– Alignment 8, Creative 360 and the Midland County Cultural Awareness Coalition are coming together to offer spaces for healing and hope. The Circle of Hope is a confidential gathering that combines a more traditional supportive group sharing experience with specialized yoga designed to be sensitive towards individuals who have experienced trauma or who are struggling with its effects.
Circle of Hope sessions occur on the first Monday of every month in the Creative 360 Gallery. Led by Alignment 8’s Keri Kenney, a Trauma Informed & Registered Yoga instructor, the sessions are for anyone directly or indirectly impacted by trauma.
“Trauma separates us. We lose the connection to our own bodies, our inner selves and to others,” explained Kenney. “Circle of Hope offers healing from yoga as well as a space to be heard, be cared for, or just safely breathe. I needed to bring this to our community to honor my parents and the magnitude of the trauma that losing them created. I have personally experienced the healing power of Circle of Hope.”
Creative 360, which currently partners with Alignment 8 for a variety of yoga and wellness classes, saw Circle of Hope as a logical addition to the programming. “Our mission is to create environments where all people can experience the creative process,” said director Laura Vosejpka. “Healing is an example of re-creating our relationship to ourselves and our community. We are so glad to be able to share our open, welcoming gallery space for these sessions.”
When the Midland County Cultural Awareness Coalition heard of Kenney’s offering, they immediately recognized an important opportunity for those who are working towards diversity, equity, and inclusion to share their experiences in a supportive community. The coalition is offering support for the program and encouraging members to take advantage of the experience.
To Kenney, Circle of Hope is more than just another session she offers. Her passion and personal connection to the healing power of these spaces is obvious. “People who have experienced trauma need space to welcome experiences with no limits. They need to be able to freely breathe into the human experience within a supportive community. We give participants a chance to acknowledge their trauma – to really hold it so that it cannot hold them back.”
Kenney points to current research that shows that a trauma informed yoga practice has helped persons with PTSD have fewer and less severe dissociative symptoms as well as gains in vitality. Similar results have been seen for survivors of partner abuse. Kenney studied Yoga to Transform Trauma with Catherine Ashton in 2016 and has been offering the Circle of Hope space ever since.
Support from the Cultural Awareness Coalition has allowed Kenney and Creative 360 to offer Circle of Hope sessions as strictly donation based. All persons are welcome and no one should let an inability to pay keep them from the benefits of this program.
The next session will be held at Creative 360 on Monday, March 7 from 7-8:30 pm. Please come dressed comfortably. Contact Creative 360 at 989-837-1885 for more information.