Today we’d like to introduce you to Alison Rothman.
Alison, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I am a 45-year old woman and have been a single mother for the past ten years. I am a longtime practitioner of yoga and meditation and grew up as a dancer. Movement and the body are my native language. I have been seeped in the realm of holistic natural health and wellness for over two decades. It is who I am.
I have also experienced an immense amount of trauma including surviving a house fire, a near-death experience while traveling alone in Mexico, and navigating the horrific court system with the father of my child. My depth of practice and connection to my inner world have carried me through these highly traumatizing experiences and have provided me with a strength and conviction that I do not believe would be possible without them. I am grateful for every experience that I have had and choose to use them all as medicine to fuel my work with others.
I am a transformational leader and change-maker through my words, sharing my story, and holding space for others to drop into their own bodies and hearts and do the same. I feel moved to open up dialogue and to create the platform for authenticity to break down barriers of our shared humanity. I have always gained so much wisdom during my dives into the darkness and that emergence back towards the light. This is, to me, living a spiritually connected and embodied life.
I developed an eating disorder at the age of 7 bringing me into close dialogue and relationship to my body. I grew up as a dancer, my body stuffed into spandex and leotards and thrust onto stages. After struggling through my teen years into early adulthood, I chose to enter a holistic residential treatment center at the ripe age of 23. I was tired of the battle, the dysfunction, and knew deep down that there was so much more to this existence as a woman. It was the most humbling, frightening, liberating, and empowering choice that I have ever made in my life and one that set me on a richer path of healing than I could have ever imagined possible.
Although I had already been a practitioner of yoga and had dabbled in meditation, this was the first experience of a truly holistic healing experience that I had partaken in. The treatment was approached from many angles and included bodywork (energy and touch), acupuncture, movement (both yoga and other conscious movement practices), time in nature, group therapy, individual therapy, art therapy, nutritional therapy, flower essence and herbal therapies, even chanting and working with the throat chakra.
This time involved hard work, unbelievably uncomfortable want to jump-out-of-skin at times and was liberating to my body, my heart, and my soul. I was able to access myself in a way that I never had before. My journey since exiting those months of treatment has involved all of these practices with my own flavor. They have remained foundational to my own growth and unending healing process and are how I approach my work with women.
After leaving treatment, I felt so raw and exposed to my core. I knew that I needed to immerse myself in a supportive community environment. I could not do this alone.
I enrolled in a Holistic Bodywork program in Tucson, Arizona. This year continued the unfolding of my healing path and deepened my connection to my body, my heart, and all of humanity in immeasurable ways. This program was supportive of healing oneself so as to become an attuned healer. To me, this is non-negotiable for those who land in a role of holding space for others. We must do our own work in order to meet others doing theirs.
The Providence Institute was a safe, supportive, loving, honoring, and conscious community welcoming the whole of my ailing and healing Self. I spent most of that year in tears as I was touched and touching others daily, feeling and processing my deepest wounds and held in the pain and conflict that had imbedded in my tissues for decades. I was unraveling and it was a beautiful thing.
When I entered this program, I did not know if I wanted to practice bodywork, I just knew that I needed this connection, this training, and this depth of healing for my own personal journey. Upon graduating, I knew that I needed to. The incredible healing that I received in my immersion through working with the body first in treatment and then at the Providence Institute, I knew in my bones and in every cell of my being needed to be shared.
The seed of my bigger mission during this lifetime was planted and it began with working on people’s bodies and supporting them in releasing stagnant emotions, painful experiences, and unearthing their life force.
That year also led me to deepen my yoga practice with consistency, an incredible local community, and an amazing and inspiring teacher. My relationship to my body was altered and enlivened during my hours at the yoga studio. I was in a deep inquiry and exploration, and my mat met me right there. Every single time.
Feeling peace and ease in my body, the expansion and openness of my heart, and the stirring of liveliness of my buried soul became my fuel to keep going. To continue my own work so as to hold others in theirs.
That was 23 years ago.
The next step of my journey brought me back to Colorado through following a dream of mine to immerse in these practices of yoga and meditation by living in a yoga ashram. Although this stint was not at all what I expected, it did lead me to residence in Boulder, Colorado where I have lived for the past 18 years.
