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Trauma-Sensitive
Yoga

This is a dark time, filled with suffering and uncertainty. Like living cells in a larger body, it is natural that we feel the trauma of our world. So don’t be afraid of the anguish you feel, or the anger or fear, because these responses arise from the depth of your caring and the truth of your interconnectedness with all beings.

 

- Joanna Macy

A while woman with long black hair lies on cushions under a purple rug in a restorative yoga asana. She wears a white top and pants and a rainbow light filter hovers over her head.

During my postgraduate training in 2018, I completed qualitative research on the acceptability of yoga therapy as an adjunctive treatment for anxiety and depression. Given the stories I heard as a clinical researcher, I appreciate the barriers commonly experienced by people accessing mental health treatments. I also know that there is a thirst for complementary mental health treatment options, like Trauma Sensitive Yoga (TSY) within our community.

In TSY, classical components of Hatha Yoga (the origin yoga style that all other yoga styles are derived from) are modified to honour trauma-informed principles. Unlike my Jivamukti Yoga classes and many other public yoga classes available, TSY does not use hands-on assists, music, incense or any other sensory stimulation that may distract the practitioner from a felt sense of their body. Although TSY includes some classical Hatha Yoga movements, the emphasis is on safety and choice, predictability and developing trust in self and other. If Jivamukti and Ashtanga yoga classes are too rigorous for your liking, you may prefer this slower pace, regardless of whether you feel burdened by trauma or not.

TSY classes are taught with inclusive, invitational language and without any focus on the appearance, alignment or ascetic of the movement; you can lay in shavasana for the entire class if that is what you want. This shift in orientation, from approval and conformity with a group, to an attunement with our own preferences and needs, is a key attribute of TSY. The benefits of TSY are numerous including, increasing our capacity for exteroceptive awareness (what's happening around me), proprioceptive awareness (where my body is in space) and introspective awareness (what's happening in my body). TSY can be very supportive as an adjunct to therapy, as it supports somatic and emotional regulation.

 

I am a an experienced yoga teacher and certified TSY Teacher (16 hours, 2019). I have experience in teaching TSY courses at Geelong Yoga Therapy. I am delighted to now offer three week TSY courses to the public at the Mindful Movement Hub.

To learn more about my TSY courses, and to check when the next one will be held, visit my Courses & Workshops page.

If you are subscribed to my mailing list you will be the first to know when the next course is open for registration.

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