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Natural Awakenings Westchester / Putnam / Dutchess New York

Elisha Simpson Co-Leads Trauma-Informed Yoga Teacher Training in Briarcliff Manor

Elisha Simpson leading class

Elisha Fernandes Simpson, a licensed clinical social worker and trauma-informed yoga instructor, will co-lead an Evolution Yoga Teacher Training beginning October 26 and ending in April 2022. This dual-level holistic training brings together yoga, neurology, trauma-informed practices and psychiatry to address mood disorders such as depression and anxiety; degenerative diseases like Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, Alzheimer’s and multiple sclerosis; substance abuse; PTSD; and traumatic brain injuries. 

Other leaders of the collaborative training are Michele Fleming, a yoga therapist and specialist in orthopedic yoga, and Nicole M. Absar, M.D., a behavioral neurologist and neuropsychiatrist. The course will be held both virtually and in person at Bella Maia Spa in Briarcliff, with limited live enrollment. The first level is a 200-hour Vinyasa-based yoga teacher training. The additional 100-hour yoga therapy training focuses on how yoga practices can assist with treating various disorders and conditions.

“The benefits of trauma-informed yoga are especially relevant as we continue to navigate the global pandemic and people seek stability within a constantly changing world,” Simpson says. “There’s growing evidence that yoga practices help overcome the pervasive effects of trauma. Trauma-informed yoga has been recognized as an evidence-based adjunctive treatment for complex, developmental trauma or chronic, treatment-resistant PTSD by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration of the United States. Emotional and/or physical trauma can impact our thoughts, emotions, relationships, sense of self, and view of the world.”

Building Resilience

Simpson has been an area pioneer in implementing trauma-informed practices. Since 2008, she’s worked with trauma survivors in Westchester through her former nonprofit organization, The Crossover Yoga Project (CYP) empowered more than 5,000 people involved within the criminal justice and mental health communities through trauma-conscious yoga, mindfulness and art expressions designed to build self-awareness, resilience and self-respect. She continues this work through her private practice, called Finding Peace Within, which offers trauma-informed training, therapy and yoga classes.

“I offer a compassionate, non-judging space that is healing, holistic and builds resilience,” she says. “When our emotional and relational needs are not met, they have a long-term effect on how we see ourselves and the world around us. But when we are ready, we can find the strength to overcome anything.”

She notes that stability was lost during the global pandemic, and people continue to be overwhelmed and struggle to find understanding, compassion and healing. 

“Olympian Simone Biles and high school and college students are taking a stand in acknowledging that mental health comes first,” she says. “By implementing trauma-informed practices, we can help society orient toward our well-being. Learn more by joining my upcoming virtual and in-person training beginning October 26.”

For information about the yoga training, visit For a private appointment, call 914.281.2225, email [email protected] or visit
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