I am a survivor (and thriver) of betrayal trauma. In 2018, I experienced the worst day of my life, and with one simple disclosure, my life as I knew it, changed forever. On that day, I didn’t know how or if I would come out on the other side. But with time, patience, self-compassion, and practice I made it and you can too.
I’ve experienced first-hand the depths of the pain of betrayal. The numbness, disbelief and the feeling that my once stable, dependable, and happy life I had was crumbling before me and there was nothing that I could do about it. During the first few weeks after the disclosure, I would sit and cry for hours, was in so much emotional and physical pain, and often just sat in shock and disbelief. I would ask, “is this really happening?”, “could I have prevented it?”, “is there something wrong with me?”. My confidence in myself was shattered and I couldn’t imagine how I would get through it. I had hit rock bottom.
In the early stages of my recovery, I relied heavily on my therapist (who diagnosed me with PTSD) and my own healing techniques to help me get through this unimaginable and painful process to the best of my ability. Thank God for those practices because it kept my head above water. But it still hurt, and I struggled. I would be hard on myself thinking, I am a yogi, I should be able to rise above this. I had the tools to help myself and I had taught other people how to navigate through their own wounds but wondered why I couldn’t help myself the way I had helped them. I would go to bed, barely sleep, have nightmares when I did sleep, and awaken only to realize that my nightmare was my reality. I lived in constant fear and wondered if my marriage would make it (it eventually did not), how I would survive on my own, and with our kids on their way out of the nest, I was fearful of being alone. The anger and rage came in waves as I processed the betrayal and my ability to trust was severely tested. My ex-husband would come home from work, we would awkwardly eat dinner, then go into the bedroom where I would vent and rage. Sleep. Work. Repeat. I wondered if I would ever truly feel joy in my heart again. Or if I would be able to forgive him so we could both move on with our lives. My suffering was at an all-time peak and I felt like my life was spinning out of control. And he was suffering too.
As the days, weeks, and eventually months passed on, I knew the one thing that I needed was time. It was ok and completely natural to go through these waves of various emotions. I continued to get help so I could process this and as I was ready, I began really focusing on my own self-care and healing using the many tools I had available to me. I recommitted to therapy and I joined a support group. I realized that my biggest obstacle was that I felt powerless and was relying on someone who was not capable of embracing his own recovery and was unable to repair what he broke in our relationship in a way that allowed me to feel safe. It was then I knew that the only way I could get through it was to take my life back. I went from powerless to empowered, from the trenches of pain and suffering to feelings of joy and love, and I went from feeling fearful all of the time to feelings of security and stability. My ability to get clear came from my commitment to my recovery. Through therapy, yoga, qigong, meditation, community, and the courage to speak my truth, my healing thrived.
I’ve been where you are, through my own trauma, and I know how incredibly difficult this is for you. My mission is to support people to access their inner resilience, strength and wisdom to fully reclaim their power on the other side of trauma so that they may embody the essence of joy, confidence, courage and truth. You CAN come out on the other side of this experience accessing the authentic version of who you truly are.
Joanne’s philosophy as a yoga teacher is to help people who seek personal empowerment feel connected to their bodies, quiet their mind, stimulate a healthy nervous system, and release tension in the body caused by stress, anxiety, or trauma. Her teaching technique uses a combination of breath work, meditation, gentle asanas, somatic yoga, qigong, and neurogenic tremoring.
Additionally, Joanne specializes in helping those with trauma (including PTSD) and has attended and completed her Level II certification in TRE(Trauma/tension release exercises) with Dr. David Bercelli. She is also certified as TSY teacher (Trauma Sensitive Yoga) under the renowned guidance of trauma researcher and pioneer Dr. Bessel van der Kolk (The Trauma Center at JRI). Forever a student, she has taken over a thousand hours or additional training and has taught thousands of students herself.
Joanne teaches classes, workshops, teacher trainings, as well as running retreats locally and internationally. She also teaches Yoga for Trauma Recovery at the VA Hospital in Palo Alto, Menlo Park, and San Jose, California and has voluntarily taught yoga to women incarcerated at the Elmwood Correctional Facility in Milpitas and the Center for Survivors of Torture in San Jose.
Joanne is an ERYT500 and earned her 200 hour and 500 hour YA certification through Jennifer Prugh’s YA certified “Joy of Yoga” teacher training. She is YACEP for Yoga Alliance. A resident of San Jose, she enjoys spending time traveling, being out doors, and spending as much time as possible with her adult children Anthony, Steven and Nicole. She is a Ptsd, sexual trauma, and betrayal trauma survivor.