FIrst and foremost, a trauma informed perspective will always ask, "What happened to you" instead of "Whats wrong with you." I believe that the body is innately wise, and even symptoms which can typically be labeled as "pathological" or "bad" exist to provide us with safety. There is nothing wrong with you, and together we can work to develop your strengths and innate resilience.
Trauma-informed yoga emphasizes the importance of the entire mind-body system, rather than just particular mental states such as flashback or difficult memories. It's important to note that our minds are never isolated from our bodies, in fact they work synergistically. Trauma is not just an event that took place sometime in the past; it is also the imprint left by that experience on mind, brain, and body and can continue to adversely affect the present moment unless it is fully integrated.
Drawing from neuroscience, developmental psychology, and interpersonal neurobiology, body-based therapeutic methods such as trauma-informed yoga, and applied poly vagal theory, are seen to be at least equal of importance are more traditional therapies, such as talk therapy.
Traumatic events involve “inescapable shock”. These perceived threats to our physical survival and/or psycho-emotional integrity are often experienced as circumstances that prevent us from safe escape. It's also important to note that traumatic events may be one-time occurrences, such as a car crash, war, or school shooting or part of an ongoing pattern, such as chronic domestic violence, or continual sexual, or emotional abuse.
Though single-event trauma and complex, developmental trauma differ, both evoke the nervous system response that involves the body’s instinctual fight/flight/freeze pattern, which is hardwired into the human nervous system to help protect us from harm. Normally, this wiring provides the energy that is needed to propel us towards safety. However, trauma often occurs when we are unable to take effective action to stay safe, and remain trapped in a physically threatening and/or psychologically overwhelming situation.
When we do not have the opportunity to process and release the resulting sense of shock experienced throughout the body-mind system, we may remain stuck in a state of severe physiological and psycho-emotional disequilibrium. Often this manifests as hyper or hypo-arousal, or complete dorsal shut down states. To be hyper-aroused is to remain in a hyper-vigilant state of “high alert” regardless of actual circumstance, acutely anxious and obsessively scanning the environment for potential threats. Conversely hypo-arousal is a state of being “shut down,” feeling lethargic, apathetic, depressed, disassociated, or otherwise numbly disconnected from life.
In either case, “traumatized people chronically feel unsafe inside their bodies. The past remains alive in the form of gnawing interior discomfort,” says van der Kolk. This chronic sense of dis-ease commonly produces or exacerbates additional problems, such as substance abuse, disruptive relationships, and excessive or even dangerous over-reactions to otherwise minor events. Over the long term, chronic stress and/or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) may cause other serious health problems, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, digestive problems, strokes, and memory impairment.
In addition to finding ways to discharge incomplete impulses related to nervous system activation, an important part of trauma recovery is to support survivors in recognizing and responding healthfully to their current physiological/psychological state. When taught and learned from a trauma-informed perspective, yoga can be a vitally helpful resource on each of these fronts!
Yoga can have both stimulating and soothing effects. This is true on both the physical and psycho-emotional levels. Therefore yoga teachers can encourage balance in the nervous system through customized classes that incorporate both stimulating and sitting postures, depending on the clients individual goals. By encouraging students to notice when they feel safe, soothed, and secure, an emphasis on present-state awareness is achieved and opportunities for students to choose what brings them balanced is considered. Over time, students can build coping skills and make choices that support their transition from hyper- or hypo-arousal to a balanced state.
Trauma quite literally can change the grey matter of your brain, and alter how your neurological synapses respond to stress. Each of us are wired uniquely depending on how we were imprinted by our trauma, therefore there is no one sized fits all approach to yoga therapy.
Personalized trauma informed yoga directly addresses your unique changes to the brain and nervous system by using breath and movements designed to find homeostasis.
Some of the benefits to our students include:
~Improved concentration, focus, attention, and interoceptive awareness
~Reduced anxiety, and anger
~Reduced impacts of exaggerated stress responses (fight, flight or freeze)
~Increased emotional regulation
~ Increased relaxation, sleep, and mood elevation
~A wider gap between stimulus and response helping to regulate behavior
I am a certified Trauma Informed, 500hr RYT and have received extensive training in Poly-vagal applied yoga therapeutics. I am also a solo mama who resides on a forested homestead in the FingerLakes region of Upstate NY with my three spirited children and Australian Shepherd, Frodo.
It is through gold mining my own shadows, and navigating the waters of CPTSD that I received a rather loud calling from the universe to share the transformational yogic tools I've learned along the way with others.
As someone who grew up completely dissociated, living an embodied life did not come intuitively to me at first, it took years of self awareness practices and yoga therapy to get here. Now that I have arrived to this role as a practitioner, my souls mission is to guide each of my clients into a deeper and more kind relationship with their bodies so they can live more fulfilling joyful lives.
I believe that trauma informed yoga therapeutics can transcend time and space and works on a multitude of bodies; our emotional, physical, etheric and auric. For this reason, I am available for both in person or online zoom private sessions and am happy to work with people from anywhere in the world.
I offer clients individualized sessions to support them in achieving their unique wellness goals. I combine a variety of trauma informed practices into the work that I offer which includes but is not limited to: yoga asana exploration, guided meditation, guided breath work, pranayama practice, and customized Yoga Nidra.
By meeting each client exactly where they are at any given moment throughout their session, I provide a supportive in real time mirror where they are able to fully meet themselves and move through and what IS. As we enter the oftentimes subconscious arena of somatic experiences, a wide array of emotions, and felt sensations may arise to be observed, processed and re-integrated. All emotions are welcome and fully supported to be explored and moved through within the framework of a Trauma Informed Yoga session.
One on one Trauma-informed yoga sessions can be purchased either individually for specific or acute concerns that need to be worked through as they arise, or they can be woven together over the course of weeks or months in order to progressively alchemize deeper layers of stress and create a personalized yoga flow that addresses your areas of concern.
Private session begin at $100/hr
Ongoing trauma informed yoga coaching options range from a 1-6 month time commitment and begin at $1K
If you're ready to invest the time and commitment necessary to restore your wellbeing and realign to your true north, please send me an email below to discuss in detail how we may work together. I will be happy to provide you with a customized quote.