What is Trauma-Informed Yoga?

February 15, 2021

Defining Trauma and Yoga

According Dr. Peter Levine, a leader in the field of trauma healing, “On a broad level, trauma is anything from one’s life experience that remains trapped and unresolved causing disturbances at the biological, physiological, emotional, mental or behavior levels.”

Yoga, when translated from its Sanskrit origin, means union, integration, balance, wholeness.

Trauma-Informed Yoga

Trauma-informed yoga is tailored to address trauma’s impact on the entire mind-body system. The intention of this type of practice is to help a person suffering from trauma to center their minds and unhook from negative thoughts, inviting calm both mentally and physically.

A trauma-informed yoga class consists of a safe calm space, simple yoga poses, no hands-on adjustments, and gentle verbal guidance as an invitation for students to feel confident and in charge of their bodies and themselves. Teachers act as “safe space holders” so students may get to know themselves in the space, transcended from suffering, feeling supported and held.A trauma-informed teacher must understand that healing occurs from the inside out and resist the urge to fix, manage, advise or control their students.

Grounding poses with attention on foundation, breath awareness and gentle movement, allows students to become used to physical sensation without fear of harm. They can start to feel safe and secure, take charge of their own bodies, change their outlook and feel empowered. Alternately, if they need to spend the class in Child’s Pose, that’s OK. If they can’t close their eyes when suggested to them, that is also OK. It’s imperative to allow autonomy of their own bodies and their space in the class.

Julie Bertinga l Mukha Yoga Writer By Julie Bertanga; All Rights Reserved @2021

People who have experienced trauma maynot have high self-esteem. They may blame themselves for the violence and trauma that they’ve undergone. Often, they are uncomfortable in their own skin and may judge themselves about their ability. Teaching non-judgement is an invitation to accept all aspects of their being by softening the heart and starting the journey back to wholeness.

The road of recovery is long, but with time, and a teacher that leads from the heart with authenticity and compassion, someone with trauma can become stronger and may even leave a class feeling a sense of calmness and ease, coming that much closer to healing.

Julie Bertinga l Mukha Yoga Writer By Julie Bertanga; All Rights Reserved @2021

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