What or who inspires you? I’m inspired by so many of the clients I & other teachers at Yoga Outreach see who’ve experienced incredible suffering and pain in their lives but still smile, support each other and show up to classes in support of their own recovery.
How did you begin to practice yoga? 15 years ago in my early twenties, on the day of handing in my postgrad thesis (somewhat ironically on feminist art & embodiment) I was followed home by an armed stranger and sexually assaulted. A little voice inside remembered some books I’d read about yoga as a teenager and I felt compelled to explore a practice that was about mind-body connection. Living with post traumatic stress I felt certain that if I didn’t continue to inhabit my body in a mindful way much, much more suffering would follow. Looking back I realise that discovering yoga was a huge saving grace and enabled me eventually to feel a sense of ‘home’ in my body and the world. The lived experience of using yoga to manage my own symptoms of PTSD inspired me to eventually study and specialize in Trauma Sensitive Yoga and the therapeutic application of yoga for emotional balance.
What is your favourite quote? Hard to choose, but definitely in the top 10 would be from Victor Frankl: ‘Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.’
What is your favorite season and why? My favourite time of year is the threshold between summer and fall – the gradually cooling temperatures bring a freshness, the light softens and the colours begin to change. My dosha is pitta and by the end of the summer I’m ready for the change in season & the airy quality of early fall – I find it brings me renewed energy & inspiration for the months ahead.
How do you recharge your batteries? Recharging for me usually involves water in some way – through soaking in a hot bath, walking at the water’s edge to quiet my mind or when the opportunity arises, surfing which is a guaranteed ‘reboot.’
Sarah Holmes de Castro MA, ERYT200, RYT500, PYT is the Program Coordinator for Yoga Outreach, working with volunteer yoga teachers and facility staff to deliver trauma-informed yoga programs. Sarah has been practicing yoga for over 14 years and teaching for 11. She began volunteering with Yoga Outreach in 2004 and has since taught within a variety of settings including transition houses, addiction recovery centres, mental health programs, and correctional facilities. Sarah also facilitates both trainings for yoga teachers a variety of health professionals.
Catch Sarah on February 7th at the Victoria Yoga Conference teaching Using Yoga in Your Work™skills development for support professionals.