Written by Alison Chambers (@dtlvblogger)
The first class I participated in at the Downtown Yoga & Wellness Co-op was Chair Yoga. The class was taught by Joyce Bosen, co-founder of Trauma Recovery Yoga. The yoga space is large, clean and full of natural light. It’s a welcoming, safe space. A half dozen individuals came in and positioned themselves in the room; 2 were in wheelchairs and one came in on crutches.
Joyce introduced herself and talked about the way Trauma Recovery Yoga was born out of her own struggle in dealing with the death of her son. She had practiced yoga before his death; however, as she tried to manage her grief, she realized several things in a regular yoga session were 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, dark spaces, the instructor moving about the room and touching people, and the calling out of participants for corrections in their movements.
As I listened to Joyce’s words, I heard her say, “Visualization is healing.” Whether you can move a certain body part or not, envision yourself doing the pose – your body will believe you.
The wonderful part about Trauma Recovery Yoga is it is “your yoga, your way”. We are encouraged to practice the power of choice. If you don’t want to do a pose, don’t do it. If you’d rather do a different pose, do it. Our instructors understand the importance of choice, and nobody in our classes is “called out” for doing a pose incorrectly, nor are we touched by the instructor in an effort to re-position us. Being touched is sometimes – often – a trigger for those who are healing from trauma; Joyce understood this as she build this method because she herself did not want to be touched.
As I participate in more yoga and meditation classes, I continue to hear “mindfulness”; it simply means to slow down to notice. In my very first Trauma Recovery Yoga class 2 years ago, I heard Joyce say, “Are you breathing in, or are you breathing out?” And at that moment, I could only focus on my breathing, and the fear and dark thoughts left my mind. Since then, I have used those words countless times to calm myself, and it always works.
The thing about humans is we hold a lot of “stories” and pain in our bodies. The weird “vibration” I felt in my legs commencing the moment of my trauma four years ago was a story, a bad story. Oftentimes we are told to sit down just prior to being given bad news; that negativity then sits in our hips and legs. If you notice where you are holding some of this poison, acknowledging it will help let it go. Centering, breathing and grounding are key elements of Trauma Recovery Yoga, and the method is supported by science.
Chair Yoga is taught weekly on Wednesdays at 2:30pm at the Downtown Yoga & Wellness Co-op. They are located at 701 E. Bridger Avenue, Las Vegas 89101 inside the Driven Neurorecovery Center. Free parking is available in their underground garage (enter on 8th Street) Mon-Fri 7a-6pm and Mon-Fri after 6pm and on the weekend on Bridger Ave. and 8th St.