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:

About the Author

Rose Kress

Rose Kress ERYT-500, C-IAYT, YACEP, Owner/Director of the LifeForce Yoga Healing Institute, and author of Awakening Your Inner Radiance with LifeForce Yoga. She directs retreats and training programs on using LifeForce Yoga to manage your mood.

2 thoughts on “From Trauma to LifeForce Yoga Practitioner”

  1. Debra Moore says:

    I’ve had a stroke, and my body is constrictedand partially paralyzed.traditioal yoga poses would be difficultnow.I want to regain mobilityandhealth. do you have any suggestions?thanks, Debra

    1. Rose Kress says:

      Hi Debra- I am so sorry to hear that you have had a stroke. In terms of LifeForce Yoga, start with the breath, sounds, meditations, and yoga nidra. None of these require mobility and they may help your brain in the healing process. You can find a lot of these practices on our YouTube channel, As for regaining movement, you might want to work with someone individually. I would also look into Accessible Yoga or a Yoga Therapist, they have more training in adapting yoga to meet the individual.

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“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
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“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
“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
“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 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
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“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 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 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
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“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
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“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
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