Healing Together was created in the Spring of 2017 with the intention of providing hope, support and effective healing strategies for people struggling with the effects of trauma. Healing Together has developed drop-in yoga programing as well as registered yoga sessions for clients of the Native Womens’ Centre, Interval House, the Sexual Assault Center Hamilton Area (SACHA), the YWCA womens’ transitional housing facility and the Afghan Association of Hamilton, among others. Healing Together is currently working in partnership with the Woman Abuse Working Group, a coalition of Violence Against Women agencies, in order to extend this programing to women with trauma histories in the Hamilton community.
Healing Together Yoga was inspired by founder Andrea Towler's long term personal journey in healing from trauma. Having experienced the personal benefits of a yoga practice for close to 20 years, she has taught yoga in the Hamilton community for 10 years. She began studying the TCTSY trauma-sensitive yoga protocol with David Emerson and Jenn Turner from the Trauma Center in Boston in 2015, where she witnessed the thoughtful consideration and care that went into the development of this approach. Under the guidance of world-leading experts at the Trauma Center, this protocol was painstakingly and specifically tailored to meet the needs of survivors of sexual violence, domestic and child abuse. Following her initial training in this protocol, Andrea reflected on her professional background in teaching and curriculum development. With a teaching certificate from Brock University and 6 years of experience teaching ESL with the immigrant and refugee communities, she decided to draw on her experience in curriculum design in order to develop yoga programing specifically for trauma survivors. The result is Healing Together Yoga: integrating an evidence-based trauma sensitive yoga protocol with focused discussion intended to empower participants in their healing from trauma.
It is with deep gratitude that Andrea recognizes the contributions of her teachers in supporting her ongoing process of healing and spiritual growth as well as her evolution as a teacher. Having established a solid foundation with Nesta Falladown in the Iyengar yoga tradition, Andrea continues as a student of yoga in the tradition of Sri Vidya under the spiritual leadership of Pandit Rajmani Tigunait, and her teachers include Yogarupa Rod Stryker and Jaime Stover Schmitt. The wisdom of this tradition serves as her guiding light and her anchor. She draws strength from her ongoing participation with the mindfulness community of Zen Master Thay Thich Nhat Hanh, whose teachings were as rays of hope during a dark period early in life, and whose enormous contributions to the quest for inner and outer peace continue to sustain her today. Her journey of healing and spiritual growth could never have taken shape without the powerful medicine of the sweatlodge and the medicine wheel, and she is forever grateful to her friends in the Native community for their generosity in sharing the gifts of strength, wisdom, beauty, prayer and enduring friendship on the path. Andrea has two beautiful daughters who continually inspire her prayers for peace and healing.
Yoga is helping me remember me
Program Participant, Spring 2017
"Andrea has a sense of calm peace and safety that is much needed of an instructor of this kind of course; she is a kind and gentle soul"
Workshop Participant, Summer 2017