Now accepting applications!
Trauma affects us all in so many different ways. It might show up as an inability to perform a certain movement in our yoga practice or manifest as sleeplessness, headaches, or autoimmune disease… Trauma is not restricted to survivors of horrific atrocities. In fact, our nervous systems may become overwhelmed and we may begin to accumulate it anytime we feel a lack of support, even in everyday situations. By nature trauma is quite slippery: the body buries it when we lack the resources to digest it fully, and the latest research demonstrates that we also inherit it from previous generations, so many people are in complete denial even though they may be carrying a significant trauma load. I can’t think of ANYBODY I’ve ever met who would not benefit from possessing a better understanding of trauma. It is a pivotal and missing exploration, equally for people suffering from physical and/or mental afflictions to those looking to optimize their already-brilliant performance to super-human levels.
Further, I have come to believe that practicing yoga without an understanding of trauma is yet another inadvertent form of spiritual bypassing that can be quite dangerous. Although pure awareness can dissolve many kinds of samskara (conditioning), research has demonstrated that traumatic conditioning often requires special treatment, including the safe and compassionate presence of another being. Unfortunately, whether due to lack of informed consent, excessive use of force, well-intentioned ignorance or outright abuse, yoga classes can be very unsafe places that actually exacerbate trauma. How often have we seen practitioners and teachers pass on their unresolved trauma to countless others through acts of gross or subtle violence? Our own trauma also puts us at greater risk of being manipulated and harmed by such violence. It’s about time we all start taking trauma seriously, open to true interconnectedness and create the possibility for global healing.
In this intensive training, we will explore key concepts in trauma healing and apply them directly to our yoga practice. We will study fundamental features of trauma physiology and gain awareness of how culture, philosophy, the practice environment and student-teacher relationships influence the nervous system and perpetuate or alleviate trauma in ourselves and others. Most exciting of all, we will investigate how elements of Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga (such as bandha, mudra, pranayama, visualization and chanting) can fit in alongside some of the most ground-breaking trauma theories available, potentially enhancing evidence-based yoga interventions for PTSD. While trauma robs us of our capacity for joy, spontaneity, empowerment and connection, rehearsing these in our practice can serve as a potent daily reminder of our nearly unfathomable potential to live and to give. By inquiring deeply into neuroscience, psychology, yoga technology, our own personal circumstances and deepest intentions, we will begin or continue the never-ending journey of constructing a practice that truly serves us and our world.
Visit my Testimonials to get a sense what others have said about past TIAyoga workshops, my teaching and individual sessions…
JEN-MITSUKE PETERS holds an MA in Psychology/Neuroplasticity from Princeton University and an MA in Mindfulness-Based Transpersonal Counseling from Naropa University. She has trained with and assisted her principal Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga teachers Richard Freeman & Mary Taylor for over 2100 hours. Her own experiences with trauma and chronic illness have awakened both her passion for healing and her deep trust in the transformative power of compassionate relationships. She has been teaching yoga internationally since 2004 and is a registered psychotherapist and coach in private practice in Denver, CO. Full Bio
JIYU is a Social Engagement System expert, and this branch of the nervous system has been found to be crucial for trauma healing and conducive to all-around well-being. He is currently working towards his Therapy Dog certification and is known for bringing out the best in his students and clients, even those as resistant as Jen-Mitsuke. 😉 An extremely old (non-shedding and hypoallergenic) soul, he will be celebrating his first birthday on July 14, 2019. Full Bio
Who should apply?
This workshop is best suited for curious Ashtanga Vinyasa practitioners and teachers with any level of experience and proficiency OR for healing professionals who want to bring yoga into their practices in a serious way. We will be going into considerable detail and requiring some deep soul-searching. The amount of insight and support you can offer yourself, students and clients within the yoga realm is proportional to the depth, regularity and sincerity of your well-rounded personal practice. If you do not currently have an established practice or are unfamiliar with Ashtanga, lessons with me (live or on Skype) or another qualified teacher prior to the training are recommended.
This training will take place at my home, which will be wonderful in many ways, but different from typical trainings in others. There will be no shower available, parking is a quick walk down the hill, and at least some of the time a puppy will be present! Throughout the training we will be interacting as a large group and also breaking frequently into smaller groups or partners to encourage active assimilation of the material. You will be working mat-to-mat and interacting closely with me and your colleagues, which will allow for the formation of deep friendships and will also give us all an opportunity to thoroughly irritate each other with our less-than-conscious habits! I therefore ask that those who apply agree to uphold the highest standards of hygiene and considerate behavior.
