a Lecture Series with various Teachers
Now On Demand
8 Module Lecture Series- the trauma of oppression, marginalization and privilege.
The experience of trauma specifically as it affects marginalized communities is a crucial and timely topic. This eight-part lecture series addresses the trauma of oppression, marginalization and privilege and how these factors influence and shape the trajectory of one’s spiritual and embodied practices.
Join eight distinguished speakers representing a range of perspectives and experience as they highlight the unique experience of trauma within variable marginalized contexts and offer somatic, psychological and spiritual techniques that may contribute to a process of healing.
All proceeds from this lecture series go directly to speakers and organizations working with marginalized and oppressed communities.
Students who will take this course will:
Lectures Series Includes:
8 Downloadable Videos & MP3s
20 Yoga Alliance Cont. Ed. Credits
20 Embodied Philosophy Credits
with Michelle C. Johnson
Skill in Action is a workshop designed to explore patterns of oppression, power and privilege, and to respond to the current cultural challenges through practices of self-study, contemplation and collective action.
It can be difficult to remain centered amidst the chaos of a culture that continues to divide and conquer. Many are wondering how to respond to increasingly oppressive policies, political divisions and the current cultural upheaval. While we have questions about how to respond, I believe that we must respond with steadfastness and courageous hearts to the urgent concerns of this time. Contemplative practices, including meditation and yoga, allow us to work with sensation, toxic thought patterns, cultural conditioning, overwhelm, and anxiety through mindfulness and thoughtful care. In this workshop, we will deepen our understanding of the principles of justice and yoga; the workings of power and privilege, oppression and identity, suffering and liberation, and loving kindness.
The most effective tool of White Supremacy is Divide and Conquer. This system of oppression causes us to distance from ourselves and others, leaving us split apart both individually and collectively. Dismantling White Supremacy and systems of oppression requires turning towards, and facing one another. Through sharing and conversation we will explore the ways White Supremacy and oppression become internalized, and how we, in turn, embody and perpetuate oppression individually and collectively.
with Claudia Horwitz
We swim in the water of the dominant culture, a culture that seeps into everything we do. In the United States that culture is a mix of racism, white supremacy, Christian hegemony capitalism, heteronormativity, ageism, and patriarchy. Beyond “isms,” these are realities with real consequences for all of us. At the same time there is a new universal emerging, one that decenters whiteness and brings forth wisdom from the margins without appropriation or co-optation. In that direction lies our collective survival and resiliency.
How do we live amidst dynamic tensions? How we navigate a world awake to both the nature of suffering and the possibilities of liberation? How do we stay present to challenge and conflict with a relaxed heart and an openness to what happens next? An upswing of anxiety, despair, grief, or fear can spur a desire for fight, flight or freeze. But if we can engage our spiritual lives in order to turn toward challenge with curiosity, we are may find more authentic expression and more potency in our own skin.
This session will explore historical and cultural context, the pitfalls of privilege, and the daily rigor and gentleness that these times are calling forth. We will look at core capacities that make a path of true spiritual interdependence viable: how to stand in the “both/and,” how to balance rigor and compassion, and how to turn toward the difficult without shame.
with Nityda Gessel
In this talk Nityda will guide you through an exploration of the ways in which colonialism, the invention of race, and white supremacy have created and sustained racial trauma both within the white body and the bodies of those of the global majority (people of color). You will explore the ways in which racial trauma, passed down the ancestral line, creates a disembodiment and can manifest as unconscious biases, emotional pain, and somatic fatigue. We will identify ways in which society as a collective recreates the traumatic experience held within the collective unconscious/body. Nityda will support you in connecting lived yogic philosophy and somatic psychology to embodied activism and the healing of racial trauma. We will reflect on indigenous healing practices and the resilience of our ancestors as means for supporting modern day embodiment and trauma recovery. You will be offered experiential exercises to both support your individual healing and the healing of the collective.
