Yoga Source Presenter QA: Caroline Wright

In last week’s Q&A, we met Rick Olderman, the Denver-based physical therapist who will present workshops on Headaches, Neck & Shoulder Pain and Running Better, Healing Faster at the Yoga Source conference.

This week we’re turning our attention to Caroline Wright, an aerialist and Certified Hanna Somatic Educator. Caroline became an approved artist for Cirque du Soleil in 2008 and currently teaches circus arts in San Francisco. She is offering a fun workshop at Yoga Source to help you get in touch with the child within:

Mindful Circus Crafts
Saturday, March 12 | 2-4 p.m.
Yoga Nook @ Fifth

See the full conference schedule and register online today!

Tell us a little bit more about your background and why you became interested in somatics. 

I have been performing as an aerialist and teaching throughout North America for nearly a decade. In 2010, injuries threatened to end my career. I found a unique form of neuromuscular re-training called Hanna Somatic Education. I used it to make a full recovery, and still use it daily to enhance my performance. Now, as a Certified Hanna Somatic Educator, I am committed to sharing these life-changing techniques with others.

Why did you decide to present a workshop on Mindful Circus Crafts? What are you looking to offer attendees? 

I decided to offer this workshop because the body awareness gained through somatics is a wonderful preparation for exploring movement within the context of circus arts.

The workshop will consist of a centering somatic warm-up, followed by some basic postures with a focus on sensing optimal alignment. This will progress into basic static partner acrobatics, learning how to support the weight of another person in a healthy way, and how to climb, lean or balance on someone else safely.

How have you applied somatics in your line of work? 

I use somatics with clients and circus students to help them unwind contraction patterns that are causing pain and dysfunction, and teach them how to move with more efficiency and ease. Overcoming plateaus of any kind is a mind-body experience that is accelerated with somatic education.

If there is one thing you would like attendees to take away from your workshop, what would it be? 

I’d love for participants to leave with a heightened body awareness and improved culture of movement. By the end of the workshop, I would like them to be able to apply the knowledge to both support weight and be supported by others in a stable, healthy manner, inside and outside of a circus arts context.

Next week we’ll feature yet another Yoga Source presenter — be sure to subscribe below to get updates in your inbox.


Yoga Source Presenter QA: Rick Olderman, MSPT, CPT

Our 3-day Yoga Source conference is less than a month away! To give you a sneak peek into all the great workshops and experiences we have in store for you, we’ll be posting a new Q&A with one of our fantastic presenters each week leading up to the conference.

This week we’re featuring Rick Olderman, MSPT, CPT and author of the Fixing You book series, who will be traveling from Denver, Colorado to present TWO engaging and informative workshops:

Headaches, Neck & Shoulder Pain
Saturday, March 12 | 10-11 a.m.
Yoga Nook @ Fifth

Running Better, Healing Faster
Sunday, March 13 | 8:30-10 a.m.
Yoga Nook on Cochran

See the full conference schedule and register online today!

Tell us a little bit more about your background and why you became interested in somatics. 

As a physical therapist, I’m fascinated by chronic pain and nagging injuries. Our bodies are designed to heal — then why don’t they? Although this seems obvious, I’ve always believed chronic pain must happen from how we are using our bodies (and brains).

But if you look at most treatment systems out there, they are not based on principles of movement. Somatics is, however, and has been an enormous tool for me in understanding how the interplay between body and brain create pain, and fix it.

My therapists and I apply somatics to biomechanics and behavioral corrections, which completely elevates our outcomes with patients. Somatics has helped me see my patients more wholly, and has widened my realm of perceptions of possible problems. It truly has made me a better physical therapist.

Why did you decide to present workshops on Headaches, Neck & Shoulder Pain and Running Better, Healing Faster? What are you looking to offer attendees? 

In my practice, I see a lot of upper extremity and neck pain, as well as headaches, in yoga and Pilates practitioners. In general, we’re very successful in fixing these issues. It typically comes down to having a deeper understanding of how the upper extremity system works. This hinges, literally, on scapula function.

