Get to know Transformation Yoga Project's inspiring Director of Training! Colleen share's a little about her personal yoga journey, how she got involved in yoga service, and what the practice has taught her.
How long have you been working for TYP?
My work with in yoga service began before the organization actually existed. I was teaching a few classes in a women’s shelter and did my first trauma informed yoga training in 2010. Through my friendship with Mike Huggins, Founder and Executive Director, we began to teach classes in Chester County to underserved youth. Mike and I continued our training in yoga service and trauma informed practices over the next five years. At that time, TYP was a grassroots organization and was formalized in 2014 as a non-profit. I have been involved with TYP since that time. It has been remarkable to witness the growth of the organization.
Can you tell us a little bit about your background and what brought you to work with TYP?
I wandered into a yoga class in 2001 and my relationship to my yoga practice was life changing. My first yoga certification was in power vinyasa yoga in 2004. I began to teach full time and study with several national teachers over the next six years. In 2010, I opened a small studio so that I could create a space that was affordable, accessible and to train teachers. I witnessed the transformative power of yoga in myself and others and knew that I wanted to share the practices with those that might not have access to classes.
What do you love the most about your work?
I have the opportunity to work with outstanding humans at TYP. We have a brilliant compassionate team of individuals working together to bring trauma sensitive yoga into the community. I have also been blessed to meet many wise and wonderful people through our programs that have enriched my life.
What inspired you to become involved in yoga service?
We live in uncertain times. There are many divisions along race, politics and economics. I see yoga as an opportunity to unite us not only to our truest selves but to each other. The power of yoga, meditation and mindfulness is real and sharing our practices is necessary.
What do you do for self-care?
There is no doubt that service work is hard and can be emotionally draining. I spend time in nature. I am nourished when I garden, hike and take long bike rides. I also surround myself with family and friends as much as possible. Time near the ocean fills me up.
What has your yoga practice taught you or what tools do you use regularly in your life?
My practice has given me the gift of presence. I spent many years worrying and planning. Now I do my best to be present to life around me.
How has working for TYP influenced you?
Working with TYP has reinforced the relationship I have with my practice. I feel most like myself when I share space with others through my work with TYP. Each day I am grateful for work that I love. Yoga is a gift we give to ourselves. There are so many that do not have access to yoga. At TYP, we share our practices in prisons, detention centers, and to those in recovery or behavioral health settings. The door to yoga is opening wider in many spaces and I look forward to walking through more doors.