Upon landing in Boulder, I found myself engulfed in a community that used dance, movement, and creative expression as a rite of passage. It felt as though I had come home during that first dance experience and I knew that this was the next piece of the puzzle in my healing and in my offering.
I danced, cried, created, and immersed myself in somatic therapies. I dug deep into residual wounds and traumas that remained in my body, heart, and soul. I released and liberated myself in ways that were incredibly powerful surrounded by fellow soul seekers doing their own piece of the dance.
I learned the art of holding space for groups, the importance of gathering with women in conscious connection, and how to truly liberate myself and others from the societally imposed limitations of being human, in a human body, living a human experience.
These years rocked my soul, soothed my heart, and opened up my body. I carry this time with me deep within in my own facilitation of groups.
I became a single mother when my son was only a year old (he is now 10) after an abusive and tumultuous brief marriage. Single motherhood has taught me immeasurable lessons about embodiment, presence, struggle, pain, oneness, isolation, joy, and celebration. The true polarities of humanity and how to remain embodied throughout the waves. Becoming a mother alone was not an easeful or organic process for me on the whole and truly put my practices into action.
I found myself in the throes of post-partum depression, coupled with severe isolation, sleep deprivation, and a challenging young one. Despite living in an affluent and resourced community, I was alone in every sense of the word. Those years brought me to my knees and remain a blur. My depth of practice penetrated my cells and carried me through that difficult time. They were all in me even though it was difficult to access them in many moments. Motherhood has been an endless opportunity for me to put into action the culmination of my decades of holistic practices all wrapped up together.
I am grateful to have a wide array of tools in my tool belt to meet all of what life presents, as there is more….
In January of 2016, while in midst of navigating my then 1st graders challenges in his school environment, we returned home to our house on fire. I will never forget that moment and nor will he. The moments, days, and weeks that followed that event provided me with the opportunity to feel what it feels like to be truly supported by community. A piece of me was healed through this experience after so many years of being on my own with my young one. The community rallied with a vengeance and I am still in awe of how it all unfolded. Those that showed up during that time have forever been imprinted in my heart and live in my soul.
My mat became my solace once again as my home was smoke invested and my belongings unusable. I spent countless hours on my mat crying, moving my body in ways that were supportive, opening, and also deeply holding and containing. This was my first real experience of tapping into my practice to navigate high trauma. What I found time and time again was magic. I had adapted my practice to meet me exactly where I was. My nervous system could not handle vigorous practice, I could no longer attend classes as it was too overwhelming and stimulating for me, and I knew that I needed to be with myself and everything that was surfacing.
I tended to the whole of me during this time in a way that I had never before. I drew on all of my tools that I had been cultivating all of those years and attuned to myself in a way that was truly embodied, honoring, and healing.
In midst of this event my son was struggling in school and I found myself in a yearlong advocacy of him with the school district and the professionals that were educating him. It was grueling, yet I had so much more of myself to bring to the battle. My practices were my foundation and I was able to rise up and meet the tension with a sense of power, conviction, and mamabear wisdom that was needed.
As my son found his way in his new school environment with amazing caregivers and I was able to exhale for the first time in his educational life I was taken to court by my son’s father. I saw and experienced first-hand the dysfunction and abuse of the court system as I was placed on the stand and humiliated and degraded by a male attorney with no respect for women or mothers. This was echoed by a judge and my life was turned upside down. Those 3 hours on the stand, the unnecessary attack on who I was as a woman and a mother had a tremendously traumatizing effect on me. I experienced how trauma can embed in our tissues as I exited the premises in midst of this intentional denunciation.
I spent the next 6 months reeling from this event and learned how to be with myself and tend to my body and my heart in a kind, compassionate, and attentive way. I was in a deep despair over this occurrence and it gave me the fertile ground to deepen in my own healing and embodiment as I met myself in the darkness in a very new way. I had a child to take care of and a newfound motivation and inspiration to utilize all of my practices in a way that could honor what I had been through, hold me, and also keep the energy moving. I dove deeply into my meditation practice, I walked in nature, I cooked good food, and I wrote down my hearts expressions. I poured myself into my healing and found my way through the darkness in a sustainable and integrated way. The ripples of that experience remained with me and provided me with many moments of putting my practices into action. I am grateful for that time of diving deep as I gained even more perspective and appreciation for myself and my capacity to heal as well as an immense amount of compassion for women everywhere whom have been under the same cruel microscope.
