Yael Flusberg - Yoga Therapist
Yael immediately lets you feel at ease. We loved chatting with her about yoga and more (see more below!). She is a yoga therapist, Reiki Master Teacher, and board-certified Polarity Therapist.
Tell us about yourself! What's your story? What do you like sharing with people?
I’m a yoga therapist and coach who’s lived in D.C. for longer than I ever thought possible. Every time I think of leaving, I realize that here is where this work is most needed. As Marge Piercy wrote in To Be of Use, “The work of the world is common as mud.” I tend to spend much of my time in the work rather than on the work. I’m grateful to my experience as a burnt-out activist which taught me that though there is much to be done, the doing isn’t possible if you leave yourself out of the equation. The energy in D.C. is fiercely idealistic but also like a low dense fog: not bad but heavy. I’ve learned I can’t do shit without my daily practices to keep the charge down and regular immersions into other cultural, geographic and cosmic realities.
How did you get into the woo woo?
For eight years, I attended an orthodox Jewish day school so from a young age I knew that abracadabra was Hebrew for “I’ll create that which I speak.” I was always fascinated by the mystical side of Judaism – rods turning into snakes, seas parting, the crystal plates worn by the high priests as they entered the Holy of Holies, even Jesus’ first simple miracle of turning water into wine. Seriously, in 7th grade we learned how Jesus was able to walk on water and heal with his hands. (Too long a story for this venue, but suffice it to say that it involved making a gash in your leg and placing a parchment with the full name of God into the wound, a lurid rendition of embodiment.) Life in my family’s modest two-bedroom apartment 12 stories above the Brooklyn-Queens expressway required more practical knowledge. So could any of this be of use to my family, who suffered with the physical and psychological legacy of genocide and displacement? As it turns out, perhaps. But it was only in my 20s that I started trying to understand energy, ritual, healing, and creativity; how they all intertwined. And this, it turns out, is my life’s work.
What is a pattern you see among clients and/or people?
I believe that those of us in the US are in a threshold shit-or-get-off-the-pot moment. Jury’s still out as to whether we’ll stay superficial and frail, focused on short-term and individual, or if we’re willing to heed the call of being the medicine the world needs. I see a lot of people standing by the edge – that rich landscape where two landscapes meet – not quite sure of what to do next. In many ways, my work helps people become more at home in their own skin, which in turn helps us figure out what kind of presence/presents we have that the world can make use of.
What's your favorite story about helping someone out?
I have yet to learn how to turn water into wine but I am happy with the small miracles I’m able to witness and hold space for. Such as helping neighbors find ways of speaking to each other without getting defensive, laying hands on a young woman with a terminal illness for an hour as she sorts out how to live with the knowledge that it won’t be for long, and placing people in physical postures held long enough to steady their minds and accept the truth and beauty in their lives.
What are you into at the moment? What topics have caught your attention this year?
My own healing practice these days include homeopathically addressing my not-so-strong constitution, an experiment in daily ozone therapy, co-listening, a seasonal focus on forgiveness and shame, dancing by myself for no reason, birdwatching in my backyard, going for the jugular (aka practicing non-avoidance and compassion simultaneously), and as much of Rock Creek Park as I can get. The world is changing so quickly. And in ways that sometimes terrify me, though I also believe there is nothing as relevant as the Gospel of Hope. Working with discipline on my own resilience is key so that I can continue to be, as we can be, responsible for one another. I am or have recently read several books on brain-gut-nervous system health and a novel about ancient Maya healing practices. I find myself a wee bit obsessed with how trees talk to humans and want desperately to understand them.