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Michelle Cunninghame
Mother and Daughter Healing From Trauma

When I was a kid, my Mom was crossing the street downtown in a city nearby where we lived and was hit by a car, was severely injured, and she almost died. At that time I was only twelve years old myself and had two younger siblings.

Needless to say, our world was turned upside down, especially my Mom’s. She was told by the doctors that she would never walk again! And although her pelvis was crushed, and her leg and shoulder were both broken in several places,  she did not believe it and knew recovery was possible.

With immense hard work and determination, after a year and a half, she did walk again!  And although she has lived with pain in her body on and off, she has found ways that she can move her body, feel joy, and thrive in life and share her interests with her family and friends.

My Mom and I were able to go to Jennifer’s Divine Sleep Yoga Nidra and it turned out to be one of the highlights of the year for me! It was special for so many reasons. My Mom and I live in different states and only get to see each other a couple times a year. Spending an entire week together in such a peaceful place as Kripalu Center, with Jennifer, was a dream!

The reason I bring up the story of my Mom’s accident, injury, and recovery here is because I wanted to share about the powerful experience that I had during Jennifer’s yoga nidra. My Mom and I together were led very deeply within the levels and stages of yoga nidra.

It was something we could do together to foster even greater healing and integration. It was unique because finally I could be with her during her own healing and I felt just how potent that was for myself to be with her during that deep process. I truly felt being with her dissolved my own trauma around the incident.

Because of the levels that are guided, I felt a variety of parts of myself were able to awaken during Divine Sleep, and with Jennifer’s focused and insightful attention, that I could see through our physical bodies to the deepest layers to meet all of the experiences that were inside. This left me feeling very integrated and whole.

During the retreat we were skillfully guided in Five Element Yoga. Jennifer and her assistants were very sensitive to my Mom’s needs, taking time and care to show her modifications so that she could participate in everything we did. She felt the benefits of this beautiful practice, and she also felt affirmed that ‘Yes! I CAN do yoga too!’ Because of this level of care, it left me free to fully practice yoga myself without needing to worry about my Mom’s needs and experience.

Now, after practicing Five Element Yoga, when I am out in nature, I notice the surroundings in a new light, slowing down to notice how everything is connected. And that makes me feel connected to nature, to my body, and to myself. I am so grateful for this practice and knowledge of the elements. It has inspired my everyday life and that makes me want to share everything I learned with my community.

We both look forward to reconnecting within ourselves, with each other and with nature in Jennifer’s retreats in the future. Thank you to Jennifer and her wonderful assistants in making this retreat an unforgettable experience for my mom and I!