Yoga instructors already have such a great degree of body awareness and education that they grasp these concepts rapidly and are then able to help their own clients.

My intention for the Headaches, Neck & Shoulder Pain workshop is that attendees leave with a greater understanding of how the shoulder girdle creates neck pain, headaches and even other problems like thoracic outlet syndrome or common shoulder or elbow pain. This understanding will use somatic elements where possible.

I love to offer clinics about lower extremity injuries and running because running is popular everywhere, and running injuries are common. The leg and pelvic system is fascinating, and is the foundation of our movement paradigms. So having a more complete understanding of how we move and how that relates to pain carries over into understanding back and even neck pain. Often solutions are very simple.

Runners are a very educated population too, and are eager to learn more to become the best they can be. Their enthusiasm for the information I present is very satisfying to me.

My intention for the Running Better, Healing Faster workshop is for attendees to leave with a clear understanding of key concepts involved with most running injuries I see. These will include understanding how femoral retroversion or anteversion influences the hips, knees and feet, and how the feet influence issues up the chain too. I’ll also present a novel fix for posterior chain tightness.

How have you applied somatics in your line of work? 

I apply somatic thinking and interventions to every patient I see in my clinic. One of the things I love about somatics is that it can be applied to so many ideas. The spectrum of issues that I deal with in my clinic can fall between purely physical at one end and purely psychological at the other. Somatics allows me to work at both ends and everywhere in between.

If there is one thing you would like attendees to take away from your workshops, what would it be? 

My goal for both of my workshops is that attendees leave with a deeper, practical understanding of how movement systems in our bodies work together to unlock pain. I use hands-on learning techniques to drive these points home because I want everyone to be able to use them immediately with their own clients.

Check back next week for a new Q&A with another Yoga Source presenter — or subscribe below to get updates in your inbox.


Yoga Source: A Yoga and Healing Arts Conference

I love what I do. I love teaching, and I love getting creative with Yoga. I think the passion I have for my craft shows in the classes I teach and in the way that I’ve continued to develop AIM and integrated it with postures and poses.

Three years ago, I graduated from a therapeutic movement program in Novato, Northern California that certified me as a Hanna Somatic Educator (HSE). Some of you have reached out to me for help with functional movement issues and are familiar with the one-on-one work that I do in the AIM room, as well as the group classes we offer at both studios.

I have stayed in contact with several of the students who were in my class at the Novato Institute for Somatic Research, and it’s been interesting to see how we have all integrated the new somatic knowledge within our professions.

Wouldn’t it be fun, I thought, to bring the best and brightest together in one location and have everyone present their own skills along with somatics? So I invited four of the other graduates from the Novato program to visit Simi Valley in March and be part of a three-day weekend of movement, healing and somatic education.

Somatics, or somatic movement, refers to techniques in movement study that emphasize your internal physical perception. Yoga is innately somatic because the yoga teacher is attempting to keep your attention in your body as you practice moment to moment.

When perceiving how our body moves, we become more aware of our relationship to the ground and gravity. What habitual postures have we developed? How are we using our body to create certain movements? With this deeper awareness gained, we are then able to cultivate change, to move with more efficiency and improved function.

Thomas Hanna was an inspirational teacher, philosopher and healer. His research, insight and enthusiasm for educating individuals has been passed on to all who complete his training through the Novato Institute for Somatic Research.

The guest teachers who are presenting at this conference are part of a group of individuals who are dedicated to healing through somatics. They are all Certified Hanna Somatics Educators (HSE), and I am thrilled that they’ve agreed to be part of this first conference and are willing to share their healing arts with you.

We are currently completing the class schedule for March 11-13th, and we’ll be offering a wide range of classes, from Healing Touch for Animals to Circus Crafts and Sacred Dance — as well as an opportunity to more deeply explore your own yoga practice and help heal shoulder and lower body injuries.

I hope that you will be able to join us for part of or the whole weekend, and that you get inspired, encouraged and set free from postural habits that may be limiting your potential to live a full and active life.

Watch this space over the next few weeks for more news about Yoga Source… and we’ll see you there!