Trauma-Informed Yoga Training
Whether you seek to offer classes specifically for sexual violence survivors or survivor of other forms of trauma, through private instruction or at a local community-based center, or you simply desire additional tools to make appropriate modifications within your public classes, this training will provide you with options, information and confidence in how to create a trauma-informed space. The training is appropriate for new and seasoned teachers, as well as serious practitioners, and will also be delivered in a format that is trauma-informed and attentive to the needs of participants who are also survivors of violence. We will examine trauma through a broad lens* that includes a variety of forms of trauma so that the core of these teachings is naturally applicable to many forms of traumatic experiences and working with students as they navigate grief, loss, physical injury and unexpected change.
This training will cover:
Understanding the Spectrum of Trauma
Definitions, statistics, barriers and resources for healing
Trauma Resilience Theories
Physiological impact of trauma, symptoms, non-linear healing, complementary care across healing arts disciplines, insights from Somatic Experiencing (SE)
Modifications, recommendations, sequences, breathing and meditation considerations, self-care
The Parallel Practices of Yoga and Healing After Trauma
Connecting theory and the body, survivor-centered yoga, teaching philosophy, mentorship and self-practice.
*This entire training can be adapted to be specific to the trauma of sexual violence*
The Spectrum of Sexual Trauma - Issues, Impacts & Social Change
In this interactive presentation exploring the wide spectrum of sexual trauma, Molly will clarify key concepts and terms, explain statistics as well as the existing barriers to quantifying the prevalence of sexual trauma and violence in our culture, the impact of sexual trauma on the body, mind and spirit, the shift towards affirmative and enthusiastic consent and how to identify your role in the movement as a survivor or ally. Her approach to this topic is sensitive, inclusive of all identities and ultimately inspires participants to be empowered around the topics of ending violence and creating safe communities.
Participants will learn:
Definitions of acts and behaviors included under the umbrella term of sexual trauma/violence
PTSD & Rape Trauma Response (physical, mental and spiritual impacts of sexual violence)
Statistics about sexual violence within a diverse range of communities
Barriers to accessing healing
Resources for healing
Introduction to innovative, grassroots, anti-violence movements
Creative activism, advocacy and allyship in the anti-sexual violence movement
..and much more!
As a survivor who has worked as an on-call medical and legal advocate, a former director of a campus-based Women's Center with graduate-level research in Women's & Gender Studies and a yoga instructor for trauma survivors - Molly draws upon a wide range of personal, academic and professional experienced connected to the complex issue of sexual trauma. She is committed to providing safe, pro-intersectional, compassionate and healing spaces where groups can come away with not only a nuanced understanding of sexual violence and trauma, but also feel empowered to take effective action in their lives and communities.
College & University Presentations
Molly has over 5 years of professional experience working on college campuses. She has held 2 different roles, the first as a Sexual Violence Support Services Coordinator and the second as the director of a Women's Center. While the institutions were quite different, the urgent need to proactively and intentionally address the issues of sexual violence and its impact on the community - comprehensively, holistically and with an emphasis on trauma-informed care - were similar. Molly firmly believes that empowering the whole community - students, staff, faculty alike, campus efforts to address and end sexual violence will be most effective. She believes that it is important to encourage survivors to identify their role in changing our culture to make it safer and more inclusive for all of us. The wisdom of their experience can enhance our whole community. During her time on both campuses she worked closely with student groups, survivors, staff, administrators and surrounding community members to design and expand initiatives to collectively and creatively end the silence surrounding sexual violence and open the way for social change.
Molly has extensive experience training, supervising, supporting and presenting for student leaders including; sexual health & wellness clubs, survivor support groups, Fraternity and Sorority community members, identity-based resource center student staff, RAs and housing staff members, student athletes, student government leaders, and more. She has presented on a range of topics related to sexual violence, consent, rape culture, sexual harassment for students, staff and faculty on campus, holistic healing, yoga for healing, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and response for students, staff, faculty and administrators. She has been a guest lecturer in various academic departments, even prior to her campus employment, including: Gender, Sexuality and Women's Studies, Criminology & Criminal Justice, University Studies Seminars, Psychology, Religious Studies, International Studies, Peace & Conflict Studies, Nursing Schools, Medical Residents, and more.
As a survivor herself who navigated the various criminal justice and medical systems, and also worked as a Medical and Legal Advocate, she has experience training law enforcement and Emergency Room staff and personnel on the impacts of trauma, trauma-informed interviewing techniques, and other tools to create a safer space.
Molly has also been deeply involved with increasing campus engagement, program planning and organizing related to Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Sexual Assault Awareness Month, The Vagina Monologues, Take Back the Night, poetry slams, survivor art installations and more.
