Trauma Informed Yoga Workshop: What it's NOT

I've used all my word skills in the Eventbrite listing to describe what my trauma informed yoga workshop is about, but thought it would be helpful too to mention what isn't involved. I'll also point out that, while I do think there are a lot of commonalities in approach among the various trauma informed trainings I've taken and read about, there is no "one way". And similarly, while I most often do have a specific intention for doing what I do, and for not doing what I don't, none of the info below is meant to be a critique of how others approach this work.

  • I do talk about trauma in general terms and give brief examples. I don't go into extensive detail on trauma stories or ask participants to talk about any personal trauma they may have had.

  • I do briefly offer my understanding of the physiology of trauma, including how it may affect a person’s experience of a yoga class, because that understanding informs the approach I take ... but I don't speak at length about fight/flight/freeze, stress hormones or PTSD symptoms. I'm not a social worker or psychologist, and while I do think some understanding of the physiology of trauma matters, I generally don't talk about trauma with students in class, nor do I advise others to do this. Much information is available at more in books about this topic and formal trauma informed yoga trainings, information on which I'm happy to share during my workshop or separately from it. The focus of this workshop is on the actual practice and how/why an instructor can make a yoga class safer and friendlier to potential trauma survivors.

  • I don't talk at length about "identifying trauma" in students or anything. I do think a large number of people have experienced trauma, and so it's wise to hold that in mind as we teach even a public class. You may well also never know if someone has or hasn't experienced trauma - or if their particular response on a given day is a result of trauma or not, even if they have experienced trauma. They may not even know! The risk of focusing on identifying trauma is that it may lead us to think trauma is only there when we can "see" it, and this just isn't true.

  • I don't present myself as an expert on this topic, even though I have completed around 100 CEUs of training in trauma informed yoga as well as 40 hours of non-yoga specific sexual violence crisis response training. I don't intend for participants to come away thinking they are "trained" in trauma informed yoga after three hours. I'm aware this may undermine me in some people's views, which is unfortunate, but not something I'll change my approach over. I have been involved in this field for years, and try to offer information on what I do and why within the scope of this three hour, $30 workshop, so that if/when you do go on to get longer more formal training you have that foundation before you spend several hundred dollars and a weekend in training.

  • I don't list poses to do or avoid, nor do I advise instructors to say insighful things about healing. The trauma informed yoga models I have trained in do not present these methods as being key to using yoga in a healing way. Some instructors can and do speak beautifully, and plenty of people enjoy this and find it beneficial. It has occurred to me that if I did this, if I were naturally good at this, I might actually draw more people to this event ... but it wouldn't be authentic to what the event is, and how I have learned to see yoga as a tool to help us heal. Literally moving through different shapes and making different choices is what helps.

What questions do you have? Feel free to message me on Facebook or email me at Kate@shareyourpractice.org. I hope to see you there!