WRITTEN BY BRYNNE SHEEHAN, SEATTLE 2016 TRAUMA-INFORMED YOGA TRAINING GRADUATE
Tell us a little about yourself. How did you come to start practicing yoga?
I started practicing yoga when I was 12. There was a yoga class lead by Lilias Folin on PBS. We only had 4 or 5 channels then and I found it one day and really loved it! I also started meditating during this time and reading the Bhagavad Gita. I was so intrigued by eastern philosophy and yoga! Sadly, as time went on I became distracted by everything else that teenagers do…but yoga always there just waiting for me to find it again. That was in 2000 and by the next spring, I was studying to become a yoga teacher. I didn’t think that I would ever teach; however, I was so hungry for the wisdom that yoga had to offer!
What inspired you to take the Street Yoga Trauma-Informed Yoga Training?
I’ve been teaching yoga to older orphans in Ethiopia since 2008. I’ve been there 14 times. The kids seem to love yoga, but the environment is difficult to teach in. The number of kids and the age ranges has grown a lot since 2008 and the space we have for yoga isn’t really sufficient for a large number of kids.
We also don’t have any mats and it would be so very helpful for the kids to have defined spaces so they don’t squish in together! Also, with the limited space, there are times when we can’t even go through a sun salutation. I have been feeling stagnant and took the Street Yoga training to get some other ideas.
What was your biggest take-away from the training?
I think that just coming back to basics for teaching beginners was really helpful for me. And also the sections on prevention and intervention: using check-ins, establishing ground rules etc.
Although I’ve been teaching yoga since 2002, and I work with students daily as a school psychologist, this training has been very helpful in providing knowledge about how to structure a successful class for underserved kids.
How do you plan on using the skills you have learned from the training?
I’ll use the skills at the high school that I currently work at, offering yoga once a week to students with autism and emotional challenges. I’ll also take it with me on my next trip to Africa: designing some structure to the classes that I teach there! I’m really happy that I took the time to attend the training. Thanks so much!