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  • Writer's pictureTonia Mayerle

Does Trauma Informed Yoga mean I have to have PTSD or some recent trauma to attend the class?

Updated: Apr 13, 2022

Trauma is defined as an emotional or physical response to one or more intense, harmful, or life-threatening events or circumstances with lasting effects on your mental and physical well-being (SAMSHA). Trauma Informed Yoga is focused on improving awareness of our response to lived experiences and finding safety in connecting to our body and mind.

A traditional yoga class may encourage a student to move closer to an edge of discomfort, and a trauma informed class goes a step further by helping students pay close attention to signs of emotional or physical disconnection that can accompany that discomfort. Trauma informed classes are not as focused on how poses are executed as traditional classes, they are more about a feeling of embodiment within a pose.

Be it anxiety for an upcoming exam, an adverse childhood event, car accident, work stress, domestic violence, assault, or any event that caused you to feel unsafe in any way, a certified Trauma Informed Yoga instructor is trained to help students find a connection to body and mind that can be an essential part of healing from an adverse experience. A large part of the experience of a trauma informed yoga class is to help a student build a sense of agency and personal empowerment.

A trauma informed yoga class may include strategies to:

  • increase body awareness in a safe environment which can support building feelings of an emotional and physical sense of safety

  • create awareness of feelings of disconnection from a person’s body or surroundings and slowly introduce techniques to enhance that awareness

Anyone is welcome join a Trauma Informed Yoga class. I do meet with students for a few moments individually before class begins so I can develop an understanding of what experiences they may be working with. My goal as I lead students through a session is to help them develop a sense of choice and control over their practice and how it influences their body and mind.

~Tonia Mayerle, Ayurveda Health Counselor and Yoga Instructor

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