Friday, September 18, 2020
Liberation Yoga Opens New Avenues for Change and Healing
Tyia Wilson is a professional singer who has opened for Tim McGraw and Harry Connick, Jr.
Thursday, August 20, 2020


The sun streaming through the aspen leaves dancing in the evening breeze lit Tyia Wilson’s face as she surveyed the 13 men and women lying on the labyrinth patio outside St. Thomas Episcopal Church.

“Put your toes together and give me the ballet pointe,” she told those in her Liberation Yoga gathering. “Keep monitoring yourself. Are you experiencing any kind of resistance? Now, roll your feet from one side to another, letting your hands and knees create a conscious foundation.”

The mountains in the background formed purple silhouettes as she walked around making sure everyone was on board.

Tyia stresses intentional movements.

“Now we’re going to do a knee bend that’s guided by your inner knee, led by the inner knee. Do your downward dog and put one foot in front of another. You’re going to walk and walk and walk and walk—take your time. And when you arrive, stand up.”

Wilson has been leading free Liberation Yoga sessions every Thursday evening outside Sun Valley’s St. Thomas Episcopal Church since the Black Lives Matters protest.

It is designed to create a safe space for conversation, change and healing. But it also serves as a medium for intention, and that intention is designed to align body and mind.

“Often people will injure their knee and keep moving it in ways that makes it worse. These yoga moves focus on a more aligned way of moving in which both body and mind becomes aligned,” said Wilson, who infuses her yoga exercises with Feldenkrais, which uses gentle mindful movement to bring new awareness and possibility into one’s life.

Sun Valley’s summer evenings with their light breezes have been perfect for yoga.

“Liberation Yoga sparked from a conversation I had with Tyia that has led to other conversations around our community and how we can better take care of one another and make some change with the gifts we are given,” said Sara Gorby, director of Youth and Family Ministry for St. Thomas. “Tyia's gifts for yoga and music really speak to me and I know it reverberates with others as well.”

Wilson, a certified yoga teacher and a professional singer, began her yoga practice while singing at a lounge in Las Vegas.

“Singing in lounges is very depleting. Yoga is renewing, liberating,” said Wilson, who has also opened for Harry Connic, Jr. and Tim McGraw. “I focus much of my attention on the pelvis which is linked to home, finances, security. Given how important it is, we want to strengthen it in very subtle ways.”

Wilson said doing yoga outside on summer evenings has optimized the experience, particularly during the pandemic people are hesitant to be inside.

The labyrinth is the place when it comes to Liberation Yoga.

“The shade, the perfect temperatures we’ve had in the evening, the labyrinth has great energy. We hope to continue this beyond what we had originally planned.”

Wilson always finishes her song with a sanskrit mantra, using her voice to share healing chants and sonic healing.

Deep and resonating, her voice vibrates through the bodies of those on the patio as she sits cross-legged, her back straight. The chants, she says connect the seven chakras in the body to seven spheres expanding out to the cosmos.

“I find myself more conscious about how I’m moving my body,” said the Rev. Kathleen Bean, who took her place among those wearing tank tops sporting such messages as “May the Force Be With You” and t-shirts emblazoned with the logo for The Hunger Coalition’s Bloom Farm. “She has a desire to help us reduce our mental activity, to quiet the mind.”

Gorby called the yoga practice deep and rejuvenating.

“It feels good to be comfortable with being uncomfortable as she opens up new avenues for change and healing,” she said. “My hope is that by practicing together with our whole body outdoors, we can create a safe space for conversation, change and healing. St. Thomas is one of many sacred spaces in our community and I cannot think of a better way to use that space then to offer it to Tyia to guide us in finding our breath, our body and our sound.”


Tyia Wilson was to have led Liberation Yoga at 6 p.m. tonight at St. Thomas Episcopal Church on Sun Valley Road. It’s free; donations are welcome. BUT tonight's session has been cancelled following an Air Pollution Forecast and Caution issued by the Department of Environmental Quality for Blaine, Camas, Gooding, Lincoln, Jerome, Minidoka, Twin Falls and Cassia counties due to wildfire smoke. Several small fires were sparked by lightning early Wednesday morning in the Magic Valley. Smoke is also coming from wildfires in northern California and eastern Oregon.



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