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Restorative Yoga for Ethnic and Race-Based Stress and Trauma

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Presenting ways in which Restorative Yoga can contribute to healing emotional wounds, this book invites yoga teachers, therapists and practitioners to consider the psychological impact of ethnic and race-based stress and trauma. It aids in the process of uncovering, examining, and healing one's own emotional wounds and offers insight into avoiding wounding or re-wounding others.

The book describes how race-based traumatic stress differs from PTSD and why a more targeted approach to treatment is necessary, as well as what can trigger it. It also considers the implications of an increasingly racially and ethnically diverse and global yoga community, as well as the importance of creating conscious yoga communities of support and connection, where issues of race and ethnicity are discussed openly, non-defensively and constructively.

By providing a therapeutic structure that assists those directly and indirectly impacted by ethnic and race-based stress and trauma, Restorative Yoga for Ethnic and Race-Based Stress and Trauma provides valuable tools for aiding in the processing of stressful experiences and in trauma recovery.
  • Published: Aug 21 2020
  • Pages: 224
  • 226 x 58mm
  • ISBN: 9781787751859
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Press Reviews

  • Matthew J. Taylor, PT, PhD, C-IAYT, director of SmartSafeYoga, past president of IAYT, and international pain and yoga safety expert.

    Dr. Parker has gifted the world with this elegant, powerful book of insights, challenges, and hope. She masterfully weaves the worlds of yoga, healing, trauma and culture in clear, powerful prose. The practices offer you a new understanding of "yoga." You aren't addressing the cultural kleshas? Then get the book!
  • Shirley Telles MBBS, Ph.D., Director, Patanjali Research Foundation, Haridwar, India

    Dr. Gail Parker has covered the important subject of race-based trauma with sensitivity, scientific precision and empathy. Yoga is presented with the principles of yoga, detailed practices, convincing case histories and anecdotes as a way to achieve deep healing. A compelling read for everyone interested in health, healing and harmony!
  • Patrice Gaines, author of Laughing in the Dark

    We should all be thankful that Gail Parker, wounded by her own experience of racism, stumbled upon a yoga class. Later, as a psychologist, she came to recognize the healing possible in the stillness of Restorative Yoga. This book is Parker's gracious offering, a beautifully written survival guide for those who have experienced ethnic and race-based stress and trauma, but also for those who wound and re-wound others. It demands we be honest and no longer deny or repress our pain or the pain we inflict upon others. It brilliantly shows us that we have the ability to heal and accept with grace the commonness of our humanity.
  • Desiree Cooper, author, Pulitzer-Prize nominated journalist, race and gender activist

    Gail Parker has delivered a surprising, thoughtful, rigorous book about how yoga practice can exacerbate racial trauma, especially if it is done without awareness of the unique aspect of race based stress. Chock full of concise examples and concrete steps, Restorative Yoga for Ethnic and Race Based Stress and Trauma prepares instructors and practitioners alike for the spiritual work of healing racial wounds. This book should be required reading for yoga studio owners, yoga teachers, yoga therapists and for everyone practicing yoga while black.
  • Rane Bowen and Jo Stewart, The Flow Artists Podcast

    A powerful read for people of all races. Dr Gail Parker insightfully explains the cumulative effects that race based micro aggressions and larger traumatic events can have upon the nervous system and state of mind. She weaves together her personal experiences, training as a psychologist, yogic philosophy and the nurturing practice of restorative yoga to provide a framework for understanding and recovery.
  • Dessa Stone, Ph.D

    A timely, penetrating search for commonality in a racialized world. Dr. Parker expands the construct of trauma as an assault to the fundamental human need to belong, and examines the traumatic consequences of social exclusion. Healing requires embracing our inner connectedness, and questioning personal and social beliefs that divide us. The book asks more questions than it answers. Let the conversation begin!
  • Helen Avery, yoga teacher/diversity and inclusion journalist

    A transformative book - not just for yoga practitioners. Through yoga philosophy, research and story Dr Gail Parker illuminates how we each add to and suffer from racial trauma. The wisdom and practices shared offer the opportunity to heal ourselves and our communities.
  • Paula Christian Kliger PhD, psychologist, psychoanalyst and organizational consultant, author of Power Your Heart, You Power Your Mind: Self-Study then Build a Bridge to Someone (SEDA Press, 2018)

