Alyssa Zelaya

 A 1st generation Nicaraguan-American woman and San Francisco-born "native", Somatic Psychotherapist, a Lukumi priestess (Olosha) crowned to Shango (2002), a certified massage therapist and health educator (2004), trained Master-level Reiki practitioner (2006), and former Aztec Dancer (1994-2006) and Polynesian Dance student (1980-2009). Under the exposure of religious initiation, folk practices/spiritual dance disciplines, and professional training coloring her current approaches to mental health and healing, she became interested in exploring ways to resolve the constant "disconnection to self" and imbalances that result when traumas occur, whether on an individual or community-wide level, through spiritually-integrated somatic practices. From this perspective, she is currently specializing in various forms of trauma work, which includes navigating through physical, emotional, and sexual abuses, community trauma, and inter-generational trauma, specifically, and not limited to, children and adolescents of color.

Multiple Paths: Intersectional Pneumasomatic Approaches to Mental Health

"My truth and my belief is that when you are initiated into and committed to any path, you are unofficially in ceremony all the time. I silently represent the many paths that I have come into contact with which have shaped me and my movements through space and time—everywhere I walk, I am a crowned priestess of Shango, Soy Danzante, I am a Reiki-Master, I am Haumana Hula – it's something I wear on my skin that no one can see, but I've been told many times that it is felt. It is somewhere between philosophy and faith that I find myself writing this chapter about the practical somatic psychotherapy applications of ancient ways of belief and movement." 

- Alyssa Zelaya