Reconnect with your body and find calmness through gentle movement and passive stretching
Greetings! I’m Elena, the founder of Back to your Body. Welcome to my mental-health and trauma-informed yoga classes!
Are feeling a lot of stiffness and tightness or have been under a lot of stress? Or maybe you are lacking energy and can’t keep up with the regular exercises? If that is the case, gentle yoga might be right for you.
In my classes I combine Yin Yoga and slow-paced Hatha Yoga balancing static postures with mindful movement. Yin Yoga offers time and a safe space to slow down, release physical tension and calm the mind. Here you will be passively opening, compressing and twisting the body to feel more relaxed and expansive. While Hatha sequences will help you build strength and concentration while working at your own pace and within your physical limits.
Mental-health and trauma-informed approach is all about creating a nourishing and safe environment where you can be fully present with yourself. The goal of this approach is to facilitate choice and self-inquiry and let YOU be in control of your experience!
I will gently and mindfully guide you through the ‘asanas’ or shapes which I will adapt to suit YOUR anatomy so that you can get the most out of the class.
If you like, you can check my Yin Yoga 4 Fatigue video classes adapted for people with low energy, burnout and chronic fatigue. I hope they can give you an idea about my teaching style.
Please get in touch with me to discuss your needs and book your private session (face-to-face or online via Zoom).
Private class fee 30 USD/ hour.
WHAT STUDENTS SAY
“I’m very happy to have had classes with my Elena, her yin yoga lessons were wonderful. I really enjoyed them. They’ve helped me with my stress and I felt very relaxed.”
– Nattalie, Thailand
“I had a personal Yin Yoga class with Elena, focusing on long, deep stretches and calming the mind. It was really beneficial for me and I learned a lot more than in public classes, because Elena customized the yoga to my personal body anatomy. I am very flexible in most parts of my body, so often the common stretches do not really do it for me. Not so with Elena, she guided me deeper into the poses and showed me new ways how to do them. While doing this, she created an atmosphere where I could really surrender and find peace in the poses, so that I almost felt like coming out of a guided meditation afterwards. Thank you so much, Elena!”
– Christine, Germany
“Yin yoga lessons with Elena were always fantastic and very useful! She nourished my body with gentle kindness and powerful energy. Always with clear explanation of movement. I would highly recommend Elena’s yin class to everyone!”
– Monika, Poland
The class will start with a short mindfulness meditation, giving you time to arrive, settle and tune in to your body.
It will proceed with with either seated or reclined Yin ‘asanas’ or shapes or with a slow Hatha-based warm-up.
The Yin poses are passive and are normally held for a length of time to target your connective tissues. The duration of a hold will depend on your abilities. It may last anywhere from 1 to 3 minutes or longer.
I will carefully guide you in and out of these poses and will suggest variations and adjustments for your unique body structure.
We’ll be also adding some soft movement in between the static poses. The aim is to generate the heat in the muscles, as well as to release any tension or stagnation.
The class will end with ‘savasana’ – the resting pose, and a final meditation to conclude the practice. There will be time to reflect, share or ask questions at the end of the class if you wish to do so.
Safety is the key
The mental-health and trauma-informed approach is all about creating a safe and supportive environment to help you reconnect with your body. It is common for someone who has experienced acute stress or trauma to report feeling disconnected from physical sensations. To rebuild this connection, so that you can once again rely on the cues your body is sending you, it is crucial to feel safe. Here some of the ways I will try to ensure this safety and support:
Gentle and accessible movement and yoga shapes
The movement and yoga shapes in a mental-health and trauma-informed class are always gentle. They are also accessible for different bodies and abilities. I will never ask you to do something that is too difficult or beyond what your body is capable of at that moment. It is my absolute priority to respect your physical limitations and work with them and never against them. The purpose of this class is to increase your body awareness and help you understand your physical boundaries. And it’s a gradual process that shouldn’t be rushed.
You have the choice and you are in control
In a mental-health and trauma-informed class, I will invite you to try certain shapes or movement instead of telling you what to do. I will keep reminding that everything is an invitation. You can always decide whether you want to explore the suggested movement or shape or prefer a different variation. Also, whenever you wish, you can always choose to come out of the shape and rest. This can help to rebuild the sense of self-agency and control over your body and not give the power away to the ‘teacher’.
You have the information
Knowing what is happening to you, what is the purpose of the exercise we are doing or what to expect, helps to feel safer and more empowered. My task as a mental-health and trauma-informed yoga facilitator is to minimise the risk of confusion or overwhelm during the class. This way, you can fully relax and experience a deeper connection to your body. Often, understanding why we are doing what we are doing makes the action much more meaningful and enjoyable. And it is my responsibility to give you just enough information at the right time without overloading you.
Minimising potential triggers and stimulation
Everyone’s nervous system is different and reacts to the same stimuli in a unique way. The aim of the mental-health and trauma-informed class is to help you enter the parasympathetic state so that you can relax and be fully present with yourself. So here are some things that I will do my best to ensure during the class: low ambient music or no music, no scents, calming lights (whenever possible), calm and clear voice. In an in-person class, I will make sure there is a safe distance between me and the participant and I won’t be offering hands-on adjustments (unless it’s absolutely required, in which case, I will always ask your consent first). In an online class, you always have the permission to keep the camera off if you wish to do so.
You learn the tools of self-regulation
Emotional self-regulation is an invaluable life skill that you can start developing on a yoga mat. You will experience it through connection with the breath and increased body awareness. By learning how to calm yourself down and knowing the options of dealing with whatever discomfort you may experience in the class, you’ll feel more equipped and less powerless when faced with emotional and physical distress also in your daily life.
Please don’t confuse it with the Trauma Center Trauma-Sensitive Yoga (an empirically validated, clinical intervention for complex trauma or chronic, treatment-resistant post-traumatic stress disorder).
Mental-health & trauma-informed yoga refers to the approach to teaching yoga in which the teacher has knowledge of trauma and the symptoms of trauma. He or she also knows how to provide a safe and supportive yoga class for individuals who are experiencing stress and/or have been traumatised. However, it is NOT a form of trauma therapy, nor a substitute for one.
The trauma-informed yoga teacher is NOT a licensed trauma therapist. It is always advisable to seek help of a the mental health professional or a licensed trauma therapist if you are experiencing symptoms of trauma.
During the class, I will NOT ask or encourage you to remember, re-experience or talk about a stressful or traumatic event you may have had.