Past presentations and events she has organized and/or facilitated include:
The Physiology of Resilience - Keynote Survivor Testimonial
It's Not a Compliment: Sexual Harassment within the Larger Spectrum of Sexual Violence
Domestic Violence Awareness Month & Sexual Assault Awareness Month Programming
Navigating Sexuality and Intimacy After Sexual Violence (all-genders inclusive)
Take Back the Night
Fem Fest - A Celebration of Intersectional Feminisms
Please contact Molly to learn about a variety of programs, presentations and workshops that might best suit your group's needs. Should you be interested in consulting support to brainstorm and build an innovative program for your campus community, please visit her consulting page.
The Physiology of Resilience
This workshop includes my hour long testimonial on my story of surviving sexual assault, entitled "The Physiology of Resilience", which explores the event itself, the physiological processes of survival, and my ongoing work to repair the wounds of the body, mind and soul through the holistic healing arts. It is often followed by a Q + A with participants.
Deconstructing Rape Culture and Building Connection
The phrase rape culture is increasingly utilized by anti-sexual violence activists in the United States to describe the current social and political climate within which we are living. But what exactly is a rape culture? In this interactive workshop, participants will examine popular media as well as anecdotal experiences suggested by the presenter to deconstruct the ways in which our society blames victims for the violence done to them, while normalizing sexual violence in our society. An environment where rape and sexual assault are a constant threat deeply influences not only the way we relate to each other in relationships - whether partners, colleagues or strangers, but also changes the way we relate to our own selves - body, mind and spirit.
The disconnect of constantly navigating a hostile environment, always managing how we react and respond to it, and feeling hopeless about our capacity to change our community can be overwhelming. The constancy of living in a society with daily triggers can reduce our ability to participate in our own healing, remove us from our sense of power, and diminish the fuel required to transform the culture as it exists.
Taking a pro-intersectional and empathy-oriented approach, Molly explores how race, gender-expression and identity, sexual orientation, ability/disability and socioeconomic status (among other factors) interact and impact our perception of victims/survivors, our commitment to ending sexual violence everywhere and our capacity to concretely address this epidemic. The workshop draws upon feminist and trauma theories, popular media, current events and personal reflection to help participants think critically about how sexual violence has been normalized and glorified in our culture - as well as offering an introduction to contemporary grassroots organizing against rape culture. Importantly, participants are challenged to connect more honestly and intimately with themselves, and bring that level of vulnerability into not only their critique of our society, but more importantly, into their vision for how we can create more connected, empathic communities. This thought-provoking and interactive discussion ultimately inspires participants to recognize that rape is not inevitable, and in fact, it can be prevented by their active participation in deconstructing it and building a new way of engaging with self and community.
Transforming Trauma through Yoga
Yoga can be a safe and accessible way to utilize the body – the primary site of the trauma and all that it holds within – as a powerful vehicle for transformation.
The practice of yoga allows survivors to regain a sense of comfort and ease within their own shape, to non-verbally process feelings that transcend language, and to experientially cultivate gratitude towards the body, which all serve as a reminder of their innate resilience. Bring this yoga workshop or series to your campus or community and offer survivors a safe space to discover their body as a resource for healing, to build self-trust and intuition, to identify community support and gain a variety of tangible tools that can nourish and sustain them throughout their healing process. Molly teaches from a trauma-informed lens that is grounded in empowering her students to listen and follow the teacher within.
This workshop will provide survivors with:
Practices that gently re-acquaint oneself with the body, mind and spirit
Tools to ground oneself and soothe an activated nervous system
Accessible meditation and mindfulness practices
Permission to listen to the language of the body and practice self-direction
Foundations for a yoga home-practice to utilize for ongoing self-care
During the class, Molly shares themes that connect yoga philosophy with trauma resilience theory, making philosophy and theory experiential and personalized for each survivor. The session(s) incorporate light discussion, optional physical movement, breathing exercises, meditation and optional journaling. Yoga, when taught from a trauma-informed lens offer survivors a safe space to gain greater awareness around strength, stability, assertiveness, self-acceptance, mindfulness and their own experience of embodiment. This workshop can be offered in a variety of formats - whether a single or multi-session as well the length of time can be adjusted to meet participants needs and abilities.
Molly has been studying yoga since 2000 and first began teaching in 2006. After she was sexually assaulted, she spent 3 years practicing privately with seasoned instructors who drew from various yoga methodologies, providing her with a solid foundation for her own healing and an expansive view of yoga that informs her teaching. Yoga asana, meditation and philosophy, in a variety of manifestations - whether vinyasa flow, yin yoga, hot yoga and restorative yoga, have been an integral component of her ability to manage the immediate, short-term and ongoing impacts of surviving sexual violence. She is honored to share this uniquely self-tailored practice with others on the healing journey as an opportunity to return to, or discover at last, the fullest expression of themselves.