Minority Mental Health Month: Mood & Movement

LISTEN IN as TWI therapists Shelly Wood, Alyson Stewart and Juanika Howard kick off July as Minority Mental Health Awareness Month with a chat about how physical activity can help us boost our mental health.

Yoga for People of Color at Common Ground Healing Arts offers a nurturing space for movement. Beginners are welcome.

Yoga for People of Color at Common Ground Healing Arts offers a nurturing space for movement. Beginners are welcome.

As Stewart says, “movement” doesn’t have to be all about “exercise.” “Anxiety and depression can feel paralyzing and lead us into the misconception that we aren’t allowed to move, whether to change rooms, or literal bodily position because what we are experiencing feels so convincingly restricting that we limit our physical options,” Stewart says. “Challenge yourself: What does your space allow for, whether at home or in an office. Can you stand, can you move? Honor each part of your body with an expression of gratitude through movement, while acknowledging pain, stiffness, or tender spots that need our attention.”

Join Sister Circle all month long for special programs in July for women of color to support one another in using physical activity to boost mood, including…

  • Stress management workshops

  • C’Ville Walks With Heart

  • Yoga for People of Color

  • Zumba

Yoga offerings help women heal

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Yoga at The Women’s Initiative helps women restore a feeling of safety in their bodies.

Increasing research testifies to the healing power of yoga and other mindfulness practices. Bessel Van Der Kolk, a professor of psychiatry at Boston University Medical School and a leading researcher in traumatic stress, has found that frequent yoga practice over extended periods of time helps decrease symptoms of PTSD and depression in women.

The Women’s Initiative offers new yoga classes each season. Examples include Chair Yoga; Gentle Yoga for Mindfulness; and Yoga for Women of Color in partnership with Common Ground Healing Arts. Click here to see our current yoga and other mind-body offerings.

Yoga and mindfulness practices can help us befriend our bodies and their sensations, release muscular tension instilled not just by everyday stress but by traumatic histories, and use our breath to regulate our nervous systems—all processes that trauma is apt to disrupt.

Mind-body programming at TWI is free and open to all women and all bodies.Though any community yoga or mindfulness class can help one to heal, our trauma-sensitive program is unique in that it puts particular emphasis on cultivating physical and emotional safety. In TWI mind-body classes, all "instructions" are really invitations: a participant is as free to exit a pose or a movement or the room as she is to enter it. And this invitation is itself part of the healing, enabling a sense of physical and emotional agency that the traumatized body may have forgotten.

This article is adapted from our Winter 2018 Newsletter.

New healing offerings start this fall

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Find your path to healing this fall through one of our many new and ongoing groups and offerings.

We are pleased to offer a host of free groups including …

Call (434) 872-0047 or email info@thewomensinitiative.org for more information and to register.

July is Minority Mental Health Month

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In honor of Minority Mental Health Month, join our Sister Circle Program for special healing and self-care offerings for women of color. Registration is required (except where noted). To register, call (434) 872-0047 x105 or email swood@thewomensinitiative.org.

  • Stress Reduction Lunch Hours, Friday, July 13 and Friday, July 27, 12-1 p.m., Sentara Starr Hill Health Center at the Jefferson School. Free.
  • Yoga for Women of Color, Sunday, July 15, 2-3:15 pm. Gather and practice yoga in a safe and nurturing setting. Class includes postures accessible to all levels as well as time for exploring ways to use breath and meditation for wellbeing. Women are invited to stay after class to connect with other participants, share yoga resources and build community. Each class is offered on a donation basis; no one will be turned away for inability to pay. No pre-registration is necessary.
  • Spa Retreat, Saturday, July 21, 2-3:30 pm, The Women's Initiative Main Office. Facials and/or pedicures from a Mary Kay consultant. Massages by Common Ground Healing Arts. Free.
  • Sound Bath with Shawna Bass, Monday, July 23, 12:30-2 pm., The Women's Initiative Main Office. Come be bathed in healing sound waves that will help to bring you to a deep meditative state. Sound baths can be one of the most deeply healing and restorative ways to attain a deep state of relaxation. Our body and minds respond positively to the sound vibrations and resonance allowing us to release of stress, healthily lower blood pressure as well as heal at a deep molecular and emotional level. Pay what you can; no one will be turned away for inability to pay. 

