About Donna Brooks
I have always loved movement. As a chíld, I twisted my body into all sorts of pretzel positions—only later did I realize I was doing yoga poses intuitively. As a young woman, I studied ballet, modern dance, and hatha yoga. In 1982, as one of only a handful of yoga teachers in Washington, D.C., I built a practice that included dancers, activists, and politicians. I also devoted myself to the study of Iyengar yoga with John Schumacher and later with Karin Stephan in Boston.
Teaching yoga has sparked my passion to learn everything I can about the moving body. I have studied the foundations of Feldenkrais work and that of Somatics pioneer Thomas Hanna, and studied with Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen at the School for Body-Mind Centering. I also have learned about the geometry and physics of movement and momentum with tennis pro Art Carrington and through Contact Improvisation. I have pieced together core insights into somatic movement and the important role it plays in laying the foundation for all our movements, yoga and exercise execution, and balance in the nervous system. These approaches have helped me embody an effortless, fluid grace I endeavor to bring to my students.
I moved to western Massachusetts in 1986 and continue to teach here. My clients include people with injuries related to aging, exercise and sports, accidents or to life trauma and illness such as Parkinson’s, MS and stroke.
I have designed materials and lead yoga/movement classes for Parkinson’s disease patients. My clients include people with injuries related to aging, exercise and sports, accidents or to life trauma and illness such as Parkinson’s, MS and stroke. I lead yoga/movement classes for Parkinson’s disease patients, teach a pain relief clinic for Valley Medical Group and have trained nurses through the Holistic Nursing Association certification program. I taught and created yoga and menopause classes for Kaiser Permanente and has presented my work to the UMASS communications disorders department, Cooley-Dickinson hospital and to the Pioneer Valley Brain Injury support group. I have taught at the University of Massachusetts, Greenfield Community College, Charlemont Academy, Norwich College, the Hartsbrook School, and for Mohawk Valley Education Services.
My practice is varied. Some people come to me because they want to be more poised, powerful, confident, and serene in their movement and lives. Others are learning how to walk again after stroke, injury, or surgery. Others simply want to study yoga and movement with me because of the depth of my experience and insight. I welcome all students and have a deep commitment to meeting each of you with all my clarity, integrity, experience, and compassion. I feel it’s both my calling and privilege to facilitate ease, strength, and integration in the body.
I am an ISMETA registered somatic movement educator and therapist, a certified Yoga therapist and have a Bachelor of Science degree from SUNY Stony Brook.