Introduction to Trauma Informed Yoga
Trauma Informed Yoga (also known as Trauma Sensitive Yoga) is a form of yoga that recognizes the effects of traumatic events on an individual’s body and mind, and uses specific techniques to help them reconnect with their bodies and find peace. Traumatic experiences can affect us physiologically, neurologically and psychologically, causing feelings of shock, anxiety and emotional numbness. This type of yoga is tailored to the needs of those who have experienced trauma in life, allowing them to gain control over their emotional response to things like stress and fear. To this end, Trauma Informed Yoga incorporates mindfulness practices such as breathing exercises, exploring how uncomfortable or painful sensations can be managed in an open way without feeling overwhelmed. By engaging in activities such as movement meditation/yoga-based exercise, mindfulness-based activities and conscious relaxation techniques one can experience transformational healing from within.
This type of yoga helps people create space for self-expression which releases stored energy associated with a traumatic event that might otherwise remain dormant in the nervous system. A trauma informed approach helps participants identify their own needs when it comes to practicing yoga; creating a safe container for themselves where they can explore their inner landscape without feeling threatened or judged for having past traumas or difficult life experiences. Additionally, it also provides knowledge on how physical postures can be used to ease common symptoms of trauma including insomnia, nightmares and hypervigilance so they may achieve more harmony between body and mind.
History of Trauma Informed Yoga
Trauma informed yoga is a relatively recent development within the field of yoga and mental health. The basic aim of this application of yoga is to create an emotionally safe environment for people with a history of trauma, allowing them to explore their bodies and emotions in a healthy and mindful way that doesn’t overwhelm or trigger them but also helps them build resilience.
The history of trauma informed yoga has its roots in traditional yogic practices from India, where it has been taught for centuries. It wasn’t until the emergence of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in the late 20th century that trauma informed yoga really came into its own, as a way to process the intense emotions associated with traumatic experiences without re-traumatizing patients.
Traditional forms of yoga include physical practice such as asana, pranayama, meditation, chanting, and sound healing. While these elements can all be beneficial when applied in a therapeutic way, they can also be triggering if they are done too intensely or without due care and attention to the individual’s needs. Trauma informed yoga takes this into account by recognizing that many individuals have experienced trauma at some point in their life, even if it was not caused by themselves directly. Through this awareness one can employ practices which respect space for each individual’s physical and emotional limits while building resilience through mindfulness based practice and breathing techniques.
For example, during trauma informed classes participants might benefit from props such as bolsters or blankets designed to help create an atmosphere of safety during poses that could be perceived as threatening. They may also incorporate story telling or guided imagery exercises where practitioners focus on feeling every movement rather than pushing through it too quickly – this allows for engagement but still ensures safety at all times. Finally, postures and exercises may focus on releasing stored emotions rather than just building strength so participants can learn to connect more deeply with their feelings through the duration of their practice – something traditional classes can often disregard in favour of faster-paced sequences such as sun salutations or vinyasa flow sequences..
Benefits of Trauma Informed Yoga
Trauma informed yoga is an evidence-based, healing practice that combines traditional yogic techniques with modern knowledge of the impact of trauma on physical and mental health. This approach to yoga recognizes the boundaries of an individual’s personal experience and provides a safe space for reestablishing control over one’s body.
The purpose of trauma informed yoga is to provide individuals with tools to better understand, manage and overcome their traumatic experiences by cultivating greater self-awareness, calming the mind and body, and using intentional breathwork for self-regulation. Through this combination of yogic practices and accepted psychological approaches, individuals can begin reconnecting with themselves and their surroundings in a way that may have been blocked by past traumatic events.
The physical benefits of trauma informed yoga include increased flexibility, strength, coordination as well as improved balance, posture and cardiovascular functioning. Practicing these postures helps individuals explore the connection between their thoughts, feelings and emotions while developing healthier patterns in order to remain present in the present moment.
On an emotional level, practicing trauma informed yoga promotes resilience through releasing fear or tension held in the body and generating trust in one’s own strength. Exercising conscious awareness through holding poses or meditation cultivates an inner dialogue which can allow deeper exploration of difficult emotions while promoting a sense safety within oneself.
Moreover, this practice reflects a spiritual journey towards finding true freedom from negative cycles by learning how to trust oneself without judgment or blame and develop courage from within rather than seeking it externally. On this path towards self-discovery and reawakening potential for joyfulness, people can learn more about themselves and deeper compassion for others.
