Yoga Therapy Suggestions for a Frantic Mom

My private Yoga Therapy practice has taken off in the last six months, thank God. I get to help people doing what I do very well: sharing experiences, resources and the Light of Yoga. In the process of consulting with prospective clients, I ask a lot of questions, filtering, curiously, listening for compatibility. I am learning a ton – about boundaries, my scope of practice, who I can actually help with Yoga therapy and meditation… and that I have a trove of supportive tools that I would like to share, as a survivor and as a holistic healer. I share what I can in hour-ish-long calls and I follow up, because I care deeply about our community.

I received an email from a very worried, almost frantic single mom whose ten year old son is experiencing extreme combativeness and rage. He has turned tables over at school, he is bored and probably very bright. His father has addiction issues, parents separated.  He lives with his mom and toddler sister at his grandmother’s house. They’ve moved a lot,changed schools. One of his school therapists has suggested Oppositional Defiance Disorder as a diagnosis, stating that, for a boy with no history of trauma, he sure is acting out. Excuse me? No trauma? Are we… talking about the same kid? Yeah, but we are observing from totally different angles, listening for different things.

I suggested that his mother use critical thinking concerning her son and the system’s rejection of his cries for understanding. She was heartbreakingly worried about her boy, and financially strapped, and exhausted. I offered her hope, thank God. I would like to share some of what might have helped her through the next few weeks while she waited to hear about being hired for a new job that would offer more stability and choices for care.

Dear A,

Nice to talk with you – R is fortunate that you care so much for him!

  • Alateen – looks like ages 13-18 but keep it in mind.
  • Weighted blankets/swaddling/tucking him in /deep pressure/gentle stroking
  • Created for but not limited to children with autism, may be helpful since it’s on a device and he responds to that. Reward him for five minutes in the morning, perhaps? Get him moving regualrly, ten minutes per day and have him notice how he feels before he starts and after so he has direct experience of the results. 
  • Martial Arts
  • Swim and other “free” activities without structure
  • Finding the right teacher(s) that he resonates with
  • Remembering that R isn’t wrong, he is maybe perfectly right in a world full of wrong; his self-soothing techniques of humming and hugging are appropriate. Consider avoiding using touch as punishment or reward but possibly as a short-term soothing technique for three minutes each evening, for example.
  • Practice your own five minute daily meditation. Even if you have to lock yourself in the bathroom. This may be the most difficult suggestion of all! He’ll model you, though. The effects will be noticeable. You might not mention that you are doing it at first. Try morning or evening or both – try evening after everyone is in bed. Meditation may refer to a moving meditation, like a sun salutation or Energization Exercises. R might respond to this video more – quick and cool Australian surfer guy adapting the Energization in less than three minutes. Morning or morning and night might be good.
  • deep breathing before sleep, six or twelve breaths
  • alternate nostril breathing
  • Humming Breath as Yogic Science for Stress Relief:
  • Quiet Time and Transcendental Meditation in Schools:
Tulsi Bagnoli teaches Transcendental Meditation. I am not sure how much it costs (I think it’s a one-time payment) or if she teaches to children (she probably does) but you might reach out to her.
Everyone responds differently to different people, different styles of Yoga and meditation. Keep trying!
I know what you are going through is exhausting for you. I will keep you and your family in my thoughts. If other resources come to mind, I will send them along, as well.
Her inspired, gorgeous, gracious reply:
Hi Brooke,

Thank you so much for all the resources and suggestions you have sent.  I am looking into all of these things – slowly but surely.  I also appreciate your encouragement to listen to myself – my gut, my thoughts and instincts – in doing what is best for R and help him find balance in an out-of-balance world.  
I think I will know any day now (or, at most, sometime in the next 2 weeks) if I got that job in town.  Because it’s really going to shape our immediate future – my decisions and commitments.  If I get the job, I’d like to talk with you more and seriously about committing to a practice with you, which would extend into a larger lifestyle practice.  If not, I would still like to consider meeting for a session or two, but I would need to do more research on your various recommendations to decide where we would need the most guidance.
And, last, I need to follow through on my own mental health.  These last three years have been tremendously stressful for me – and a large part of that is I’ve lost my quiet center.  Not having my own space, being under another’s roof, has been a real challenge, as I haven’t been able to completely relax, completely let down, the way one does in their own home.  And I kept putting the effort off, thinking my own space is just around the corner – and, in a way, it is.  But the inner turmoil has gotten so loud that it’s hard to hear my inner self – to hear my own thoughts – and make those big decisions. And, right now, I do need to find my quiet core, so I can help guide my son to find his.
So, these next couple weeks, as I wait for that phone call or email, as I stand at this crossroad and look out on these variable life paths, I am going to practice some quiet meditation, through yoga and exercise – and I will do those deep breaths.  And when I have a bit of clarity, or at least news, I will contact you.  Please know that I understand that your schedule may change during these next weeks as well, so I will understand if your availability changes while I take time to figure things out.  No worries.
I very much appreciate the time and thought that you have given to me and my family.  You have given me so much think about, as well as a feeling of hope and wellness.
Thank you again,
Keep listening.

