Have you heard of Trauma Informed Yoga? It is starting to become a more common topic in the mindfulness community and it is a very important conversation we need to be having right now.
2020 left common humanity confused, exhausted, and experiencing new ways of living in a socially distanced way. It was terrifying.
We are experiencing collective trauma. Not only as a result of Covid, but also social and culture changes too. We witness injustice, racial & gender inequality, and political disputes.
This is peeling back the layers of trauma in ways we never realized are still present in our world today.
I want share three qualities of what makes up a trauma informed yoga practice. Mindfulness is key when it comes to moving past the heavy weight of pain and suffering.
1) Acknowledge that Every Person is Unique
Our individual experience and how we were raised will influence the way we see the world. It is important to realize that what we may not find triggering can be to someone else dependent on their unique journey. We cannot make an assumption about anyone. This roots all the way back into our genetic makeup, our familial ancestry, and the life experiences or hardships we each have endured along the way. Yoga does not discriminate. You are always welcome into the space just as you are.
2) Our Body & Mind are One
These two important things influence our behavior & individual experience of the world. Science reveals that our nervous system is directly related to the brain where most of our emotional & mental processing takes place. The vagus nerve connects the body & mind together. It is an incredible nerve that runs from the root of the spine all the way up to the base of the brain and it has parasympathetic fibers that signal relaxation. When this nerve is stimulated it sends a message to the entire body & mind that it is safe and okay to relax or destress. Yoga and meditation is an excellent way to stimulate the vagus nerve. Life's experiences are stored in our body and through a trauma informed yoga practice we can safely release patterns of holding or suffering through mindfulness awareness practices.
Acknowledge that how you feel is going to be different on a day to day basis. We cannot expect that every time you show up to the yoga mat you are ready for every single part of the practice. Somedays we may be more lethargic or exhausted and taking time to listen to that part of what you need will allow you to receive the fullest benefits of the practice. Make sure your teacher does not push you past your limits and accepts that not every pose will be suited for you on that particular day. Pay attention to your needs! You are in charge of your own body. You know yourself better than anyone else. Be gentle with how you are feeling and accept the experience as it is.
These are a few principles of trauma informed yoga that I feel are important as we move forward into 2021. When we show up on our mat remember that your story and experience is different and unique. You don't have to touch your toes or have an out of body experience to do the practice. It is about being aware of your needs.
Yoga and meditation is one of the most beneficial practices we can use to move past the obstacles of the body & mind. It is a healing modality that we can return back to time and time again.