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Life and Work with Anna Smith

Today we’d like to introduce you to Anna Smith.

Anna, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Hope Bound Collective has been a long dream, born out of my journey of heartache and healing. Becoming a yoga practitioner in 2011, I quickly noticed the remarkable benefits one receives from mindful yoga practice, but I was caught in a war with my body, mind, and heart.

As a survivor of sexual exploitation and abuse, I found myself as a young adult alienated from my body. I battled fiercely with feeling in control, my body caught in the conflict between embodiment and dissociation. My fight transpired into an eating disorder that emerged at a young age and self-harm through over exercising. For me, contempt towards self was my norm, and the manifestation of kindness seems like an anomaly for a select few.

When I first began taking yoga classes, I had little visceral feeling, and I felt separate from my body. My dissociation was through the roof. My body and heartfelt utterly estranged. I believe a curation of yoga and talk therapy saved my life, my yoga teachers and therapist were kind navigators of my story. They empowered me with practical tools to repair and heal. Slowly, I regained freedom and autonomy. As I grew into a kind and empathic relationship with my body, I recovered from the eating disorder and addiction to exercise. I discovered that kindness towards our entire selves is possible. My healing journey led me to pursue becoming a 200-hour level yoga teacher through the Kunga Yoga Lifestyle Teacher Training in 2014, then onto completing my Master’s in Social Work in 2016 and then in 2018 receiving my 300-hour training in Kunga Yoga Therapeutic Essentials Teacher Training, taught at The Wilmington Yoga Center. Then, in 2019, opening the doors to Hope Bound Collective, a yoga and counseling center tailored to the needs of trauma survivors in Fort Collins, Colorado. My hope is to create a safe space that offers survivors of trauma to heal by safe connection to their bodies.

Despite our circumstance, at Hope Bound Collective we believe healing is possible. Yoga and counseling, like many services, are just a tool, but you already have everything you need inside of you to heal, I am just honored to be a small part of the process.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
In 2012, my life drastically changed when I started regular therapy to deal with the aftermath of a traumatic childhood and a history of sexual exploitation. There in the midst of deep heartache, I met myself in a new way and found that healing is possible through a healthy connection with self and others. I’ve learned, it’s not an easy road, but a rich and glorious one. If I’d not had a wrecking within my own trauma recovery by seeking out alternatives to healing like yoga, I would have not opened the doors to Hope Bound Collective in 2019. Living a life asking the bigger questions of who am I in the midst of this grand picture is choosing to be propelled by passion. Following passion has brought me into the seasons of grief and moments of joy. Yet I find myself continuing to choose the path that offers risk, delight, and beauty. We cannot know the depths of success without befriending challenge. Obstacles pin us to look at who we really are and name what truly matters.

I started Hope Bound Collective because I realized that trauma recovery does not exist in a vacuum, our bodies hold stories and we need a safe space to listen to what our they are saying. I’m passionate about freedom and by saying yes to the small studio space in Old Town Fort Collins, I am responding to all the others before me and behind me, naming you matter and I will create space for us to heal together. With every challenge, we have an opportunity to grieve, reflect and grow; nothing that is good is wasted, I believe this. I also believe every story stacks on each other, where you were five years ago will somehow echo you into the next five years ahead. The more we listen to what awakes our own soul the chooser we get to our gem of existence, following the path where carrier and purpose collide.

Please tell us about Hope Bound Collective.
At Hope Bound Collective, we strive to improve the quality of life for persons who’ve experienced trauma by offering a compassionate and mindful yoga practice and counseling.

Students will experience yoga taught in a safe and empathic environment. Throughout the class or personal session, students will be able to explore their connection with their bodies through the use of interoception and express free choice through their inquiry. Hope Bound Yoga offers a yoga practice that allows us to deepen our understanding of who we are in relationship to our bodies. Often past life experiences such as trauma and abuse, fracture our connection with our body and yoga can be a tool that helps us regain that link.

Many survivors of trauma and abuse struggle with their relationship to their bodies through symptoms such as, but not limited to, self-harm, eating disorders, dissociation, self-hatred, bodily disturbances, flashbacks, chronic pain, estrangement from self and others. These symptoms are often byproducts of the harm done to us through trauma and abuse. These significant disturbances, cause dysregulation in a person’s cadence and rhythm of being. Safe and healthy re-connection to our bodies can provide an avenue for regaining self-embodiment, regulation, autonomy, reduction of flashbacks and genuine kindness towards whole-self.

At Hope Bound Collective, our theory of yoga and counseling is understood through the lens of trauma theory, attachment, and knowledge of neuroscience. Studies suggest that trauma-informed yoga combined with psychotherapy can improve a person’s reorientation to their bodies, which can aid in trauma survivors healing and empowerment.

Anna Smith’s personal qualifications:
Registered Psychotherapist NLC.0109609

Master of Social Work East Carolina University – Greenville, NC Completed May 6, 2016

200 Hour Kunga Yoga Lifestyle Teacher Training Completed December 14, 2014

300 Hour Kunga Yoga Therapeutic Essentials Teacher Training Completed December 2018

Bachelor of Science, Social Work, Secondary Major Interdisciplinary Studies- Religious Studies Completed May 2011

Trauma Sensitive Yoga Teacher Training with David Emerson April 2017 Trauma-Informed Yoga Teacher Training with Hala Khouri February 2016

Trauma Sensitive Yoga Teacher Training with David Emerson May 2015

Clinical Counseling Certificate / The Allender Center Fall 2013- Spring 2014

Leading as Executive Director/President and Co-Founder of Restore One 7 years

Were there people and/or experiences you had in your childhood that you feel laid the foundation for your success?
During my childhood, I experienced much loss through sexual exploitation and trauma. This loss informs the fullness in which I mother my daughter, Asha. I make choices in my carrier that allows me to be the Mommy I want to be my little girl and offer my space to live a life of purpose and passion. I want my daughter to grow up seeing her Mommy live fulfilled by her work and being apart of life change. Being a mother informs my work, as much as my work informs my mothering.

Also, there were moments in my recovery that felt utterly abandoned and in that, I had a choice to enter the pain or to avoid heartache. I choose the path of facing the storm head-on, allowing myself to grieve and heal. The avenues of yoga and counseling gave me perspective and language to grieve and heal. The journey back to myself offered me with an opportunity to see both sides of the track from a healer’s view and from the receiver’s eyes.

Pricing:

  • Trauma-Informed Yoga Individual 1 hour session: $85
  • Counseling Session 50 min session: $85
  • Trauma-Informed Yoga Individual .5 hour session: $45

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Ginny Corbett Photography, LA FLECHA FILM CO

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