Visiting yoga teacher shares unique approach to grief
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Grief does not go away, acknowledged yoga teacher Amanda Neufeld. “But we can change our relationship with it, so it is not so debilitating, so it doesn’t take over — so it doesn’t become suffocating.”
Neufeld, who will be coming to Steamboat Springs to teach a grief workshop, also opens the definition of grief beyond the death of a loved one.
It can come from any loss, she said. “People don’t realize how much grief impacts our lives.”
Acknowledging grief and finding a way through it, she said, is “work that is really challenging for most people,” but also “really important work.”
The workshop will be held at Rakta Hot Yoga from 12 to 4:30 p.m. Sunday, January 20. Space is limited, and participants are asked to contact Sandy Fallon at firstname.lastname@example.org or 970-367-7456 for reservations. The cost is $40.
Fallon said Neufeld was very inspirational in her own training. “Anything she does is phenomenal,” Fallon said. As they were talking about a tough past year, with many people in the community of the studio and the larger community experiencing losses. “Unfortunately, it seems like the timing is appropriate,” she said.
The intent is not to resolve grief in a single session but to provide people with tools to move forward on their own, Neufeld described.
And, while it is held through a “yogic perspective,” the workshop won’t be like a yoga class. It will be very open to all beliefs and philosophies and comfortable. And people will not be asked to share stories in front of a large group of people, she said.
Using body movement and the breath can help the emotional impacts of grief and can have physical affects on the nervous system as well, she said.
While everyone experiences different emotions, her goal is to provide tools to be able to change some of the emotions that can come out of grief: anxiety into physical grounding and anger and sadness into peace.
When Neufeld first began training in “yoga for grief relief” under Antonio Sausys, she didn’t think she had very much grief in her life. But, she found it was there — buried. And then she experienced several very traumatic deaths close to her.
“If I didn’t have the tools, I would be a hot mess,” she said. Having the tools doesn’t mean not experiencing the grief, she said, but better understanding how to handle it and understanding “how resilient we are.”
At her Yoga Studio Satya in Colorado Springs, Neufeld teaches therapeutic yoga, working with people who have suffered both physical and emotional trauma.
On the Friday and Saturday prior to the workshop, she will lead a restorative teacher training in Steamboat focused on improving “capacity for healing” by deeply relaxing the body and mind, enhancing flexibility, reducing pain, balancing the nervous system and improving breath.
Neufeld also works with people experiencing secondary grief. She once held a private workshop for insurance agents — often the first people called during traumatic events. Nurses and doctors, first responders and other professionals often face secondary grief, and she teaches ways to process and create boundaries.
The workshop is part of the studio’s ongoing programming on wellness, Fallon said, including many free lectures and workshops taking a holistic approach to wellness. The grief workshop is “another way to reach out to the community and offer healing,” she said.
“We want to create a safe space where there is no judgment,” Neufeld said. “And provide tools that might help you regain peace in your life.”
To reach Kari Dequine Harden, call 970-871-4205, email kharden@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @kariharden.
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