Trauma Sensitive Yoga as an Adjunct Healing Practice!

“Breath is a reminder of trauma.  Sensory messages from muscle and connective tissue that remember a specific position, action, or intention can be sources of triggers.  Accelerated heart rate and increased respiration can be implicit reminders of that same reaction that accompanied the trauma.”  Babette Rothschild, Somatic Trauma Therapist.

Trauma survivors and people with PTSD report symptoms such as feeling “disconnected” from their bodies (dissociation), increased heart rates, shallow breathing, and an inability to reappraise a trigger from a traumatic event.  There are numerous studies in the works and recently published regarding the efficacy of yoga as a prescription for preventative healthcare, depression, anxiety, lymphedema, PTSD, ADD, insomnia, pain relief, and stress.   The Trauma Center in Boston, headed by Bessel van der Kolk, has begun to empirically establish that yoga is helpful for people with PTSD.

Recognizing the intelligence of the body and stored implicit memory Trauma Sensitive Yoga endeavors to help create a situation in which a Trauma Survivor can reconnect with the body as a resource for self-regulation and tolerance for normal sensations.  This is done primarily by using Yogic practice to notice the body, befriend the body with curiosity, and finally to resource the body.

Trauma Sensitive Yoga classes recognize that instructions to relax or breath, the physical sensation postures, or an instructor moving around a room can all be triggers for a Trauma Survivor.  Best held in 10 – 12 week sessions the classes provide community, and a re-introduction to locating oneself in time and space.  This is accomplished without touch, gentle and invitatory language and a consistency of practice.    As the certification training at The Trauma Center suggests, people who wish to participate in a Trauma Sensitive Yoga Class must:

1. Be working with a psychologist, psychiatrist, or other mental health         professional.

2.  Continue with any prescribed medication through the duration of the class.

3. Not have been hospitalized for psychological issues within the last 6 months.

4. Not have any active psychosis. 

15 thoughts on “Trauma Sensitive Yoga as an Adjunct Healing Practice!

  1. magnificent post, very informative. I wonder
    why the opposite specialists of this sector do not understand this.

    You must continue your writing. I am confident, you’ve a great readers’ base already!

  2. Hi, Thanks for your comments. By opposite specialists I imagine you mean doctors and I have to say that while there is some resistance to change folks are beginning to embrace the new empirical evidence. Very exciting.

  3. You people slhoud of been around in 1984 when PTSD reared its head at the VA’S. I spent 7 months in a PTSD clinic doing combat debriefing daily and given meds about 3 times daily. Talking about ones combat in the Nam can bring up some bad arse memories, so the VA drugged the hell out of us in order to try to control us. Imagine the side effects 50 mg of valium a day along with trazadone, nortriptolene and halcion for sleeping can do to ones health? I am not exaggerating. We referred to the VA back then as the pill of the month club. You had to be there. No wonder why I am 62 and look 100. BTW, the VA is still subscribing me valium. Wonder how many mg’s I got in my system with the half life of that drug? Another thing we called ourselves in the PTSD wards were VA junkies.

  4. I’m impressed, I must say. Really rarely do I encounter a weblog that’s each educative and entertaining, and let me let you know, you’ve hit the nail on the head. Your idea is outstanding; the difficulty is one thing that not enough individuals are speaking intelligently about. I am very completely happy that I stumbled throughout this in my search for something relating to this.

  5. I have received too many personal stories to share in this comments section. It seems there are enough consistencies to highlight some responses. 1. There is an openness among those diagnosed with PTSD to try methods of healing that do not include the use of drugs. 2. There is a strong desire to work with the VA despite how easy it is to get lost in the bureaucracy of the system. 3. There is a need to de-stigmatize the diagnosis of PTSD so that individuals with PTSD can seek and receive help without judgment from society.

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