with Dr. Thema Bryant-Davis
Oppression, discrimination, stigma, stereotype, systemic barriers, and hate crimes are pervasive and have consequences for survivors, emotionally, physically, psychologically, socially, financially, and spiritually. This session will provide the attendee with the definitions, risk factors, and effects of historical trauma and contemporary oppression. Throughout their history in the United States, racial and ethnic minorities have faced increased vulnerability to interpersonal trauma. This presentation will provide an overview of the theoretical and empirical literature on experience of racism as it is has emerged in the literature under the conceptualizations of societal trauma, intergenerational trauma, post-traumatic slave syndrome, racism, and racist-incident based trauma. Dr. Thema will explore liberation and womanist psychologies as frameworks for understanding self-care, healing, and therapy as political acts to resist the dehumanization. The psycho-social impact of systematic and legalized exploitation, discrimination, trafficking, enslavement, torture, sexual assault, lynching, police brutality, and segregation will be investigated. She will describe the dynamics and effects of these traumatic encounters across the lifespan, including PTSD, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, self-harming behaviors, dissociation, distrust, and sense of foreshortened future. Protective factors as well as coping and resistance strategies from a strengths-based framework will be described as culturally congruent approaches to therapeutic interventions for survivors. To heal from the trauma of various forms of racism, racially marginalized persons can participate in Emotional Emancipation Circles. These gatherings are groups that are aimed at overcoming powerlessness, marginalization, exploitation, systemic violence, and cultural imperialism through sharing their stories, learning emotional wellness skills, enhancing their relationships, and dismantling oppression by working together for social justice. Spirituality, creativity, and activism have also been critical strategies to resisting the indignities of racially motivated acts of aggression. Dr. Thema will enumerate the needs for further culturally congruent, trauma-focused research, practice, and policy to heal and empower survivors.
with Oneika Mays
Heart centered service work can be invaluable in helping to dismantle oppressive structures. It’s important when doing this work that folks approach it from a mindful, loving compassionate place. In this webinar Oneika Mays (E-RYT, LMT) will talk about what it means to serve mindfully. Drawing from her experiences as the first mindfulness coach at Rikers Island Correctional Facility, feminist and socially conscious texts participants will unpack what it means to serve from a place of unconditional friendliness. They’ll also begin to explore privilege (in all its forms), forgiveness and inclusive equanimity. While it may seem overwhelming and even controversial, we’ll discuss how spiritual practices can be essential in countering injustice and vital to creating sustainable connection with ourselves and the world. Can you disrupt the system with love?
with Naimah Efia
Social consciousness has begun to shift towards integrating a more nuanced look at the trauma and suffering of marginalized communities across generations, as well as the mandate for healing these injustices. Movements for liberation are beginning to seek healing and justice practices that honor the complexity of the trauma endured by these groups. This has also awoken a burgeoning dialogue on how embodied, mindfulness and spiritual practices can begin to uproot and shift legacies of trauma living within marginalized people, at a psychological, somatic and spiritual level. This talk will explore the complexities, and responsibilities inherent within offering embodied and spiritual practices to support marginalized people in decolonizing internalized oppression and creating accessible paths to liberation for all beings. The talk will include anecdotal evidence and accounts of healing justice in action within social justice movements and liberation-based efforts within the current socio-political landscape. An explicit elevation of legacies of resistance led by Black women, as well as Queer & Trans communities of color will inform the possibilities for spiritual innovation that can be taken up with integrity, and social responsibility.
with Sage Hayes
We’re at the beginning of building an embodied repertoire geared towards treating the trauma of oppression. Day to day, folx on the margins are constantly navigating threat while trying to simply live life. In this talk we’re going to explore how to proactively work with the hard-wired survival strategies of our body (fawn, flight, fight and freeze) which are chronically triggered for people who endure oppression. As we work collectively to undo structural and institutional oppression, we must also pay attention to ways in which trauma gets internalized into the body and then acted in and out. The trauma of chronic threat can keep us stuck in ongoing and unsustainable reactivity in the body which often shows up as anxiety, depression and overwhelm. We’ll look at individual and collective ways to create conditions which metabolize this type of trauma through the body, powerfully and thoughtfully. Metabolizing deep trauma often expands our felt-sense of resilience, deepens our embodied agency and gives us a stronger sense of safety in the world. In essence, it facilitates justice in the body.
