The idea of collective trauma and individual trauma have shaped the work of yoga teacher, therapist, and activist Hala Khouri.
Hala Khouri has been teaching yoga and movement for over 25 years. As a trained psychologist, she does clinical work with people struggling with trauma, depression, and anxiety. She trains clinicians and yoga teachers as well as educators and non-profits to be trauma informed. Khouri is trained in Somatic Experiencing and with Seane Corn and Suzanne Sterling is a co-founder of Off the Mat, Into the World, a training organization that bridges yoga and activism in pursuit of social justice.
Her article, “Right Now We’re All Disregulated” appears in the March/April print issue of Spirituality & Health, and her new book is Peace from Anxiety: Get Grounded, Build Resilience & Stay Connected Amidst the Chaos.
As a child, Khouri experienced civil war in her native Lebanon, and her parents were able to move the family to the U.S. when she was 3. The idea of collective trauma and individual trauma shaped her life work, including the movement work. “Trauma lives in the body, not in the mind,” she says. And, she assures us, we can experience trauma yet not be traumatized—these are different things.
She and Rabbi Rami discuss about how trauma informed work recognizes inequality and injustice. “Justice has to be about healing, not just restitution,” she says. They talk about the work the United States must do to deal with its own “childhood”: slavery and genocide, and the damage it left. But our collective psyche is changeable, she assures us, and we can heal as we move toward a more diverse power structure.
Listen to the podcast for the rest of this interesting, and ultimately optimistic, conversation.
Learn more about Hala Khouri and her work at halakhouri.com.
Keep reading: Editorial director Kalia Kelmenson interviews Hala Khouri in the story “Addressing Trauma Through Yoga Practice.”