YOGA IS FOR EVERYONE. Discover your body's most functional movements for health.

How Trauma Impacts the Mind and Body

When we experience big T and little t traumas, it patterns the body through a chain of systemic reactions.  Let's use a significant car accident as an example.  While the brain may be focused on trying to process what occurred and what to do next, the body is having its own reaction without your awareness. Cortisol, a hormone triggered by the fight-or flight mechanism, is released into the body to help it prepare for action.  An imprint of the sounds, smells, tastes, tactile sensations, sights and muscles tensing are made and become body memories. Therefore, even months or years after the event has taken place, if a similar sensation is felt or a memory of the accident arises the body may be triggered into the flight-or-fight response, starting the whole systemic reaction over again. 

When the body is constantly triggered, cortisol can build up or deplete over time, depending on an individual's circumstances.  In either case, the imbalanced levels can impact the function of the brain, immune system, muscular system, blood sugar levels, blood circulation and more.  In addition, the body may react as it did in the accident, shifting in ways to protect itself, perhaps tensing shoulders or stomach muscles.  Over the long run, this may manifest as shoulder and neck pain or problems with digestion and elimination. Often, so much time has passed since the trauma that the individual is confused about the source of the pain and may find it difficult to alleviate the discomfort, perhaps masking symptoms with medication.

The Function of Trauma Informed Yoga for Trauma Release

When one understands that the body has its own memory physical sensations can be perceived as information. This information may come in the form of tension, lightness, tingling, relaxation, numbness, heat, sharp pain, heaviness, etc. Through guided movement, breath work and meditation individuals are provided opportunities to explore what is arising in the body in a safe and supportive space. When sensations are met with curiosity rather than habitual reaction energetic patterns are fully acknowledged and traumatic imprints are released and re-patterned as the client develops a new, trusting relationship with the body.

Trauma informed yoga is a very individualized process whether in a private session or group class. Various poses and movements are offered with multiple options for each so that students can choose which feels best for their body. Every student has the choice to participate in whatever way feels right.  In fact, at times, an individual might decide to practice in stillness, just feeling the energy body moving, which is also a very powerful practice.  There are no demands to hold the pose for a certain length of time, to be in "perfect" alignment or twist into a pretzel. Trauma informed yoga is about developing a different relationship with your body with all of its unique qualities and developing an understanding that yoga is a pathway of healing the mind and body.

Trauma Informed Yoga 

  • No experience is necessary.
  • People of all body types and abilities are welcome.
  • No partner work is offered during these classes.
  • There are no expectations that you have to engage with others.  If you are a private person, know that you can come, do your yoga and leave when you are ready.
  • Trauma informed yoga is about meeting you where you are at in each moment and giving you the choice about how and when to move your body.

Benefits of Yoga

  • Develops body awareness
  • Decreases mind chatter
  • Regulates the nervous system
  • Increases mental and physical flexibility
  • Increases muscle strength and tone
  • Protects the body from injury
  • Improves respiration and energy
  • Enhances cardiovascular and circulatory functioning
  • Strengthens bones and increases spinal health
  • Improves functioning of organs
  • Decreases stress and increases contentment
  • Boosts the immune system
  • Improves sleep