# EmergingProud #InternationalSpiritualEmergenceNetwork

#EmergingProud is an international campaign bringing voice and awareness to the awakening of consciousness, and Divine aspects of extreme states. Healing is brought to the world through these extraordinary – or ordinary – experiences. LSD, near-death experiences, psychosis, kundalini, channeling, shamanic crisis, past life experience – all these and more can lead to changes in personal character, unitive consciousness, spiritual emergence, psychological and social renewal. Awaken to your gifts. Katie Mottram, you acclaimed me! #gratitude #internationalspiritualemergencenetwork #meditate safely #aum

Read my essay-poem in the campaign here!

Emerging proud campaign photo small


Retreat To Contextualize Your Spiritual Emergence Saturday, April 1, 2017

There is a movement happening among people who are creating context for their transformative experiences that are unable to be categorized in any other way except for “spiritual emergence.”

Stan Grof categorized Spiritual Emergence experiences in this way:

  • Shamanic Crisis
  • Kundalini Awakening
  • Past Life Experience
  • Near Death Experience
  • Episodes of Unitive Consciousness
  • Psychic Opening
  • Possession States or Experiences with the Paranormal
  • Psychological Renewal Through return to the Center (True Nature)
  • UFO Encounters and Abductions
  • Channeling or Communication with Spirit Guides
  • Drug Addiction and Alcoholism

Anything that awakens you to your gifts, life’s purpose, gives your life a richer meaning or changes your character may fall under the category of spiritual emergence (SE). We might all have these types of experiences as part of the human condition. Some command more attention, effort and processing to integrate.

My life is full of such moments. Some paranormal experiences (deja-vu, seeing auras, trusting an inner knowing, even when it’s challenging) and crises (death of my sister, recognizing that college was a bad fit) catalyze(d) a shift of perspective for me, illuminating my connection to a Supreme Source and my place in the matrix of God and life.

I seek appropriate settings and fellowship – targeted resources to support my unique part of the journey. These needs change over time. For example, I have become very particular about the company I keep,to maintain an evolution of consciousness that supports the remarkable psychological changes that I am continually integrating as a spiritual seeker.

I choose to live in a way that is healthy, serves my community and contributes to peace in the world.

Saturday’s retreat at Crows End in Squire Canyon will fulfill my need for nature, good company, optional silence, healthy food shared, contemplative potential and my joy in serving those who seek deep transformation. Authenticity without animosity is rare these days.

Please join us in being the change. I hope the day that I have planned will fulfill a need for the emerging spiritual expression of participants.

Please register under the Work With Me/ Workshops tab on this website to join us.

Brooke Labyrinth

Thank you to Kyle Buller at and Michelle A. Hobart at for the inspiration behind this blog.


I Was Interviewed by Bob Banner and Hopedance: My Recovery, Spiritual Emergence and Healing Voices Film

Ten years ago, I was so grateful to Bob Banner for the work that he has done sharing alternative news with our community that I began spending some time with him. Unfortunately, at that time, I was moving into a psychosis that landed me, not in the hospital but in the county jail (because of a plumbing issue). We were both traumatized by this experience and have come around to understanding, forgiveness and promotion of one another’s work. Follows are some very personal explanations of who I am and what I do, prompted by his curious and caring questions. I hope that you enjoy my answers, learn a little about me and will attend the viewing that Bob and I are sponsoring of Healing Voices , documentary on psychosis and recovery on February 27, 6pm, at the San Luis Obispo Public Library Community Room on Palm street, downtown. $6 – $10 donation.

