Teacher Highlight: Q&A with Raven Brown

Raven (she/they) is an experienced yoga teacher and master of Social Work student heavily committed to social justice and somatic care. They honor ancient healing practices and one’s ability to self-heal. Considering themself a mid-life doula, they believe in walking with you in your own ushering in of yourself. Raven has completed trauma informed teacher training and in their teaching you will be sure to experience themes of trauma informed yoga as well as influence from Tantra, Somatic Experiencing, Social Work values, yogic and subtle body philosophy, and their own ancestral wisdom. Their classes include pranayama, meditation, and intuitive movement. Raven is an intuitive tarot reader, womanist, pleasure activist, and erotism witch. 

1. How did you first become acquainted with yoga?

My very first yoga experience was when I was 17 at the gym I used to work out at. I just loved moving my body in new ways and had heard that yoga was good for you. Growing up as a dancer, I was intrigued and made my mom come with me! I loved it and though, like many people, it didn't take right away. I began to practice occasionally (at gyms, in $5 community classes at studios, and at my college's studio) as a supplement to weight lifting and then finally in my junior year of college it really clicked that this was for me. I was practicing sometimes 8 times a week and that was when I first had the thought "I think I want to teach this"!

2. You are committed to social work and social justice. Do you find that any of your learnings ever show up on the mat?

Oh soooo often! It is the entire reason I teach yoga! Because I believe in collective and community care. I believe that it is a healing modality that everyone deserves access to and can engage in in their own unique way whether that be fast, power asana or a mindfulness practice that takes 2 minutes AND that not everyone has historically been given equal access due to various barriers. I think that it is a partially borrowed and mostly stolen practice that has been gatekept and because of that, has given some people more access to healing than others. I find myself always teaching in a way and in spaces that recognize this and really work to share power in every possible way in service of collective liberation. This commitment shows up in what I teach in my classes, what I choose to say, how I acknowledge the practice's and my own lineage, and so much in how I engage with both my own and my student's bodies, minds, and spirits.

3. Can you briefly explain what somatic care is and what it means to you?

The previous question leads so nicely into this. Somatic care is care relating to the body. It acknowledges the whole person and that our bodies are intrinsically connected to our minds, spirits, and both conscious and unconscious memories. It really takes the stand that the body is extremely intelligent and that it stores much of our lives, both past and present. I love using the body as an access to healing trauma of all kinds. Instead of separating our humanity from our spirituality or our emotionality, I believe that all parts of us are working together and the body can be a great access to healing, joy, pleasure, celebration, and liberation.

4. How do you unwind at the end of the day?

I love to engage in a movement practice of my own! Sometimes that's a mindful practice like a slow and intentional yoga practice, sometimes it's a mindless practice like shaking or dancing or moving intuitively. Sometimes I do things that are more gentle like a restorative practice and sometimes I do things more rigorous like an intense spin or HIIT class. But I try to move the day's energy through and out of my body so it doesn't get stuck. I work with other people's energy, emotions, and trauma pretty much all day every day and I need to get it off of me at the end of the day! I also love just cozying up on the couch with my partner to watch a show or spending some quality time with friends.

5. Can you share a book that you’ve enjoyed reading?

Oh gosh SO many!!! The most recent one that I've finished that was INCREDIBLE was a novel called The Book of Longings. Highly recommend it. I also adore Pleasure Activism, The Four Agreements, The Argonauts, and All About Love.