When I was a teenager I was in an abusive relationship. I did not recognize the person I had become as a result of this toxic dynamic. I experienced symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder and explored a variety of ways to heal. I trained as a domestic violence advocate at a local women’s shelter and learned that this experience is complex but also quite common. I saw a therapist for awhile but did not feel that it helped me to overcome the symptoms and pain I had developed from the abuse. I began to practice yoga and gained a new awareness of my body and realized that the practice was helping to alleviate trauma. I went to India and learned about the idea of energy flowing around our bodies which could be in or out of balance. This conceptualization of myself as existing simultaneously across the mental, physical, emotional and energetic levels helped me immensely. It allowed me to understand myself in a clearer way and come to terms with how the traumatic experience had affected me so profoundly. I traveled the world for several years studying traditional approaches to healing and found several commonalities. I found that the spiritual aspect of our identity, our relationship to nature, the use of musical instruments, and the exploration of psychic reality were nearly universally used by healers. These concepts in tandem with the psychotherapeutic approach taught me a powerful approach to my condition. This lead me to feeling more confident in my ability to overcome the dysfunction and learn to return to a happier, healthier version of myself. I realized that there is no single lens to look at people through, but that the key to healing is by addressing ourselves as mind, body and spirit. This is why I decided to focus my career on holistic healing, with a focus on recovery from relational abuse and PTSD.
I began to practice yoga as my form of self-care. The transformation I experienced on the mat helped me to heal the invisible wounds that remained after an experience with violence. I was working with survivors as a therapist and realized that if yoga could be so powerful for me that I wanted to share it with my clients.
I traveled to India and South America to explore spirituality and found meaning and value in many belief systems. The practices offered by Vedanta philosophy, Buddhism and Shamanism, taught me about the intangible part of ourselves which can be called the soul.
In my travels, I met women from around the world who shared the painful experience of surviving gender-based violence. I was surprised at hearing the same stories again and again. The realization that women in many different parts of the world including New York, New Delhi, Buenos Aires and Bogota shared so much moved me to address this issue in my work. I began to understand just how prevalent yet ignored this issue was and how debilitating the consequences could be. During my time in four major cities in Latin America I interviewed women about the topic of gender based violence. I was frustrated that violence against women is so widespread while resources for support are minimal.
I did my 200 hour yoga teacher training with the Sivananda school in Medellin, Colombia. I returned home with a vision to integrate my mental health background, spiritual beliefs, yoga practice and passion for helping women around the world. I ran a pilot program introducing yoga to women survivors of violence in northern Uganda in the spring of 2013. The practice helped them to reduce physical pain and to realize their own value and self worth. It also lead them to begin to forgive those who had wronged them. My vision is to continue to utilize my experiences and training to guide others on the path to be well and heal on all levels of their being. My approach integrates therapeutic modalities with the movement and breathing of yoga postures and an awareness of our spirit. This facilitates us on our journey to be balanced in mind, body and soul.
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