From Trauma to LifeForce Yoga Practitioner

by Dr. Kathy Shafer

After leaving New York City in 1988 to pursue my PhD, I started running to train for the NYC Marathon, as I wanted to cross the finish line the same year I got my PhD. Unfortunately, while training for the event, I got hit by a drunk driver and was told I would never walk or run again. Although I defied the odds and ran the Marathon three times, my back went out and I was told I needed back surgery. However, the second opinion I received directed me to yoga and soon discovered it was a gateway to healing. I never had that surgery and have been doing yoga ever since. Soon thereafter, I discovered LifeForce Yoga and became a LifeForce Yoga Practitioner.

In 2014, I was diagnosed with Stage III breast cancer and had a double mastectomy. When I completed chemo and radiation treatment, Amy Weintraub and LifeForce Yoga Practitioner Sue Tebb, raised funds and sent me to Pancha Karma, a detox for cancer survivors in India. I returned in 2018 to further expand my knowledge of yoga and yoga nidra.

The discovery of yoga, along with the power of mind-body healing, has become a vital part of my daily life and an integral part of my practice as a psychotherapist and LifeForce Yoga practitioner. LifeForce Yoga has helped me cope with several traumas, body image, and confidence issues. Not only did it get me back on the mat, but it also inspired me to go out and teach yoga again.

At my yoga center and private practice, Limitless Potentials, I incorporate the use of sound (mantra, singing, chanting), movement (asana), imagery (bhavana), and intention (sankalpa) to assist clients in mood management, anxiety, trauma, addiction, depression and daily self-care. I even created a YogaFUN program to help clients learn the healing benefits of yoga without
having to worry about performing complex yoga poses. If you can breathe, you can do yoga!

My favorite pose is Goddess Pose which involves sound, breathing, and movement and my favorite practice is Yoga Nidra. I also teach a monthly Yoga Nidra Chakra class where I guide students through steps to reach a meditative state. Practicing Yoga Nidra, even for just 20 minutes, is akin to getting 3 hours of sleep. Pretty amazing, especially when all you have to do
is lie there and be present. Namaste

You can find Dr. Shafer on Facebook
Her website is: LimitlessPotentials.com

About the Author

Rose Kress

Rose Kress ERYT-500, C-IATY, YACEP, Director of the LifeForce Yoga Healing Institute, which trains yoga and health professionals internationally. She is the author of two CDs, edits the research newsletter, and directs the training programs for LifeForce Yoga.

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What People Say

“A client who returned said, "When I came before, you helped me understand and get where I wanted to go. Now you show me yoga practices I use to help myself understand and get where I want to go.” — Sherry Rubin, LCSW, BCD, LFYP, Downingtown, PA
“I gained tools for working with my own depression and with my clients’ depressions.” — Robert Sgona, LCSW, RYT, psychotherapist, Yoga teacher, Camden, ME.
“I utilize the LFY techniques in both a class room setting and one-on-one environment. The skills have infused my teachings with compassion, mindfulness, and awareness.” — Kat Larsen, CYT, LFYP
“I began a fantasy during the meditation exercise... almost as if I’d been there. It’s now an on-going work of fiction.” — Serian Strauss, Tanzania
“I have gained an incredible opening and clearing of old obstructions. I hope to return to my life and fill this opening with things I love to do and that give me joy!” — Lisa Shine, administrative assistant, Ballston Lake, NY
“Words do not do justice to all that I learned. This workshop changed my life!” — Jen Nolan, Teacher, Cortland, NY
“My life is already changed! I will use the tools I learned in my own practice and in my work. I feel safe and seen.” — Susan Andrea Weiner, MA, teacher/expressive arts facilitator, El Cerrito, CA.
“This workshop helped me rededicate my energies and begin to work through some of the blocks I’ve felt creatively.” — Steve Mark, college professor, New Haven, CT
“I came hoping to learn to move past some of the obstacles blocking my creativity. Over the course of this weekend, I feel I’ve gained a certain measure of faith in myself and in my ability to change. I also had some realizations that I believe will be very helpful to me. I feel encouraged. Both the content and presentation of this program were so well-thought out that I can’t think of any way to improve it.” — Andrea Gollin, writer & editor, Miami, FL
“I have found the LFYP training to be incredibly useful in giving people specific tools to use in maintaining physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual balance, and further opening their intuitive abilities.” — Nancy Windheart, RYT-200, LFYP, Reiki Master, Animal communication teacher, Prescott, AZ
“This workshop has changed so much — my self-image and my life. My own heart’s desire is 100% clear. I gained tools to help myself and others to live life fully.” — Marcia Siegel, Yoga teacher, therapist, Carlsbad, CA.
I absolutely love this stuff! I have been using it with my clients and I am just finding it to be so incredibly helpful. There seriously something for everything. Although I am not as skilled as I hope to be someday, even at my level of training I’m finding that I am beginning to figure out what to do. It just blows my mind! - Christine Brudnicki, MS, LPC
“I integrate strategies like mantra tones and pranayama, but above all I invite myself and those I teach to cultivate svadhyaya, to practice self-observation without judgment.” — Barbara Sherman, RYT 200, LFYP, Tucson, AZ
“This program changed my life in a significant way. It helped me connect with the spirit which is something you can’t get from psychotherapy and medication.” – G. W., artist, Pittsburgh, PA
“Yoga Skills for Therapists is the ideal resource for those who want to bring yoga practices into psychotherapy or healthcare. Weintraub, a leader in the field of yoga therapy, offers evidence-based, easy-to-introduce strategies for managing anxiety, improving mood, and relieving suffering. Helpful clinical insights and case examples emphasize safety, trust, and skillful adaptation to the individual, making it easy to apply the wisdom of yoga effectively in the therapeutic context.” — Kelly McGonigal, PhD, author, Yoga for Pain Relief, Editor-in-Chief, International Journal of Yoga Therapy
“My patients can now have the same effects as many medications without having to actually take medication!” — Deborah Lubetkin, PSY.D, LFYP, West Caldwell, NJ
“I gained perspective of who I am in the world and this will change my life significantly.” — Mary Ford, artist, Southport, CT
“I have gained a softer heart, more receptive mind, and tools to enrich both personal and professional aspects of my life.” – Regina Trailweaver, LICSW, clinical social worker, Hancock, VT.
“I feel profoundly transformed, both physically and emotionally. The connection between mind, body and spirit was clearly evident to me, but revealed to me through this workshop as an integrally vital link to overall health.” — Nadine Richardson, program manager at rehab agency, Monroe, CT
“I learned lots of ways to reduce the anxiety and depression of my patients and myself.” – Aviva Sinvany-Nubel, PhD, APN, CNSC, RN, psychotherapist, Bridgewater, N.J.
“I have found the pranayama (breathing practices) especially easy to introduce in a clinical setting. Some people have benefited quickly in unexpected and transformative ways.” — Liz Brenner, LICSW, LFYP, Watertown, MA
“My personal practice will change, as well as my yoga classes. I have a better understanding of yoga!” — Andrea Gattuso, RYT, Yoga Teacher, Hackettstown, N.J.
“I have been reminded that I am not on this path alone, that others are sharing the journey that sometimes seems so difficult. I have also been reminded of the importance of daily practice and I will do that. The whole program has been an incredible experience for me. Thank you!” — Lorraine Plauth, retired teacher, Voorheesville, NY
“Giving my clients a strategy and permission to quiet their minds and rebalance the sympathetic nervous system has been very beneficial to them and in our work together.” — Sue Dilsworth, PhD, RYT 200, LFYP, Allendale, MI
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