As I found my way back to the surface and gathered my breath, my 43rd birthday arrived. I chose to go to Mexico on a solo adventure, which I had done many times prior. Without going into elaborate detail I found myself in a space of not knowing whether or not I was going to live or die. I was witness to a hit by the Mexican drug cartel where 5 people were murdered. I was protected by a local who helped me to hide while this event occurred. The moments of not knowing if you are going to die are terrifying but are also incredibly grounding. You are given perspective and a profound sense of peace. Although I did not know if my physical body would be ok, I actually knew that everything was ok. No regrets, no remorse, only prayers of peace.
Those moments of not knowing if I was going to live or die woke me up to the essence of who I am.
There was no time to panic, cry, regret, mourn….it was just me with me.
It was a time of connection that I had never experienced before and one that I have continuously referenced as I have returned.
I felt more alive in that moment of pending death than I ever have before.
I returned home from Mexico with a fire lit under me and a deep inner knowing of not only who I am but also the impact that I want to have on those I am blessed to cross paths with. Life has gone on since then and I remain forever altered by that moment of truly not knowing if I would board that plane back home or not. My appreciation for being alive and my conviction to spread light in this world desperately in need of it has been magnified.
With each seemingly derailing event that has occurred in my life I have gained a new level of strength. My inner muscles of perseverance have been carved. It has required consistent and diligent practice of returning to myself, my truth, my heart, my body, and my mission for my lifetime. I feel a responsibility to utilize the medicine and wisdom that I have gleaned over these decades to support and educate other women seekers.
My mission during my remaining years, recognizing that we simply have no idea when our time will come, is to live awake. To continually appreciate all of life and how it is unfolding, to open my heart to those I am blessed to cross paths with, to make a positive difference in as many lives as I am able to, to stay true to myself upright in who I am, to embrace the aging process with grace, and to become even more skilled at riding the waves of this human existence….living from my heart and deeply connected to my soul.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?It has definitely not been a smooth road as my previous story shared. There have been many, many road bumps of varying degrees. And, my path is my path. It has led me to where I am at 45 years of age. I feel more connected and sensitive to the whole of humanity, a genuine love and care for others, a deep appreciation for living, a heightened awareness of the magnitude of our everyday impact on each other and a passion and commitment to living a life of meaning as a result of my life experiences.
My teaching, coaching, and facilitation are all influenced by my navigation of and healing from trauma, an eating disorder and other addictions, the trials and tribulations of single motherhood, and other life’s challenges. I truly believe that from pain comes wisdom.
I take pride in my capacity to share with authenticity from a raw and human place — breaking down the barriers to our humanity. It is always my intention and hope that inspiration can be gleaned from hearing of my healing journey and the transformational impact that this work has had on my life; shedding light on the dark.
My strength and competence in supporting others in their personal healing is a direct result of my personal experiences.
My life’s work is to bring those that I have the privilege of working with, closer to that raw experience of their human existence. To support them in releasing debilitating addictive patterns and to be real, authentic, vulnerable, and accepting of themselves. To own who they truly are and to share themselves from that place of embodiment and aliveness.
I feel as though we are all placed on the planet for a reason. We all have value and purpose – it is truly about clearing out those cobwebs, old stories, and patterning to step more fully into the truth of who we are and our life’s purpose.
Societal messages and other ingrained patterns can create unbelievably debilitating and disempowering inhibitions to shining our light and stepping out as full and embodied women. How often do we have a vision, a goal, a desire, or an action that we need or want to take in our lives only to be stopped by that inner voice of fear?
Fear of the unknown, fear of failure, fear of being too much, fear of being exposed, fear of being vulnerable with others, fear of not being liked, fear of success, fear of breaking cycles…the list goes on and on. I see this pattern all too often in my work with women and am in my own personal dance with it daily. It is rampant.
Continuously stepping out into the world with the whole of who we are and an open heart takes courage. It takes a willingness to be seen in our tender and vulnerable humanness. An openness to showing our perfectly imperfect human existence. It requires us to push through those voices of fear…over and over and over again.
It is a risk and means to truly live and learn.
