'Grief leads us back to the body through its wild, turning, heavy, twisting presence. And through the body, we are brought back again into the greater conversation with the living world.'

-Francis Weller

THIS TIMELY AND TRANSFORMATIONAL ONLINE COURSE is an embodied invitation to honor, open to, and move through our collective pain for the world in these times of intersecting crises, transition, and co-liberation.

Following opening meditation and an in-depth lecture delving into ecological grief and its relationship to yoga as a somatic, embodied, and relational practice, participants will make their way through FOUR ACCESSIBLE SELF-PACED MODULES, each consisting of:

• a slow, deeply nourishing trauma-conscious yoga practice with meditation & breath practices; mudras & accessible yin and restorative poses; and readings, poetry, & teachings from many wise teachers for these times

• accompanying lecture and handout expanding on practices and themes such as radical rest and slowness, compassion and equanimity, loving-kindness and happiness, and courage and reverence

• journal prompts and an interactive discussion forum offering the ability to connect with the course instructor and one another

• an ever-evolving list of relevant supportive resources

Collectively this heart-supporting, heart-opening series provides a deeply needed space for collective grief processing both to sustain the long-haul work of liberatory activism AND as a form of deep activism in itself.

This unique offering is pre-recorded and self-paced, offered at a sliding scale, and participants gain unlimited access to the materials. 12 CONTINUING EDUCATION (CE) HOURS are available through Yoga Alliance.

Folks brand new to yoga as well as experienced practitioners will benefit, and all bodies are welcome.

'We need to fortify our interior ground. This is done through developing a practice that we sustain over time.' 

-Francis Weller

Through this course you will gain a deepened awareness of the radical power of ecological grief and its relationship to yoga as well as a transformational toolkit of supportive somatic practices and resources to return to both on and off the mat, including:

ACCESSIBLE YIN AND RESTORATIVE ASANA (poses) such as Child's or Wisdom Pose, Seated and Supine Twists, Cat and Cow, Sphinx and Seal, Mountainbrook, Reclined Butterfly, Modified Legs Up the Wall, Face-Down Savasana, and many more.

MEDITATIONS such as Anapanasati (Mindfulness of Breath), Karuna (Compassion), Metta (Loving-Kindness), and Tonglen (Giving and Taking).

MUDRAS (hand gestures) such as Bhu Mudra (Gesture of the Earth), Hridaya Mudra (Heart Seal), Padma Mudra (Lotus Seal), and many more.

As a whole, this robust framework and radical toolkit helps to cultivate groundedness & embodiment, compassion & equanimity, loving-kindness & joy, courage & resilience, all within a trauma-conscious container.

"Yoga for Ecological Grief is a truly unique and transformative series that provides a supportive space for bringing awareness to the inner work needed in these unprecedented times of change. Delving deep into the heart of our personal and collective grief provides each of us the opportunity to recognize our connection with our environment, our community, and ourselves.

Yoga for Ecological Grief helped me see that inherent within the grief is a profound connection and love for that which we are grieving, and out of that a sense of hope and optimism naturally arises."

- Stacey S., Arcata, CA

"Guided by a desire to understand eco-grief and show up in a more authentic way for myself and others, I visited and re-visited this course over the span of a few months. Each time I was met with feelings of hope and comfort. This course offers so much affirmation and realness, I really appreciate how you are calling us in and not denying the pain, challenges or struggles related to the multi-faceted processes of grief. I am grateful to you, Laura, for introducing me to the concept of eco-grief."

-Andrea D.

'The times are urgent, let us slow down.'

-Bayo Akomolafe

RESTORATIVE YOGA features restful, long-held (5-15+ minute) poses that completely support and nurture the body with props, allowing for softness and deep relaxation while gently nudging the body toward equilibrium. This accessible practice promotes holistic well-being and can be a radical balm to the stress, anxiety, and overwhelm inherent in capitalist grind culture and these tumultuous and heartbreaking times, particularly when paired with meditation and breath practices to recalibrate the nervous system, cultivate somatic mindfulness, support grief and emotional processing, deepen compassion and loving-kindness, and increase vitality or life energy.

YIN YOGA features longer-held (3-5 minute) floor poses that seek the experience of being with sensation over time, allowing us to turn toward rather than away from our physical and emotional responses and develop yin qualities of observance and surrender. Working with the yin organs of the body via the meridians that flow through them, this practice rooted in Traditional Chinese Medicine helps to cultivate harmonious balance in bodies, hearts, and minds as we practice being with, rather than turning away from, discomfort.

The series as a whole is oriented around the heart, embodying the wise instinct to turn inward before moving gradually toward expansion, honoring cyclical wisdom (Spanda) and creating a trauma-conscious container.

Our slow, trauma-conscious yin and restorative practice is done seated and lying down and features a variety of deeply supportive options for all bodies.

Access to props such as blankets, blocks, and a bolster is highly encouraged but not a requirement; accessible household substitutions will be suggested as well.

Meet Laura.

