Curious about what you might learn during one of our Trauma-Sensitive Yoga Trainings?

Harry Friedman, aka Haribo, attended our very first Yoga for Youth Training in December. Harry immediately began to integrate some of trauma-sensitive principles he learned into his life after the training. Learn more about his experience in this guest blog post.

Colleen DeVirgiliis & Katy Kopnitsky lead participants of a training through an experiential exercise.

Colleen DeVirgiliis & Katy Kopnitsky lead participants of a training through an experiential exercise.

“I am honored to have taken part in a training that seeks to foster resilience through yoga and mindfulness. To offer skills and space that foster resilience seems to me to be one of the greatest gifts a person can offer. 

The day after the training, I was riding my bike up American Ave. to my tutoring job in North Philly, and I felt a surge of excitement. I've served as a teacher in a number of different settings over the years, and I've always found it challenging to work in classroom settings. I've had the incredible privilege of teaching at summer camps, where the classes are all hands-on, and the kids are excited to be there and free to learn what ever they wish. Teaching Math and English after school has been quite a different experience. I often find myself feeling discouraged and inadequate as a teacher. The reason I felt a surge of excitement that Monday afternoon riding my bike is because my attitude had shifted.

Prior to the training, I remember having this image of what a classroom should look like when a great teacher is teaching. All the students are attentive and whenever there is a disturbance, of any kind, order is promptly restored at the mere sound of the teacher's voice. Even if this image could be actualized, I no longer believe this is actually the image of a truly fruitful classroom. One of the facilitators of the training reminded us that a "good" class is not necessarily one in which all the students do exactly what they're told to do without any disturbance. A "good" class might actually be one in which the students do scream out and reject and rebel. Every behavior expresses a need, and when a student expresses oneself, loudly or softly, there is an opportunity for healing. The most important thing for that student at that moment might just be a feeling of freedom and recognition. 

TYP is just as much a project of growth and healing for the teachers as well as for the students. The values of Yoga come through in this training. Practice self-reflection in order to recognize the influence of the Ego. What assumptions do I carry with me that influence how I receive others? What obstacles impede my ability to relate in full authenticity? What is my role?

I'm not here to fix or help anyone. My role is to serve in offering a set of skills that are designed to foster resilience. Offer these skills humbly and compassionately. Remember that while individuals feel pain and may harbor anger or resentment, we all have the potential to heal. I need not take personally any perceived anger or resentment from others. There are no good and bad students. Each student is a whole individual with a yearning to feel love and be loved. 

As I move forward, collecting thoughts and practices to layer into my consciousness, I recognize the gifts I received from this training. I am continually refining the image of the teacher I aspire to be. Among the lessons from this training, I strive to embody a ceaseless recognition of all students' and peoples' individual wholeness. My role is not to change or transform. I am simply taking part in, and hopefully contributing, to an overarching process of healing and learning.”

- Harry, aka Haribo, Friedman

Our next training is just a few weeks away!

Join us on February 8 - 10 for our Trauma-Sensitive Yoga and Social Impact Training in Philadelphia. Learn more & Register now!