    Simply put, Dr. Gail Parker 's book is an Awakening. Empowering. Inspiring hope. Life-changing! Dr. Parker offers us a gift of a lifetime! She engages us in a journey into the deep historical underpinnings and progression of racism, and ethnic and race-based trauma, to ground us in an awareness of the enduring visible and invisible "wounds" to mind, body, emotion and spirit. She then guides us through, onto a path of HOPE, anchored in the inner work of "self-study" and the "healing balm" of Restorative Yoga. Dr. Parker's in-depth exploration of trauma and its effects ... embedded in all our intergenerational lives ... made me want to cry. I could identify with the pain, but I was also touched by her care, extraordinary insights, and the wisdom she gives away so generously. Gail Parker speaks from an intuitive and open heart and she will awaken in you a shift of heart and mind that will move you toward the powerful healing potential of a "Restorative Yoga" practice. Truly Life-changing!
  • Laurie Hyland Robertson, Editor in Chief, Yoga Therapy Today

    Gail Parker's important work is a welcome portal into a critical conversation in which we are all engaged. Uniquely, this book is also a thoughtful roadmap for furthering that conversation through the healing practices of yoga.
  • Hiram E. Jackson, CEO, Real Times Media

    Gail Parker has been a trusted colleague for over two decades. I've always admired her ability to keep her finger on the pulse of issues affecting our community. With this book, she combines decades of experience into a guide for yoga teachers and practitioners to transform yoga into an inclusive space for all.
  • Jana Long, Executive Director, Black Yoga Teachers Alliance

    Dr. Gail Parker's skills as a psychologist, researcher, yoga educator and storyteller converge to share multiple ways a comprehensive and practical application of yoga can restore body, mind and spirit and neutralize the harmful impact of ethnic and race-based trauma. She empowers individuals to acknowledge their racial wounding while shining light on the need for deep healing among those who inflict race-based violence. This book is useful for everyone seeking pathways of peace and understanding to heal the human family.
  • Bo Forbes, Psy.D., Psychologist, yoga teacher, and author of Yoga for Emotional Balance

    Powerfully and compassionately written, this book remedies the silence our culture maintains around issues of race, ethnicity, and oppression. Dr. Gail Parker fluidly integrates science, psychology, yoga philosophy, and spiritual activism to illustrate the importance of racial unity in diversity and of doing the inner work that helps us achieve it. The book is peppered with captivating stories and opportunities for study through reflection sections, discussion points, and practice. It is a must-read, both for people with privilege and those who experience oppression. It will transform the work of yoga teachers, yoga therapists, psychotherapists, and anyone who wants to be more aware of ethnic and race-based stress and trauma and how to address it.
  • Serena Jetelina, CYT, Yoga Therapist, and Producer at Yoga International

    Dr. Parker has delivered a concise, frank, and yet non-confrontational look into a sensitive subject. She has opened the door for understanding with insightful and gentle provocations that, rather than telling you how to be, encourage beneficial self-reflection and supportive dialogue that can lead to healing. It is not just a book about how the tools of yoga can help heal race-based stress and trauma - it is an invitation to dive into our own psyche and heart, and into the shoes of others - to pierce through the veils of illusion and be able to see clearly. For anyone who has been affected by or contributed to racial prejudices, or perhaps isn't sure, I recommend this book. I also highly recommend this book for any yoga teacher, as it is important to understand where students could be coming from, and how to help support wholeness rather than knowingly or unknowingly contributing to separation and suffering.
  • Regina H. Boone, Photojournalist, Richmond Free Press

    Dr. Gail Parker's Restorative Yoga for Ethnic and Race-based Stress and Trauma is a unique read. Parker writes from the perspective of a woman who grew up during the Jim Crow era --- some of America's cruelest, harshest and unjust times. She is a psychologist. She is a meditation and yoga instructor. All of these experiences create the perfect package to lead this overdue discussion. She is a truth-seeker and wants all of us to find our truth. This is her gift to us to heal. We all should thank her for guiding us along this path.
  • Tamara Jeffries, yoga instructor, professor of journalism at Bennett College, former executive editor of Essence magazine

    Our racialized world has wounded not only people of color, but all of us. That is a central message of Gail Parker's book-and why it's such an important one. She invites us to acknowledge our race-based stress and trauma-without shame or blame-then offers compassionate, science-based strategies for healing. It's a needed book in our times.
  • Daheia J. Barr-Anderson, PhD, MSPH, FACSM, 250-hour RYT and conducts research in African-American women

    This book shook me to my core as I had to not only confront my own trauma as an African-American woman, but the trauma of others. But then it brought me peace (in the form of yoga) as Dr. Gail provided concrete tools for collective healing. If you are committed to any level of social justice, this book is a must read to heal not only yourself but to help heal others.
  • Dr. Terry Harris, Co-founder of The Collective STL

    Dr. Gail Parker's powerful new book is delivered with love, compassion and liberation. Dr. Parker reminds us, through personal story telling, the wounds and scars caused by racial and ethic trauma and the the need for radical healing. This is the book we have collectively been waiting for. This book is a love offering of straightforward life changing tools to foster healing in ourselves and transform our communities.