On the Other Side of “This or That”: Breathing, Moving, and Knowing into a More Expansive Be-ing


In a complex and nuanced world, we naturally seek to make sense of ourselves, others, and all surrounding us by sorting things into “this or that” categories. We are embedded in a culture of binaries that can often lead us to internal and external conflict and confusion – leaving us feeling limited and even trapped, unsafe, or unseen. Binaries tell us that we are either good or bad, enough or not enough, us or them, feminine or masculine, insider or outsider. Binaries can be used to empower and disempower, to make ourselves and others feel worthy or unworthy.

Binaries and either/or thinking can become even more entrenched when individuals and society experience stress, trauma, and overwhelm. There can be constriction, limitation, and a narrowing capacity to see ourselves and others. This comes at a massive cost – the most beautiful parts of ourselves are cut off or confined. When our mind is constricted, our body follows, and we lose the ability to move with freedom and fluidity. We feel unsafe expressing who we are and how we know ourselves. Our expansiveness and belonging diminish. Living in a binary world can plunge us into individuality and isolation; we lose our connection to ourselves, others, nature, and our planet.

Join Mariah for a series of embodied explorations of how we can become more expansive and fluid in our bodies, minds, and hearts.

Together we will step, move, breathe and express our way into the questions that are much larger than the “this or that” answers we seek for comfort and familiarity and are thrust into by trauma and stress. We will explore the inherited stories that live in our bodies. We’ll look at where the outside pushes in on us to create limitations. We will work to expand into a fuller sense of self, which holds our beautiful nuances, multiplicity, and our greatest sources of connection to self and one another. 


iRest Yoga Nidra is a meditation and guided relaxation practice based on the ancient tradition of Yoga Nidra and adapted for modern life. Anyone can practice regardless of physical ability or experience. You may practice in a sitting position. 

Please come prepared with: a pillow, blanket, yoga mat, and a rolled towel or bolster to place under your knees for support, or simply a comfortable chair.


Join us for all five sessions:

May 31, 2022    – Moving beyond “this or that” in our bodies: Using iRest Yoga Nidra to experience expansiveness in sensation 

June 7, 2022    – Moving beyond “this or that” in our hearts: Using iRest Yoga Nidra to experience expansiveness in emotions 

June 14, 2022  – Moving beyond “this or that” in our minds: Using iRest Yoga Nidra to experience expansiveness in thoughts and beliefs

June 21, 2022   – Moving beyond “this or that” in the labels we identify with: Using expressive art and parts work to experience expansiveness in our identities

June 28, 2022 – Moving beyond “this or that” in how we see others and the world: Using an embodied orienting practice to experience expansiveness in our connections 


Meet your instructor:

Mariah Rooney, MSW, LICSW, (she/they) is justice- and collective-liberation-oriented, queer-identifying, incredibly curious and passionate trauma therapist and embodiment practitioner. Her clinical experience includes work with children, adolescents, and adults in outpatient, community, hospital, and specialty care settings. Mariah’s approach to treatment is integrative and draws from intersectional, anti-oppressive, anti-racist, contemporary relational, feminist, trauma-informed, and body-centric lenses. As an embodiment practitioner, they have taught trauma-sensitive yoga, meditation and other movement practices to folks who are incarcerated, active duty military and veterans, individuals in recovery, and adolescents and adults who have experienced trauma. Additionally, Mariah is a faculty member in the Graduate School of Social Work at Winona State University; a trauma-informed care consultant for the American Institutes of Research; is the Co-Founder and Co-Director of Trauma Informed Weight Lifting; and was previously a fellow at the Trauma Center at the Justice Resource Institute.

Website: mariahrooneylicsw.com/ and traumainformedweightlifting.com

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