Last year I wrote a three part series on trauma sensitive yoga after my training at The Trauma Center in Brookline, Massachusetts. I posted the series on the LinkedIn page of the International Association of Yoga Therapists and shortly thereafter Kelly Birch, the editor of Yoga Therapy Today (IAYT’s magazine for members), asked me to write an article. I was honored (and humbled) to be asked!
My article, Compassionate Presence: Teaching Trauma-Sensitive Yoga, has finally been published in the current issue (Summer 2012.) And let me tell you, it is damn hard writing for someone else! I now know the value of a good editor because Kelly was fantastic. I am even more honored to be in a magazine that also has an article about the Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram.
At this point in time only IAYT members can access the site to read the article, but you can download the .pdf from the above link. Please share it with someone whom you think might benefit. Kausthub Desikachar told us in one of my trainings that we must share what we have learned, otherwise we are nothing more than thieves, taking and not giving.
For me, real yoga is about personal transformation and healing. My long time readers know that I teach at a domestic violence shelter and some of the women have started to come to me for classes. Coincidentally, the day I received word that Yoga Therapy Today was being mailed out, I received a call from a woman suffering from PTSD because of an incident four years ago. She had googled “trauma sensitive yoga” in the Chicago area but was concerned that maybe I would not drive almost an hour to see her. The drive did not concern me because after I talked with her I knew yoga would help.
As I wrote a practice for her, a voice told me, “give her a mantra”, something which I’ve never done before with a private student. Somehow I knew she would connect with a mantra. We met, she did the practice, and I gave her pranayama and the mantra, OM JYOTI AHAM — “I am the Divine Light.”
The change was noticeable after the practice. She looked lighter and happier and her eyes were brighter compared to when I walked in. She smiled and said that it was the calmest she had felt in four years even though she takes medication. I told her that all I did was give her a road map pointing the way out, now she has to drive. I told her that she had to something from practice every day, even if it is merely sitting and watching her breath. She wants to continue working with me once a week.
Humbled, honored to do this work — who needs to be a yoga rock star? This is priceless.