There is never going to be the exact perfect moment to step forward towards what it is that we want to create in our lives. The fear will always follow suit and it is up to us as to how to meet that fear and persevere despite it.
Fear inhibits movement on so many levels. It keeps us stuck in habitual ways of living, being, relating, and operating in our lives.
Recognizing and acknowledging our own unique paths, medicine to offer the world, and individual beauty to be created is so important in moving forward — stepping out of fear and into possibility.
You have to feel the fear and do it anyhow. Feel the rejection, because not every is going to love you and that is perfectly OK. Believe in yourself, even if others do not. Take action despite the risks of failure – despite being too much for some – despite your imperfections.
I was absolutely queen of saying that I would create the retreat, the program, the class, etc. “when” I was perfect and really ready. You can fill in your own blank there – there is always something – some reason not to take action. Some reason not to expose yourself.
Personally I got to the point in myself where I knew I could not wait until the “perfect moment” to take action because I recognized that there was never going to be a perfect moment.
I want to shout from the rooftop, hold hands and guide women, and continuously share the message to not wait – do not wait until you are perfect to take steps towards your dreams because you may way a very long time and never get there. We just do not know how long we have to in this lifetime to live.
What should we know about Embody Life Holistic Wellness ? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
I have decades of experience both personally and professionally in the realm of the healing arts and holistic health and wellness. My work is focused on supporting women to heal sustainably through various holistic and embodied based practices. Different methods and modalities are appropriate for various times in one’s life as well as in the many layers of our healing. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to sustainable and holistic healing. I bring into my sessions a wide array of tools to meet clients wherever they are along their path.
I am committed to supporting women in creating boundless regeneration in their lives. My methodology is not a quick fix. It is not about putting a bandaid on the issues. It is about digging deep inside and doing the work to enrich self-awareness, unwind the body and nervous system, repattern habitual ways of living and being, cultivating a willingness to look at oneself consistently and reverently, and finding the courage step out of your comfort zone. It takes diligence and commitment to oneself to heal in this way.
When we approach our healing from a holistic place, coming at it from every angle possible, we create the landing pad for sustainable and embodied healing. We are changed on a cellular level and in order to sustain these changes we must meet ourselves from an ever-evolving place. We have the opportunity to truly embody our lives in every moment.
Our world is set up in such a way that keeps us spinning in patterns and cycles of existence – some of which perhaps do not serve. I support women how to live an embodied life…no matter what is going on within and around them.
What is living an embodied life?
To be embodied is to feel deeply connected to the truth of who you are in body, in your heart, in your spirit, and in your soul. It is a felt sense, an experience of oneness, of wholeness. It does not depend on how you look or your state of being or your life circumstances. It is an experience of deep presence in oneself – no matter what is going on in and around you. It is a deep peace with yourself in midst of the swirls of life. It is a reference point and an access point – a way of living and being in connection right into the heart of who you are. It is not something that you attain and remain there. It is a constant dance and inquiry and ebbs and flows with the waves of life. It is an experience of deep inner connection and can feel like a warm blanket and calm in midst of the storm.
Feeling embodied and connected to your embodiment has so much to do with embracing exactly where you are. Cultivating the capacity to remain present in the face of adversity, connected to your breath, and allowing the bodies sensations to just be there. It could involve movement and it could involve stillness. It comes and goes and over time and with practice lingers for longer stints of time.
It is a gateway to the depths of your soul.
I offer my work in various platforms including Women’s Retreats (Day/Weekend/Weeklong), One-On-One Coaching Sessions, and Group Coaching. I create and hold the space for women to unwind their systems and access the truth of who they are. I provide them with the space to rest into themselves so as to access their inner wisdom and innate capacity to heal. When we let our systems unwind and settle, we have the opportunity to remember our aliveness and our inner-connection. We remember that we are not alone and that despite all that we may have endured in our lives that we are strong and can choose to live from an upright and empowered place.
Below I will describe in more detail each of these options:
My intention for the retreats is to create the space for women to drop into themselves, tend to their bodies and hearts, connect with each other from an authentic place, and to have an experience of feeling held and honored in exactly who they are.
