“Monique Minahan teaches flow-style yoga classes that blend whole-brain movement with movement grounded in yoga biomechanics. She addresses and allows for the whole human experience in her classes, ultimately honoring the innate healing ability of every human being and every human body. Her niche is teaching yoga that welcomes grief.”
About Monique Minahan
I am a San-Diego-based yoga teacher, mother, author and creator of The Grief Practice: Trauma-informed yoga that welcomes grief. At the age of twenty-five I lost my husband, Nathan, to a complication with one of his chemotherapy drugs. I struggled with complicated grief and major depression for many years. Six years later I started practicing yoga. Yoga helped me connect with my innate, somatic resources that helped me find psychological health and my unique way forward.
In 2012 I began piecing together an approach to grief through yoga that welcomed and supported it without having to fix it. These days I share a Polyvagal-based, trauma-informed lens through which to explore and explain grief in the body through science, stories, and yoga. I have been teaching yoga to grieving humans since 2016 and blend my understanding of emotions science, movement science, and trauma – as well as my own intimate understanding of grief – into classes that honor the innate healing ability of every human being and every human body.
My Experience Working with Survivors of Sexual Violence + Trauma
This year I taught trauma-informed yoga at Brittany Catton-Kirk’s Sunlight retreat for survivors of rape.
My Interest in Working with Survivors
I love helping people connect with their own truth, resilience, and innate ability to heal.
My Understanding of Trauma-Informed Care
It means understanding the neurobiology, nuance and uniqueness of trauma in humans, neural diversity, bio-psychosocial components that may come into play, balancing up-regulation and down-regulation through movement, being aware of potential triggers such as the breath, staying sensitive to dissociation and offering cues and tools to help people stay in their window of tolerance, and recognizing my privilege and how that might intersect or impact the kind of care and support I can facilitate and how my role and presence as a caregiver affects the person receiving care.
I draw on my understanding of Polyvagal theory, movement science, trauma, and my experience as a yoga teacher to support groups and individuals through their physical experience of grief. The movement and mindfulness of yoga is used as a tool to discharge energy, soothe anxious minds and bodies, and reconnect people with their innate physiological resources which often expands their capacity for what they can hold.
We explore resources inside and outside the body to anchor their attention to so they can safely move and be moved without overwhelming their system with sensation or emotion. Many of these tools can be used in their daily life, outside of yoga. The intention is to create space and awareness for humans to safely move through and acknowledge their experience of grief.
How My Practice Holistically Addresses the Impacts of Sexual Violence and Trauma
My practices cues and teaches dual awareness so humans can explore grounding into their bodies or surroundings in a way that feels safe for them. Whole-brain movement, including cross and contra-lateral movement, blending bottom-up movement with top-down mindfulness supports humans reconnecting with their own strength, stability, and ability to come home to their own body. It gives people the cognitive and embodied tools to take back ownership of their physical experience, respect it a little more and invite it into the unique way their healing proceeds. I facilitate a community experience and space where everyone can honor their unique experience and explore what safety and connection feels like and looks like to them.
Modifications for Survivors
The physical location of a class or workshop does not always support people feeling at ease or safe in their environment. Ideally a location without loud, unexpected sounds, soft, ample lighting, and easy ingress or egress would be more optimal. I price my classes and workshops on a sliding scale to make them accessible and often make arrangements for people who want to come but find the cost prohibitive.
Additional Area of Expertise
My area of focus is grief.
I have sliding-scale spots within my practice.