Hala Khouri, M.A., SEP, E-RYT, has been teaching yoga and the movement arts for over 25 years and has been doing clinical work and trainings for 15 years. She is a yoga teacher and somatic counselor interested in using the power of embodied practices to heal trauma in individuals and communities while addressing the impact of social injustice on all of us. She is a co-founder of Off the Mat, Into the World®. She lives in Venice, CA with her husband and two sons.
HOW HAVE YOU COME TO LOVE AND APPRECIATE YOUR BODY?
It’s been a long journey! I’d say one big breakthrough happened when I got pregnant and had my first baby. Suddenly I had such a lived experience of the power of my body, and it’s function. I had been sold a story that my body was only valuable aesthetically and making a human and birthing him felt like a big F you to that oppressive lie. The other part is that as I acknowledged what my body obsession was an expression of- my need to feel in control really, then I could address that stuff rather than the body stuff. In some ways it was never about how my body looked- obsessing over that distracted me from my true fear which was about my own vulnerability.
WHAT IS YOUR SOUL'S PURPOSE, YOUR UNIQUE GIFT TO THE WORLD?
Right now my purpose is to support people to transform and heal from trauma so that they can be part of a world that is just, equitable and loving. I do this through training clinicians and yoga teachers to be trauma informed within a context of understanding the impact of social injustice on individuals and communities. Through my non-profit, Off the Mat, Into the World, we do leadership trainings to inspire others to be a part of the change they want for the world. I’m also currently taking a break from my PhD program to write a book for Shambhala Publications!
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON SISTERHOOD? WHAT DO YOU WISH OTHER WOMEN WOULD REMEMBER?
I’ve always had amazing female friends. We get each others back and celebrate each other whenever we can. My sisters are my foundation. What I’d say to others is that having a circle of support- of people who see you, all of you, and who you let see you, is vital to our wellbeing. I know some people have been betrayed by other women, and there’s some healing that has to occur before they can trust again. It’s worth it!