Note From Louisa
One of the things that I love most about the summer is the opportunity to spend time outdoors, reconnecting with the smell of green, the gentle breeze in my hair, and the warmth of the sun on my face.
It's in the summer that I feel most "embodied" - that I am most aware that I have a body and that it is useful for more than just transport for my head (credit to Sir Ken Robinson from whom I blatantly stole that line).
Spring and summer are the more "masculine" seasons of the year, inviting us into action, movement and accomplishment. We work up a sweat in the summer - sometimes without actually doing much of anything. This connection with our physical selves is an essential part of living a healthy and balanced life.
While I may enjoy the heady contemplation of problem solving and conceptualizing as much as the next person, without feeling connected to my body, thoughts are nothing more than abstractions that lack manifestation in the world.
It is the body that "does the work".
For some of us, that connection with body has been injured or marred by abusive, cold or indifferent relationships with others. A critical word can help set us on the course of disavowing the miracle of our bodies, or divert us into focus on the appearance of our bodies, rather than its functionality and health.
Kara offers us this month some thoughts on staying connected to this essential part of being human and shares her insights on the value of embodied practices as a means of staying grounded and whole.
Please check out her Trauma-Sensitive Yoga Series that begins at the end of the month for a compassionate reintroduction to your body and its amazing gifts.
In kindness always,
- We've Added A New Sitting Group! Please join us on Monday mornings from 8:15 to 9:00 am for an additional sitting group during the week. We'll be testing this time slot out for the next few months so, if you'd like it to become a permanent addition to the schedule, please be sure to let us know!
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Ongoing Contemplative Practices
Creative Self-Reflection:A 2-day Mindfulness Retreat for Writers, Artists, and Creative Seekers
Facilitated by Susann Suprenant, Ph.D.
Saturday, Aug. 4, 1pm-4pm &
Sunday, Aug. 5, 10am-2pm
"Self-reflection is its own form of advocacy, of living a life of intention, of greater attention."
~Terry Tempest Williams
This 2-day interactive workshop offers the chance to rediscover and honor your creative life through guided meditation, writing, discussion, and group exercises. Participants are led to explore, amplify, and express through movement key resonant images from dreams and memories in a safe, supportive environment.
The workshop culminates with a each student presenting a movement-based Self-Reflection to be witnessed by the other class participants. No meditation or movement experience needed. Tuition $120.00.
Mindful Self Compassion Day Long Retreat
Facilitated by Louisa Foster, Psy.D.
Saturday, August 11th, 9:00 am to 4 pm
Does your Mindful Self Compassion practice need some refreshing? This day-long retreat is offered to graduates of the MSC training who are interested in revisiting some of the seminal practices offered in the course. Dig out your journal and dust off your soothing place! We'll spend the day reviewing selected practices and renewing our vow to treat ourselves with curiosity and tenderness. Participants will have the opportunity to determine what content is covered so that your favorite exercises and meditations are included. Tuition $90.00.
Trauma-Sensitive Yoga Series
Facilitated by Kara Cavel, LICSW, Ph.D.
Tuesday Evenings, from 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
August 21st - September 25th
"The guiding principle of recovery is restoring a sense of power and control to the survivor"-Judith Herman
Because trauma is often stored in the body, yoga-based interventions are a way to approach healing through a somatic experience in an effort to rebuild a sense of connection to the self by becoming curious about the experience of being. For those interested, you can expect to engage in an embodied practice that utilizes movement and breath work as a way to experience the present moment, feel empowered to make choices, take effective action, and to experience the flow of creating rhythm or synchrony with your breath and body.
This yoga series is ideal for indivdiuals who have an established relationship with a psychotherapist and who attend weekly therapy.
Tuition for the 6-week series is $150 dollars ($25 dollars per class). The group will consist of 6 or fewer individuals due to limited space and it is highly recommended that the participants attend all 6 sessions.
Mindfulness Study Group
Facilitated by Laura Crosby
1st and 3rd Sundays of each month from 4-6 p.m
Join us as we begin Reflections on Silver River by Ken McLeod. This short work is part translation of a revered Tibetan poem on 37 mindfulness and compassion practices and part short reflections on how these teachings apply to life today.
