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Familiar Faces: An Interview with Dr. Brenna Werme

Brenna Werme, D.C. is a chiropractor and senior Embodyoga® instructor at Yoga Center Amherst who has been practicing Embodyoga® for 15 years. On a recent sunny day, we sat outside Share Coffee to talk about her path to yoga, her love for the Pioneer Valley, and the relationship between Embodyoga® and chiropractic care, which she practices at Embodied Chiropractic.

Yoga Center Amherst: Who are you?

Brenna Werme: I am Brenna, and I am native to the area. I’m a chiropractor, and an Embodyoga® practitioner and teacher. I seek to empower and inspire people and help them access their awareness and their ability to heal and learn new things and get strong in their body and in their life. And I’ve been so blessed, I’m realizing more and more, to be part of the Embodyoga® community, and to have been with Patty since I started yoga.

YCA: What was your path to yoga?

BW: My mommy [laughs]. She had this one small paperback torn-up yoga book. When I was about 13, I was having a really hard time sleeping at night — falling asleep, staying asleep, getting back to sleep. So I took that book one day off the bookshelf and I opened up to a page and I thought, “I can do this pose, I can do this pose,” and they were all seated forward bends, and shoulder stand. I did that before bed and I woke up and was like “My God… I’m gonna do yoga every night!”

I started going to class at Yoga Center Amherst with my mom, and I really liked the studio. At some point she said, “Why don’t you come to Patty’s class with me?” And that was it. She’s there, and she sees you, and I was hooked. That was how I got into yoga. I was 15 when I went to Patty’s class for the first time. So I’ve been with Patty for over half of my life.

YCA: You’re a Valley native. What does that mean for you?

BW: Well, I was born and raised here, in Sunderland. The Valley, it just pulls you back. No matter how many times you leave, it pulls you back. Really the only thing we’re missing is the ocean. It’s a big enough community, where you don’t feel like it’s too small. You see familiar faces, and there’s still more to explore. It feels like this supportive, yummy place to live. Even though the winter sucks.

YCA: It does, it really does.

BW: Obviously that’s a testament to the area. It’s beautiful about ¾ of the year. So yeah, we black out winter. That’s what being a Valley native means to me.

YCA: Talk about your work as a chiropractor.

BW: A chiropractor is a spine and nervous system doctor who helps your body remove interference to the signals of your nervous system, or the electricity of your body, that may be compromised due to misalignments, so then you can function optimally. We remove the interference and allow the innate to take over, so that we can function and not just survive, but thrive. It’s healing from the inside-out, just like Embodyoga® is yoga from the inside-out.

The body is a tensegrity structure, so force comes into the body – whether it’s physical, mental, emotional – and it’s going to resonate throughout the whole body. If you can take that force at the time it happens, it’s no big deal and you move on. If you can’t, it will lock in your system in a pattern, and that pattern is what chiropractors help your body unwind and integrate, so you can learn from it, and grow and heal and evolve.

Network Spinal Analysis is the technique I use, and it’s out of this world. It’s a gentle approach to the body, to the spine, to the whole system. Instead of going to a space in the body that’s stuck or locked or inflamed or hot or painful, I’m going to what’s open and easy and already working, which requires a very specific gentle touch, and then the body can entrain itself. A session is called an entrainment instead of an adjustment. The body takes that information and releases those misalignments and stuck places on its own. It allows the person on the table to participate in the process. Each entrainment builds on itself. The body’s always learning something new or releasing something. There’s phases to care – it’s a progression into wellness and personal development, if that’s where a person wants to go with it.

I see my chiropractor not because I have any pain, and I see her every week. I see her because, one, I have to be self-aware, so that I can serve the people on my tables. But also, I just want to keep stretching and learning and growing, and that’s what happens with the care. It’s really awesome. It’s like Embodyoga® – you just keep going through those layers, the koshas. You go in, and you come out, and you go back in, you just keep evolving and there’s no ceiling.

Brenna teaches three classes at YCA: EmbodyCORE on Wednesdays and Fridays, 12-1pm, and Restorative Yoga on Thursdays, 4-5pm.

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