Who Would Benefit From Trauma Informed Yoga
Trauma Informed Yoga (TIFY) is a mindful, body-based practice that provides trauma survivors with the tools to cope and heal from the many effects of trauma. The practice has been adopted by mental health professionals for its capacity to help those suffering from symptoms of depression, anxiety and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Recent research suggests that when one engages in Trauma Informed Yoga practices, it activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which aids in calming the mind and body. It also helps restore balance to the autonomic nervous system which regulates bodily processes such as respiration, heart rate and digestion. Studies have found that mild aerobic exercise may increase both physical and psychological wellbeing while attending breathing exercises helps with relaxation. Through sequenced postures, awareness of breath combined with self-reflection, yoga facilitates abilities such as emotion regulation, improved body image and an enhanced capacity to take care of oneself by finding inner resources that can be used outside of a therapeutic setting.
There are various kinds of people who could benefit from implementing TIFY into their wellness routine including those with a history of trauma or individuals who identify on the LGBTQ+ spectrum who experience higher rates of trauma due to discrimination or unjust treatment. Also included are people facing chronic pain conditions or addiction issues due to the lower likelihood for recovery without addressing underlying emotional distress caused by stress or past traumatic events. Finally anyone seeking improved mental health, mindfulness and self-awareness regardless of their backgrounds can use Trauma Informed Yoga as a powerful healing modality.
Steps for Finding a Trauma Informed Yoga Program
Finding a trauma informed yoga program can involve researching the different organizations that provide resources, certifications, and trainings within the field, as well as looking into reviews and success stories. A reputable program should be grounded in a trauma-informed approach that works to ensure safety, respect, comfortability and integrity of all students. To ensure a safe and supportive learning environment, it’s important to find programs certified by experienced professionals who prioritize connection with their students and create an inviting atmosphere.
When looking for a trauma informed yoga program, there are various factors to consider: the program’s methodologies, the quality of instruction and the instructors’ credentials; what type of yoga will be practiced; the safety protocols established for individuals who may have physical limitations or specific medical needs; and the environment set for participants. It’s also beneficial to understand any policies or agreements outlined by the organization regarding cancelation/refunds, liability waivers and security measures for privacy/confidentiality.
Last but not least, it is important to search for feedback from others who have participated in these programs – this can provide valuable insight into what makes each trauma informed yoga program unique. If a given program resonates with potential students on all levels (physical safety, instruction quality, workshop accessibility etc.), they may very well have found the right fit!
Create a Trauma Informed Yoga Sequence
Trauma Informed Yoga is a therapeutic approach to yoga. It focuses on developing safety, trust and resources rather than simply strengthening muscles and stretching hamstrings. In considering ways to create a Trauma Informed Yoga Sequence, there are some helpful tips that can be used.
1) Select poses that promote safety and provide opportunities for clients to move within their own range of comfort. Examples may include Cat/Cow poses, Child’s Pose, Mountain Pose, Supported Seated Forward Bend or Bridge Pose.
2) Incorporate breathing exercises such as deep breathing with mindful movements or Ujjayi Pranayama (Victorious Breath). This can help individuals focus their awareness on the breath and bring attention away from painful physical or emotional experiences in the moment.
3) Include mindful movement practices like walking meditations or Tai Chi-like postures if available to the individual. These kinds of practices stimulate gentle circulation without putting too much strain on sensitive body tissues and can be an effective way for someone to reconnect with their body in a safe way.
4) Consider alternating soothing and energizing poses throughout the sequence such as Downward Facing Dog followed by Sphinx Pose or Marichyasana I followed by Garland pose (Malasana). This will give your client the ability to self regulate throughout the class if needed.
5) Always end your sequences with calming poses like Savasana (corpse pose), seated meditation or diametric breathing exercises so that clients end feeling relaxed and supported within themselves.
Trauma informed yoga is a practice that uses physical poses, guided imagery, breathwork, and relaxation techniques to help those who have experienced trauma. It works to create an atmosphere of safety and peace of mind that can help individuals move towards a mindset of growth, healing and empowerment. This practice allows the individual to process their emotions while building emotional resilience and inner strength. In doing so one can experience a more positive connection with their body, resulting in a greater sense of overall wellbeing.
In order to get started with trauma informed yoga it is important to attend regularly scheduled classes where you are supported by an instructor who has received special training on how best to guide such a practice. Additionally creating a safe space in which one can practice dignified self-care is paramount as part of the healing process following trauma. Finding stillness within oneself and being able to recognize and respect the needs of your body is an important part of this practice and will lead you on the path towards growth and healing.
I am passionate about yoga and this is my blog. I have been practicing yoga for over 10 years and teaching for 5. Yoga has transformed my life in so many ways and I love being able to share that with others. My hope is that through this blog, I can help people learn more about yoga, connect with other yogis, and find inspiration to live a healthier, happier life.