The Group will read together, so there is no pre-reading or homework involved. Copies of the book will be available for use in the study session or to check-out. There is no charge to participate. Drop-ins welcome at any time - feel free to jump in at any point! While this selection is based on Buddhist mindfulness teachings, the Study Group as a whole is not religiously affiliated. No registration required.
Mindfulness Talk & Guided Meditation
Facilitated by Laura Crosby
Wednesday Mornings, from 11:15 am - 12:00 pm
Fifteen minute teachings followed by group discussion & meditation. Deepen understanding and practice of mindfulness as we draw on teachings about bringing mindfulness and meditation to essential life experiences ... stress, relationships, difficult emotions, habits, change, conflict, and more. Following a 15-20 minute teaching, we will have a facilitated group discussion and a meditation based on the teaching. Some mindfulness practice helpful, but not required. All materials and supplies provided. This session is freely offered. There is no charge to participate. This is a drop-in offering. No registration is required.
Compassion & Peace over Lunch
Facilitated by Laura Crosby
Wednesday Afternoons, from 12:30 - 1:30 pm
Resuming August 29
Group sessions for cultivating compassion and peace in everyday life Experience and cultivate your innate compassion and peace. Engage in group discussion and mindfulness/meditation practices to bring loving-kindness and compassion to ourselves and others, while finding greater equanimity and calm. Some mindfulness practice helpful, but not required. Bring your own snack. All other materials and supplies provided. This session is freely offered. There is no charge to participate. This is a drop-in offering. No registration is required.
Embracing the Body as a Source for Healing
By Kara, Cavel, LICSW, Ph.D.
Even as a regular practitioner of yoga, I often move through my day without recognizing or acknowledging my body. I operate from the neck up, utilizing my overdeveloped intellectual functioning to defend against discomfort by ways of denial or distraction.
As a therapist, I often find myself also focusing heavily on "thinking" by helping others re frame cognitive distortions or inviting others to be curious about how they may have initially developed a certain way of thinking.
Let me be clear, there is absolutely NOTHING wrong with engaging our intellect and playing with ideas in the context of a therapeutic relationship (or any relationship for that matter) however, I find that in addition to our minds, the body comes to therapy too!
I am slowly entering into a new way of being that involves both awareness of thought AND awareness of body. This was the reason why I led a six week-long yoga practice series called "Trauma Sensitive Yoga" this past spring. Because trauma and toxic stress are often stored in the body, yoga-based interventions are a way to approach healing through a somatic experience in an effort to rebuild a sense of connection to the self by becoming curious about the experience of being.
An embodied practice has helped me to remember that my body can be of service to me.
This embodied practice utilizes movement and breath work as a way to experience the present moment, feel empowered to make choices, take effective action, and to experience the flow of creating rhythm or synchrony with your breath and body. Specifically, the impact of taking effective action is a concept that I have grown to appreciate.
Most recently, I had a conversation with a fellow social worker about trauma. She said, if our bodies are unable to fight or run away from the threat to our safety, we often freeze. This freeze response is useful in that it often keeps us from experiencing further harm, however, it also is problematic because it does not allow us to complete the action needed to keep us safe.
With that, we often find that there is an excess of energy stored in our bodies that was discharged during the experience of a threat. Taking effective action through the process of yoga, restores our sense that we can protect ourselves and make choices that allow us to feel more comfortable. These actions are often based on a deep listening to the body and paying attention to what our bodies need in that moment. This action creates an opportunity to have what some psychoanalysts call a "corrective emotional experience!"
Yoga can serve as an adjunct form of treatment in facilitates a deeper relationship with our bodies by learning to trust that we can take effective action to make the right choice for us and find comfort in the synchrony of our breath and movement of the body.
I invite anyone who is struggling with connecting to their bodies in a positive way to consider taking the trauma sensitive yoga series. The practice is intended to create a more compassionate, non-judgmental relationship with ourselves.