with Christine Caldwell
One of the primary ways we oppress ourselves and others is by making bodies wrong. Whether in ageism, sexism, homophobia, racism, or ableism, our ‘isms’ inhabit our attitudes and emotions by privileging certain bodies and marginalizing others. We fear wrinkles and sagging skin. We objectify bodies as sexual commodities. We make fun of and bully people’s gestures, speech patterns, postures, skin color, and ways of moving. We retreat from bodies that work differently than ours. We also establish and maintain power differentials by how we use space, posture, gesture, touch, and eye contact. These behaviors are largely automatic, unquestioned, and learned.
This talk will navigate the territory of bodily privilege and oppression and its resolutions through the framework of somatic theory and practice. Starting with identifying our various internalized body oppressions, we can experientially cultivate a more liberated bodily self. Our bodily self can then turn towards others in an empowered manner.
Two concepts will inform our thinking and lay the groundwork for practice. First is Bodyfulness. Bodyfulness goes beyond bodily awareness and body disciplines to work directly with physical non-judgmentalism and a deep appreciation of the body as it is. The second notion is body authority. Directly experiencing the ability of the body to experience itself, heal itself, and know more about our depths than our thoughts do enables a kind of empowerment that resists abuses, takes a stand, and creates a relationship between bodily action and activism, one that can sustain and inspire us. with Christine Caldwell
The presentation will alternate between speaking about these ideas and experiencing them directly so that they can be crafted into contemplative practices.
Oneika Mays (LMT, E-RYT) transitioned to yoga and meditation from a career in corporate retail over 10 years ago. Oneika used that experience to support social justice non-profits and teach meditation and yoga inside jails. As Training Director at Liberation Prison Yoga she co-facilitated trainings with teachers and practitioners interested in serving incarcerated populations. As Director of Operations of Transformation Yoga Project she supported a team that has served over 10k people and leads yoga teacher trainings inside prisons. Today, Oneika is the Mindfulness Coach at Rikers Island and facilitates workshops around cultivating resilience and compassion through meditation and other mindfulness practices. At Rikers she works one-on-one with incarcerated folks. She believes that meditation and mindfulness practices can forge a path to freedom and build resilience. Oneika is passionate about supporting teachers and leaders who bring peace and healing to QBIPOC and folks impacted by the incarceration and it’s aftermath.
Nityda Gessel LCSW, E-RYT (500) is a licensed somatic psychotherapist, yoga teacher, trauma specialist, speaker, writer, and heart-centered activist. Since 2006 Nityda has served as a Yoga Educator working within the intersections of yoga, mental health, embodied activism, and community advocacy. Nityda is the founder of The Trauma-Conscious Yoga Institute (TCYI), an educational institution whose mission is to make embodied trauma-informed care more inclusive and accessible for trauma survivors within clinical and non-clinical settings, by way of providing comprehensive, body-inclusive, trauma education. Nityda’s vision is to expand mainstream trauma-informed care beyond the scope of micro-level trauma, advancing trauma discourse to more readily include the impact of macro-level and systemic trauma on both individuals and the collective conscious.
Sage Hayes is a long time explorer of liberation neurobiology + transformation. Integrating modalities of biodynamic craniosacral therapy, somatic experiencing, systemic constellations and liberation psychologies, their work spans the micro to the collective. Sage dives into co-creating conditions for something new to happen with and beyond our fight, flight or freeze responses in service of quantum holistic (r)evolution. Sage is a senior teaching assistant with the Somatic Experiencing Trauma Institute and teaches additional workshops around the world on therapeutic touch work, somatics and social justice and accessing the resilience in our lineage.
