Today we’d like to introduce you to Sarit Z Rogers.
Hi Sarit Z, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
I’ve been taken to some interesting places of self-discovery, healing, recovery, and post-traumatic growth. A statement/quote that describes me well comes from Walt Whitman, “I contain multitudes.” I even have it tattooed on my arm as a reminder not to get stuck in the image that others have of me but to be true to myself and authentically in the world. I come from a line of rabbis on one side and am Jewish on both sides, and I believe this is part of why I am called to teach and continue learning. I am dedicated to social justice and building a world for my son, his generation and the ones that follow that is equitable and kind. I believe we have to do our own deep work in order to make this happen. The process of healing my own trauma began in 1994 when I started therapy on my own. But the real work started much later, in 2005 when I began meditating, got back into yoga in 2008 and then became a teacher in 2013. My teacher training was potent and set the stage for much deeper healing and led me on a path to becoming a Somatic Experiencing® Practitioner. From 2013 on, I taught trauma-informed yoga in Juvenile Hall, California Institute for Women, Los Angeles County Jail, MDCLA, and CA State prison at Riverside. Once I became a SEP, I began integrating Somatic Experiencing® into those classes more directly. SE™ deeply influences my way of being in the world. It allows me to slow down, it invites inquiry and creates a deeper sense of wholeness within myself. It also offers me the tools and has helped me build the capacity to hold larger energy states without overwhelm. This isn’t to say I don’t get overwhelmed because I do. I am human. And I have more capacity than I ever did in the past!
Alright, 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?
There has been extensive trauma, loss, abandonment, abuse, confusion, sorrow, intergenerational loss and trauma, recovery, healing, triumph, love, and yet there has always been a deep curiosity and desire for understanding and learning and changing. My parents were young, and there were consequences of that. I would say if I didn’t have grandparents, I probably wouldn’t have had many clothes or a sense of normalcy. I grew up having to step into adulting far too young and didn’t get to enjoy much of my childhood as a child. I often say that it’s never too late to have a happy childhood. I can’t remember the origin of that quote, but I have heard Dr. Peter Levine say it many times and it resonates deeply. The teen years were rough (I’ll go into that more in my memoir if I can get to writing it!), but some of the things that kept me sane were singing and writing. I got sober in 1993 at 21 and barring anything really out of the ordinary, I am looking at 28 years sober in June of this year. I got married in early sobriety and was married for ten years–it was a challenging marriage, DV, infidelity, and I got an amazing son out of it who is truly my heart outside of my body. The end of that marriage was incredibly hard and not something I’d recommend. The trauma I already had was compounded by this experience and there was a sense of real hopelessness. This is when I began meditating, doing Tonglen practice in particular. I was struggling to be a single mom, understanding that we were both traumatized.
When I eventually met my husband, to whom I have been married 11 years, I was on the other side of that storm of hopelessness but not without a cost. I was exhausted. But I managed to find myself in a new kind of relationship! One that was equitable and kind. We rediscovered yoga together, practicing online with YogaGlo and at Exhale in Venice with our dear friend Keri. This started this process of embodiment, something so foreign to me at that point. I ended up photographing a book cover called 21st Century Yoga and eventually met Julian Walker. He and Hala Khouri were offering a 200-hour embodied yoga teacher training together. This was my first step toward where I am now! That practice and practicing with teachers who were literally teaching embodiment and bottom up practices finally cracked my heart open. My mat was tear-soaked but I was beginning to heal. I found my strength in Bryan Kest’s power yoga classes as well and that reminded me of my resilience. I kept rising, a phoenix, despite all odds.
Thanks – so what else should our readers know about Somatic Wellness & Yoga?
So after all of that, finding my way to Somatic Experiencing and becoming an SEP was truly a gift. I am forever grateful for the work of Dr. Peter Levine and have been fortunate enough to have worked with him at this point. My SE practice focuses on creating a safe container and walking beside those wanting to heal from their stress and trauma-related wounds. I work with adolescents who are so dear to me. I find that being an adult who can sit with and bear witness to adolescents is a true gift. We forget as we get older that we were kids once and that the teen years are hard!!! I work with many teens who are non-binary, LGBTQ+, all of whom are very human; I work with adults, many of whom have experienced profound, complex trauma. My focus is primarily on developmental trauma and attachment, sexual trauma, syndromes, anxiety and depression and (C)PTSD, and Covid. I encourage a sense of embodiment, empowerment, and agency in my clients, teaching the value of healthy aggression, boundaries, and the felt sense of being alive and in this world!
I am also a touch practitioner, integrating NeuroAffective Touch into my practice with clients, even through Zoom! In person, I use this judiciously. Touch is important and invaluable to our healing and it’s not always appropriate for some individuals. Trauma interrupts our life force, it breaches boundaries, and it shifts the way in which we engage with the world. SE helps us find our way back to the way we want to be. Not the way we were; the way we are now, but with healed wounds and the capacity to be with our suffering without the suffering being us. I would say what sets me apart is knowing that I have been through hell and survived and am thriving. Nothing is impossible. I used to think that my own trauma would alienate me or make me less good or less impactful, that I was somehow broken or a mess, but there is a gift and a superhero cape in the dark that we eventually find and that is what I have discovered on this path. I have been through so much, but I am not my trauma, and I can say that with certainty. I share with my clients that they are not their experiences and I sincerely mean it. I can hold the energy of these big states of emotion and not take them on as my own.
I can help you work with the rage toward the perpetrator or help someone out of that freeze state that paralyzes them when they least expect it. I can assure someone they are not a mess and they are not broken but are wounded and that this wound needs tending to, something it didn’t get when the trauma occurred. I integrate yoga, the philosophy and not just the asana; I integrate archetypes, image work, and the mystical. I utilize singing and movement and play with animal work. I play. It’s important! I am also known for being grounded and providing a presence. It’s part of being an empath, and it’s just part of me that I am grateful to share. Trauma sucks. It’s messy. And while there is no silver bullet, we can and we do heal. We can embrace our humanness, and rediscover our joy, sometimes for the first time! I love this work; it has truly changed my life. It’s not just a modality I add, it is a lifestyle I live and I am beyond excited to share it with others. I offer individual SE sessions, I offer SE groups on occasion. I also offer Embodied Yoga sessions for individuals and small groups. I also offer a monthly Somatic Support Group for Jews. You can email email@example.com with SFJ in the subject!
Do you have any advice for those just starting out?
Do the deep, messy personal work that allows you to truly be yourself. We have to continue to do the personal work, sometimes to work on something big that arises and sometimes to do some spring cleaning. The way things are now, we are in a state of collective trauma and grief. We have been in a pandemic, we have witnessed profound and horrific police violence. What I have seen more than anything is attachment trauma coming up and developmental wounds emerging. Tend to ourselves so we can tend to others. I would also say, don’t try to fit into a box that doesn’t align with you or your values. Be yourself. Surround yourself with people that inspire you, are doing things you love and admire, that are on a similar path. I was fortunate to have guides and mentors that were very generous with their loving feedback and nudging me to find my voice. It was Julian Walker that originally encouraged me to sing again. I sing all the time now! I can look back with a ton of gratitude for the people I have in my life.
- $150 for a 60-min Somatic Experiencing session
- $75 for a 30-min Somatic Experiencing Session
- $220 for a 100-min Somatic Experiencing Session
- $150 for a 60-min Embodied Yoga
- Groups start at $150
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: www.saritzrogers.com
- Instagram: @somaticwellnessyoga
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SomaticWellnessYoga/
Images by my husband Joseph Rogers, edited by me, Sarit Z Rogers (saritphotography.com)