Category Archives: Yoga

Katie’s Bookshelf: Trauma-Sensitive Mindfulness by David Treleaven

David Treleaven’s book, “Trauma-Sensitive Mindfulness,” advocates for Mindfulness teachers to recognize the importance of understanding trauma from a biology, interpersonal, and systemic perspective, guide students safely through practices, and continuing to partner with other trauma professionals in their community. He puts a large emphasis on understanding the ongoing traumas that those who are in marginalized groups have to deal with and how this impacts their day to day life.

The author gives a brief background of Mindfulness but assumes one who is reading this already has that foundation. He provides more information on trauma and the residue it leaves in the body. He then outlines his 5 principles of Trauma-Sensitive Mindfulness; staying within the window of tolerance, shifting attention to support stability, working with dissociation, practicing with relationship, and understanding social context.

“The point here is that other people–who they feel are safe and trustworthy–can help survivors regulate arousal, whether through settling eye contact, physical touch, or overall presence.”

As a therapist and yoga instructor who spends a lot of time taking in content on trauma, mindfulness, and yoga, I found this book incredibly enlightening and useful. Treleaven approaches this heavy topic with a wealth of his own knowledge, vignettes to describe how mindfulness can be effective and ineffective with those who have endured trauma, and steps for the Mindfulness practitioner to understand how to structure, lead, and address a class and a survivor with a trauma-sensitive approach. I really enjoyed his emphasis on systemic trauma in that it gave me a better understanding of how the ongoing trauma can show up differently than other traumas. I also appreciated his information on the vagus nerve as it relates to neuroception(being able to connect to the social world).

This book is a must read for any practitioner of mindfulness or yoga, since mindfulness is used so abundantly in classes. All instructors will teach survivors of trauma whether they know about it or not. It’s always important to know the risks and how to address an abreaction.

Read this book if:

  • You are a Mindfulness, Meditation, or Yoga Instructor
  • You are a therapist who may be utilizing or recommending mindfulness practices

Treleaven, D. A. (2018). Trauma-sensitive mindfulness: practices for safe and transformative healing. New York: W.W Norton & Company.

Books for Yogis

I’ve created a list of books that I believe are interesting for people who practice Yoga or are interested in beginning their Yoga practice.

Katie’s Bookshelf: What We Say Matters by Judith Hanson Lasater & Ike Lasater

“What We Say Matters” by Judith Hanson Lasater and Ike Lasater is based on Marshall Rosenberg’s techniques of “Non-Violent Communication.” Ike and Judith describe their practice of NVC as spiritual in nature as a way to connect to ourselves first and then to others. For them it’s a way to practice “Satya”(a Yama of Yoga Philosophy meaning truthfulness” and “Right Speech” from Buddhism.

“My words reflect my thoughts, my thoughts reflect my beliefs, and my beliefs, especially the unexamined ones, run my world.”

The basic concepts of NVC are: make observations, name your feelings, express your needs, and make a request. They do a good bit of work around connecting to yourself with empathy before responding as a way to be authentic with your needs, and wishes. The recommend using the phrase, “when I hear____, I feel____, because I need____; would you be willing to____? The book ends with a chapter on talking to our partners, children, parents, coworkers, and the world.

I have studied Yoga with Judith many times and have always admired the way she uses her words which inspired me to read this book. It’s a relatively short book but heavy with material. I feel as if I took in a lot of information and will need to read this several more times. I recently purchased Rosenberg’s book “Non-Violent Communication” as a way to dive deeper into this practice.

Read this book if:

  • You are interested in communicating more authentically
  • Have a desire to hear others more empathetically
  • Want improved relationships

Buy it Here

Lasater, J., & Lasater, I. (2009). What We Say Matters: Practicing Nonviolent Communication. Berkeley, CA: Rodmell Press.

