Building resilience through the wisdom of the body
From my training in body image yoga with The Emily Program, to my focus on yoga for anxiety and depression with the Yoga Center of Minneapolis, to my trauma-informed yoga training with Center for Yoga and Trauma Recovery, my focus as a yoga practitioner and instructor is on helping women feel empowered in their relationships with their bodies and honoring the connection between our mental and physiological health.
Like too many women, I spent many years hating my body—punishing it, running from it, and ignoring it. I discovered yoga as a teenager on the precipice between high school graduation and college, when my chronic trauma-related stomach issues led me to stumble into a sweaty ashtanga yoga class. The physical challenge easily pulled me out of my head and into my body, and I was hooked. Nothing had ever quieted my mind in the same way.
I completed my yoga teaching certificate after I graduated from Acadia University with my BA in Psychology/Art Therapy, learning along the way how to embrace slower yoga practices and the opportunities they provide to fully engage challenging thoughts, sensations, and emotions.
I completed my doula training certification in 2012, and pursued additional training with Philadelphia's Dhyana Yoga in prenatal yoga. The more I worked with women in all stages of their reproductive lives and learned how common birth- and sex-related trauma is in women’s experience, the more passionate I became about supporting women pre-conception through menopause.
I’m committed to creating an inclusive and supportive space where women can deeply and authentically connect with the messages and wisdom of their bodies—a space free from competition, comparison, or emphasis on external measures of success or progress. Whether in recovery from an eating disorder, dealing with grief, loss, or stress, or recuperating from a traumatic event, our bodies are integral to our psychological and emotional healing.
I’m a Registered Yoga Teacher through Yoga Alliance and have undergone trauma-informed yoga teacher training. I am certified in Restorative Yoga, and am currently a member of a select cohort pursuing full certification in TC-TSY, or Trauma Center Trauma Sensitive Yoga, developed by Bessel van der Kolk, David Emerson and Jennifer Turner at the Trauma Center at Justice Resource Institute in Brookline, MA. (By spring of 2018, I’ll be one of a small handful of yoga specialists in Minnesota certified to facilitate this specific treatment modality.) I also enjoy teaching gentle, restorative yoga, and meditation. Additionally, I’m a Level II Reiki Practitioner and am an apprentice of Herbalism.
I believe that the intensity of life is part of what makes it beautiful, and our capacity for joy is deepened by embracing the caverns that sorrow has carved into our hearts. I’m committing my career to holding space for others to do the transformative work of moving from embodied trauma toward holistic healing.
As a fairly crunchy, tree-hugging mama of two girls, I try to allow for my own humanity and humor to be present. I mean, life is too short to be serious all the dang time. So don’t be surprised if you see me munching Doritos or hear me slip up and use a curse word. My hope is that if I’m authentic and honest, others will feel as though they can be as well.
My vision for Terra Firma is to create a safe, equitable place where women of all walks of life can gather to be real in sharing with each other, or perhaps to anonymously practice and take time to be present, to meet themselves exactly where they’re at in each passing moment. Maybe a little bit of both depending on the day.
I acknowledge that the work is never truly done, and I don’t pretend to have all of the answers. I will make mistakes, but believe that true failure only happens when you stop being open to feedback and learning new things, or refuse to take appropriate action. I hope you’ll join me on the mat some time! I’m sure there is much we could learn from each other.
Photos: Anna Campbell of 1515AC photography