Lynda Davies grew up around alcoholism, abuse and mental illness, not fully understanding what it was while it was happening. “You could say I’ve had a lifetime of complex and vicarious trauma. Work became my escape or deflection.”
Burying herself in work from a young age, Lynda worked in various jobs, including a corporate start-up, which grew from two people to 16 in the 12 years she worked there. “I loved my job, had a wonderful, amazing boss but the work was becoming more demanding and, combined with other life stressors and insomnia, I was becoming exhausted.”
During this time, Lynda was also going through some extremely stressful and traumatic times with each of her two adult sons who suffer from mental health issues and addiction. “I was completely overwhelmed. Everything started to cave in, I became frustrated, angry, tired and I felt cheated in my life…”
Meanwhile, a long-time student of yoga, she felt more and more drawn to the practice while going into this downward spiral. “I always felt better when I came away from my yoga practice. Eventually I discovered Nicole Marcia [VSOHA Yoga Therapy Faculty Member] who was offering a workshop for people who were struggling with anxiety and depression and I signed up!”
Nicole’s class, along with her ability to hold space, awakened a shift in Lynda’s consciousness and she immediately knew she wanted to continue and share this practice. “For the very first time, I felt a deep connection to yoga, my practice and myself. I felt calm and safe. I realized then, that it was yoga that had saved me. It solidified what I knew I had to do.”
Lynda left her corporate job and began to explore her interest in the mind-body connection in relation to mental health. With a clear focus and desire to work in mental health, she dove into Yoga Teacher Training and continued her studies in Trauma Sensitive Yoga and Therapeutic Yoga for Trauma Resilience and Emotional Wellbeing before discovering the 300-hour Foundations of Yoga Therapy Program at the Vancouver School of Healing Arts (previously the Vancouver School of Yoga).
Right after graduating from the 300-hour Yoga Therapy Program, Lynda was invited to become a substitute teacher at the Burnaby Centre for Mental Health & Addictions, an in-patient facility for those suffering from concurrent disorders in both mental health and addiction. After subbing for a while, she was contracted to run the Therapeutic Yoga program and twice a week teaches therapeutic, trauma-informed yoga to clients in all stages of recovery.
“It is so incredibly rewarding on such a deep level. For all of the other things in my life that have been painful, disappointing and difficult, this just overrides it all.”
Lynda also teaches Chair Yoga and Healing Touch Meditation at an assisted living facility for seniors. She also works at a long-term care facility for people with mental health issues like Dementia and Alzheimer’s where most of her clients are in wheelchairs.
“[Doing yoga] gives them something to work towards. One determined woman who started doing my chair yoga class was non-functioning on one side of her body and now she can lift that leg a foot off the floor! I also do a 10-minute relaxation/Savasana, which they love. It gives them an escape in their minds. Even if we can’t do something physically, we can transcend ourselves to whatever or wherever we want to be.”
Lynda is committed to teaching yoga in a therapeutic, trauma-informed way and has transformed the ground floor of her home in Maple Ridge into a yoga studio where she teaches various classes, workshops and offers private sessions.
“If I come away with one person feeling nurtured or nourished, I’m happy.”
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