Renée Timberlake, MA and soon to be RYT
I have been doing yoga since I was a child. I would imitate my mom as she went through the poses, not really knowing what I was doing, and probably getting bored quickly and moving on to something else. But it’s been 21 years since I started my own yoga practice while I was volunteering at a hospital in the Mosquito Coast of Honduras as a bright-eyed 18-year-old. In the intervening years, yoga has been a regular part of my life. It’s helped me through emotional and physical injuries and given me a mechanism for calming a riotous mind.
I’ve also spent 15 years working in the field of education. My focus has been on college access and college success for students who, for a number of reasons, are statistically less likely to succeed. Those reasons include coming from a family that struggles financially, or being a first-generation college student or attending a school district that doesn’t adequately prepare students for college success.
In all those 15 years I have yet to meet someone who was incapable of being successful. Maybe college wasn’t the right fit and a certificate program would have been a better fit, but it wasn’t lack of ability that led to lack of success. Trauma is the thing that I’ve seen hold students back from being successful more than anything else. Trauma can come in so many shapes and forms and it affects each of us differently, but we’ve all experienced some form of trauma or another. Those experiences take a toll. Many of the students I’ve worked with who have severe traumatic experiences in their past or present, do not have the coping mechanisms in place to effectively deal with the emotional and physical ramifications of their trauma.
I’m not a therapist, that’s my mom, but in my own life, I’ve found nothing more healing than yoga. I recently took on a very exciting job that also turned out to be far more stressful than I wanted. My morning yoga practice helped me maintain my sanity through the stress and reminded me of my 20-year dream of becoming a yoga teacher. So that’s what I’m doing!
I’m in training right now through the Yoga Teacher’s College based out of Barcelona, Spain. I’m hoping to be certified by December and in the meantime will be hosting some retreats with other amazing people, like my mom, who work in the fields of health and empowerment. My goal is to combine my love of yoga and my passion for improving others’ lives by offering yoga to organizations who work with survivors of severe trauma in addition to offering retreats to anyone who feels the pull of a healing, yoga-based getaway!
I love the path yoga has put me on and hope you’ll see where it leads you as well…