you joy, made you cry?
AOne of the first times that I did yoga after my son William died, I had an experience where I felt him with me, tucked sweetly in the crook of my right arm during savasana. It was incredible.
QIs there a pose that used to be a “pillar pose” — one that you were working toward — that is now accessible to you?
AI’ve had both of my feet reconstructed, including ankle revisions, so balancing poses are super rough. I’ve been really proud of myself for being able to consistently do tree pose on the left side!
QWhen you placed your order with Big Raven Yoga, what made you choose Symbols of Remembrance?
A I really do yoga to connect with William, and to do something good for my body. I have “Symbols of Remembrance” which has beautiful, huge poppies on it. Poppies are the flower associated with honoring and remembering lost loved ones. It’s primarily purple, my favorite color, and has “William Michael” on it as a personalization.
QDo you have your eyes fixed on any other Big Raven designs? If so, which one(s) and why?
APride in You is on my current short list. I love the colors, meaning (made for my sweet little god-bro, Jack), and MANDALAS!!! So beautiful.
QDo people ask you about your mat?
AYes! All the time!
Thank you SO much, Jessica — I really appreciate you sharing such intimate emotions with us. I’m sorry for what you’ve gone through, and are still going through. I’m glad we’re able to help play even a small part in your healing process…
Jessica owns a personalized version of Symbols of Remembrance.