As women, we have been set up to juggle endless roles and responsibilities. We rarely have those opportunities to drop in with ourselves, tune into our bodies, listen to our hearts, and share with others from an authentic and connected place. The women’s retreats that I offer create that time and space for women to just BE exactly who they are and where they are in their lives. They are a platform for women to remember that they are not alone, despite the isolation that so many feel on a day-to-day basis. Our struggles and challenges and our joys and celebrations need to be shared and witnessed. These womens retreats are an opportunity to share space with other women without pretense. They are unique in that they are a truly holistic experience of embodiment. I believe that we must resource ourselves in our bodies and calm our systems before we can meet another with presence and authenticity. The retreat format is such that there is a beautiful flow between connection with Self through movement and breath, the mind through quiet meditation, the heart and soul through writing and reflection, and other women through group connection in sacred circle. There is space to be exactly where they are and to take care of themselves in a deeply nourishing way. The level of safety is established upon arriving and the container is held with reverence. They are therapeutic, honoring, and healing landing pads of connection.
**One-On-One Sessions and Group Program**
I offer a 6 month online coaching program which includes 2 monthly sessions with me as well as online modules with juicy talks, practices (yoga, meditation, writing), holistic lifestyle encouragement, deep dives into various realms of our patterns, and much more. This program is offered to do individually or in a group format with monthly group meetings in addition to our coaching sessions.
This program was birthed from my decades of experiences, practices, and immersion in the world of holistic health and wellness. It was highly influenced by my own journey in healing from an eating disorder, unwinding trauma, and navigating challenging life terrain. The program modules in conjunction with our work together is incredibly powerful and effective. The individual program can be done by anyone no matter where you are located as I do some sessions via Zoom. The group option is for women in the Denver/Boulder area.
For more information about the program on the whole, please visit: https://www.embodymylife.com/program
For the group option, please visit:
I also offer what I call a Discovery Session if you are interested in working together yet are not quite ready to make the 6-month commitment. Together we will have a detailed, exploratory, and holistic coaching session clarifying needs, goals, and vision in ones health and wellness. This Discovery Session is supportive in clarifying next steps along your coaching journey so as to create the optimal pathway for you in gaining necessary support. The Discovery Session is a great first step if you are new to the world of holistic health and healing and want the opportunity to connect with me in a way that is supportive of uncovering what you are needing as an individual on your path of wellness.
What do you feel are the biggest barriers today to female leadership, in your industry or generally?
I see women censoring themselves and cowering to those around them in both their personal worlds and professional environments. It is so easy to try and remain small so as to not ruffle anyone’s feathers or become too visible. This is stifling our potentiality and creativity on a soul level and greatly inhibits our capacity to move forward in our lives and in our careers.
As women, we naturally fall into the comparison trap, which is an ingrained pattern beginning when we are young girls. This is sadly fed by social media and society as a whole.
We have to stop comparing ourselves to each other. Our bodies, our bank accounts, our children, our IG followers, our career paths….It does not serve anyone and it is very unimportant.
As a single mom who struggled for so many years just to keep a roof over our heads and food in the fridge, it was easy for me to hide my power, my creativity, and my purpose behind the wall of shame. It is epidemic and a tremendous piece of the why I do the work that I do.
We need to drop the barriers between us, continuously lift the veils of shame which are stifling and inhibiting us from living a juicy, full, and creative life. We apologize for our existence entirely too often. This is such bullshit and so disturbing. I invite you to notice the next time you are apologizing for something that you did or said or how you are. Why are you apologizing? How does that feel? Why are you giving your power away in that situation/scenario?
We all have the capacity to live a life of purpose and meaning. We must let go of the comparisons, the walls and barriers, the ruthless evaluations of each other and open our hearts to one another. We must hold each other with compassion, empathy, and reverence. We must support each other in our life’s work and passions.
We have to learn to support each other as women. To see each other, hear each other, honor each other, and celebrate our uniqueness and differences. Holding each other with reverence, compassion, and deep love for the experience of being a woman in today’s culture and society. Supporting each other only magnifies our individual power and collective capacity to create change on the planet, which we need more than ever.
- Address: 2346 Broadway
Boulder, CO. 80304
- Website: www.embodymylife.com
- Phone: 303-443-3972
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @embody_life
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EmbodyLifeHolisticWellness/
The professional shots are by: Erin Zahradka at https://www.studiozedboulder.com