Episode 66: Jessica Berger Gross — The Courage to Choose Happiness

Jessica Berger Gross is the author of the beautiful, moving, hopeful memoir, Estranged: Leaving Family & Finding Home. Jessica was raised in a seemingly typical middle class family in Long Island. But behind the scenes she suffered physical abuse from her father. She made the decision in her late twenties to stop communicating with her parents not knowing that the decision would become permanent. Now, 17 years later she’s written a memoir that Elle Magazine included in their guide to the “best books of summer,” and that Glamour called “gripping.”

Jessica was first introduced to yoga in high school and immersed herself in the practice after the estrangement. She practiced many different styles — Jivamukti, Baptiste, vinyasa — before settling on Iyengar as her chosen path. We talk about how yoga helped her reclaim her body, how it informs her choices now that she’s a mom, and how it kept her sane and inspired during the writing of this book.

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Estranged: Leaving Family & Finding Home

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  1. This podcast came at the perfect time. Thank you for featuring yogis with a variety of life experiences. I made the decision to no longer have a relationship with my father over 10 years ago. While the guilt occasionally creeps in, I know it was the right decision in order for me to live life on my terms. At almost 40, I still feel the repercussions of childhood abuse and see the effects on my own relationships, but am able to learn from them and move on. Without yoga, quiet time, and the gift of self-reflection I would certainly not be able to handle all that life throws at me. Jessica’s story was encouraging, affirming, and motivating. Thank you and Namaste!

    • Thanks so much for sharing that. And I’m sincerely happy that you found Jessica’s story encouraging and affirming. The more I talk to her, the more she inspires me! All best wishes to you on your journey. Warmly, Andrea


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