Katie Walter, Trauma Informed Yoga Instructor, OG Yoga
If you would have asked me a year ago what trauma is, I would have explained it as a limited list of experiences: major injury, accidents, or abuse. But if you would have asked me 11 months ago what trauma is, I would have had a very different answer. Because by that time I had completed a trauma-informed yoga workshop with OG Yoga.
I’ve always known I have a privileged life, and that understanding has only grown the more I learn about social injustice and inequality in our country. Knowing my privilege, I never would have considered myself a victim of trauma. But here’s the thing I’ve come to understand about trauma, it doesn’t exist on a scale of extremity like we think in our heads. If our body feels threatened, insecure, or stressed, the body goes into its trauma response. Mentally, we distinguish a car accident as worse than receiving a hateful email, but our body quite literally can’t tell the difference. The same stress chemicals course through the body in either scenario.
Now I stand by what I’ve already said about being privileged, but my life radically changed when I looked back at certain experiences and realized they were, in fact, traumatic. Because it’s not until we are conscious of how trauma has impacted us that we can fully and completely heal and release. I had never worked through the pain and distress of sustaining a career ending injury as a Division I college athlete. I had done no work on healing the identity crisis that followed, because I had a million other blessings to be grateful for. Why would I focus on the one bad thing that had happened?
It is a blessing that I found OG Yoga when I did and learned that I am worthy of healing, because soon after that workshop ended, the world shifted and we were all impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Through the pandemic, we have experienced collective trauma that will be remembered for generations.
There was a time when I would have pressed down every fear, anxiety, and worry into my body because I was one of the lucky ones. I haven’t lost a job. I didn’t lose a family member. But because of my training with OG Yoga, I knew I was allowed to feel scared. And I knew I needed to heal.
Your healing is never selfish. In fact, your healing is only going to lift up and help heal those around you. There’s a quote I live by that says “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” Because I am deep in my own healing work, I am able to lead others through the healing of all we’ve experienced in the past year and beyond. It all starts with having the tools to be physically, emotionally, and mentally well. These are the tools OG Yoga provides. These are the tools that have kept me well in the last year and that I confidently know will keep me well in the future.
OG Yoga is an amazing organization because they make healing, trauma-informed yoga accessible to some of San Diego’s most impacted communities. But they provide the same opportunity for you, your friends, your family, your co-workers, anyone and everyone. Because no matter where we come from or what we’ve been through, there is healing to do.