MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Around 100 yoga enthusiasts gathered at Overton Park Shell Monday for a yoga class designed to help with grief and trauma.
It was part of the free Monday Twilight Yoga & Pilate classes and comes after a week of violent crimes in Memphis.
Natalie Wilson, the executive director of Overton Park Shell, says the outdoor stage is a public gathering space, and they have a responsibility to respond when something horrible happens.
“We saw there was some anxiety about returning to public spaces,” said Wilson.
Last Monday, police recovered the body of missing St. Mary’s teacher Eliza Fletcher, and two days later, MPD was telling residents to stay inside after a man went on a shooting rampage across the city.
Jessica Seebeck, a licensed therapist, and yoga instructor teaches trauma-conscious yoga to help people learn how to calm their minds and regulate their emotions.
“Essentially, it’s all about bringing people out of fight or flight, which is usually where we live when we experience trauma and grief,” said Seebeck. “Everything we do today is slower and focused on the breath,”
Seebeck was also a mind and wellness instructor at St. Mary’s Episcopal for four years. She didn’t know Fletcher personally, but after her abduction and murder reached out to her former school family.
“I offered a few classes to the St. Mary’s,” she said. “Anything that happens there, the St. Mary’s community bands together.”
Seebeck said the back-to-back violent events have likely put people on edge. Monday night, she was hoping to relieve some of the anxiety.
“It’s like the feeling of not being able to catch a break, right,” Seebeck said. “Whatever they have going on in their own lives this could be reactivating their own traumas, their losses, their own family deaths.”
To watch the trauma-informed yoga class, click right here.