Remember, psychosis can occur for many reasons: traumatic stress, post-partum, use of psychedelic drugs, because of inflammatory disorders like lupus… and are not just associated with mental health diagnoses. Psychosis may be temporary and often marks the beginning of a healer’s – a hero’s – journey.


I’m Having A Lot of Fun Working at Cal Poly Trauma-Informed Yoga Therapist

Thank you to Marta Block for reminding me of the miracle and genius of Dr. Bessel van der Kolk, professor of Psychiatry at Boston Medical School. She’s a psych teacher at Poly and has invited me to teach her class on Wednesday, February 15.

Listen to this to inform yourself.


I also got to speak with the gal who was possibly traumatized in my class that time, who I blogged about (“Each Mind Matters”). I was nervous to talk to her and she was, probably, too, to talk with me, but she looked happy. And then I left her a note and a sticker in that locker that she and I use.


Dr. Jane Lehr is helping me to promote Healing Voices, a documentary film.


Being sweet with myself. Hope you, too. AUM

Resentment, Forgiveness and Absolution ~ with Loving Tolerance, One Day at a Time

My dad has said about his mother, “She has Italian Alzheimer’s: she forgets everything but the grudge.” My dad has strong Sicilian ancestral background – famous for it’s criminal, territorial, resent-full, vindictive mafia. I can be the same.

It is also said that the Welsh side of that family tree is “the crazy” side…

All this adds up to I’m a little bit country and a little bit rock and roll.

I hold grudges so hard because my communication skills frustrate me. There are people with whom I can speak and, where heart is concerned; it’s understood. There are people with whom I cannot speak – my sister who died; that boss, whose husband fired me; that ex-boyfriend. I cannot because someone chooses “can’t” – or won’t. Will not.

When I can’t talk to them, I can talk to God. I can imagine what this imaginary friend might bestow: gentleness and nurturing, kindness. I did this with myself naturally as a child, and then I forsaket/forsook the skill, and then I grasped it back – after torturous desperation, D’Arcy’s suicide and utter powerlessness over my life and my responses to it.

I had been to five therapists in the first two years after she died. Then my art therapist suggested Al-Anon.

That was the better part of twenty years ago. I still get totally lost. But we help each other in Al-Anon. We learn what boundaries are and how important it is to keep trying.

I feel the Mafia-proportion tension when I cannot connect with someone that feels like resentment. My brain starts to spin out. Negative self-talk and then I stop breathing, over a long period of time. My brain gets thirsty for air and hungry for fat absorption, my mood starts to change and then I start making weird and sometimes bad decisions based on this chain of events. It fucking wrecks me.

I get wrecked. So I keep hold of the line as it tows me along. I remember God, and serve everyone, and I love everyone. I go to Al-Anon. It got really ugly in here.

Since the New Year, absolution has come: loose ends meet. And what a relief because that bitter is poison.

My conscience and consciousness had to shift around forgiveness. It came from three sentences in the daily reader called One Day At A Time In Al-Anon, page 120, April 29:

“We are asked to forgive those who have injured us. Unless we have first judged and condemned them for what they did, there would be no reason for us to forgive them. Rather we would have to forgive ourselves for judging.”

I pray for loving tolerance for myself as I pull away, as you pull away. For you. For me and for you. If that happens, as that happens. Loving Tolerance.

I am friends with Krishna Das, the singer, on Facebook. He has livestreamed concerts and lectures a lot over the holidays, for free. His teacher’s motto was “Love everyone, serve everyone, remember God.” His teacher was Neem Karoli Baba.


Thank God.








Sound Healing and Restorative Yoga September 25, Yoga Village, Arroyo Grande, CA

Sound is identified as being one of the spiritual aspects of God or Source. Like an element, Sound is primordial (one of my new favorite words!): Sound is a pressure wave formed from pulses of alternating high and low air pressure. Sound comes from any places in a medium such as air where the particles are pushed out of a state of rest.

Practice returning and returning and returning to rest. Calmness, another aspect of Source, lies with you, as a person, always, waiting to be revealed. Strengthen your capacity to self-heal in a nurturing environment paved for your return to spiritual peace.

Be tucked in on your journey toward a state of Oneness with blankets and bolsters and calming meditation, gently stretching and resting your mind, body and consciousness. Return to the world renewed and realigned with Calmness, with Source and with Sound perceived from within and beyond.

It is an honor to collaborate with Sean Levahn, founder of


YV 9:25:16 Sean