The Global Village:
Coming Together in Uncertain Times

Coming Together During Covid-19 

Grief affects our thoughts, feelings, behavior—even our identity. Overwhelming grief can freeze us in place. It can sometimes feel like if we move out of grief, that we are moving on from our lost beloved. Losing a loved one is a major cause of grief, but it isn’t the only source.

We grieve when anything we are attached to changes or disappears.

Global Village can help:

  • Journey from regret of the past and anxiety about the future to a place of acceptance of what is
  • Access the self-compassion that will allow you to face unresolved issues
  • Open yourself to the process of inner transformation
  • Let go

This unique program provides education and support from a psychotherapist, a yoga therapist—and the other members of the group.

Each week, we experience a combination of didactic, group discussion, one-on-one sharing, and supportive yoga instruction.

Together we find the courage to heal, and in the process, discover meaning, purpose and direction in life.

Together, we are strong. Together, we are resilient. Together, we open our hearts.

Sponsored by the Cari Widmyer Legacy Fund
This program was inspired by a Sivananda yoga teacher who was whisked out of life all-too-suddenly at the tender age of 43. She had just taken a year off of work and was enjoying her life—studying, traveling, and connecting. It was almost as if she knew…

We honor her zest for life and her dedication to bettering the lives of others.

 How My Best Friend’s Death Prepared Me For COVID-19 (

A burden shared is halved and a joy shared is doubled

Participants will do preparatory work with a group leader prior to starting the group.

There is no fee for this group

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$11,658 of $15,000 raised
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Donation Total: $108.00

A San Francisco-based psychotherapist and leadership coach, Yael Melamed’s work is greatly informed by her spiritual path. She holds advanced degrees from Harvard Business School and the California Institute of Integral Studies, and has extensive experience in groups, both as leader and participant. Yael believes that life’s biggest challenges can become blessings, if you choose to grow from them.

Swami Sivasankariananda, C-IAYT, longtime yoga teacher and certified yoga therapist, loves to support students on their inward journey toward Truth. As director of the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center in Los Angeles, she teaches all aspects of yoga as a means to holistic health and healing—restoring strength, peace of mind and balance. She took vows as a monk in 2017. Though her schedule is busy, she enjoys a simple life.


The 8-week series that Yael and Swamiji facilitated was gently and profoundly transformative. I felt continuously held and seen in this group in a way that I’ve struggled to feel in other spaces. At first, an 8-week commitment over Zoom felt daunting, but I found myself looking forward to being in this space together week after week. Yael and Swamiji brought an intentional blend of modern, psychological, intellectual wisdom, and ancient, yogic, spiritual and somatic wisdom that I’ve come to find as more healing than simply one or the other. I gained so much from the experience and the ability to learn from, and be with, the group. The relationships I gained through our short time together will hold a place in my heart for long beyond the digital walls of this 8-week series.


The group, the image of the blanket, the sense of being on a journey through grief together, are such a powerful contradiction to the silence I grew up with. I am grieving many things now… And yet I keep coming back to my childhood and all the unspoken pain. Being in Yael and Swamiji’s Grief group—If only I could have had a group like this when I was a kid!


I am very grateful to all the sponsors for this opportunity. At a time of global challenges and my own personal grief, to be surrounded by strangers, yet connected in our shared experiences, has been a tremendous gift. I have been able to share deeply personal feelings with this group, and also share hopes, and discover teachings to find my way through this time.

Patti M.

There is something about community that cannot be replaced, and the support lives on past the hours that we meet, to carry us through. I am grateful to Yael and Swamiji for this healing experience. It is so valuable, and I hope it can continue, and help others.


I am very thankful to the donors whose generosity made possible this Grief Support Group. The group helped me feel wrapped up in a safe blanket to learn to understand my own grief and of others with courage and grace.


Thank you for the opportunity to take part in this grief class. It has been a much needed comfort and support to have an outlet in which we bravely come together to talk honestly and help and learn from each other. I will forever be grateful for this experience.



Week to week, I wasn’t quite sure what I was getting myself into. As a whole and looking back retrospectively, the group gave me a place to really allow myself to share my truth—my darkness and anger. But it also taught me so much about loss and grief. Grief did not target me. It is random, broad sweeping, and can descend on you at any second of the day. It is part of the human experience. 
I was fortunate to have this group of humans to help guide me through the pain, beauty, humility, community, and wisdom that grief can bring. While it is a journey, the group was a meaningful stop. Thank you.

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