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What exactly is trauma-informed yoga? And why should I care about it?

What exactly is trauma-informed yoga? And why should I care about it?

Trauma-informed yoga is yoga that takes into consideration that all people are on their healing journey from something, and that we are holding space for those realities when in the yoga practice. Whether a person is experiencing vicarious trauma through watching news cycles and deeply feeling their effects, or they’re making their way to the other side of something that forever changed them and their reality, awareness of triggers that make the echoes of those realities is an important part of accompanying yoga practitioners through a lifetime of yoga.

Student agency is key in a trauma-informed class.

In a trauma informed practice, practitioners will notice a major differentiator to other classes – agency. Students are given a range of options to experience the practice in edifying ways. If trauma is something that happened in which agency was taken away, a balm to the spirit is offering up options to help folks have an experience that nourishes them.

You might just find a class that fits you like a glove… that stretches.

“Side effects” of trauma-informed teaching include feeling seen, supported, and held. You might notice that you’ve had an experience that feels like it was curated just for you. Because you’re experiencing the practice in a more nourishing way, falling prey to being in competition with old versions of yourself or moving into practices that will agitate the nervous system are reduced. In fact, you might feel that your nervous system is pacified, offering a sense of ease.

Enjoy a co-created experience.

Trauma-informed classes aren’t easier, they simply ask for you to step into a more embodied practice, to listen to your inner teacher, and to let go of the offerings that don’t serve you. Rather than blindly following along with the class or teacher, the student co-creates their experience. Whether its power flow or Restorative Yoga, you’ll be invited to meet the practice where it meets you that day.

Language matters and can empower or trigger. Trauma-informed teachers get it and choose language with awareness.

You might notice that classes are guided with very specific language so you don’t have to think as much, but also alongside options that feel supportive. You will experience a class free of gender-specific language, and language that supports systems that harms traditionally marginalized people. Accommodations for a variety of abilities will be shared so that everyone feels affirmed in the class. It is not a perfect science, but trauma-informed teachers are in the practice of continual education and evolution to be able to meet the growing changes of the community as they’re revealed. 

Trauma-informed yoga is for all people. 

One doesn’t come to a class to “heal,” but a person might actually find exactly that because there’s so much space to connect to the teacher and healer within. Trauma-informed teachers will not accept the label guru or offer advice that could be confused with therapy. We know our place and our scope and stay within it to ensure that we’re always supporting your journey with our education and training. 

Most classes won’t don a label of “trauma-informed” even if they are, but you’ll surely know it when you arrive. Find your teachers and you’ll find a practice that accompanies you for life’s many twists and turns.

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