By Alison Chambers (@dtlvblogger)
It’s fitting that the main offices of Trauma Recovery Yoga (TRY) are located inside the Driven NeuroRecovery Center in downtown Las Vegas. Joyce Bosen, co-founder of TRY, is the epitome of the word driven. She is all about helping people heal from whatever tragedies resulting in trauma they have experienced.
“All I do is this work. All I teach is trauma. All I breathe, and live, and research, and educate myself on is trauma and how to help other people. I know what works from my position, what helps me, and I want to share that and continue to find other ways that work for other people.” ~JB
Joyce’s own story started in 2012 when her 22 year old son was killed by a train. She struggled mightily with her grief for over a year, combining talk therapy and prescription medications in an effort to manage her grief. She had practiced yoga before his death, but in her post-trauma state was unable to handle certain things that normally occur in a regular yoga session. “Triggers” are things that, in normal life are fine, but to a post-trauma individual, may be highly agitating and upsetting.
She set out to create a practice for herself that would accomplish some healing without the triggers. The method she created took out music, incense, candles, chanting, the silence that creates dark spaces, the instructor moving about the room and touching people, and the “calling out” of participants for corrections in their movements. The result was Trauma Recovery Yoga.
Over the many hours of yoga training Joyce had done previous to her son’s death, she had been increasingly drawn to help marginalized populations. She put together a class she called S.O.S. (for seriously out of shape) for those individuals who were obese, physically, medically or emotionally unable or unwilling to join a typical yoga class in a gym or studio. Unfortunately, the typical images of thin, fit, bendy young women doing a warrior stance in the magazine ads or television commercials can be offputting for those who aren’t in that category and may prevent them from attempting a yoga class. Joyce’s stance has always been “Yoga is for Every-Body”.
Personal trauma also led Samantha Okumura to utilize yoga as a healing tool. And much like Joyce, her goal was to open a yoga studio for everybody – as in “any” body, including those who are limited by disability or post-injury bodies. Seven years ago, focused upon spinal cord injury work, she built an adaptive yoga program while involved with Project Walk in the Bay Area. And after moving to Nevada some years ago, Samantha opened a yoga studio in Las Vegas where she was able to offer chair yoga in addition to other healing modalities including meditation, MediCupping therapy, adaptive exercise therapy, yoga workshops and retreats, and holistic wellness programs.
During her involvement with Project Walk, she met Sam Schmidt and Brandi Kurka, who shared with her their search for a location in which to open Driven NeuroRecovery Center; the idea was an affordable multidisciplinary center where individuals with disabilities can improve their physical, mental and emotional health, build their independence, and enhance their quality of life with a holistic approach to wellness. Sam Schmidt is a former Indy Racing League driver who became a quadriplegic as a result of being severely injured in a practice race years ago. Brandi has been an adapted physical activity therapist with 15+ years experience; she has assisted Sam Schmidt for over 5 years.
It was synchronicity that completed this story. Samantha had reached out to Joyce after she had seen Facebook posts about Trauma Recovery Yoga classes and workshops. In December 2018, Driven NeuroRecovery Center had its grand opening in downtown Las Vegas. It was there that Joyce and her husband and TRY co-founder Darwin met Samantha and her boyfriend, Gy Lorick. The four of them loved the new Driven facility. The two women talked about how their respective businesses could blend for a more far-reaching wellness center and soon they were in talks to create a co-op. Joyce and Samantha are passionate about what they are delivering with the Downtown Yoga and Wellness Co-op – a safe place for self-care. It is designed as a wellness center, a place to find healing, and is definitely much more than just a yoga studio. It is a place which unites healers and helpers, an environment which is inclusive, supportive and integrative. The power of collaboration over competition and inclusion over exclusion is paramount to their mission.
Samantha teaches various classes at the Co-op including chair yoga and Hatha yoga. She also provides Medi-Cupping and adaptive exercise therapy. She told me her mission is to inspire people to wellness through self-care. She is so pleased to have found a place where she can provide yoga for everybody – her original goal from years ago. And, to assist individuals with spinal cord injuries and other disabilities to their optimum abilities is deeply fulfilling for Samantha.
In addition to Trauma Recovery Yoga, other types of yoga are offered by various Co-op members. Additional services offered include massage, reiki, sound healing, ayurvedic counseling, and life coaching. Corporate wellness packages for employees and holistic retreats are available.
Trauma Recovery Yoga and chair yoga classes are free to Driven members and their caregivers. Other Co-op teachers may offer discounts to Driven members for classes or services.
Trauma Recovery Yoga Teacher Training workshops are held once a month in the Co-op; additional workshops are held around the country at different times. The workshops are co-taught by Joyce Bosen, her husband Darwin Bosen, and licensed clinical psychologist Dr. Nicole Anders. The workshops are held on one Friday night, one Saturday, and one Sunday for a total of 20 hours. Of those 20 hours, only 3 hours are spent moving on the mats and are optional and may be spent in observation. The teacher training is extremely useful for not only yoga instructors, but all types of helpers, including but not limited to at-home and professional caregivers, psychotherapists, health care workers, drug recovery professionals, educators, and those seeking to heal themselves or a loved one. 17 CEUs are available for behavioral health professionals and 20 CEUs for Yoga Alliance yoga teachers.
The Downtown Yoga and Wellness Co-op is located at 701 East Bridger Avenue, Suite 150, Las Vegas NV 89101 inside the Driven NeuroRecovery Center. Free parking is available Monday through Friday 6am-6pm in the underground garage accessed on 8th Street, and Monday through Friday after 6pm on 8th Street and Bridger Avenue.
Class schedules and descriptions, workshop information and more can be found on the website at dtlvcoop.com. Additional information about Trauma Recovery Yoga may be found on their website at traumarecoveryyoga.org.