WRITTEN BY BEVERLY FREGOSO, LOS ANGELES 2016 TRAUMA-INFORMED YOGA TRAINING GRADUATE
TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF. HOW DID YOU COME TO START PRACTICING YOGA?
I started taking yoga as a dancer about ten years ago when a friend invited me to class. I enjoyed it and added it to my weekly routine. Later, my schedule changed, I moved away, and I took yoga less and less. I rediscovered yoga after having my baby. It felt so good to me, that I thought, I want to help others feel this way, and the next time my teacher had a training, I signed up.
I started teaching in my home, offering classes to friends and family. When I started looking for opportunities to teach group class, I discovered Heal One World, a studio which offers free and donation based yoga and alternative health classes to the community. It’s a wonderful space that really welcomes the community. I’ve seen mothers and kids, new students, and students that come to almost every class. It’s great to be a part of a space that is there for the community. Also, I’m a newer teacher so volunteering works great for me, it allows me to explore finding my voice while still offering a traditional class setting.
I really love that what we are exchanging is the experience and the present moment together. That creates connection and for me, connection is everything, it creates a community.
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO TAKE THE STREET YOGA TRAUMA-INFORMED YOGA TRAINING?
Well, I love being in a class setting. I’m a natural student and I am always drawn to opportunities to learn more. I was drawn to the training because of the focus on trauma. I’ve seen the effects of trauma in my own life and my family and it’s always been important to me to do what I can to heal from those experiences and create a healthy environment for myself and my family. I was curious what I would learn from the training – as a teacher and for myself.
WHAT WAS YOUR BIGGEST TAKE-AWAY FROM THE TRAINING?
It’s the reminder that it’s not about the pose. I loved hearing how much can be communicated within each pose – the simplicity of rooting through the floor, feeling grounded, creating space in your body, being aware of your connection to yourself, the floor, the present moment, to others in the room – all of that can be so powerful and communicated with the simplest poses. Simple does not mean lacking.
Also, the students were a really inspiring group to be around. Everyone had a beautiful way of communicating as teachers and about themselves. I found that the better I got to know them, the more I saw not just their talent, but also their journey. It was neat to be inspired by others and be able to relate to them, as well. That helped me feel comfortable with my place in the training and as a teacher, which was a really good take away for me.
HOW DO YOU PLAN ON USING THE SKILLS YOU HAVE LEARNED FROM THE TRAINING?
There are a few things I really took to heart that I’d like to incorporate as teacher and in my daily life.
First, that my experience is valid. What a simple, clear way to clarify that what you feel has a place.
Second, and this follows from the first, that your experience is valid, too. I heard very different feedback in a thoughtful, open setting. What some might see as a pose that is too triggering, others might see as a welcome release, or as an opportunity to explore a more vulnerable pose. It made me see clearly how I cannot control another person’s experience and that that is okay.
Third, it boosted my self-confidence. I volunteered to co-teach with another student and it gave me a safe place to practice some of what I had been hearing. I heard some really supportive, encouraging feedback that nourished my faith in my own abilities.
Finally, I saw many beautiful examples of simple, but effective ways to communicate a safe, supportive environment with boundaries and choice. I learned about being mindful of my own needs and experience, while being mindful and aware of the same in others. I am excited to use these skills in my practice as a teacher.
My overall goal as a teacher is to create a safe space to be yourself. I feel like this training went hand-in-hand with that goal. It’s a great overview in a short amount of time and Ivy was a wonderful teacher.