Immersion Experience: Meet Courtney Sheber, our Yogi

Recently, I've been researching the effects of trauma on our bodies, especially as it pertains to infertility. You would think that unless your trauma is physical: an accident, abuse, or assault, your body might not be as impacted as your mind, but new research indicates that's simply not true.

In fact, what the research says is that anytime we feel extreme stress or trauma, it leaves a physiological imprint in our bodies.

My therapist often asks me where I feel a statement or belief in my body. If I tell her I'm struggling with my body image, she immediately asks what that feeling looks like and where it lives in me. Almost always, I can pinpoint the location instantly.

A lump in my throat.

A heaviness in my heart.

A tingling behind my eyes.

These are where our memories and pain are being stored. Infertility can cause this. Yet, if we uproot them the nasty side effects of the stress or trauma subside. 

I first learned about this when in trauma therapy for domestic violence, and the non-profit I went to partnered with a yoga studio who offered clients free classes. The movement and meditation changed my healing. I felt like my body was my own again. So, when we started planning the Immersion Experience, it was a no brainer to include body work in our curriculum.

We found Courtney Sheber on Instagram and she signed on quickly and enthusiastically, and she talks more about this phenomenon in the interview below. 

Here's what she has to say about September:

When InfertileAF reached out, why did you accept the offer? Do you have any ties to the infertility world (i.e. a friend/family member)?

I was immediately intrigued by what InfertileAF is doing in the community. I have had a number of friends, as well as family members, struggle with some kind of infertility, so InfertileAF hit close to home. I don't think enough women (or men) talk about infertility, miscarriages, etc., and the traumas that these struggles can bring. It's important to raise awareness about these topics and also provide an outlet for people who might need some encouragement or a helping hand. 

How do you feel yoga helps people release trauma from their body?

Yoga is medicine. 

It not only helps us connect our mind, body and spirit as one, but it helps us release and let go. This could be in the form of physical movement, meditation, or coming together as a community to support one another. The physical practice of yoga is healing in that it aligns us energetically. We have the opportunity to move the breath, shift our focus inward, and make space in our bodies. 

As humans, we hold the majority of our trauma and stress in our connective tissues. Yoga helps us to work through some of those past traumas that we may be holding onto in our tissues, bones, and muscles. What gets stuck physically in our bodies, often shows up in our lives mentally and energetically as well. 

During the retreat, we will focus on some deep connective tissue areas that will hopefully help us find a sense of peace and maybe even release some deep rooted or "stuck" emotion. Release can show in the form of shaking, crying, or in no real obvious way at all. We're in this together and the yoga mat is always a safe space for discovery and healing. 

Do you feel confident your class will be beneficial to both the women who are trying to conceive and those who are not?

Yes. The greatest thing about yoga is that it is accessible to everyone. Regarding your yoga practice, it doesn't matter what stage of life you are in or if you practice yoga consistently, this class is all about feeling good and making space. I will offer many modifications and variations for each pose. We will move through the class at an all levels pace and you will leave feeling refreshed :). 

Where can we find you online?
Instagram: @courtney_yoga  
What sorts of things can people who aren't familiar with yoga yet but might attend the experience do at home to prepare? 

There is no preparation or experience necessary. All you need to show up with is an open mind :). 

What is the point of guided meditation and how will it help set the intention of the weekend? Any recommendations and/or resources for people who want to begin their own meditation practice? 

Guided meditation is a good way to ground ourselves and get out of our busy minds and daily to-do's. We will start with some positive affirmations and then take some time to think about what it is you want to get out of the weekend. You don't have to have all the answers, your intention might unfold as the weekend progresses and that is beautiful! 

If you want to start a meditation practice at home, I recommend the app "Insight Timer". It's a free app and there are thousands of guided meditations ranging from 5 minutes to 2 hours. Start slow, find someone you connect with, and go from there.