Heartache, healing and hope: Halifax yoga event one of several across Canada honouring Kristin Johnston
Kristin Johnston was killed in 2016. This Sunday would've been her 34th birthday, and yoga classes in her memory are planned coast to coast.
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This Sunday, yoga practitioners and supporters from coast to coast will honour the life of Kristin Johnston on what would have been her 34th birthday.
The Halifax woman was murdered March 26, 2016. Her sister Kim Johnston spearheaded the yoga legacy initiative last September as a way to honour her sister’s spirit.
For the second year in a row, practitioners will gather on Kristin’s birthday in yoga studios, beaches, forests and homes across Canada to “meditate, breath and stretch” in her memory.
“It actually did help (last year) because it was like a love army, going out and facing the darkest thing head on and shining some light to it,” Johnston said.
“I felt very supported. A lot of people wrote to me and said the classes were teary but beautiful. All of a sudden, for me personally, I wasn’t alone on that day.”
Proceeds from the yoga classes will be placed in the Kristin Johnston Legacy Bursary fund to help women in financial need attend The Haven’s ‘Come Alive’ program in Gabriola, B.C.
“Kristin was a yoga practitioner and a yoga teacher. She was very passionate about hot yoga, and so we were thinking that on her birthday, which undoubtedly would be a very challenging day as all these kinds of anniversaries are, 'Is there anything that we could do as friends and family that could feel celebratory?'” Johnston said.
“Yoga would be honouring her and she was very interested in self discovery and self healing. She herself was going to actually attend (The Haven) program in the fall so it just seemed like a really good fit. And the bursary benefits women, so it was just a way of connecting all the dots in a meaningful way.”
Last Sept. 17, nine yoga studios from Halifax to Vancouver participated in the event honouring Kristin’s memory. This year, 13 have signed on and more are expected to join before Sunday.
“It is really great that studios that just know me or just know her friends have said yes. And the people that don’t know Kristin, they are moved by the idea,” she said.
“We say to approach the class with a dedication in your heart, whether it’s to my sister or perhaps to someone else who needs your attention or devotion. We are trying to make it a bit universal for people.”
Johnston said waiting for the murder trial to begin has been challenging for her sister’s family and friends.
“It is absolutely taking a long time. Two years is really long and really drawn out,” she said.
“Some people and some family members won’t receive closure from it, but some will. That’s a long time to wait for those of us that will get some closure.”
Information about Sunday’s national event, including participating yoga studios, can be found online at kristinjohnstonlegacy.com.
“Anniversary dates are very intimidating. Christmas, the anniversary of her murder, her birthday,” Johnston explained.
“This makes it a lot less intimidating and a lot more like a community is holding you up. And you’re not so isolated.”