trauma-informed Community Movement & Meditation
with Akeesha Simmons, Angela Braxton-Johnson, Ayanna Drakos, Bethany Batsell, Madeline Harmon & Theresia Munywoki
Check-in + trauma-informed conversation from 5:30-6pm. Movement + meditation from 6-7pm.
1425 NE Dekum
By donation, no one turned away for lack of funds
HOSTED BY DON'T SHOOT PDX & SOLA SCHOOL
Join us at Woodlawn MIC for weekly movement & meditation classes led by experienced, trauma-informed teachers. We’ll move, relax, and breathe together with gentle and enlivening practices that are appropriate for all levels of experience and ability. Classes will include opportunities for conversation and connection with community, simple breathing and meditation practices that can help release and shift energy and emotions, and physical movement and exercises that are accessible, and easily adapted for your body’s needs.
These classes are open to all levels of experience, and options will be given for all body types and ages. Our aim is to support healing and integration for those whose lives have been affected by trauma of all kinds. We prioritize developing healthy boundaries, a clear sense of choice, and cultivating tools that help you to listen to, and trust, your own intuition and body. We teach non-religious meditation techniques for self-soothing and nervous system regulation. At the beginning of each classes there will be opportunity for conversation and sharing. At the end of each class, our teachers will be available for feedback and listening so that we can learn to better support you in your healing process.
trauma-informed Community Movement & Meditation teachers
Akeesha completed her Hatha Vinyasa RYT-200 certification in the spring of 2017 from the Kula Yoga Project in New York City and completed an additional certification in Trauma-Informed Yoga from Living Yoga in Portland, Oregon. Her training was influenced by Iyengar Yoga and Ashtanga, which inspires her class sequencing. She takes an integrative approach to health and class creation, combining her psychology training and research, anatomical alignment, flowing meditation, pranayama, and the mind/body connection for a well-rounded class. She believes that the teachings of yoga should be accessible to all, no matter race, age, gender, or creed and holds space for community members to practice self-study, as she believes the body holds a natural wisdom and can be our best teacher.
Originally from Alexandria, Virginia, Angela has lived in Portland, Oregon nearly fifty years. She graduated from Jefferson High School of Performing Arts and studied Music Therapy at Howard University in Washington, DC. Angela, a writer, poet and flutist, has been an Entrepreneur for over 25 years. She’s also worked as a social worker, abuse recovery advocate and AquaFun water exercise guide. Through a program called Be Nourished, Angela is studying to become a Certified Body Trust Provider, a program helping people (primarily women in bigger bodies) heal from disordered eating and weight stigma with a compassionate self-care model. Body Trust also promotes social justice and trauma-informed care. Angela is currently working on publishing a story book about surviving abuse and trauma, as well as a poetry book on liberation. She is a woman of faith and a recent graduate of SOLA Yoga School. Practicing yoga has taken Angela’s spiritual walk to a deeper level and has aided immensely with her overall wellness. SOLA School is where Angela first experienced accessible yoga and learned that yoga really is for every body. Her practice incorporates music, poetry and joyful movement. She’s married with three adult children, two grandsons and two dogs.
Throughout my life, from singing to dancing to running to living - I struggled to fully access my breath and find my voice.Practicing yoga has helped me to rely on the strength in my own body, to amplify my own voice, and to honor my own experience as a plus-size, woman of color. My love and gratitude for yoga and a deeper connection to my whole self unfolded the more I practiced and was able to let go of perfection. Soon, I knew I wanted to share my experience and guide others on their yoga journey. My yoga teaching, like my practice, emphasizes self-acceptance, amplifies positive self-talk, and focuses on the present and our presence in each moment by connecting to the breath. I completed my yoga teacher training program at the Yoga Conservatory at Yoga Refuge in Portland, Oregon and am registered with the Yoga Alliance as an RYT 200 hour certified teacher.
As a Mindful Studies teacher for Peace in Schools, Madeline’s mission is to assist youth in realizing their personal power and cultivating attitudes of loving kindness towards themselves and others. Accomplished through deep contemplative practice and strong roots of eco-feminist ideology, her teaching aims to unearth and nurture what’s buried down deep. She is a firm believer that we cannot all be expected to take the same action towards change and that we must work own authenticity in order to grow the seeds of change. She aims to teach all people how to illuminate their process towards justice held by a foundation of practice. Madeline is currently an advanced registered Yoga instructor through the Yoga Alliance holding over 1000 hours of teaching experience and a 300 hour certification from Piedmont Yoga. She is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in Social Work from Portland State University.
Renee Sills has been a movement educator for 15 years and is the Co-Founder and Programming Director of Sola School. Renee teaches yoga, meditation, and somatic (body-based) awareness to a wide-range of abilities, and cultural backgrounds. She has an extensive knowledge of anatomy and physiology, and works with individuals to cultivate efficient, adaptive, and supportive posture and movement practices. Renee is credentialed through the International Somatic Movement Educators and Therapists Association (ISMETA) as a Somatic Movement Educator (SME), and is a registered yoga therapist with the International Association of Yoga Therapists (IAYT.) Note: Renee is not a regular teacher, but fills in as a substitute from time to time, and attends the classes regularly.
For a long time, yoga was something that I would “get around to doing” or that I “wanted to learn more about”. It seemed to show up randomly- in dance classes I was taking, or some of my friends would invite me to attend their classes. As time went on, I began to realize it was something I truly appreciated doing and something I found to be transformative. I got serious about practicing 5 years ago and just received my 200 hr yoga teacher training here in Portland last year. Since I’ve started my practice, I’ve experienced the healing power of yoga on a very personal level. In the last couple of years, I’ve become even more interested in practicing, sharing, and viewing yoga as a tool for community healing, and beyond that global healing through a lens of social justice. I was born in Texas and have been living in Portland for almost 3 years, and look forward to learning more about yoga through teaching, practicing, and connecting with people.
Articles on trauma & trauma-informed practices
by Susie Neilson
Published June 1, 2017
by Dr. Jamie Marich
Published January 19, 2015
by Hala Khouri
Published March 14, 2016
by Alexis Marbach & Zabie Yamasaki
by Margaret Howard
Published May 17, 2013
Articles on RACISCM & WHITE SUPREMACY
in The Guardian
by Elijah Anderson
Published June 9, 2018
by Madelanne Rust-D’Eye
on The Feminist Wire
by Sariane Leigh
Published October 16, 2012
on Selfish Activist
by Tada Hozumi
Published November 11, 2017
on Selfish Activist
by Tada Hozumi
Published November 17, 2017
in The New York Times
Interview by Jenna Wortham
Published June 24, 2015
in Psychology Today
by Monnica T Williams Ph.D.
Published September 6, 2015
in The Guardian
by Alex Blasdel
Published April 24, 2018
in the New York Times
by George Nancy
Published December 24, 2015
About Don’t Shoot PDX
Our organizational work and activism, including direct community education workshops, support the outreach of our continued advocacy as first respondents, and has helped community members contribute through direct engagement and legislative value. There are a vast amount of policy-based assets influenced and being harnessed in our strategic building of relationships and networks used toward the shift in culture and systemic discrimination. Known for our bystander intervention work and community advocacy, its with great pride that in 2018 we moved our organization into a space in a gentrified North Portland neighborhood. The Woodlawn MIC is located at 1425 NE Dekum, and as a home to Don’t Shoot Portland, it houses our programming and community related events.