Jamie Surya (she/her/hers) began her journey of Yoga as a teenager looking for a way to ease the pain that inevitably comes with life. Initially drawn to meditation and yogic philosophy, her asana and pranayama practice soon followed. In 2012 at the age of 20 she opened up the Jamie Surya Yoga Studio in Sparkill, NY to share the teachings that had so strongly influenced her.
She soon realized the importance of gentle and adaptive yoga but was surprised how infrequently it was offered and discussed. This led Jamie to further her studies in anatomy, physiology, injuries, and alignment with the support of Andres Alves, PT, DPT, RYT. Jamie and Andres were the first to bring the LoveYourBrain Yoga Program to New York State, where they facilitate group discussions and adapt asana, pranayama, and meditation for individuals who have experienced traumatic brain injuries and their caregivers. In working with licensed mental health counselor Hayley O’Brien, M.A, LPC, RYT, Jamie deepened her studies further and learned how to adapt elements of the practice and studio space to be trauma sensitive and suitable for individuals who are experiencing depression, anxiety, substance abuse, eating disorders, PTSD, and other sources of trauma.
As a lululemon Athletica alumni ambassador, Jamie creates and facilitates community events raising awareness and support for multiple organizations both locally and globally. In 2015, she was nominated and selected from ambassadors around the world to attend the Annual Ambassador Summit in Whistler, BC.
As an animal lover and justice seeker her whole life, human and non-human animal rights are at the forefront of Jamie’s community work. After learning of the animal abuse, environmental damage, and health impacts that result from using animals as food, clothing, and products, she set her lifelong habits and traditions aside and became vegan. Her inner yoga practice bloomed as a result of finally aligning her actions with her values and she continues to use her voice and her heart when advocating for all animals and humans alike.
Jamie co-created the community organization Together Vegan Change, a support system for local vegans and a resource for those interested in veganism. TVC organizes various community events, workshops, and forms of activism in the New York/New Jersey area. A proud supporter of her community’s local non-profits The Rockland County Pride Center and Center for Safety and Change, Jamie believes in the freedom and equality of all races, orientations, genders, and species, and will forever fight for the end of oppression for all.
Topics discussed in this episode:
Catering the Jaime Surya Yoga Studio to meet the needs of the community. Offering inclusive yoga by offering gentle, beginner and injury friendly classes.
Teaching an adaptive yoga practice for people with brain injuries and their caregivers.
Trauma sensitive yoga
- The Love Your Brain Foundation:
Teaching mediation, breathing, and yoga to those with traumatic brain injuries including concussions
Hayley O’Brien, M.A, LPC, RYT, Yoga and Counseling
Adapting the yoga practice to be suitable for all mental health aspects.
Introducing veganism to yoga classes and teacher trainings.
Effective ways to talk to people about going vegan
Together Vegan Change Organization
- Building a vegan community
- The Center for Safety and Change
- The Rockland County Pride Center