“Rachel Allen has over a decade and a half of experience in the healing and expressive arts and is active in facilitating chant, drumming and movement to support healing and empowerment at yoga studios, retreats, conferences and other gatherings regionally and nationally. Rachel is a theme based yoga teacher and workshop facilitator and uses live music, breath, movement and yoga to delve into themes that encourage and support self acceptance and self reflection grounded in compassion and truth. She is a dynamic speaker and presents on many subjects at conferences and retreats regionally and nationally.”
About Rachel Allen
Rachel completed her yoga teacher training through the Anjali Yoga Teacher Training School, a Kripalu influenced program in Central Pennsylvania and is a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT 200) through the Yoga Alliance. Rachel teaches yoga classes and offers specialized workshops locally, regionally and at national conferences. She also leads kirtan, a musical expression of Bhakti Yoga solo and with the kirtan group The Dharma Initiative. Rachel has a strong passion for serving caregivers in healthcare, human services and other backgrounds experiencing compassion fatigue and working with marginalized populations. A member of Yoga Service International, Rachel has over 100 hours in Continuing Education connecting the inner practice of yoga in outward based community practices that are committed to social justice. Most recently, Rachel completed a 40-hour training Teaching Trauma Sensitive Yoga from the Trauma Center at Justice Resource Institute in MA. Rachel is also a Reiki Level 3 Practitioner and a teaching Reiki Master through the Usui System of Natural Healing in accordance with the Essential Reiki tradition. She synchronizes Reiki into yoga and music for optimal healing.
Rachel is passionate about integrating music, Reiki and yoga as a tool for healing, empowerment, and self-expression and to create and foster healthy, joyful communities. As a Certified Music Practitioner®, she works applying live music at the bedside as a tool for healing with voice and harp with patients in Windber Hospice and Palliative Care. Rachel is also a trained REMO Health Rhythms Group Empowerment Drumming Facilitator and utilizes vibrational medicine with voice, Native American Flute, quartz crystal singing bowls and drumming with varieties of groups including yoga classes. She is also a Wellness Consultant, teaching stress management, meditation and yoga within employee health programs, in healthcare and throughout the region. Rachel serves as an Executive Board member of the Music for Healing and Transition Program, an international certification program for therapeutic musicians.
Rachel Allen has worked in conjunction with non-profits providing healing arts programs to adults with mental illness, at risk youth and facilitates a trauma-informed yoga and expressive healing arts program in partnership with a trauma therapist for women survivors of rape and sexual abuse. She co-created a 10-week combination support group, that involved trauma-informed yoga and expressive arts (music and visual art) program for adult women survivors of childhood sexual abuse, with a trauma therapist from a local rape crisis center. She is currently teaching incarcerated women in the Cambria County Prison through a combined effort she co-created with her local District Attorney, Beginnings Inc., an Early Intervention Provider, Flood City Church, a faith community and other non-profits that wish to see a holistic approach to drugs and related violence in our community. Rachel also receives referrals from several local counselors and a psychologist for survivors to come to regular yoga classes which are trauma-informed.
My Interest in Working with Survivors
I am a survivor of childhood sexual abuse. I have recently come to own, accept and commit to healing my past. There is a whole chapter of my life that isn’t discussed in my family. I am committed to personally and where I am able to support this professionally, to release shame for myself and create that space for others. I am also aware that my wounds, left unaddressed, festered. I have learned in my own personal healing work with Off the Mat and other trauma-informed trainings that focused also on self growth, in my Reiki practice with my teachers, my yoga community of amazing survivors, my husband, also a survivor and in my own self care and intuitive work that the wounds can also shine light when we commit to our own healing, create healthy boundaries from toxic people and reclaim our bodies, therefore our lives.
My Approach to Trauma-Informed Care
To honor where each individual person is on their journey. To create space where the possibility of releasing shame, reclaiming one’s body and therefore ones life and allowing light to move through the wounds can occur. To honor fragility and resilience equally.
I utilize a variety of healing modalities in my work with survivors. I am a Certified Music Practitioner and Sound Healer, a Reiki practitioner and registered yoga teacher (RYT 200). I also teach creative movement and music, West African dance and drumming and I work with non-profits providing trainings and seminars on Compassion Fatigue.
How Yoga, Reiki and Sound Healing Holistically Address the Impacts of Sexual Violence
The voice is an area that has been adversely affected by not being able to speak truth or if many survivors did, they were not believed. Sound Healing and mantra practice is led by me with variety of instruments with invitational language and choice about participating. Many survivors share this has been empowering and has led them to finally find their own voice. Most of my Music Practitioner work is with hospice and serving the dying and their families, this work of meeting people where they are and creating the space for the possibility of healing emotionally, socially and spiritually even in the face of death has been my greatest teacher in life.
Reiki is gentle and again survivors have choices on eyes open or closed, touch, no touch or some touch with no touch zones, seated or laying on back side, etc. I also use sound and shamanic drumming, quartz crystal bowls and mantra with many sessions. This is all explained and demonstrated so there are no surprises and of course, there is again here, choice. Many survivors experience touch in a healing manner that allows for safety and integration of intense emotions.
Yoga classes specific for survivors moves at a slower pace, there is again, choice based language. I also focus the awareness on what may be happening in the body rather than speaking in metaphor which could create disassociation. I do not use straps. Lights remain on. I do not leave my mat. My verbal cues are for the whole class rather than a specific individual. No physical adjustments. Language is simple, non directive. Students know where the exits are. They are given options and simple choices the entire class including with the live musical experience that is part of all my classes.
Modifications for Survivors
For my regular classes that survivors attend I ask if they would like to come early to see space, see where they would feel the most comfortable having their mat and anything they would like to share that would allow me to support them in their yoga practice.
I have over 100 hours trauma informed training through Yoga Service International, Off the Mat and Into the World and most recently a 40 hour training with David Emerson and Jenn Turner from the Trauma Center at the Justice Resource Institute in Mass. I am continuing my work with Off the Mat and welcome the level of awareness they bring to basic language in the yoga setting and the intersections with social justice. I am also a lifelong community activist and have the desire for yoga to be available in all areas and for teachers to be paid adequately bringing yoga, a cost effective time honored practice with no major side effects if offered safely and with sensitivity.
I offer a sliding-scale. I believe it is important to have an exchange, and have had this arrangement with students from the beginning. In my regular classes, I teach in an Ethnic Arts Center that is physically and geographically accessible to people from all walks of life. My space is on the second floor of a beautiful community art gallery!