I believe we live in an unpredictable world and in an attempt to maintain a sense of control we engage in a variety of responses. Some responses are adaptive, such as building community; and some are maladaptive, such as seeing the ‘other’ as an enemy. I agree with the Buddhist concept of existence having the three markers of impermanence, suffering, and non-self. I am a feminist and have devoted my life working towards a more just and equitable society — for all genders — with a bottom-up model of governance. I know radical social change is possible and I participate in the revolution with passive resistance somewhat akin to Rosa Parks’ decision to remain in her seat when confronted with a racist and dehumanizing social convention. I believe devotion to the eight limbs of yoga is an act of defiance against the prevailing force of our consumer-based society and its harrowing definition of beauty. And last but not least, I hold dear the values I have cultivated along my monastic journey of temperance, humility, and stepping lightly on the earth.
Yoga chitta vritti nirodhah
I understand yoga therapy to be a collaborative model which recognizes people possess natural competencies, skills, and expertise that can help guide change in their lives. I believe people are the experts of their own lives and they have the answers they need if only they could quiet the chatter long enough to hear their own wisdom. Yoga therapy draws from breathing techniques, visualization, meditation, and physical forms to create a personalized modality which takes into account all five koshas and how they relate to one another energetically. Yoga therapy offers a holistic approach to well-being and it is a collaboration between those involved.
Me + Yoga Therapy = Trauma-Sensitive Therapeutic Yoga
As a yoga therapist I will hold space for women to tell their stories in their own way whether that is with words or images or asanas. I want to help women hear their own still small voice and trust their intuition and ultimately feel safe within their bodies. My whole ethos of yoga therapy is built upon a statement Nicole Marcia makes and that is, “if you are not safe in your body then you cannot be safe in the world”. I know this in my bones because this has been my life-long experience and because of this knowledge I offer trauma-sensitive yoga therapy.
This means I will use the language of invitation and inquiry, communicate plainly without metaphor or jargon or Sanskrit, refrain from offering physical assists, and hold the client with unconditional high regard. As a trauma-sensitive therapist I will do my best to create a space with as much predictability as possible by starting and finishing on time, keeping clients informed of class and/or session format, dressing modestly and professionally, and maintaining clear boundaries. I will not extend myself beyond my scope of practice or level of competency and I will always refer a client on if I cannot be of service to them. I will be transparent in regards to my fees and I will accommodate a sliding scale or barter if it is within my capacity; a percentage of my work will always be given with a charitable heart.
Essentially, as a trauma-sensitive yoga therapist I recognize that no one needs fixing. People are the experts of their own lives; problems are separate from the person and have a relational context; people have inherent skills to influence problems. As a therapist I have the honour of yoking with someone for a season as I lend my strength to the task. And that is pretty much yoga in practice.