At Ascend, we have many moving parts. While you’ve probably already read about our in-house team that’s there day in and day out, including mentors and clinicians, you may not know as much about our recreational and experiential therapists and group facilitators. One of those people is Andrea, our resident yoga, meditation, and breathwork instructor. As we dive deeper into some of the things that happen behind the scenes at Ascend, it’s important to remember that not all therapy should feel like work. Sometimes, we all need moments to relax and breathe in…
Who Is Andrea?
Andrea is the founder of Restivo Yoga, a practice that makes comprehensive wellness the core of its operations. She specializes in Trauma-Informed Yoga, Restorative Yoga, Meditation, Pilates, Vinyasa Yoga, and much more. But Andrea wasn’t always the Master Yogi she is today!
Way back when, she worked in the corporate world. Her transition into this practice came about after a crippling back injury. Her experience with yoga helped her overcome both mental and physical hurdles to achieve better health. As a result, she was able to find calm during the darkest chapters of her life and move forward with a stronger mindset.
Making Yoga Her Life
Once Andrea decided that yoga was a calling and a passion, leaving her previous career behind was easy. She knew that helping others heal was one of the most important things she could be doing with her life. She had proof that yoga could be incredibly transformative through her own experience, and she wanted to pass on her success to others who were struggling.
Since turning to yoga, Andrea has been teaching yoga for recovery and mental health for eight years.
Working with Ascend
Ascend is only one facet of Andrea’s life, but she says she loves working with us so much because our focus is on helping teens thrive. Working with kids and seeing them achieve things even they didn’t believe were possible is a transcendent experience. She knows how important it can be for our clients to experience a safe space, free of judgment and expectation, and she’s honored to be the one to create it for them.
Many of our clients first enter Andrea’s space from a place of negativity. They tell her they hate yoga, that they’re terrible at it, or that they’ll never improve. Andrea treats their resistance as a challenge, finding ways to make yoga vibrant, exciting, and unexpected. She never teaches the same class twice, often mixing up a yin-based or restorative practice with something more athletic or a class that incorporates free movement.
It may take time, but Andrea’s practice shows our clients that yoga can bring them joy, no matter their experience level. Even if all they enjoy is the comfort and quiet of Child’s Pose after a challenging session, there is always positivity in every practice.
We’d Bend Over Backwards for Andrea
While she might be the one doing all the contortion, we love having Andrea on our team. She balances therapeutic moments with fun to ensure our clients find release from tension, racing thoughts, and the hard work of therapy. She shines a light for them that may never have existed before, reminding them that everyone is different, and that’s part of what makes each individual so special. Andrea is critical to teaching our clients about respect for and control over their minds and bodies, encouraging them to be the architects and designers behind every emotion and physical challenge.
A Day at Ascend
When it’s time for Andrea to visit Ascend, she wakes up at five a.m. for her own self-care routine. She walks her dog, meditates, and then heads out to our houses for sessions with the clients. Andrea will also spend some time collaborating with our clinical team to ensure clients are receiving the best care, writing notes about their progress, and ensuring continuity between sessions.
Throughout her workday, Andrea learns a lot from our clients about the struggles teens today are facing. These hurdles remind her to remain humble and compassionate because everyone has a story or a struggle that could be deeply affecting them.
In addition to her work at Ascend, Andrea is also very excited about a passion project of her own. She’s currently working on a wellness program with a friend from Kibera, Kenya. Together, they hope to support the youth in this area with academic resources, vocational training, and mental health support.
More from Our Team
With this inside look into our yoga practice, maybe you’ll get inspired to join a session at a studio near you to find out whether yoga can provide you with a safe space to process and heal?
Ready for even more stories from Ascend? Visit our blog every month to find a new spotlight that showcases a day in the life of another essential team member.