Laura Johnson (she/her), PhD, is a 500-hour Registered Yoga Teacher with advanced training by Samantha Akers of TheraYoga Method as well as certification in the Trauma Conscious Yoga Method (TCYM) from the Trauma-Conscious Yoga Institute and Embodied Activism from The Embody Lab. She is the founder of A Restful Space, offering trauma-conscious Restorative Yoga and community grief circles in Humboldt County, CA.

Laura is also a Geography and Environmental Studies lecturer at Cal Poly Humboldt where she teaches courses such as Global Awareness, International Environmental Issues and Globalization, and Emotions in the Anthropocene. She holds a doctorate in Geography with a specialization in Gender, Justice, and Environmental Change from Michigan State University.

As an instructor for the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at Cal Poly Humboldt, in 2019 Laura began developing her Yoga for Ecological Grief series, a heartfelt offering intersecting her background and passions and rooted in her belief in the transformational power of yoga as a relational practice for personal and collective healing.

She has been invited to share at the 2022 Sedona Yoga Festival, the annual Post-Capitalism Conference, Vipassana meditation retreats, Engaged Buddhism workshops, and on the Sacred Community Project Podcast.

Laura is also a Work that Reconnects practitioner, energy worker and vibrational healer, toddler/dog/cat/chicken/goat momma, and freelance writer with essays and poetry published in Lion's Roar, Tikkun, Science and Nonduality (SAND), Taproot Magazine, Resilience.org, and Deep Times: A Journal of the Work that Reconnects, among others.

She lives on unceded ancestral Wiyot land in Eureka, CA (Wiyot place name: Jaroujiji, meaning 'where you sit and rest'), with her husband, Nick, and their daughter, Cordelia.

For more please visit www.arestfulspace.com, www.laurabjohnson.com, or connect on Instagram @arestfulspace.

'Our own suffering, if we turn toward it, can open us to a loving relationship with the world.'

-Pema Chodron

'Like living cells in a larger body, it is natural that we feel the trauma of our world. So don't be afraid of the anguish you feel, or the anger or fear, because these responses arise from the depth of your caring and the truth of your interconnectedness with all beings.'

-Joanna Macy

Woven throughout this course are powerful and timely TEACHINGS, EXCERPT, PRACTICES, AND POETRY from Joanna Macy and the Work that Reconnects, Pema Chodron, Sharon Salzberg, Francis Weller, Rilke, Rumi, Thich Nhat Hanh, Tricia Hersey and The Nap Ministry, Sarah Powers, Bayo Akomolafe, Toko-pa Turner, Donna Farhi, and many other wise teachers for these times.

'In addition to being beautifully filmed, each yoga sequence was thoughtfully developed to promote full expression of grief through movement, breath, and meditation. Laura provided detailed notes explaining all of the asanas, mudras, meditations, and breathing patterns and how they relate to and support our bodies and nurture our souls through the grieving process.

Although the class specifies that this is yoga for ecological grief, everything we learned can be applied to other circumstances where loving-kindness, compassion, gratitude, and acceptance are required. One additional benefit I received from Laura's class was discovering so many poets, visionaries, and inspiring writers to study in the future. 

This class was life-affirming and life-changing for me.'

-Kay L., Eureka, CA

'This nurturing class is exactly what I was craving for and could never find! Your words are pure bliss and I felt so held. Thanks so very much for this gem.'

-Christine L.

I absolutely loved this course. Thank you so much Laura. After each sequence, I was feeling lighter and I can't wait to re-take it again. Currently burnt out and processing eco grief and climate dread feelings, so this course was exactly what my soul needed. Listening to the poems while being in asanas, was so healing. Strongly recommend to every empath out there.'

-Elisabet D.

12 Continuing Education (CE) hours are available through Yoga Alliance for Registered Yoga Teachers.

Self-Paced & Interactive Course Curriculum

  Course Introduction
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  Module 1: For Grounding and Embodiment, 1st Chakra, & Spleen
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  Module 2: For Compassion and Equanimity, 2nd/3rd Chakras, & Liver/Kidneys
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  Module 3: For Loving-Kindness and Joy, 4th Chakra, & the Heart
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  Module 4: For Courage and Resilience, Higher Chakras, & Lungs
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  Wrapping Up
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'What a beautiful course. I have so much gratitude for you and this offering. I have needed a space to be able to process my pain for the world. This course offered a wonderful structure and framework to link together our disconnection from nature with yoga philosophy with embodiment practice. My body felt wonderful after each sequence and like I could slowly and carefully open to all emotions without being overwhelmed. Thank you!'

-Jessica W.

'Thank you so much for putting this class together. I appreciate your time and the labor involved gathering and designing all of the details. It touches my heart; it is so gentle and soothing as well as thoughtful and thought provoking. I appreciate the invitational language, the variations offered for asana and how the meditations, breath practices and mudras are blended and woven together throughout the class. It is truly a worthwhile offering and I’m so glad I signed up for it.'

-Gena L.

Sliding-Scale Pricing Options

Understanding grief as a social justice issue and acknowledging the widespread appropriation of yoga in the West, this course is offered at a privilege-based sliding scale. Partial and full scholarships are available upon request.

'The Earth is not just the environment. The earth is us. Everything depends on whether we have that understanding or not.'

-Thich Nhat Hanh