An interview with Fawn Williams, the teacher that brought together Restorative Yoga and Shiatsu Massage!

Fawn is bringing a springtime version of her popular Restorative Yoga & Shiatsu Massage to Yoga Refuge on April 12th, and I thought it would be nice to hear more about the origins of this fabulous combo.

KH: What gave you the idea to start combining yoga with Shiatsu massage?

FW: Restorative yoga has been the foundation of my personal practice for years, right alongside inversions and meditation. I met Amber and Kathryn at Alma Midwifery 2012, where they hosted group acupuncture before my Prenatal Yoga class. As a new mom myself, I noticed a significant lack of postpartum care; once women had their babies I rarely saw them again. Hoping for more continuity of care, I came up with Embodied Woman, a series of therapeutic workshops combining Ayurvedic restorative yoga with acupuncture, and shiatsu. We did 6 workshops throughout Portland, focused on healing postpartum depression, balancing hormones, and the physical aspects of birth recovery. I loved our female-friendly events, yet felt was time to grow the offering to include a wider spectrum of healing. Perfectly timed, you opened Yoga Refuge in 2014, and invited me to bring the workshops here. April 12th will be our third for the entire community at Yoga Refuge. Each workshop has a different seasonal theme and this one will be focused on balancing Kapha which in Ayurveda is akin to elements of water and earth.

KH: What do you love about teaching these workshops?

FW:Yoga teaches that when one person experiences suffering, all of humanity suffers in great and small ways. Through the practice of ahimsa (non-violence) towards self, these workshops guide participants toward self-compassion, a skill they bring with them into the world. People get to look at ways relieve physical and emotional strain being completely supported. Learning these tools first through the physical body affects how you show up and engage with your life. Less aggression, less strain, less violence equal more compassion and generosity. I believe restorative yoga will change the world! I love the peace in the room, and to hear how people incorporate the tools they learned through the practice.

KH: For the workshop in April, you are collaborating with Neil Mattson, of the Montavilla Guitar Studio. Why did you decide to add live music?

FW:Neil is a longtime yogi and was my student before I realized he was also a composer. I studied jazz in college and he is also a professional jazz musician, so we started chatting about music. From those initial conversations, I realized that we both had a fascination with the space between sound, silence. For previous workshops, recorded sound functioned like a backdrop. Live sound is more collaborative. Our last workshop was a really successful collaboration, and now I can’t imagine doing these workshops without his sensitivity and skillful musicianship.

KH: What do students usually get out of this practice?

FW:Better sleep at night. Nervous system regulation. Decreased stress. Emotional resilience. Nourishment through yoga, touch, and sound. We heal in community, and grow stronger together– what better way to spend an afternoon?

Come and enjoy this 2-hour experience of restful yoga, hands on massage, and live music with Fawn and her collaborators! Register here for Sunday, April 12th from 2-4pm. Yoga Refuge members save $5!

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