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Trauma-Informed Yoga – An Intern Publication

What is Trauma? 

Trauma is the response to an overwhelming event or situation. If these events or situations continue to happen over time, that can lead to complex trauma. Some mental health conditions commonly associated with trauma are Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), anxiety, and depression. Trauma is common throughout the world, including in the United States. Over 70 percent of United States adults have experienced trauma at least once. The Mind-Body Approach focuses on the connection between our mental and physical health. This approach focuses on the physical impact of trauma. Trauma, especially complex trauma, can lead to repeated “fight or flight responses,” which can take a toll on the body over time. There are multiple ways to lessen the impact of trauma on your body, including therapy and trauma-informed yoga. 

What is Trauma-Informed Yoga? 

Trauma-informed yoga focuses on grounding the participant in their body to balance their nervous system. Trauma-informed yoga instructors are trained in trauma-informed teaching. This teaching emphasizes empowerment and personal agency. Many instructors offer one-one sessions for participants who may need it. Trauma-informed yoga recognizes that participants’ safe versus triggering positions may differ. Some examples of generally safe yoga poses are: 

How does Trauma-Informed Yoga Help Heal Trauma? 

Trauma-informed yoga helps balance the nervous system. The grounding and breathing work emphasized in practice helps calm stress responses and decrease tension in the body. These techniques enhance the mind-body connection. Studies show that practicing trauma-informed yoga can reduce PTSD symptoms. In addition, trauma-informed yoga can enhance protective factors against trauma symptoms, such as self-compassion. 

How to get started? 

There are many resources for those interested in starting to practice trauma-informed yoga. The Center for Trauma & Embodiment at JRI offers a search engine for certified instructors worldwide and training to become certified. Below are some more helpful resources: 

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