A mother should never have to bury her child. The unimaginable pain is something I wouldn’t even know how to survive. But Joyce Bosen did survive, and she is now helping others to heal from their own traumas. It was her determination to overcome the helplessness the grief brought into her life that lead to the creation of Trauma Recovery Yoga (TRY). She had been a yoga teacher before her son Jake died. After his death, she struggled with how to continue living. When she attempted to return to yoga in a studio, it felt wrong. There were aspects of yoga that brought about anxiety. The music playing in the studio was her son’s favorite artist; she couldn’t see the exits, and the instructor was walking around the room and touching people to make adjustments to their postures. She felt as if even yoga was failing her.
She went home and created a yoga method that worked for her. And when her counselors at the VA took notice of her improvement, they inquired as to what she was doing for herself. She told them how she changed yoga to comfort herself. She was asked to bring the method to their facility and teach it to others. Soon, she had so many requests for the method she had to enlist others to help. With her husband Darwin Bosen, they put together Trauma Recovery Yoga, LLC and have now taught the method to over 500 people; TRY is now reaching traumatized individuals worldwide.
The thing about TRY is after you attend a class, you realize the healing power of this method. And there’s a percentage of students who find themselves wanting to take the TRY teacher training workshop in order to share the healing they are receiving. People like me ~ I often say I had never wanted to do yoga in my life, but after a tragic and traumatic event turned my life upside down, I saw a Facebook post for a TRY class at a yoga studio literally 4 minutes from my house and said to myself, “I don’t know why, but I need to go to this.” Joyce was the teacher that day, and when she got to the part where she says, “Are you breathing in or are you breathing out?” it became instantly clear to me that this was what was going to help me heal. And it has and continues to, because healing is not linear. Eventually, I started hosting a weekly TRY class in my commercial building (we call it 705TRY). And a few years after becoming more and more involved with TRY, I was asked to be the documentarian.
Sometimes I think how hard it is to write these blog posts. The process can be emotional as I speak with people about their own traumas. But I know the event I personally experienced, the things I saw and heard, will never leave me. There are times I think of it every single day. But by sharing others’ stories and the relief they find through practicing TRY, it fills my heart with a warm feeling that of this awful part of my life has come an opportunity to help others.
Max Carter, who three years ago found himself lost and grieving following the sudden accidental death of his beloved wife, reached out to me after he saw one of the Facebook event posts I had made in a neighborhood group. The first night he attended our class, he felt a sense of calm and that he was in a safe place. He continued to attend the weekly TRY class, and before long, he found himself enrolled in the 20 hour TRY teacher training workshop; he became certified to teach TRY in January 2018 and taught his first class in October of that year. He continues to teach a TRY class every Monday night at 6pm in a facility for those seeking substance abuse outpatient services. In addition, Max recently joined the TRY teacher training team; he taught at the February workshop in Boulder City.
“Why would a lumpy old guy like me go to yoga? I still don’t know but I did. The realization that I wasn’t the only one in the room sweating profusely and tipping over was somehow welcoming. Then there was this magical thing called “Shavasana” that made me feel it was ok to cry. (Shavasana is the Sanskrit word for the meditation part of our practice.) ~MC
And there’s Tiffane Wheeler, who first learned of TRY while participating in a 200 hour yoga teacher training session. As she watched Joyce demo the method, she knew she wanted to bring it to a summer camp for children who are burn survivors. She had attended the camp as a child due to burns she received in a fire. She continues to attend as a counselor. She completed TRY teacher training and has taught in elementary and middle schools, at the behavioral hospital to seniors, teenagers and trauma and recovery (detox) individuals, and to medical students at the UNLV School of Medicine. She now is part of the TRY teacher training team along with Max.
Not everyone who attends a TRY class will go on to teacher training, and not all those who attend teacher training will teach. Some people take the training for a better idea of how the method is helping them heal. Others may use parts of the training in their business or personal life. Jackie, a lady who has taken the teacher training and sometimes attends 705TRY, does not teach TRY but she has used some of the self-regulation tools with the students at her school where she is a counselor. The repetition of positive self affirmations in the form of “I am” is extremely beneficial, especially to youngsters who may not have the best environment. Jackie had painted a hand mirror at one of our TRY events. She brought this to school and now uses it during counseling sessions where she has the children look in the mirror and say positive I ams. She has had good success with the mirror activity. Her comment to me was, “It has been powerful in helping to heal and transform thoughts both in group settings and individually.”
TED is a nonprofit organization that delivers ideas in the form of short, powerful talks of 18 minutes or less. TEDx is a program of TED in which local, self-organized events gather people to share a TED-like experience. The TEDxDelthorneWomen combines video and live speakers to create a conversation about the concept of Better Together. Brenda Hershey, one of our TRY trained instructors, learned of the Delthorne TEDx speaking event and submitted Joyce’s name and information last year. Joyce was notified she had been selected as a speaker for the December 2019 event. She was provided with some coaching sessions by the organization. In addition, her nephew Jason and his husband Adam coached Joyce intensely for weeks prior to the presentation. Jason is an ER doctor in Las Vegas who accompanied Joyce to Virginia when she received the call that her son Jake had lost his legs under a moving train and was fighting for his life. He got her to the hospital where Jake had been taken, he communicated with the doctors there, and provided much needed support for Joyce during and after the event.
The TEDx talk Joyce gave was powerful, emotional, and informative and received much positive response and engagement. It is now posted on YouTube and has had over 3000 views. Here is the link to it:
The rules put in place by TEDx are very strict – you may not name your organization in the talk. Unfortunately, Joyce mentioned TRY so the last part of of her video was cut off. Thiss what she said in the final 45 seconds of her talk:
“That was a quick sample a method built upon self-regulation, created by myself and a team of mind body experts including Dr Nicole Anders from the VA and my husband Darwin Bosen. Together we picked apart my PTSD diagnosis, symptom by symptom, to find relief from the fight or flight loop I was caught in post-trauma. This method drew a tribe that signed up to be trained and armed with these tools and these healers and helpers have swept the nation and the globe over the past 5 years. From Syrian refugee camps, to fire stations in Las Vegas after 1 October, to Title 1 schools, military bases and hospital parking lots for moms shouting at the sky! All with the hopes for themselves and their communities to live the words “turning loss into blessings” Much of recovery comes through seeing the relief and reignited hope in the eyes of others. If it were not for one beautiful soul leaving this planet too soon, hundreds would not have come together to support thousands through their pain. As the great agnostic Robert Ingersoll said, “We rise by lifting others” —– we are better together.“
On Thursday, February 20 at 4:30pm, Joyce’s nephew Dr. Jason Jones will host a TEDx Viewing Party at his home in honor of our founder, Joyce Bosen. The full video will be screened. The public is welcome to attend this free event. If you have been interested in Trauma Recovery Yoga and have not yet connected with us, this would be a perfect occasion to meet Joyce and members of our “TRYb”. We are always pleased to talk about our mission and answer any questions.
Here are the details:
Address: 2800 Ashby Ave, Las Vegas, NV 89102
4:30-5pm – arrive
5pm – speak about Joyce & TRY
5:15pm – FULL LENGTH TedX viewing
5:30pm – SOUND BATH (feel free to bring a yoga mat or a blanket)
6pm – POTLUCK nibbles & drinks & HUGS for all
Additional information about Trauma Recovery Yoga may be found on our website at traumarecoveryyoga.org. Class schedules and descriptions, workshop information and more about the Downtown Yoga & Wellness Co-op can be found on the website at dtlvcoop.com.