Trauma-informed yoga aka (TIY) is described as approaching the practice of yoga through a lens that addresses the specific supports that are needed for symptoms of trauma.
Trauma doesn’t just affect our minds; it can also be held within the body and our brain. The connectivity means the mind/body practice of yoga meditation can be challenging for those who have experienced trauma, whether it’s acute or complex.
Trauma-informed yoga teachers are specifically trained to be mindful of trauma and approach everyone with a trauma-informed perspective in each practice. When providing a trauma-informed teaching approach in a yoga or meditation group, using invitational verbiage is a huge key to meeting the individual where they are at in their recovery. Two examples of invitational verbiage would be: “I invite you to bring your awareness to this part of the physical body” or “I invite you to close your eyes if that is available for you, or bring your focus to a space in your environment that serves you.”
Setting the tone of the environment and connecting each person to as many of the five senses as possible as you arrive in the space of where the group is being held, allows room for the mind to understand the area is safe, and the person may start to settle. Being mindful of the tone of one’s voice is a conscious effort while teaching yoga and meditation.
Yoga and meditation can be a vital resource for our residents during recovery. Using trauma-informed yoga postures plays an important role in the recovery process because it supports the survivors to respond in a healthier and more healing way.
When taught carefully, the effects can be both soothing and stimulating thus healing the individual both physically and emotionally. The objective of each practice is to allow the central nervous system to assimilate and return to a “rest and digest” state, and no longer be in a “flight, fight, freeze” response.
Over time, the repetition of yoga and meditation practices creates neuroplasticity which means the more we engage in patterns, the stronger and bigger our brain becomes.
At Timberline Knolls, we have an expectation to deliver the best supports for our residents in every group. Leading with a trauma-informed perspective is a core treatment modality. Trauma-informed yoga and meditation offers each person an opportunity to allow the body and mind time to find balance.