trauma-informed yoga FAQS
What is it? Trauma-informed yoga is a mind-body experience designed to empower and inspire healing for people who have experienced trauma.
A trauma-informed yoga practice may include stretching, breath-work, meditation, simply resting, and/or other contemplative arts. The purpose of trauma-informed yoga is to give participants a chance to be in their bodies and encourage in them a sense of confidence to take care of themselves on the mat, and more importantly, off the mat.
Why trauma-informed yoga? The impacts of trauma can make life hard. People who have experienced trauma may find themselves with low self-esteem, anxiety, hyper-vigilance, depression, exhaustion, etc. Because of these things, taking care of yourself can sometimes feel out of reach. Healing then, feels even further away. Trauma-informed yoga can be a pathway to help people find healing, in additional to other modalities such as therapy.
What is the difference between a trauma-informed yoga class versus other classes? The language and guidance in a trauma-informed yoga class is intentionally inviting and open-ended. Trauma-informed yoga class participants will be given plenty of options and choices. A non-judgmental attitude is of the highest value. Participants will be encouraged to choose how they’d like to practice (or not practice and instead rest); there is an element of co-creation between the teacher and students. Additionally, physical assistance/touching is not a part of the teaching.
Why is it important to you? Yoga came to me before I was ready to seek out further healing and understanding of my pain. The trauma I experienced as a young teenager was so shameful, I kept it as a secret and couldn’t see it for what it was until I was 20. Although I had gone to therapy to discuss my depression and anxiety, I was not ready to talk about the most traumatic and haunting parts of my past.
Yoga was a way for me to approach healing. And it was not until I encountered the concept of trauma-informed yoga, that I realized there was more to uncover in myself and my relationship to yoga. Practicing at a trauma-informed yoga studio completely changed how I thought about self-care and how I took care of myself. It led me to discussing my trauma in a support group, and then to eventually do EDMR therapy with my therapist.
And now, I feel called to help others on their healing path too.
What is your training and experience? I completed the 20-Hour Trauma Center Trauma-Sensitive Yoga Training in 2016. I’ve taught to various populations, young and old. Today, I teach with a trauma-informed lens in most of my classes.