by DeLora Frederickson EPCRYT500, TIYT
Lately the term trauma has been showing up in relation to yoga across the country. The question is why? What do the two have to do with one another? Many of us have turned to yoga at times of turmoil or transition in our own lives. When things aren’t going well we discover our practice helps us find a semblance of balance.
The thing is if you have been traumatized at any time in your life, yoga and the conditions in which it is taught can stir up fears, anxiety, or withdrawal instead of that sense of inner peace and balance we search for.
Trauma Informed Yoga is a yoga therapy approach to sharing the practice with those who've been traumatized. Yoga Therapy is when yoga is utilized to work on a specific condition either in a class or private session. It might be more familiar to hear about yoga therapy as an approach to helping with low back pain or other physical ailments, but it is used across the world to help people heal their emotional wounds as well.
Being a trauma-informed or -sensitive teacher means you approach your classes from a different perspective. You hold space for those who have a more difficult time being in the world as it is. How you set your room up, the music you choose, the postures you teach, and so much more are of utmost importance in Trauma Informed Yoga. Languaging becomes even more particular when working with individuals attendting these classes. And hands-on assists create another layer of concern for people who have lived through trauma. In most cases, when offering trauma sensitive students, hands on assists are very rarely given.
Creating a safe space is essential for those who are more sensitive to environmental and social factors.
As teachers we have to RE-view our teaching techniques and the purposes of our classes. As students searching for safe yoga classes we have to find teachers who are aware of our needs and who will be sensitive to them.
This is a big new step for the yoga community. Are we willing to make space for each other so we can provide opportunities for EVERYONE to benefit from the teachings of yoga? Are we willing to look at ourselves and the way we move through the world so we can become more accessible for people affected by trauma. I think the time has come!
To find a trauma informed yoga class near you or find training Sundara Yoga Therapy in Austin, TX is a wonderful resource to start with! Other resources include:
Trauma Informed Yoga Therapy Private Sessions
Alyson Simms is offering an online Trauma Informed Series for Survivors of Sexual Abuse
Overcome Anxiety Clinic
Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu - May All Beings Happy and Free from Suffering
May My Words and Actions Lead to The Release of Suffering and the Creation of Happiness for All Beings