How it all started...
My yoga journey began in 1975 when I wandered into a yoga studio in Tucson, Arizona where I was in graduate school. After returning to Connecticut, my commitment waxed and waned until, in 2002, the work began in earnest when I found a studio and teacher that inspired me to practice more regularly. Like most people, I started going to class just to feel better physically. Little did I know that one thing would lead to another and that I would ultimately become a teacher in 2012.

My training and background...
My 200- and 300-hour trainings in Para Yoga Inspired Hatha Tantra Yoga taught by two of Rod Stryker's senior teachers, Kathryn Templeton and the late Sue Neufeld, led me to the Himalayan Institute, in Honesdale, PA where I continue to study yoga philosophy and meditation with HI’s spiritual head Pandit Rajmani Tigunait, as well as Ishan Tigunait, Shari Friedrichsen, Rolf Sovik, Sandra Anderson and other HI senior teachers. (I have also had the privilege to study with Rod Stryker, Yoganand Michael Carroll and Dharma Mittra.)

A 2012 workshop in “Mindful Yoga Therapy for Veterans Coping with Trauma” through the Veterans Yoga Project propelled me in a completely unexpected direction—teaching trauma-sensitive yoga (TSY). Inspired by a 40-hour workshop at Kripalu taught by David Emerson, program founder of Trauma Center Trauma Sensitive Yoga, and his senior colleague Jennifer Turner, I enrolled in the Trauma Center’s 300-hour training program and became certified as a TCTSY Facilitator in 2016. In 2017 I participated in the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Program at the Yale Stress Center, and I now include some of those techniques in my classes.

Currently I am studying for certification as a Vishoka Meditation teacher at the Himalayan Institute. Over the years I have taken many, many courses at HI in philosophy, meditation and yogic lifestyle and have arrived at the pleasant discovery that Vishoka Meditation encompasses it all. It epitomizes everything that yoga has to offer humankind. I consider it a blessing and a privilege to have it enter my life and to share it with others.

Where you can study with me...
Since 2012 I've been teaching weekly classes at Your Community Yoga Center in Hamden. Currently I teach Slow & Steady (formerly Yoga for 50+)Restorative Yoga and Yoga for Depression and Anxiety. In 2018 I joined the Integrative Medicine department at Smilow Cancer Center at Yale New Haven Hospital, where I teach yoga and meditation and provide Reiki to oncology patients. I volunteer taught Yoga for Veterans at the West Haven VA's Errera Community Care Center from 2015-2020 (until Covid-19 hit) and hope to resume when things settle down.

I have led self-care and resiliency sessions for staff in the Yale New Haven Psychiatric Department and for elementary school psychologists and social workers in the Hamden Public Schools system. I’ve had the privilege of twice presenting the trauma sensitive yoga module for the Breathing Deeply Yoga Therapy teacher training program in Northampton, MA.

What yoga has brought to my life and what it can bring to yours...
It is no exaggeration that yoga changes your life. That doesn't mean that there won't be obstacles, aggravations and sorrows, but yoga enables us to find the "grace and grit" (as Shari Friedrichsen expresses it) to get through it all. I've observed students dealing with cancer, grief, loss, severe depression and anxiety, and major health issues grab on to yoga practice like a life raft and navigate through unimaginable challenges, keeping their dignity and courage fully intact. Personally, it has sustained me through some dark times and enabled me to learn from and process what might otherwise have stopped me in my tracks. Have confidence that yoga will do this--and more--for you if, as written in the Yoga Sutras, you commit to practicing regularly, over a long period of time and with devotion. Maybe that sounds daunting, but I assure you that the more you devote yourself to yoga, the more you will love it until the discipline becomes a joy and you realize you've returned to your true, authentic Self.

 

Ellen McNally

Ellen McNally, E-RYT500, TCTSY-F

Trauma Center Trauma-Sensitive Yoga

Certified Facilitator

My classes are designed to support students of all ages, abilities and physical capacity to experience and explore the many gifts of yoga and meditation. I am deeply grateful to my students for continuing to teach me how to be a better teacher.

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