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“Movement is a medicine for creating change in a person's physical, emotional, and mental states” – Carol Welch.
Unlike your traditional Hatha or Vinyasa yoga class, this type of mantra is becoming increasingly familiar as trauma-informed yoga is more accessible.
Years of research into trauma such as PTSD has shown that past events, even those that one might not consciously recall, are retained inside the body. The unfortunate effects that occur when we do not deal with these traumas could range from mild to severe if not dealt with. The body and the mind have the unique ability to remember experiences of abuse, neglect, and pain, but a trauma-informed class can aid with recovery.
In a trauma-informed yoga class, the Asana practice is specifically designed for individuals who may have experienced severe trauma. To create the safest environment possible, all language is invitational, whereby the teacher will offer options rather than impose instructional commands. There are no physical adjustments and students face the door so they can feel safe knowing that there is literally nothing that can come behind them by surprise. For those who may have lost any sense of independence or control of their bodies can reconnect and eventually recalibrate their inner experience.
While not all individuals require the structure of a trauma-informed class, many of us have experienced some level of trauma in our past, whether a car accident, witnessing something unpleasant or even the constant stimuli of our modern lives (especially when living in a metropolitan city). Reinforced patterns of held stress and pain in our bodies, when unacknowledged, are potentially detrimental to the nervous system.
A trauma-informed class can encourage an internal connection by allowing us to listen to our bodies in a safe space. When we come from a place of listening, inquiry, and curiosity, rather than one of command and control,profound healing can occur.