Yoga, as a bi-lateral movement (Left and Right) therapy that incorporates intentional breathing is not only known to build strength and flexibility, but also to improve concentration, increase good moods, reduce anxiety and create a better felt sense of integration between body and mind - especially helpful when there has been trauma.
I started practicing yoga because I knew I needed to move my body and disliked going to the gym. Surprisingly, yoga helped me feel centered and joyful and even a vigorous, hot class left me feeling energized and eager to return. Yoga has now been a part of my life for over 15 years and I have grown to appreciate the simple beauty of breathing and moving in and out of postures and being curious about the limits and depths I find in my body and mind each day. I credit yoga for having greater inner and body awareness allowing me to feel more mindful and connected to other people, something I believe my family, psychotherapy clients and students benefit from.
Seeing the benefits of yoga personally, I became a Registered Yoga Teacher in 2012. Because of my clinical social work interest in trauma, I’ve also had additional training in trauma-sensitive yoga, appropriate for all students and all levels and became certified as a Reiki Healer (Usui Tradition) in 2018 and as a Master Reiki in 2021. I teach gentle and vigorous vinyasa style yoga and have a particular interest in yoga for women and girls, seniors, and for emotional well-being. My hope for every student in my yoga classes is that one leaves feeling joyful and peaceful, having been challenged yet hopeful, and feeling encouraged to continue practicing yoga.
I received my 200 hr Yoga Alliance approved yoga training through Hot Yoga, Inc. (teacher: Danielle Zissou, now owner of Open Up Yoga Teacher Training). This training was focused on a vinyasa style of yoga. Since then, I have received additional teacher training/continuing education in Yin Yoga (teacher: Sarah Powers), Street Yoga: Trauma Informed Yoga For Youth, Yoga for Trauma (teacher: Hala Khouri), Integrated Movement Therapy (IMT-Basics, Samarya Center, Seattle, WA), YogaFit for Warrior Training and Level I training (teacher: Mary Comfort); Trauma Sensitive Yoga Teacher Training (teacher: Alana Greenberg).
I have also attended numerous workshops on the integration of yoga, mindfulness and other movement therapies in to psychotherapy. Included among those are: Evidence Based Trauma Treatments with Jamie Marich; The 10 Core Competencies of Trauma, PTSD, Grief & Loss (Jamie Marich); Trauma, Attachment, Neuroscience with Bessel van der kolk and the Neuroscience of Yoga (Bessel van der kolk), in addition to others taught by Peter Levine (online) and The Simpkins' (workshop training).
What is Trauma Sensitive Yoga?
Trauma Sensitive Yoga assumes anyone in the yoga room or studio may have been exposed to trauma in their lifetime and that something that happens in the yoga room may unintentionally trigger a negative reaction. To manage this, yoga instruction follows certain principles designed to minimize these triggers and most importantly, the yoga practice, including the asanas (postures) breathing and philosophy is sequenced to heal trauma, or as some would suggest, remove the effects of trauma from one's psyche.
As a healing art, Reiki has an uncanny ability to bring a sense of calm, to help remove stuck thoughts and feelings and to move energy through the body, sometimes removing pain. The methods appear to be so simple! However, the energy that flows in to the chakras through gentle, hands-on touch, is amazing!
I completed a Master Reiki training with my Master Reiki teacher, Sojourner Walker Williams in June, 2021. Reiki (Ray-Key), translated in Japanese as "universal life force" is considered an energy healing administered with hands on or from a distance to provide "extra energy" for whatever one is managing. While the Usui lineage can be traced to Japan, Reiki principles can be traced to Ancient Egypt and many of its symbols and concepts directly derive from this African lineage. At some point, Reiki sessions may be scheduled in office, but at any time can be done from a distance.
Thai Yoga Massage
Thai yoga massage is an ancient Thai style healing modality that includes soft tissue (sen line) manipulation, as well as assisted yoga postures, breathwork and meditation. It is not at all like a deep tissue Swedish style massage one would receive from a massage therapist. The benefit though is deep relaxation.
I studied Thai Yoga massage with a trusted teacher healer in La Plata, Maryland, Cindy Johannessen, owner of Live Out Loud Yoga and Pole Studio.
Meditation is a natural extension of yoga and movement. In fact, we believe the purpose of the breath work and the asanas (postures in yoga) is to prepare the mind/body for meditation. There are numerous kinds; transcendental, mindfulness, body scan, breath awareness, etc. Each has the benefit of creating body/mind awareness which can aid in better concentration, improved executive functioning and task completion, increased moods and decreased anxiety, etc.
My yoga teacher training included daily lessons on mindful and breath awareness meditation. As such, these practices have been integrated in to each yoga session I lead. In 2019, I also studied mantra based meditation with a trusted teacher with years of experience, Karen Reisdorf. This has become one of my favorite styles to practice and is fairly straightforward to teach.
Menu of Complementary/Alternative Services
Yoga as an add on to psychotherapy
Reiki & Distance Reiki
Reiki as an add on to Psychotherapy
Workshops (varies, depending on needs)
Post-pandemic, I will again offer private yoga instruction, Reiki, and Meditation. Private yoga together begins with a comprehensive assessment and discussion of your current or past yoga practice, movement and learning goals. No prior experience in any of these is required. New students are always welcome!