Visit our Sister Circle page to learn more.

CranioSacral Therapy at Walk-in Clinic

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CranioSacral Therapy with Amina Elizabeth Stevens is offered free during our Wednesday Walk-in Clinics at our main office.

CranioSacral Therapy is a gentle form of bodywork that can help relieve pain and stress. The practitioner uses light touch on the head, along the spine, and on the sacrum to release compression. Many people experience deep relaxation and increased physical ease during and after a CranioSacral Therapy session. At The Women’s Initiative sessions are done laying down on a massage table while fully clothed.

Sessions take place in our downstairs studio, 2-5 pm, Wednesdays.

See the flyer for this free offering.

Learn more about all our free walk-in clinics.

Free CranioSacral Therapy is a partnership between The Women's Initiative and Common Ground Healing Arts.

Chair Yoga promotes strength & healing

Join us on Wednesday mornings for Chair Yoga, a gentle and therapeutic offering that promotes strength, flexibility, healing and mindful attention.

Chair Yoga is a part of our expanded Mind-Body Program to meet the holistic needs of women who have experienced trauma.

Increasing research testifies to the healing power of yoga and other mindfulness practices. Bessel Van Der Kolk, a professor of psychiatry at Boston University Medical School and a leading researcher in traumatic stress, has found that frequent yoga practice over extended periods of time helps decrease symptoms of PTSD and depression in women.

Yoga and mindfulness practices can help us befriend our bodies and their sensations, release muscular tension instilled not just by everyday stress but by traumatic histories, and use our breath to regulate our nervous systems—all processes that trauma is apt to disrupt.

Katharine Scott Gilliam teaches Chair Yoga at The Women's Initiative, which is free and open to all women and all bodies. The class meets every Wednesday at our main office, 1101 East High Street, from 11:15 am-12:15 pm.

 

 

Katharine Scott Gilliam teaches Chair Yoga at The Women's Initiative.

Katharine Scott Gilliam teaches Chair Yoga at The Women's Initiative.

Wellness Tuesdays at Jefferson School

Tuesday mornings are all about health at the Jefferson School City Center.

The Women's Initiative is teaming up with fellow Jefferson School City Center partners Sentara Starr Hill Health Center and Common Ground Healing Arts to expand the free wellness services we provide on a drop-in basis every Tuesday morning.

Now, in addition to free walk-in appointments with a counselor from 9 am-noon each Tuesday at our Jefferson School office, you can come in for physical health testing and referral including: blood pressure checks, blood sugar testing, weight checks and quick wellness and nutrition advice, all provided by Sentara Starr Hill Health Center.

Additionally, Common Ground will be providing a rotating slate of mind-body offerings including acupuncture, massage and mindfulness training. 

The Women's Initiative also offers free walk-in clinics Monday mornings at Westhaven and Wednesday afternoons at our main office. Click here for details.

Click here for the NBC29 story about Wellness Tuesdays at the Jefferson School.

 

Growing our Mind-Body Program to heal trauma

We're growing our Mind-Body Program to help heal trauma through movement.

Trauma-informed yoga, dance and other movement styles help release muscular tension stored in our bodies because of both everyday stress and histories of trauma. These practices also enable us to use breath to regulate our nervous system, a process which trauma often disrupts. 

All of these offerings are free and open to all women and all bodies, and no experience is required.

Check out our latest mind-body offerings...

Additionally, The Women's Initiative will be hosting a special Holiday Breathe & Move event, with yoga as well as origami paper-crane-making.

Call (434) 872-0047 to reserve your spot, and check out the Facebook event!