What Makes a Yoga Class Trauma-sensitive?

What makes a trauma informed yoga class different from any other yoga class?

It might be easier to explain what it isn’t before I explain what it is.

What is isn't:

  • It’s not a workout. There may be challenging components to the class, but it’s not designed to make you work up a sweat or be super flexible.

  • It’s not a one-size fits all class. You won’t be told what to do, or the right or wrong way to approach a pose. You are always given choice and options and encouraged to explore with curiosity each of those options.

  • It’s not a competition. The most advanced practice may simply be resting in stillness. It all depends on what you need today.

What it is:

  • A slower paced format with time to explore sensation with curiosity and openness.

  • An opportunity to recognize possible triggers during class and begin to incorporate coping tools in a safe environment. Learning to self-regulate.

  • A space for stillness and reflection to befriend yourself, to appreciate the journey that led you to this point and an openness to receive whatever is coming your way. Trusting that you are right where you’re meant to be.

I am a trauma-informed yoga teacher. Every class that I teach is trauma sensitive. That means that we incorporate these components into every practice. We begin to teach our bodies and teach our minds through practice and experience that right here and right now we have everything we need.

Through a regular yoga practice, we can begin to build resilience and heal past wounds.

These practices can help you recognize the physical sensations you feel when triggered by an experience, allow you to become aware of how your body is responding to the stressor, restore balance in your nervous system so that you can cope with your body response, so that you can choose how to respond appropriately to any circumstance.

A trauma sensitive yoga class differs from other yoga classes by offering choice and options for the participant throughout the practice. Beginning by establishing present moment awareness and practices to connect and ground into what you are experiencing here and now.

We recognize that right here and right now we are safe and we have everything we need. From that foundation of safety and security we can begin to explore physical sensations and observe thoughts and feelings that arise when we begin to move our bodies in an intentional and purposeful way.

The practices of awareness, choice, possibility, and exploring our experience with curiosity can allow for a practice that rebalances the parasympathetic nervous system, reduces chronic stress from difficult experiences and allows the individual to experience that in any moment they can find a sense of peace and contentment within themselves, regardless of their circumstances.