Naimah Efia is a decolonial therapist, committed to transforming mental health & healing for Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC), through a politicized praxis. She is also a yoga instructor, doula, healing justice practitioner, liberation-based educator and community activist. This array of expertise is applied to create a radically integrated approach to healing, informed by activism, esotericism, liberation psychology, and diasporic traditions. Naimah provides trauma-focused counseling through her private practice and in community-based settings, focusing on the trauma of oppression. She is the founder of the BIPOC, survivor-led healing justice movement, #FreeToo, and a member of the healing justice collective, Harriet's Apothecary. Naimah also works collaboratively with organizations, institutions and collectives providing liberation-based training and facilitating community healing spaces. Naimah believes in healing as a necessary and revolutionary act of resistance that is essential to our liberation.
Claudia Horwitz has been a leader in national efforts to join the power of spiritual practice and the work of social justice for over 20 years. She integrates a longtime love of meditation and yoga with a life time dedicated to social change. Trained as a Kripalu yoga teacher, Claudia has received blessings from many traditions: her Jewish upbringing, progressive Christianity, engaged Buddhism, and many profound seers and teachers. In 1995 Claudia founded stone circles, an organization that worked to sustain activists and the work for justice through spiritual practice. The organization created The Stone House on 70 acres in North Carolina that welcomed 8,000 people of all traditions for training, retreat and fellowship. She is the author of The Spiritual Activist: Practices to Transform Your Life, Your Work and Your World (Penguin Compass 2002) and numerous articles. Claudia also has a master’s degree in Public Policy from Duke University. In her paid work, Claudia helps institutions, organizations and individuals integrate a results-focused approach with thoughtful process, racial justice and the sacred. She’s working on a book of essays about collective liberation.
Michelle C. Johnson is an author, yoga teacher, social justice activist, licensed clinical social worker and Dismantling Racism trainer. She approaches her life and work from a place of empowerment, embodiment and integration. With a deep understanding of trauma and the impact that it has on the mind, body, spirit and heart, much of her work focuses on helping people better understand how power and privilege operate in their life. She explores how privilege, power and oppression affects the physical, emotional, mental, spiritual and energy body.
Dr. Thema Byrant-Davis earned her doctorate from Duke University, completed her post-doctoral training at Harvard Medical Center, and is a past American Psychological Association representative to the United Nations. She has served as a mental health media consultant for numerous print, radio, and television media outlets, including but not limited to the Huffington Post, NPR, CBS, Oxygen, CNN, BET, TV One, Lifetime, and We TV. Dr. Thema has edited and co-edited books on recovery from sexual violence, spirituality and religion in women’s lives, and womanist and mujerista psychologies. She is the author of the critically-acclaimed books Tweets for the Soul: When Life Falls Apart, Thriving in the wake of trauma: A multicultural guide, Mangos and Manna and The Birthing of a Lioness and is the recording artist on the CD Sky: An upbeat black girl’s song. Her work is based in an interdisciplinary understanding of spirituality, gender, culture and psychology.
Christine Caldwell, Ph.D., BC-DMT, LPC, NCC, ACS, is the founder of and professor emeritus in the Somatic Counseling Program at Naropa University, where she taught somatic counseling, clinical neuroscience, research, and diversity issues. Her work, called the Moving Cycle, spotlights natural play, early physical imprinting, fully sequenced movement processes, the opportunities in addiction, and a trust in the authoritative knowledge of the body. She has taught at the University of Maryland, George Washington, Concordia, Seoul Women’s University, Southwestern College, and Pacifica, and trains, teaches and lectures internationally. She has published over 30 articles and chapters, and her books include Getting Our Bodies Back, Getting In Touch, The Body and Oppression, and Bodyfulness.
All proceeds go directly to speakers and organizations working with marginalized and oppressed communities.