Yoga Therapy - Somatic Experiencing - Mindfulness

Supporting Embodied Resilience and Trauma Healing

Being is Enough: The Neuroscience of Embodied Mindfulness

This blog article was written for Stretch Vancouver

In the summer of 2013, I sustained a brain injury that forced me to drop out of school and take a significant amount of time off work. Many people are aware that a concussion can lead to headaches, nausea, dizziness, pressure in the head, difficulty focusing, and sensitivity to light and noise, but not everyone knows that anxiety and depression are also common symptoms. I had every symptom in the book and was also in a lot of physical pain.

For months my doctors told me to do nothing but rest (we know now that a gradual return to activities better supports recovery than long-term rest). During that time, I barely left my house because I was completely overwhelmed by the outside world and would often break down into tears. I felt imprisoned by my symptoms. My nervous system felt raw and fragile, and I was triggered easily. I remember days where I would lay on my couch and just cry and cry, not really knowing what I was sad about. I felt isolated because my injury was invisible; the people close to me couldn’t understand what I was going through. Unable to do the things I usually derived purpose from, I felt like my entire life was on hold, as if I was waiting around to get my life going again. This waiting caused me emotional distress. Then one day, in a flash of awareness, it dawned on me that my life wasn’t on hold – it was still happening, RIGHT NOW. Life was going to continue ticking along, moment by moment, whether I was present to it or not. I realized that I could either choose to continue resisting the what-is, and spin in the frustration of not being able DO my normal life, or I could let BEING be enough, whatever that looked and felt like in the moment. In the midst of a thick mental and emotional fog, the awareness that I could choose to let BEING be enough was like a beacon of light, and it also challenged my perspectives on self-worth. Like most of us, I had been assigning value to my life based on what I was doing and accomplishing. Despite having an established meditation practice for years, and even taken a week of silence at an ashram, I had never had the opportunity in my daily life to stop doing everything and just BE for weeks on end. I don’t think I have ever really considered the worthiness of my “beingness” in the absence of action, outside of meditation. This difficult time was a blessing in disguise because it became a bridge between my meditation practice and my life, and it deepened my understanding of mindfulness. I returned to a regular breathing and mindfulness practice, and these practices became the medicine that brought me back to myself in a whole new way, with more compassion, kindness, gentleness, and a greater sense of self-worth.

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Thinking State vs. Aware State

JOIN ME on April 29th 2017, 2-4pm at Stretch Vancouver for:

Embodied Mindfulness for Stress, Anxiety, Depression and Trauma

Everyone Welcome! 

Video by Hossein Meimani for STRETCH

Earth Day Event


SAVE THE DATE ~ Manifest a Mindful New Year: Silent Retreat 2018

Breathe In Bali: Meditation & Mindful Yoga Retreat

Click to Learn More…

Kent Brun Podcast Part 2

Part 2 of my chat with Kent Brun. We finish up our talk about trauma, and have an awesome discussion about how tattoos are a practice in non-attachment and reminders of yogic and life teachings. Then, by request, I share some ghost stories. Enjoy!

Kent Brun part 2






New Meditation Classes at YYoga!

Starting June 6th 2016, I’ll be leading 30 min meditation classes on Mondays and Wednesdays from 7:30-8pm after my 6pm Flow class at YYoga Downtown Flow. 

meditation at yyoga

Yoga and Meditation Instructor Shivani Wells walks us through her journey with meditation, and tells us more about the new meditation classes offered at YYoga…

I started a meditation practice in 2002 while living in New York, and over the years it has evolved greatly and become a very important part of my life. In particular after I sustained a head injury a few years ago, breath work and meditation became an essential daily practice to manage anxiety that resulted from traumatic imprinting in my nervous system. I would be a very different person today if it weren’t for meditation!

I think it’s important for beginners to know that meditation isn’t always going to be blissful in the beginning, but that it gets easier with practice. The reality is that we are engaging in unconscious practices all the time. For example, we practice anxiety by unconsciously establishing ourselves in worry about the unknown. We are the architects of our own stress and negative thinking patterns. What’s empowering about that, however, is that we can choose to consciously engage in mindful practices that help us manage stress, anxiety, depression, trauma, and physical tension. It’s a practice!

Whether working one-on-one with clients as a yoga therapist, or when teaching a yoga class, my intention is the same: to help people become more consciously embodied beings. This intention stems from my experience with Embodied Mindfulness, the practice that is at the heart of the Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy approach. What I love about Embodied Mindfulness is that it makes meditation accessible for beginners, and that it is a tangible practice of embracing our humanness.

Meditation is about shifting from a thinking state to an aware state. When we are in thoughts we aren’t present; our mind and body are in different places. Thoughts transport us to the the past, or future, or immerse us in evaluation, meaning making, and judgement. On the other hand, awareness is about entraining with what’s happening now without judgement. From the Embodied Mindfulness perspective, present moment awareness is achieved when we are fully inhabiting our bodies, without the need to fix or change.

In my meditation classes at YYoga I’ll be offering various styles, including Embodied Mindfulness, moving and seated practices, breath work, basic chanting, visualization, and more. This is to give students an opportunity to experience different techniques and to find a practice that works best for them in the hopes that they will develop a home practice.

I find it’s easiest to calm the mind after yoga-asana, and so I hope students will come for my 6pm flow class and stay for meditation, but students are also welcome to just drop-in to the meditation class…Click here to visit YYoga.

Shivani on the Kent Brun Podcast

Kent Brun podcast