Leila has focused on women’s health with an emphasis on prenatal care, stress (vata) management, and recovery work. Leila has worked in a variety of healing centers from government funded safe injection sites, to the well known Pacific Palisades Ayurvedic Clinic, Surya Spa.
In 2011 Leila started working abroad in underserved communities and co-founded Four Directions Yoga, East Raises West, a not-for-profit group dedicated to women and children in recovery.
Four Directions Yoga
We are a small group of big hearted advocates, educators in integrated therapies, creative expression and movement. Our mission is to provide interoceptive techniques and stress-reduction strategies for those who are marginalized and affected by trauma. Our goal is to create a safe and self-regulated environment. The main *intentions are to help participants feel comfortable in their bodies, physical self-awareness, and to practice focus & self-efficacy.
Trauma Sensitive Yoga uses clinical insights to teach body awareness for traumatized people. In our on site workshops we create a safe environment for mindfulness. Trauma-sensitive yoga is a way for us to safely experiment with befriending the body. Through these classes we can experiment with:
- Moving Meditation
- Creative expression
No experience necessary
The classes are accessible to everybody
All Participation is voluntarily
“In order to change, people need to become aware of their sensations and the way that their bodies interact with the world around them. Physical self-awareness is the first step in releasing the tyranny of the past.”
Bessel A. Van der Kolk, The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma
Children’s Reform Center
Leila co-created classes that incorporated mindful movement and art therapy for the children at the center.
“Yoga combined with art and music allows children to open up and feel connected. Expressing their true feelings and understandings through creative expression.”
– Emily Gilchrist, Director of Yoga in Ethiopia and The Karma Yoga Projects
Center de Hogares Claret
Bogota and Medellin, Colombia
The foundation has helped over 45,000 former child-soldiers and street kids take refugee. Leila and her team worked with the children in a number of centers throughout Bogota & Medellin practicing interoceptive and mindful movement.
“The basic therapy is love. Love is the imperial medicine for any illness or disorder. When a child feels they are welcome, when a child feels an educator is concerned about them, the child who came from violence and hostility of the streets, from being mistreated and who became aggressive , they change. The child changes. When a child starts to practice yoga every day , morning and afternoon. When a child closes the eyes and begins to meditate, when a child practices the Sidhis, they open themselves up to a field of infinite possibilities, as Maharishi says. The world opens for the child . And then the child discovers their essential nature, which is love.” – Farther Gabriel Mejia
This center is the only sanctioned supervised injection site in North America. This innovative harm reduction strategy has existed for over a decade, with millions of users, and no deaths. Leila and her team helped bring moving meditations and interoceptive movement to Vancouver’s East End Injection Site as a way to connect and introduce stress management techniques.
“What we learn from Insite…is that any exposure to regular and normalized healthcare services for drug users is beneficial to them and beneficial to the community.” – Adrienne Smith, Health & Drug Policy Advocate
Awe is what moves us forward.