Yoga is a type of exercise that utilizes mindfulness-based techniques in order to heal both the body and mind. But, for people who suffer from the lasting impacts of trauma, traditional yoga settings and sessions can actually do more harm than good. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), is a mental health condition that develops as the result of experiencing a traumatic event. While not every person who has experienced a traumatic event will develop PTSD, over 12 million people in the US are diagnosed with this condition. For these individuals, it’s important to find ways to manage the effects that trauma has on life as symptoms of PTSD can be debilitating and severe. And, one of the ways that people living with PTSD can work to manage symptoms is by utilizing trauma informed yoga. This type of yoga provides a safe and understanding environment, unlike traditional yoga studios and sessions, in order for people who are impacted by PTSD to use yoga for what it’s intended – to heal.
Understanding More About Trauma and PTSD
Trauma differs from PTSD. Trauma is a natural reaction to a dangerous or life-altering situation that leads to negative impacts on physical and mental health. But, almost everyone in their life will at some point experience a traumatic event. PTSD is a mental health disorder that is developed as a result of experiencing a traumatic event or series of events in which the effects of trauma do not resolve after a period of time. Furthermore, people who are diagnosed with PTSD may have traumatic responses when they are no longer in danger or physically impacted by the traumatic event or events they’ve experienced.
Some examples of traumatic experiences that can lead to a PTSD diagnosis may include:
- war combat
- being diagnosed with a life-altering injury or illness
- surviving a natural disaster
- losing a loved one suddenly
- witnessing or being the victim of a violent crime
- abuse (sexual, physical, emotional, or neglect)
- being in a vehicular accident
- and more
Identifying What Trauma Informed Yoga Is
So, what is trauma informed yoga? Yoga is a type of therapy that impacts not only the body but the mind as well. The same goes for trauma – it can affect both the mind and body. So, during trauma informed yoga sessions, individuals have a chance to explore how yoga can help to heal the impacts that trauma has on both the mind and body.
Trauma informed yoga differs from traditional yoga because instructors in trauma informed yoga sessions understand that each participant has been affected by trauma in some way. This allows for an open and understand environment that doesn’t place any expectations on individuals. And, rather than offering yoga approaches that can trigger the thoughts and memories of traumatic experiences, trauma informed yoga provides space and methods of yoga that can in fact stimulate the healing of experienced trauma.
For example, some of the factors of trauma informed yoga sessions can include:
-helping individuals improve their self-awareness and control of their bodies in a guided and supportive way to make them feel safe
-improve the dysfunctioning of the nerves which is a common response to trauma and can help people with PTSD feel more connected to themselves and the world around them
Trauma Informed Yoga at Synchrony
If you are diagnosed with PTSD and are looking for a safe and supported space to heal, trauma informed yoga may be an asset you can utilize for your treatment planning. Synchrony Brain Health provides individuals who are diagnosed with PTSD with a number of treatment tools, including trauma informed yoga. Find out more about our Trauma Resolution services and our introduction to trauma informed yoga from our website to learn more.