Trauma-Informed Yoga

What is trauma-informed yoga?

Trauma-informed yoga refers to the approach in which the teacher has knowledge of trauma and the symptoms of trauma.

Safety is the key

Trauma-informed yoga classes are all about creating a safe and supportive environment to help you reconnect with your body. Very often people who have experienced acute stress or trauma report feeling disconnected from physical sensations. To rebuild this connection it is absolutely crucial to feel safe. Here some of the ways I will try to ensure this safety and support in my classes:

Gentle and accessible movement and yoga shapes

The movement and yoga shapes in my trauma-informed classes are quite 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. Moreover, 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 my trauma-informed yoga classes, 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. So 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 you rebuild the sense of self-agency and control over your body. After all, no one knows your body better than you do.

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. As a trauma-informed yoga facilitator I try to minimize 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.

Minimizing potential triggers

Everyone’s nervous system is different and reacts to the same stimuli in a unique way. 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’ll make sure there is a safe distance between. I won’t offer hands-on adjustments unless it’s absolutely required, in which case, I’ll 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. You’ll learn how to calm yourself down and know how to deal with discomfort. This way you’ll be more equipped and less powerless when faced with emotional and physical distress in your daily life.

What to expect in my private classes?

In my trauma-informed yoga classes I combine Yin Yoga and slow-paced Hatha. I often alternate between static postures and mindful movement for a more balanced class.

Yin Yoga offers time and a safe space to slow down, release physical tension and calm the mind. While gentle Hatha sequences help to build strength and concentration as you work at your own pace.

I also weave into my class many of the grounding and self-regulation tools from Somatic Experiencing, a body-oriented trauma healing modality developed by Peter Levine.

I’ll carefully guide you in and out of the poses and will suggest variations and adjustments for your unique anatomy. Also, the pace, intensity and structure of the class will depend on your current abilities and needs and will be modified throughout the class whenever required.

Interested in having private classes with me?

At the moment I’m based in Chiang Mai, Thailand, and offer online classes via Zoom.

You can schedule a FREE 20-minute evaluation session to help me understand your needs and see how I can tailor my classes to you.