IIYC SoCal Hosts Mi Vida Su Vida in Los Angeles / by Simone Johnson

by Alexis Saenz

IIYC SoCal Hosts Mi Vida Su Vida at Anahuacalmecac International University Prepatory

The IIYC SoCal Chapter had the amazing opportunity to bring our ‘Mi Vida Su Vida’ program to our community. Adrienna Lujan, Executive Director of our mentor organization, Sisters of Color United for Education (SOCUE), came out to lead the program. ‘Mi Vida Su Vida’ is our culturally responsive program that addresses what it means to live healthy and happily. We held this workshop at the only indigenous school in Los Angeles, Anahuacalmecac International University Preparatory, and were able to work with their high school students.

“Anahuacalmecac International University Preparatory of North America is dedicated to student academic excellence, Native wisdom, and appreciation of the cultural and intellectual heritage of Indigenous Peoples and the promotion of positive social awareness.”

These students were so special to work with. They are immersed in their cultural practice daily. They were so well-spoken and really responsive to this program, so much so that they guided much of it. We had additional community leaders and supporters from around the Los Angeles area attend as well who really enjoyed hearing the younger generation speak throughout the program.

Attendees experienced an immersive, hands on workshop where they confront what it means to challenge historical and intergenerational trauma in order to heal and evolve. Participants learned various healing techniques that they can use to heal one’s self and practice self-love, with the ultimate goal of using these practices to cultivating a deeply connected relationship with themselves, others and the planet.

Day One: How Societal Expectations Influence Self-Identity

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We started the workshop with an exercise that explored 5 levels of the body, energies, emotions, chakras and dualities. We learned about coping techniques like Cortasies and Body Talk. Cortasies and Body Talk are coping techniques by which help the body cope with emotions and stresses we feel on the day to day. We talked about the Socio-Ecological Model System which aims to stop violence before it begins by learning and understanding how violence is influenced. Much of this is aimed at looking at how intergenerational trauma impacts our daily lives and the power that self awareness and resilience has in breaking away from repeating harmful patterns passed down through generations of violence.

We continued with the workshop by focusing on the importance of water and our physical and spiritual connection to the elements. We talked about the importance of self-identity and the iceberg theory of wearing an emotional mask in society. Working in both a large group and then breaking off into more intimate, smaller groups allowed the youth to experience a more cohesive and broad perspective on each other’s viewpoints.

Day Two: Listening to Your Body

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On day 2, we dove even deeper into chakras because the participants were very interested in learning how to heal and move forward from historical and intergenerational trauma. We talked more about their stresses, the sympathetic nervous system and how your responds to trauma through fight, flight, freeze or faint and the parasympathetic nervous system related to conserving energy in the body. Adrienna continued to do a group Body Talk sessions to help our bodies and minds understand what we were trying to heal from. The description below helps describe the process of body talking and its importance in healing.

“The BodyTalk Practitioner uses muscle-checking (neuromuscular biofeedback) and a strict yes/no question protocol to navigate between the systems of the body in a specific manner locating its priorities. These make up the links that signify the blocked energy pathways between different systems and body parts. Using a light tapping procedure over the top of the head and heart, the Practitioner helps the energetic balancing take place, which in turn helps enable the body's own powerful self-healing mechanism.” -http://www.inn8healing.com/sessions.htm

We ended by identifying ways each individual could further heal and concluded with a group stretch to wrap up the work we did throughout the weekend.

Healing is Communal

The IIYC SoCal is very thankful for all the youth and community members that came out to do the workshop. It was amazing to see our community come together to heal. We want to thank Adrienna Lujan for all her work to help communities around the world heal and understand the importance of health. We also want to thank her for donating her time to come to LA, see our youth and inspire them to continue to take up space and help our communities heal.

To have IIYC host a Mi Vida Su Vida training in your area, contact info@indigenousyouth.org. You may learn more about the program here.