I was diagnosed with PTSD many years ago.
Also, generalized anxiety disorder, depression and some other medical conditions including chronic pain that I manage to this day.
Fitness, specifically mindful movement is one of the main methods I use to manage the symptoms of these conditions. I believe there is a purpose for living with these conditions and the cause linked to them directly leads to my drive behind why I do what I do.
There is a reason, a strong WHY, behind everything I do in my work. There are many articles and a lot of information out there right now about having a “WHY” when setting goals or having a Why for your life purpose. Let me tell you a little bit about mine.
In May of 2017, I attended a two-day Yoga for Trauma workshop. It was pivotal. When I learned that I could take extensive formal training to teach yoga classes that were designed for everyone including those with trauma and PTSD, I knew RIGHT THEN that I needed to start that path. And I did. By October 2018, I completed my 100 hour certificate in the YogaFit Warrior Program specializing in trauma-informed yoga and am now offering trauma-informed yoga classes at the Cornwall Town Hall.
Throughout 2018, I slowly introduced my trauma-informed approach to clients, class participants and in my workshops. It helped me to build my skills and practice techniques. Many people have been exposed to trauma and leading with a trauma-informed focus is leading in a people focused way. This style offers choice to people where they may have felt they didn’t have a choice before. Control is given back to them within their body. Techniques using breath can be helpful in regulating anxiety and stress. Meditation and mindfulness are also key components to the class to help regulate difficult emotions and connect to the body in a safe way. All of these components are in trauma-informed yoga classes. Moving your body at your own pace, choosing when and how to move it and connecting with it by paying attention to the specific sensations allows participants to improve body awareness, make the mind-body connection and for some, make the first connection with their body at all. Feeling safe within your body is key to those exposed to trauma and trauma-informed yoga provides that time and space for this opportunity.
I believe this type of yoga is needed and is also powerfully healing. Mental health is as important as our physical health. I proudly offer these classes in my community but also am aware these classes are important Island-wide, nation wide, and world wide. Studies suggest that over 70 per cent of Canadians have been exposed to at least one traumatic event in their lifetime, and that nearly 1 out of 10 Canadians may develop PTSD at some point in their lives.
Yoga and other types of mindful movement have been integral in managing my symptoms and my healing. I hope to help others feel this healing power of mindful movement. This is my WHY behind teaching and offering trauma-informed yoga classes.
I started teaching Yoga for Chronic Pain Management in September of 2018. For the same reasons I am teaching trauma-informed yoga, I am also teaching this specialized chronic pain class. I have been living and managing my pain for many years and movement has played a large role in that including yoga. I have taken workshops on chronic pain in the fitness, completed chronic pain self-management and combined with my yoga training I am now supporting others by offering these yoga classes to potentially help them manage their chronic pain through mindful movement.
Living with chronic pain allows me to understand it from my point of view, and in turn have both empathy and compassion for my participants which is important for the connection aspect of the teacher-participant role. My purpose with these classes is to help the participants feel better in their bodies even if only for a moment and to provide them with breathing techniques, mindfulness concepts and meditations to guide them closer to empowering them with the tools to manage their pain further in their daily lives.
Yoga also provides an opportunity to feel sensations in our body and appreciate our body in different ways. This is important for those with chronic pain for that mind shift from focusing on the pain to shifting to focus on what feels good. I want to be able to use my experiences with chronic pain and my expertise in yoga and combine them to support others to move closer to feeling better from the inside out. This is why I offer these classes and they are very important to me as are my participants.
My belief is that I have been given the experiences of trauma and chronic pain to be able to help and support others with theirs and I have chosen to use movement, specifically yoga to help others move closer to feeling better within their bodies. This is my WHY.
Everyone is welcome of all levels in all yoga classes.
Join me at the Cornwall Town Hall for Trauma-Informed Yoga-
Thursdays 1:15 pm
Also available: Private Trauma-Informed Yoga sessions
Join me for Yoga for Chronic Pain Management Wednesdays 4:45 pm and Thursdays 12-1 pm
Pre-registration is required for these classes as space is limited to 10 participants. Each session runs for 8 weeks. Register online at cornwallpe.ca or call 556-2354 or in person at the Cornwall Town Hall. Hands-on adjustments and drop-ins are not offered.
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