About Abigail Lauren

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I found birthwork in 3rd grade in the den of my parent's home watching "A Baby Story" on TLC. After years of believing babies were born through a mother's feet I finally encountered a resource that clarified one of my biggest questions... "how are babies born?" Episode after episode my fascination with birth grew; a process I felt was both harrowing and heartwarming. But it wasn't until 2014, eighteen years later, that I finally attended at birth in-person, as a volunteer with Chicago Volunteer Doulas. Caring for my first client as a Doula brought me back to the same feelings I had in 3rd grade. It also felt like the perfect match for my intuitive abilities as a caregiver; the same abilities that served me well as a nanny, domestic violence and sexual assault advocate, and elementary educator.

Yoga, I found in 2007 while completing my undergraduate degree in Elementary Education at DePaul University. At first, I used the practice as a distraction from the challenges of daily life; however, as I moved deeper, studied with more teachers, and developed a personal practice, I discovered that yoga teaches the art of self-compassion, embodiment, and liberation.

 

Formally, I am a Trauma-Informed Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher with Yoga Alliance, having studied classical yoga from the Krishnamacharya Lineage through Moksha Yoga Center in Chicago, as well as with Susanna Barkataki of the Shankarcharya Tradition at the Ignite Yoga and Wellness Institute. As a Registered Prenatal Yoga Teacher (RPYT), I specialize in fertility, prenatal, and postpartum yoga having trained through the Amala School of Prenatal Yoga rooted in the tantric tradition of Sri Vidya, and am a certified community birth & postpartum doula having trained with ToLabor, Birth Advocacy Doula Training, and the Postpartum Healing Lodge.

When I'm not teaching yoga or attending to birthwork, you can find me reading, writing, calling my elected officials, tending my plants, and taking walks on trails near Lake Michigan with my husband Jason.

Training & Qualifications 

I am the beneficiary of both formal and informal studies and training. I believe true learning can happen anywhere, and that no individuals or institutions has a monopoly on knowledge. Below is a non-exhaustive list of my background, as well as of formative experiences that have shaped the perspectives I share. 

Divine Birth Wisdom Grandma's Hands Course:

a 6-week ethnobotany course with roots in the healing traditions of West Africa. The course focuses on pregnancy + postpartum herbs and nutrition with emphasis on historical healing traditions practiced in the South (U.S.), as maintained and passed down by Black Southern Midwives.

Postpartum Healing Lodge:

an in-depth two month postpartum birthwork training led by Raeanne Madison. Training is taught from an Ojibwe Anishinaabe perspective and centers the experiences of Indigenous people of the Great Lakes region.

Ignite Yoga and Wellness Institute:​

a three hundred hour advanced Yoga Alliance approved training led by Susanna Barkataki focused on decolonizing yoga and embracing yoga's roots. Certifications in this training include Trauma-Informed YTT,  Yoga History, Diversity and Inclusion YTT, Advanced Meditation & Mindfulness YTT, and Yoga Service, Philosophy and Ethics Certification.

Restorative Practice Fellowship: 

a thirty-hour training on facilitating peace-circles and restorative conversations. Presented by the Quest Center of the Chicago Teachers Union Foundation.

Amala School of Prenatal Yoga: 

an eighty-five-hour Yoga and Ayurvedic training focused on fertility, prenatal and postnatal led by Lela Beem and Cassie Rogers.

ToLabor Birth Doula Training: 

a twenty-six-hour training on all aspects of labor support facilitated by the late Thérèse Hak-Kuhn. Hak-Kuhn was a master teacher in the Doula world, and is greatly missed.

Yoga for Pelvic Floor Health: 

a one day workshop led by Dr. Catherine Lewan. Dr. Lewan has a  Doctorate in Physical Therapy with a specialization in Pelvic Floor and Orthopedic Manual Therapy. She is also a certified yoga therapist and pilates teacher.

 

Clinical Pearls - Physical Therapy for Yoga

Teachers Module Two: 

a one day workshop, led by physical therapist Becky Paul-Liston, aimed at connecting to the pelvis and lumbar spine (our center). 

 

Viniyoga Yoga Therapy Weekend Intensive: 

a five course yoga immersion focused on form vs. function in asana, depression and anxiety, sleeplessness and insomnia, stress related conditions, and the definition of yoga therapy as it relates to the International Association of Yoga Therapists.

Prison Yoga Project - Personal and Cultural Transformation through the Lens of Incarceration: 

a two-day trauma informed yoga training, led by James Fox, focused on restorative justice, mindfulness, and the therapeutic needs of incarcerated people.

Anatomy for Yoga Teachers: 

a ten-week course, led by Shanna Linn, focused on joint and joint actions, connective tissue, bones, muscles, the contents of the torso and core, the mechanics of respiration and the diaphragm, the mechanics of the circulation and the heart, the parasympathetic nervous system vs. the sympathetic nervous system, and palpation and muscle testing.

Therapeutic Yoga Training/Apprenticeship: 

a six-week therapeutic yoga training aimed at teaching group yoga instructors to work one-on-one with clients. This training was facilitated by Iyengar yoga teacher Gabriel Halpern. 

Purna Yoga - The Building Blocks of Alignment: 

a three-day yoga intensive, led by Aadil Palkhivala, focused on physical alignment, personal alignment, and spiritual alignment.

Introductory Meditation Course  at 

Zen Buddhist Temple Chicago: 

a five week meditation course aimed at teaching contentment, present moment awareness, compassionate living, and accountability. This course was facilitated by Bob Kessler and Noara (Ellen McClure).

Seane Corn :: Yoga Teacher Training: 

a five-day course focused on vinyasa flow (asana), ethics, adjustments, trauma and the body, service (seva), prayer, social justice, and the history of power vinyasa flow in the United States and the evolutionary needs of the practice.

Sanskirt Sounds with Nicolai Bachman Weekend Workshop: 

a six course yoga immersion focused on the origins of yoga, Sankrit basics, mantra recitation, the Gayatri mantra, the yoga sutras, and the chakras.

Prajna Yoga - From the Ground Up: 

a four-day yoga anatomy intensive, led by Tias Little, focused on the myo-fascial sheaths of the lower body and the core, as well as yoga philosophy, meditation, and chanting. 

Spotlight on Yoga Sequencing: 

a four day intensive, taught by Kim Wilcox, focused on creating safe and holistic group yoga asana classes.

Moksha Yoga 200-Hour Yoga Teacher Training: 

a one year Yoga Alliance approved training led by Daren Friesen, Kim Wilcox and a variety of guest teachers.

DePaul University -

B.S. in Elementary Education:

a four year degree obtained in Chicago, Illinois, focused on teaching general education to students in kindergarten through ninth grade. I am currently an Illinois state certified educator with an endorsement in English language arts.

DePaul University -

Study Abroad Morocco: 

a month long cultural immersion, led by Dr. Sharon Nagy and Barbara Schaffer, where I conducted ethnographic research on NGOs abroad as well as explored storytelling and travel writing. 

Beachwood City Schools:

a small suburban public school district in which I attended kindergarten through twelfth grade. Miss. Day, was my second grade teacher, and is still my favorite formal educator to this day. She was one of five Black teachers I had during my time in Beachwood. Her presence and compassionate spirit made me feel seen, safe, and valid. Beachwood is a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio, where my parents still reside.