Wrap up 2017 with my annual Year in Review

Laying down the foundations of a new alternative healing approach, that's what 2017 is about. What is yoga therapy? What does the ideal and most healing yoga therapy class looks like for me? Experimenting Yoga for Renewal. Transforming it. Testing it again. Re-changing it. 2017 has been an altogether exciting and grueling year full of questions--and sometimes answers. Here's 2017 in seven photos.




I lock myself in my home office, and collect yoga training and gestalt training material as well as my experience as being my own yoga therapy patient to design a 3-day workshop, "Thriving After Illness", the cornerstone of Yoga for Renewal's alternative healing approach. Its purpose is to help people find their inner fire after illness. In the middle of this, I take a break to participate to Atlanta's version of the Women's March on January 21, the day after Trump takes office.



After a unsettling month of March during which I am naturalized as an American citizen, I teach "Thriving After Illness 3-day Workshop" for the first time ever at Vista Yoga, Atlanta, in April. While teaching the program, I have the confirmation it works. I feel relieved and more grounded.



I feed my blog with blog posts, teach individual sessions of yoga therapy, and realize that "Thriving After Illness 3-Day Workshop" can help everyone, not only people who are recovering from illness.
I bring the best French tradition ever, the "apero"--drinks and finger food before the real dinner--to friends in my all-in-one home/office/yoga studio duplex, in SW Atlanta. More grounding comes along.



It's time to say bye bye to the beautiful loft, in downtown Atlanta, where I've taught Yoga for Renewal's weekly class for the past months. I modify "Thriving After Illness 3-Day Workshop" so that it's adapted for anyone who needs a "decompression week-end", not just people who are recovering from illness. "Thriving After Illness 3-Day Workshop" becomes "Yoga for Renewal 3-Day Workshop".



Again, Vista Yoga hosts a Yoga for Renewal premiere. There, I teach a 4-class series over four weeks, a "sampler" of YFR 3-Day Workshop, in August for the first time ever. Ten students--the series is at full capacity--help me grow as much as I help them.
A new community. A family. That's what I (finally) find in the Deep South after ten years living in the States. It all starts with my friend Stacie inviting me to her wedding on August 21, the day of the total solar eclipse, in South Carolina, on the path of totality. Shifting experience.



I participate in a two-day training on healing circles in the tradition of Native Americans. We're a dozen of volunteers who have committed to be part of a Trauma Response Group in SW Atlanta. That style of healing circle is used in some of Texas' prisons to ease up conflicts. I realize how opening up can be challenging in the American culture--maybe more so that in the French culture. In November, I teach my 4-class series over fours weeks for the second time, at Candler Park Yoga, Atlanta.



Back to the roots. In France with my mom (center) and our cousins, Giovanni (left) and Rosine (right). All three of them emigrated from Italy to France between 1949 and 1964. Out of five surviving siblings, my maternal grandmother (Carmela Picano) and three of her siblings (Concetta, Crescenzo and Antonio Picano) left Italy.  Carmela, Crescenzo and Antonio emigrated in France while Concetta left for the U.S. My paternal great grandfather, Geraldo Tartaglia, was one of the first Italians to commercialize Italian fine foods to the French. He had a foot in both countries.

Time to Regroup After a Year of Testing My Yoga Therapy Method


My naturalization ceremony on March 10, 2017, in Atlanta. Several people have asked me the same question lately, "What (the hell) makes you stay in the States, these days?" I always give the same answer, "I've met a community of great people, my people."

Yoga for Renewal works. That's the good news. Man, it's been a process. The next step is to make myself known. Right now, time to renew.

I’m a yoga pioneer, and I’m going through a rough time right now. I’ve spent this year building the foundations of my yoga therapy business, Yoga for Renewal, in Atlanta where I live. These days, it seems like every time I open a door, I find a stop sign on the other side--so I’m feeling stuck. And since YFR brings to life what I carry intimately in my soul and what I’m here for, this bothers me.

One of the things I’ve worked on this year is my elevator pitch. Here it is. “YFR is the unique yoga therapy approach that I’ve developed, situated at the intersection of yoga and therapy. It brings two healing modalities together--the unique yoga practice I’ve learned from my yoga teacher in France, Aline Frati, and a time where I invite participants to become aware of what is weighing on their heart and share—I call that time ‘the healing circle’.”

Not bad, right?

If the person I talk to looks interested, I keep going. “You want to know what you truly need in your life, right now? There’s a grief that’s weighing on your life and that you haven’t allowed yourself to go through. Whatever gets in the way of your joy will come up in a YFR class so you can contact it, name it, feel it in your body and transform it into free energy.”

The whole year, I’ve taken two steps forward and one step back.

I started 2017 designing YFR’s three-day workshop, which captures the essence of my approach. For three days, participants practice yoga, then share what is coming up for them in a healing circle, then return back to the yoga mat for more breathing and postures, then back to the healing circle, and so on.

I taught the workshop for the very first time in the spring. There were only three participants. Still, the group was enough to show me that my method worked. One participant became aware of how physically and emotionally strong she was despite a serious chronic condition; another recognized her need to grieve after the loss of a loved one; while the third left before the end of the three days, avoiding addressing her guilt.

Later in the year, I designed the Yoga for Renewal 4-Class Series--a condensed version of the workshop. My first series brought together a group of ten. Yeah! Each week for four weeks in a row, I taught a two-hour class where participants practiced yoga and came together in a healing circle.

During this series one of the participants became aware of how vital it is to express how she feels. Another spoke her truth to a loved one, something she had never done before. Another dropped out half way because of a sore throat, or maybe a trip out West, or maybe both.

I’ve also had to cancel a workshop and a series for lack of people registering. That sucked.

“Write an elevator pitch.” “Put less text on your flyers.” “Put more text on your flyers.” “You need to teach in hospitals!” “Have you talked with chiropractors?” “Do you think the French would be more receptive to what you do?” My friends’ suggestions and questions have uplifted, helped, confused or depressed me, depending on what they said and my mood in the moment.

There are a few things I know for sure. The body and soul are inseparable. When we contact and express our emotions, we move towards better physical, psychological and spiritual health. I’ve developed YFR based on those principles. Yoga for Renewal works—for those who are ready.

Last but not least, I’ve gone too far to give up!

Next week, I’ll fly home to Paris, taste my mom’s home-made pizza and get nurtured from her wisdom, walk on the city’s bridges, go salsa dance with my friends, make eye contact with cute guys in the streets, taste the world’s best wines, joke with my cousins, share my journey with my yoga teacher, and experience whatever the universe has in store for me. Au revoir. I’ll meet you on the other side for more Yoga for Renewal.

"Feeling and do some yoga", that's how a client describes Yoga for Renewal.