Do Nothing: Restorative Yoga Self-Care

View More: http://cariannalynne.pass.us/katie-restorative-workshop

What I am about to proclaim is radical; you have permission to do nothing.  Do nothing every month, every week, or every day. Go wild and do nothing every hour!  We all have so much to do at home, work, school, and all the places. There will always be something to do.  I promise that you will never get it all done during this lifetime. When we finish one to-do list, another waits right after.  Hitting the pause button in the midst of all the tasks and chaos is what really takes courage. What if we created stillness and silence?  How would that effect the tasks yet to be completed? Would we enter the next activity with more peace and mental clarity? Could it possibly give us energy to get through the rest of the day?

The topic of self-care has become popularized in the last few years.  What is it really? For me, self-care is carving out time and space for yourself without demands and expectations.  For self-care to really benefit us, it is vital to engage in it regularly. Sure, self-care can look like a caramel spice latte at Starbucks, a spa day, or a nice hot bath.  We can spend lots of money on self-care or none. I would like to propose a simple way to practice self-care that can be done virtually anywhere and has no cost(except time).

Judith Hanson Lasater defines Restorative Yoga as “the use of props to create positions of ease and comfort that facilitate relaxation and health.”  That to me sounds like a complete self-care practice. What could be more rejuvenating and compassionate than relaxing and spending time with yourself?  Restorative Yoga can be tremendously beneficial the first time you do it, however, the more consistent practice, the more return. You will notice relaxing quicker, going deeply inward, and more control over your mind.  It also teaches us to do less, move slower, and appreciate the silence. It is meditative in nature meaning that you will go completely inward; a time of introversion. Restorative Yoga looks easy physically but in fact is the hardest style of yoga.  Relaxing the body can be challenging for most of us. Once the body is still, we become aware of our thoughts and feelings that are with us all the time but we just aren’t aware of them. That is the difficult part.  However, if we don’t face our thoughts and feelings, they will find a way to come up; perhaps when you are trying to fall asleep.  Sitting with and witnessing all that arises with compassion is the ultimate self-care.

I suggest to start off small; practice one pose for just a few minutes every day.  Build on that once you feel you are ready. The longer the poses are held the more benefit you will get.  If you have a private space, dim the lights, create warmth, find silence and use what you have to put the body in a position that is conducive to rest.  If you are in a more public space, simply soften your gaze or close your eyes and be with your breath and the stillness. Invest in the props(blankets, blocks, bolsters, eye pillows, sandbags, etc) only if you want to.  You can certainly use pillows, blankets, books, and hand towels as substitutes. If you have the ability, keep your space set up for rest all of the time; you will be more likely to do it if it’s there. Always set a timer so that you are not worrying about time or falling asleep.

A home practice is fabulous and can be so accessible.  Finding an experienced Restorative Yoga teacher, safe studio space, and a container to practice is invaluable.  Attending a yoga class creates community, connection, accountability, among other assets. Restorative Yoga tends to draw many when they need it.  Practicing consistently helps us avoid feeling like we need it as we will already have it in place and may be in a better space to handle the rollercoaster that is life.


Join Katie Overcash Rodgers, LCSW and RYT-200, at Noda Yoga every Thursday at 9:30am and Sunday at 5pm for a 75-minute Restorative Yoga class.  Restorative Yoga for Families is held at Innergy Works every Thursday at 4:30pm.  Katie has been a Mental Health Therapist for over 13 years and a Yoga Instructor for 2 years. Katie is an “Advance Trainer” under Judith Hanson Lasater’s Relax and Renew© Program.

Restorative Yoga for Families

View More: http://cariannalynne.pass.us/katie-restorative-workshop

***Restorative Yoga for Families is suspended currently***

Beginning February 1, 2018, Katie will offer 60-minute Restorative Yoga classes for parents and children/teens conveniently located near Park Road Shopping Center at Innergy Works.

This class focuses on relaxing the body and mind, enhancing attachment and connection, and developing healthy coping skills.  Inspired by Bessel Van Der Kolk’s book, “The Body Keeps the Score”, Katie has many years of experience with Restorative Yoga and integrating the mind and body for overall wellness.

More information on Restorative Yoga, integrating the mind and body, and using yoga to heal from trauma.

Contact for more information(katie@katieovercash.com) or to register.