Contemplative disciplines like meditation and yoga are designed to reveal to the practitioner life-changing truths about who we are, how to understand the seeming chaos of fluctuating experience, and how to best act in service of safety and well-being for ourselves and others. Before these insights can flower fully in the whole being of the practitioner, however, the body, heart, and mind each need to be able to settle into present-moment awareness, not lost in anxious or judgmental thought, intense emotion, or overwhelming sensation.
These common challenges are the natural results of past experiences, both pleasant and unpleasant, but in many cases the basic mindfulness instruction to simply notice them and return to a chosen focus (like the breath, or the body in a posture) is ineffective at uprooting them as an ongoing pattern. In many cases this is because the pattern is not just the natural activity of the mind, but the lingering effects of past wounds and harmful conditions, or trauma. Skillful work with these patterns that so bewitch the mind and heart can radically shift our experience of formal practice, relationships, and identity in the world. In many cases that work is better accomplished with direct guidance than in formal contemplative practice, partly because the conditions of much formal practice (solitude, silence, inwardness) are exactly the opposite of what nervous systems need to heal from trauma: safe relational contact, sensory engagement with the external world, active cultivation of ease and comfort, and skillful intervention that retrains a system habituated to vigilance, aggression, or collapse.
Spiritually-grounded trauma resolution and resilience work can be a powerful step toward our own well-being and support for deeper formal practice. Sessions with me are oriented toward practitioners who want to deepen their practice, unwind trauma, and bring clarity to aspects of their life that solo practice on the mat or cushion is not reaching. I also work with those who are experiencing intensified difficulty during or after periods of intensive spiritual practice.
I hold an intention toward liberation as the basis of all the work we do together, and a View of Suffering and its causes drawn from Theravāda Buddhism. Though I do not expect my clients to share that specific View, I generally work with people who hold Liberation from Suffering as a deep value, and who have an ongoing practice drawn from Yoga or Buddhism, though sincere seekers of any tradition are welcome. This orientation grounds our work in a wide and ancient lineage of inner development, and invites us to use diverse methods to unfold the many layers of wounding, conditioning, and confusion that prevent us from living and knowing ourselves more fully and vibrantly. Sessions are rooted in Organic Intelligence (OI), Somatic Experiencing (SE), and Buddhist psychology, supported as needed by the physical disciplines of Haṭha Yoga and Authentic Movement.
Depending on each practitioner’s needs and desires, sessions can focus on the techniques of contemplative practice (meditation, yoga, movement, breathwork, inner inquiry…), or on resolution of trauma symptoms and the cultivation of resilience, looking something like a conventional counseling or SE/OI session. I work in conversation, in open or guided movement, and with touch (table work, fully clothed, non-structural) as needed and appropriate.
If you are interested in working with me in this way, please contact me for a free phone consultation in which we can explore together whether this approach is a good fit for your practice and concerns. Blessings on your path.
Rates & Scheduling
Sessions are between 60-75 minutes (as needed), and cost $120.
Some sliding scale available in cases of need.
I see people in North Oakland, in the Temescal neighborhood.
Skype sessions are available.
Email me using this form, or by calling 510 984 4008.