I am seeking to fill the cohort with a varied and complimentary group of people willing to share both their strengths and vulnerabilities, a heart-centered group of folks with a sense of humor and willingness to work towards appreciating themselves and others not just for what they have done or can do, but first and foremost for who they are, both in an unlimited eternal sense as well as honoring how we are showing up at any given moment in time.
PLEASE NOTE that this training is not intended to treat your trauma, nor will participants be encouraged to work outside of their professional Scope of Practice in treating others. Resolution of severe trauma may require a multifaceted approach, an important part of which may be a careful yoga practice.
Coursework, Schedule & Requirements
The training will take place Monday through Friday for the 4 weeks in June, with the addition of one Saturday following Week 2.
Each morning we will workshop ASANA, PRANAYAMA, MEDITATION, KRIYA and other practices while maintaining a trauma-informed focus. Postures from the Ashtanga Vinyasa Series 1 and 2 will form the basis of our explorations, and we will approach them looking to see what they have to offer each practitioner, providing variations to accommodate everybody and looking closely at transitions while moving at our own individual pace and encouraging each other to be inquisitive about our experience as opposed to competitive or achievement-oriented.
On 3 Fridays we will do a SELF-PRACTICE class similar in format to traditional “Mysore-style” Ashtanga classes. Jen will be assisting and striving in every way to construct a consent-based environment where all individuals feel safe, cherished and inspired to do what will be most beneficial for them.
After that, we will move into Sanskrit CHANTING & PHILOSOPHY. A number of traditional chants will be practiced, and we will consider some classic yoga texts as well as relevant trauma literature, investigating how modern science can help us to set our priorities in practice. Included will be the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, Hatha Yoga Pradipika, Bhagavad Gita, and the work of Bonnie Badenoch, Peter Levine, Pat Ogden, Stephen Porges & more…
3 Fridays will be spent in GROUP DISCUSSION & SATSANG, incorporating concepts covered so far and looking at the myriad perspectives generated by fellow group members.
On Monday and Thursday afternoons we will learn how to apply TRAUMA THEORIES IN PRACTICE & TEACHING and begin to try out our skills with our colleagues. We will learn hands-on assists and consider the contexts in which such techniques may be helpful as well as situations where touch can be highly inappropriate. We will discuss a variety of alternatives to touch and investigate our intentions behind every aspect of class composition.
Tuesday afternoons we will delve into GROSS & SUBTLE ANATOMY & PHYSIOLOGY, applying what we learn directly to our practice. These workshops will be based on readings from yoga teachers who have inspired me the most, Richard Freeman & Mary Taylor as well as Simon Borg Olivier & Bianca Machliss.
Wednesday afternoons we will savor RESTORATIVES & THERAPEUTICS. We will use simple props, learn some basic therapeutic interventions for common injuries, and consider how our language as teachers and students can drastically affect how we go about the practice and the results we obtain from it.
The 2nd Friday and Saturday of the training we will have a MEDITATION RETREAT. This will involve about 6 hours of meditative practices per day, some seated and some involving walking or other moving meditations. We will look at the most recent literature that shows both the benefits and dangers of meditative practices in populations touched by trauma and seek to provide a profound and positive experience for each participant.
Most Friday afternoons will be free for an optional group activity. Being in the company of seekers is said to be perhaps the most important boost on a spiritual path, and Denver offers so many options!
I hope to continue teaching my usual Sunday Mysore/Meditation class at Ashtanga Yoga Denver during the training. This would provide additional opportunities to bring what you’ve learned into the wider world.
PLEASE NOTE: In order to receive a certificate of completion, your attendance at all violet events is mandatory (see calendar below). In cases of emergency, you may need to make up work in private study with me. I will be requiring 8 short 2-page essays on the readings, 3 due before the training and the remaining 5 due within 3 months of the close of the training. This will provide opportunities to more fully integrate your learning, get feedback from me, and inspire direction for your future studies. The reading list and assignments will be distributed by April 1st.
Tuition & Scholarships
The cost of the training is $3600. (This does not include books.) Upon acceptance, a $350 non-refundable deposit will be required to hold your spot. An early-bird discount of $250 will be applied if you are accepted and pay in full by March 15th. Otherwise, full tuition is due by May 1st.
I am offering 3 need-based work-study scholarships. 2 of the scholarships will be for $350 to help clean up each day after the training, about 20 hours of work per person, probably less. The 3rd scholarship will be for $450 to help with Jiyu, taking him out front for a very quick potty break during our breaks and giving him a longer 45-minute walk or play break during lunchtime, about 25 hours of work. We will be grateful for your service!