Expert Insight: How Yoga Aftercare Helps Grieving Families


Christine Biggins was featured in one of our most read blogs, 5 Ways Your Funeral Home Can Freak Out the Competition. Now, we get a firsthand look at this funeralOne client’s unique approach to serving her community in Rockland, Massachusetts. Christine shares some very personal insights on how she uses the power of yoga to restore wellness and heal grief, and how you can offer a yoga aftercare program to your families.

A Survivor Shares Her Story

Christine Biggins was happily living her life as a wife, mother, and vice president of her family owned and operated funeral home, when she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. As if the realities and challenges she faced weren’t intimidating enough, she was confronted with another life-changing diagnosis: breast cancer.

The dual diagnosis lowered her resistance and all but obliterated her stamina and energy. Factor in surviving the loss of her firstborn infant son and the deaths of both her parents, and you’ve got a uniquely deep insight to the trauma of loss.

“How does one describe the agony of grief, loss, anxiety, or depression? You can’t, there are no words. Grief comes in so many ways; it’s human suffering at its best. My mind was completely stirred up, like a wave crashing down and leaving me broken. I was completely unable to see in the midst of such unbearable emotion.

“I realized that death, grief, loss, and deep depression were places I have known intimately. And this is also true for the families we care for at Magoun-Biggins Funeral Home, as well as others in our community who have endured loss in all its forms.”

The Power of a Mind, Body, Spirit Connection

Christine’s unforeseen health challenges left her searching for a deeper connection to her overall wellness and state of being, and forced her to focus on what was really important.

“Don’t look ahead, don’t look too far back, all I could practice was being fully present. As I continued my practice of reconnecting with myself through awareness even for a brief moment, my body began to heal.

“Through meditation, gentle stretching, and a gentle yoga practice, I was able to reconnect to the whole of who I am. And I began to see how such a program could benefit those caught in grief – and developing this yoga aftercare program became the focus of my professional life.”

How Yoga Can Help Your Grieving Families

The Yoga Aftercare Program was created in a way that is accessible to all funeral homes.

“You’ve got everything you need already: a comfy space and chairs. With yoga, you can not only help grieving families, but give your funeral directors and staff members a way to reduce the stress in their professional lives.”

In addition to being easy to put into practice, Christine says the program offers funeral homes a unique way to serve their communities.

“The Yoga Aftercare Program will really open a new direction for funeral homes to really connect with their communities. The experience of grief and loss can leave people deeply and profoundly wounded, depressed, anxious, and feeling disconnected from self. To fully heal from such trauma, a connection to self must be made.

“My program is a conduit to help to heal others; those that mourn, and those that feel defeated in their bodies; powerless. If even for a brief moment, the program gives them the opportunity to begin to connect back to themselves.”

For more information on how to implement Christine’s Yoga Aftercare Program at your funeral home, visit


About the Author: Christine J. Biggins is Vice President of her family’s owned and operated independent funeral firm, Magoun-Biggins Funeral Home, in Rockland, Massachusetts where she also serves as Aftercare Co-Coordinator. Her passion for sharing the healing power and presence of mind and spirit that yoga brings has been her beacon to learn, grow and teach. Her certification includes training in anxiety and depression with Shawn Cornelison through Open Doors. Chris is also certified in Yin Yoga through Chip Hartranft, author of “The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali” and founder of the Arlington Center of Movement, Meditation and Wellness.

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  1. Kim Stacey

    I think Christine is so brave, and so willing to teach by example! I find her a joy to know, and a role model for all of us. Challenges come when we least expect them as she demonstrates – and having yoga in my “stress relief tool kit” has really been wonderful. Thanks for commenting – I know Christine will value your support (as we do!) 

  2. Kim Stacey

    Christine, I wanted to thank you, from the very bottom of my heart (is that really better than the “top” of my heart?! what an odd turn-of-phrase) for sharing your story with our readers. I want to urge all funeral homes to consider adding a Yoga Aftercare program to their offerings. I’ve found yoga to have many physical and psychological rewards…and wouldn’t miss my weekly yoga class for anything. In fact, I’ve been trying to find a way to have the self-discipline to practice at home – but my dog thinks I’m playing, and just interrupts the flow. (One of my life’s “small” challenges.) 

    And in coming to know Chris, and her story, I think I’m better equipped to face those bigger challenges when they arise. Big, big hug, dear Christine! Thank you! 

  3. Erin Russo

    Yoga is such a wonderful tool for tapping into those innermost feelings and concerns we carry around like rocks in our heart. I know personally that yoga forces you to take that time out from an otherwise hectic life, to acknowledge these feelings and see them in a new light. My mom, Chris Biggins, has taught me to look for the positive in all situations and has in many circumstances become a wonderful role model of how to just “BE”. To see the effects of yoga and how it has literally changed my moms life, makes me wanna tell everyone, HEY THIS YOGA REALLY DOES WORK!!! My mom is an inspiration, her knowledge and healing powers through yoga are a gift everyone should experience! 

  4. Tim

    Nice idea and good program Christine. As a yoga practitioner and having meditated daily since 1974, I know what wonderful benefits yoga can and does provide.

    I have a suggestion for anyone who is hesitant to introduce the word “Yoga,” in their market for any reason, there is an easy work around because you can call the hatha yoga classes stretching, the meditation can be called the relaxation response or centering sessions. Everyone will still get the same benefits regardless of what you have to call it.

  5. Kim Stacey

     Oh, Erin – thank you so much for sharing! You’re so familiar with the power of yoga to transform lives – witnessing the transformation in your mother was so inspiring, I’m sure. I’m really proud to “know” Chris, and believe her gifts to be amazing…she’s empowered my yoga practice – from thousands of miles away. Now THAT’S power!

  6. Kim Stacey

     Forgot to mention, I love the phrase, “like rocks in our heart.” So descriptive, and so true! That’s exactly what they feel like…heavy, sharp, and unbelievably toxic. Nice wordsmithing!

  7. Bob Biggins

    To add my praises to this program may seem self serving, it is really not however as Chris’ program speaks to the heart of what we do!
    New and innovative approaches to care has and will remain the heart and soul of funeral service!!!
    I have witnessed, first hand, how this approach opens new ways to be a “beacon” for our communities!!!

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