Meet Your Instructor: Erin Hanna

Mondays, 7:30-8:30pm

Beginning on April 17, 2017


21 Plank Avenue | Paoli, PA 19301

Donation Class
Instructed by Erin Hanna

Erin Hanna, RYT-200, Transformation Yoga Project Instructor

Erin Hanna, RYT-200, Transformation Yoga Project Instructor



Erin graduated from Lock Haven University in 2014 with a B.S in Health Science concentrating in Community Health and a minor in Anthropology. She fell in love with the therapeutic side of yoga and went through 200 hr Yoga Teacher Training at The Light Within studio in West Grove, PA and registered with Yoga Alliance in May of 2016. Erin has a passion for giving back to the yoga community and loves seeing the healing effects through everyone it touches on and off the mat. Meditation is a practice Erin enjoys weaving into her yoga teaching and daily life.



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The only moment I was in was the moment I was in.

We started our detention yoga class with mats in a circle, stress relieving pillows in hand, energy all over the place. After explaining how we could experience being in the present moment by focusing on the pillows and taking deep breaths, the girls committed to do the practice for 1 minute. 


The gym was so quiet, you could have heard a pin drop. When 1 minute was up, I asked what they noticed. The girls begin sharing their struggles, worries, the thoughts which have been haunting them since their incarceration. We discussed noticing how a single thought can lead to thinking. We talked about experiences where our thinking sparked feelings. We shared about times when our feelings impacted how we reacted to situations and how we interacted with other people.  

I explained that it's possible to use breathing, movement, and focus to experience something beyond our constant thoughts and the subsequent feelings. As an example, I told them about the first time I did yoga. 

Essentially, I got my ass handed to me. I'm not sure what I expected, but it certainly wasn't quite that level of exercise. It was one of the most challenging situations I have ever put myself into (purposely). But I didn't quit. It took every bit of my focus, but I was able to finish the class. When the end finally came and final resting pose was queued, my body went SPLAT on the mat and my mind was silenced. I had achieved my first of many yoga highs. It felt like heaven. 

During the class, because I had to be so focused on every tiny detail of what my body was doing - for the first time in my life - I was able to be completely free of the constant stream of seemingly uncontrollable thoughts which were always racing through my head. And THAT'S what got me hooked; the first taste of what it's like to be fully present in the present moment. No thoughts of yesterday, no worries about tomorrow, just the right now. The only moment I was in was the moment I was in. Wow, what a rush.

“You mean... I don't HAVE to think? Holy shit! Give me more of that!"  

In time, with continued practice, more was revealed. For so many years, I had allowed my thoughts and emotions to rule my attitudes, dictate my actions, and impact my relationships. Yoga showed me another way. Now I know that my thought process is just that, a process. I can allow this process to enslave me or I can choose to override it. I learned how to use breathing, movement, and focus to make my mind a servant instead of allowing it to be my master.   

The girls were curious, asked questions, and offered insightful observations. By the end of our open discussion, they were eager to experience the power of yoga for themselves. All three girls committed to do their best to breathe, move, and focus. They agreed to back out of anything that caused pain and to challenge themselves to keep going, even when their thoughts told them to give up. 

35 minutes later and the gym was so quiet, you could have heard a pin drop. The girls were splat on their mats in their own unique ways, eyes closed, breath calm, bodies still. Perfect exactly as they were without having to change a single thing. Their final resting pose was accompanied by a guided body-scan meditation and the gentle sound of Tibetan singing bowls. 

Conversation at the end of the class

Girl 1: Where did you go during the rest?

Girl 2: I was remembering when I had my baby. I don’t know why, but that’s where I was. 

Girl 3: I didn’t go anywhere. I wasn’t thinking about anything. For once! I’m so relaxed!  

Me, turning to Girl 1: So, where did you go?

Girl 1: I was sitting on my porch. 

Me: Is that something you like to do? 

Girl 1: I don’t have a porch. 

Me: Wow. How did that make you feel?

Girl 1: Real good. Even though I don’t have a porch, I was sitting on it, and I knew it was mine. It felt real peaceful. 

Immediately after her response, the detention center staff announced it was time to get up, get quiet, get in line, and get back to the cell block. As they walked away, I invited them to use what they learned from this experience any time. I smiled and waved goodbye.   

Though I will return to the facility next week, due to the transient nature of the juvenile justice system, I know I will probably never see any of these girls again. There is no sadness for me in this statement, only a sense of peace and acceptance. This is my purpose. I will continue to serve it.


Transformation Yoga Project, a non-profit (501)(3), serves people impacted by trauma, addiction and incarceration though trauma-sensitive yoga.

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Only Love is Real

Love is unconditional. If it’s conditional, it’s something else.

Relationships are conditional.

I can choose how much contact I have with a person and how attached I want to be to their behavior, but I cannot choose to un-love someone.

I am love, we are love. According to A Course in Miracles, only love is real. Perhaps in this life, that is true. I experienced this through walking with my father in the last few months of his life.

I had a complicated and somewhat tumultuous relationship with my father, who was an addict like me. He got very sick when I had about 7 months clean, his body had had enough of his abuse and was giving up. He lived in another state, so many nights I would leave work, drive about an hour to make it just in time for visiting hours at the hospital, and then leave to make the end of a meeting. At the time I still believed in a God that I would pray to. I would pray on those drives “I’m not ready for him to die, but please help me accept whatever needs to happen for him”. My sponsor had told me that this time was about his life, not about me having a sick father. She helped me cultivate a humble perspective.

