Last year, I was finishing my facilitator training with TIMBo and preparing to facilitate my first group. I didn’t do much marketing for it other than writing this very long email to the yoga studio about “my story.” Frankly, after I wrote it and sent it out I wanted to hide under a rock. I just told probably over one thousand people (some who I had never met) that I had issues. It was a big step in vulnerability that I wasn’t able to stand in. I was the emotional equivalent of a confused squirrel in the middle of the road darting back and forth. Except I didn’t feel like I made it safely to the shoulder. It felt like road kill.
I’ve got some more groups and more trainings in the bag now, and I’m about to start two more TIMBo groups. I began remembering this email: the terror writing it, the nausea after sending it out, and the consuming shame of knowing it was out there. And I thought, “Maybe I can stand in it now.” Maybe I can just safely cross the road knowing that I know how to get from point A to point B. I might still feel the danger. I might feel like I could be road kill, and I’m open to all of those things NOT happening. So, here is that fateful email. You may think it’s no big deal. You might be shocked. Either are okay. I just ask that if you connect, resonate, relate, or empathize, let’s talk. This program isn’t facilitated by perfect people, gurus, nuns, or medicine women (unless we do that in our spare time). It’s facilitated by people like me: who might feel like road kill but have chosen to stand and cross the street anyway. We are on this journey with you, and we are here to help.
About two years ago I stumbled across the yogaHOPE website, read about their Trauma Informed Mind Body program (TIMBo), and had this flash of thought, “I need to be a part of this.” Granted, I was not a yoga teacher at the time, I lived in Arkansas, assumed I would never be able to afford to travel to New England to receive training, and I really had no idea what their program even was. I just read something about women, depression, and yoga, and knew I was on board. So, here we are in present day, and I have completed my training and am preparing to start my own TIMBo group here in New Hampshire. I find that it’s hard to fully explain what this program has done for me and all of the other women I have witnessed transforming before my own eyes. Yet, I want to endeavor to communicate why this program is so important and what it can do for you.
When first embarking on my training, I wanted to help other women. I did not want this work for myself. That isn’t to say I was free from problems or had my life figured out. I was depressed and anxiety-ridden, unable to leave my home for days at a time. I binged regularly (more than once a week) on food and alcohol. I was still grieving over the death of a parent. I engaged in self harming behaviors and contemplated and even at times had planned my own suicide. Yet, I was in denial. All of these things were secrets. Much of my energy was dedicated to building up a cheerful (or at least put-together) façade. I never would dare to admit that I needed help because I thought that would have shown weakness. I had convinced myself that my pain was too much of a burden to others, even the therapists I had paid to help me.
As I began to learn simple tools of the TIMBo program, I noticed changes within me. I noticed I didn’t like how I felt when I binged. My desire to numb my emotions with food, alcohol, and self-harm, diminished. On the rare occasion that I had a panic attack, I had breathing techniques to help calm my body. I began to accept the person I saw in the mirror. I felt the weight of grief and bereavement lift from me. Most importantly, I wanted to live. I wanted to not only live, but thrive and experience everything the world had to offer me. TIMBo didn’t give me advice or self-help platitudes. It gave me concrete techniques and tools that showed me how to listen to my own body and make friends with my inner-critic. This program didn’t magically take my problems away. It taught me resilience in the face of my problems, and I conquered them on my own.
If you can relate to anything I’ve said, I want you to know that you are not alone, and that healing is possible. This program was designed to be accessible for those who have endured trauma, yet it is available for any woman regardless of her history. It has helped women in homeless shelters, prisons, in Haiti, and even here in yoga studios just like you. If you feel stuck, overwhelmed, afraid, guilty, saddened, or even angry, this program can help with that. Maybe you even aren’t sure why, but something about this program speaks to you like it did me and says, “I need to be a part of this.” I encourage you to listen to that part of yourself that wants to heal, the part that longs to be at peace.