Q&A with Kate Morrissey Stahl
Tell us about how you started at Revolution Therapy and Yoga?
I've been working with Revolution (then Rubber Soul Revolution) basically since it started in 2006, in various capacities: as a teacher, as a faculty member on adventure club, and as a mind-body therapist in the space. Two years ago, the founder of the studio wanted to leave and do other things, and a group of us who were long-term teachers hatched a plan to keep the studio going because we care about having donation yoga in town. The model has changed somewhat due to COVID, but the spirit of offering really competent, kind, playful community yoga has remained.
What is Revolution Therapy and Yoga all about?
Revolution Therapy and Yoga is about making yoga accessible in the community. We were founded fifteen years ago on the principle that people are generous and that there's value in offering services at a donation rate, especially yoga, which is an art passed down through colonization and knowledge we don't own.
Our mission is to provide accessible community offerings for yoga and therapy with an emphasis on trauma-informed practices that promote physical, spiritual, sexual, emotional, and creative wellbeing. We are inspired by cooperative principles. We are dedicated to moving our organization and our community toward anti-racist and anti-oppressive practices through reflective and intentional organizational flexibility.
Describe your personal journey with yoga.
I have been teaching yoga since 2005, including teaching at Rubber Soul Yoga, the Omni fitness club, and various therapeutic venues. I did my first teacher training with hot yoga teachers in Pennsylvania at Yoga in State College, working my way through Yoga Alliances's now-defunct "independent track" for yoga teachers in 2004 before moving to Georgia and later receiving certification from Atlanta's Peachtree Yoga specializing in a mixed style of Iyengar and Vinyasa yoga in 2009. I have contributed to a Shivananda teacher training and Rubber Soul's Yoga Adventure Club yoga teacher training, as well as leading groups that combine yoga with Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for helping people to relate more effectively to stress and to live more vibrant, values-consistent lives.
What is your favorite thing about yoga?
My favorite thing about being part of a yoga community is connecting with the amazing humans I meet who are making a difference in the world. I have had world-class musicians, social justice advocates, visual artists, physicians, and all-around fascinating people in my classes. I love meeting them and finding out how we can support each other in the work that we’re doing in the wider world. Yoga helps build community and channels embodied wisdom into communities, and meditation has been useful in my life in similar ways.
What do you do in addition to owning Revolution Therapy and Yoga?
I am currently a clinical assistant professor of social work at UGA and have a private therapy group featuring mindfulness-based approaches and couple and sex therapy (the "therapy" part of Revolution Therapy and Yoga). I am an AASECT certified sex therapist, so I like to talk about sex. I also like to play music and to spend time with her spouse and two children.
How is Revolution Therapy and Yoga a supportive community resource?
Having a donation space makes the helpful nourishing practice of yoga be financially accessible to everyone in a studio setting, which I think is valuable. I have received training in meditation and yoga on a donation basis over the years during times when I wouldn't have otherwise had the money to be part of a yoga or meditation community.
How does trauma-sensitive yoga create a supportive environment for all?
We have extra training as teachers to present cues in ways that invite students to reflect on their own experience and make choices about what feels right to them in how they move their bodies. This is really different than approaches that demand a certain kind of performance, or worse, that present the yogic tradition as a way to make our bodies conform to media norms.
How do you see Revolution Therapy and Yoga in the future?
We made a big change by growing the therapy part of the practice and by getting extra training to be trauma-informed over the COVID "break." I hope that our offerings in terms of sexuality continue to grow in useful ways and that our donation-based offerings continue to make us an accessible choice to practitioners who share our values in that area. I also hope we are a place where teachers can find their unique voices and be valued for the diverse perspectives and styles they bring to their teaching.
Author: Isabel Weber and Kate Morrissey Stahl