After about 5 months of trips back and forth to the hospital and his last minute attempts to get sober, we reached the time of the around the clock vigil. I stayed with my aunt, who he had been living with. We received the call in the early morning the day after his 57th birthday, it was time to be with him, he could no longer breathe on his own, it was time to say goodbye.

We sat on either side of him, each holding a hand. He couldn’t speak, but seemed like he wanted to tell me something. We looked into each other’s eyes and I kept telling him “it’s ok, I love you, I know you love me”. A few minutes later he was still. I felt the whole room fill with his spirit, and in that moment, whatever was between us that wasn’t love was gone. All the blame, resentment and unmet expectations were gone. All that was left was what is real. A father’s love for his daughter, and her love for him.

It’s been almost 13 years since that day, and I still experience waves of grief, especially when I see my father in my son. The love that we have for each other is unconditional, it has not changed, it has been completely uncovered since the day he died. We have a different relationship now, but the love is the same.

Love is real and unconditional.




Blakey’s mother took her to her first yoga class in 1987, as a troubled teen, the peace that she found on the mat had a profound impact on her life. In 2006 Blakey returned to a regular practice of Yoga as a way to improve her physical health and deepen her recovery from drug addiction; she knew then that she wanted to share the healing power of yoga with others seeking recovery. Since completing her first yoga teacher training, Blakey has been leading classes focused on the therapeutic value of yoga on the body and mind. She has completed several trainings in trauma sensitive yoga as well as 500hrs of yoga therapeutics. Blakey continues to deepen her understanding of the spirit/body connection through regular trainings and self study. She is delighted and honored to be a part of the Transformation Yoga Project.



What Can Yoga Do for You?

While yoga has been around for centuries, its popularity has only recently flourished worldwide. Perhaps this is due to the scientific community showcasing evidence that the benefits we always felt were real are, in fact, real. Discoveries such as this have piqued the interest of millions of people across the globe. The transformative power of yoga is beginning to ripple into every corner of the planet.

So what are the benefits yoga provides? If you're a newcomer to the world of yoga, you'll most likely want to know what it can do for you and your current life circumstances. In this post, we aim to uncover some of the most influential and transformational attributes yoga can reveal in your life.

Yoga Can Provide Physical Health Benefits

First of all, let's explore the obvious. Yoga clearly has a profound effect on the physical body, improving muscle strength and tone, flexibility, physical balance, cardiovascular and circulatory health. Yoga also helps prevent injury and increases energy levels. If you want to get in shape, yoga is certainly a fierce contender among the methods you can use to achieve the physique you desire.

However, what you will find with yoga is that it changes the body in a peaceful, rejuvenating and calm manner. With the many forms of this fitness style, physical benefits almost become a byproduct of everything that yoga transfers into your life when you begin practicing it regularly. For those who don't enjoy vigorous exercise such as running or aerobics, yoga offers a tranquil and spiritual approach that can be far more fruitful for the mind, body and spirit.


Yoga Can Improve Your Wellness and Mental Health

Yoga calms and focuses the mind on the body and the breath. Through dissolving all negative thoughts by combining mindfulness with yoga, one can broaden his awareness of who and what he really is. When this happens, stress and illusory perceptions of oneself disintegrate as the mind is left quiet. Only then can one free himself from the mental prison created within his mind through negative past conditioning.

Yoga is a mindful practice, and when we place our awareness and attention on our breath and movements fully, we take our experiences to a much deeper and more meaningful level. If you feel disconnected and unattached with nature, yoga is one of the most effective systems you can learn to anchor you back into reality. This reality opens a pathway to compassion, love, positivity and a way of life that makes you feel connected to the whole.

Yoga Can Transform You

Ask people who have taken yoga seriously in their lives; they will all tell you the same thing: Yoga altered their existence in a positive and nourishing way. When you practice with qualified and talented teachers, they will not only help you improve your physical health; they will invite you on a journey of self-discovery that only becomes more meaningful and satisfying as time goes on.

Yoga aligns the mind, body and spirit in such a way that allows us to reveal our true selves and nature. When this happens, we let go of anger, hatred, worries and limiting beliefs that stop us from tapping into our infinite potential. Fear is washed away, as we realize it's an illusion created by the mind. Our understanding of love, compassion and happiness changes because we learn that by loving ourselves, we can then care for all others in the most positive and healthy of manners.

Yoga Creates Purpose

After practicing yoga for a while, you'll begin reaping the many rewards it has to offer. As your life starts to change in a visibly positive manner, you'll start to feel the urge to tell your friends, family members and even strangers about it. It's no wonder the mystique that surrounds yoga has rippled throughout the world, as those who practice it can't help but talk about it wherever they go. 

This lifestyle choice starts off as a transformational tool for yourself, but what it evolves into is a circle of abundance that surrounds your life and everyone you encounter. It's hard to hold onto something so incredible and not to share it with the people you love and care about most. The stereotypical perception of yoga is that it's all about stretches and flexibility, and while such benefits are included in the practice, yoga is far more than that. It's something you live and breathe into every action of your day-to-day life, how you deal with obstacles and how you interact with yourself and others. Yoga is a lifestyle choice, one that offers never-ending bounty.


Faith Macanas

Faith Macanas

Faith is a blogger for Secure Thoughts who has practiced yoga for years and believes passionately in its transformative and healing powers. She loves spreading the benefits and attributes that it offers so others can experience the many wonders that make up the yogic lifestyle.