I arrived in Nice, France, a few days after the horrific act of violence on the Promenade Anglais three years ago.
I was co-leading Beloved Yoga’s Immersion Teacher Training. While there, I asked the studio owner that was hosting us, Celine Geers, if we could offer a weekly space for people to come and digest the experience and offer simple tools of breath work and meditation.
I consider myself a trauma informed yoga therapist and yoga teacher. So, I knew we couldn’t just show up in a community and ignore a tragedy that will shift the city for ever. I also knew the power of the tools of yoga to ground the nervous system after such a shock.
It was pretty incredible a few people came out, but so profound. One family watched their family member be run over and killed. They were there to just digest. They had no experience with yoga. We knew we weren’t there to offer solutions. We were there to offer space and yogic tools so they can navigate this experience integrated.
The day after the 2016 election of President Trump, I witnessed America tragically pulled apart. At our studio, Beloved Yoga in Reston, Virginia, I had teachers crying the day after elections along with practitioners. It was unlike anything I had experienced as a studio owner. I decided to have a teachers meeting first and share in discussion. As we had a teacher who voted for Trump, it was necessary to have a healthy dialogue. It was powerful for all present. I then decided to organize a “Post Traumatic Election” community event. Over 50 people came out, all backgrounds and ages.
We had a fellow teacher create a beautiful song and we made a community video. We offered space to speak to the shock, we meditated, we breathed and, most importantly, we connected.
On a recent Facebook group I am a part of, I encouraged a yoga studio in El Paso to offer such a space.
I deeply believe that in times of tragedy yoga studios, yoga teachers, and yoga therapists can come together and offer sacred space for people to be heard and offer the tools of yoga to continue to progress and expand.
There are no accidents. I believe everything has a purpose to expand consciousness, if we allow it.