As a proud partner for the inaugural Sugar & Spice Festival that’s happening this 1-15 August 2020, we are bringing you this series of interviews with presenters so that you get to know them better and their workshops.
Today, we have Daphne Chua, a yoga therapist and movement educator, who is delivering the ‘Trauma-Informed Therapeutics: The Fluid Body” workshop on 14th August. We ask her some questions about the workshop and her background. Please enjoy and sign up for her workshops!
Q: Who is best suited to attend your workshop “Trauma-informed Therapeutics”, as it seems to imply trauma will be a key component for participants to work on?
I think the meaning of trauma has become rather misconstrued in recent years. Trauma work is now a buzzword in the therapeutic community as our societies developed and mental health has become a hot topic. While some people seem to wear the label of trauma like a badge of honour to dismiss certain actions or behaviour, there are also others who think that it only belongs to people who have gone through experiences that are of unfathomable magnitude.
But what exactly is trauma, and does it only happen to people in marginalised sectors of society, or have been unlucky enough to be at the wrong place with the wrong people at the wrong time? Can trauma be something insidious and a reaction to what is ingrained in our conditioning? How does trauma shape the way we perceive our relationships to our body, our ego, our partner, family, friends, and the world around us?
The mind is like the wind and the body is like sand. When you want to learn about the wind, you look at the marks it’s left on the sand.
– Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen
Our fast-paced, binary, meritocratic culture often drives us into disassociating with our bodies. We treat ourselves only as a brain being carried around by the vehicle of a body. We forget that we are not just moving parts but a living, breathing, sensing, feeling, experiential and relational organism. Our reality is shaped by our the state of affairs of what’s happening beneath the skin and beyond the skin. Our physical, emotional, mental experience of every moment is a dialogue between the microcosm of our inner universe and the macrocosm of our environment.
Therefore, Trauma is not just about what happens to us, but what happens within us when things happen to us beyond our control, situations that do not offer us a choice to either fight or to flight, so the only choice we have to survive is to freeze or disassociate.
This workshop is open to anyone who’s interested in understanding how we can learn to listen to our inner being and become present in the potency of our microcosmic processes through a bottom-up approach of sensing and feeling. It allows us to tap into our fluid sensuality to form a relational dialogue with our bodies. Through being present to every experience that is arising, we offer our nervous system an anchor of safety from within to uncover our deeper desires and self-agency.
Q: What kind of physical practice should participants expect for the workshop, e.g. yoga stretches, rehabilitative exercises, etc?
Gentle movement, breathwork, visualisation, free form expressions.
Q: What advice do you have for participants who feel stiff, uncoordinated or unfit and don’t believe they can ever move well with their bodies?
The only pre-requisite is your curiosity!
Q: As someone who is also trained in other modalities such as Traditional Thai Yoga Massage, Chi Nei Tsang (Abdominal Detox Massage), Tai Chi Massage and Reiki, what spiritual principles guide your work and how do you apply these with your students?
As a movement teacher and bodywork therapist, I work on the premise that the body is the baseline that holds deep wisdom and insight. Our body a doorway into a cosmic intelligence that we can learn to trust, find safety within, and let go of things that are beyond our control.
The order of nature that governs the universe also brought about the creation of each individual life form. Our inner universe is as boundless as the outer cosmos. When we can allow the mystery of our body-mind to unravel by being present to each phenomena and experience, we embody our relationship with life. The individual consciousness of a cell will vibe with the collective consciousness of the whole body as that is its universe, just as our individual being is interconnected to all sentience on planet Earth.
If we can reclaim our birthright of sensing, feeling and relating through the vessel of our body, we can access our sacred wisdom and reclaim our agency.
Q: How do you see your work intersecting with the field of sexuality, i.e. how does it improve people’s sexual health and wellness?
Sexuality is not just a cognitive form, sensuality is a natural state of embodiment. This is an invitation to learn to listen to our body and rediscover our sensuality through the remembrance of our fluid nature.
If you’re interested to attend Daphne’s or other presenters’ workshops, please go to www.sugarandspice.asia to get your festival pass!
Images: Daphne Chua