Yoga and Trauma
Trauma is not only an event but an experience held in the body. The body remembers neglect, abuse, and terror. Trauma keeps us trapped between regret of the past and fear of the future.
Yoga and mindfulness practices are empowering with far-reaching benefits that carry over from the yoga mat and into everyday life. The yoga mat is a safe place where people can begin to reconnect with themselves, to practice making choices, express when something doesn’t feel right to them, and figure out what would work better. For many survivors, the time spent on their mats is the first time, possibly in years, that they have been able to feel safe and breathe freely.
The philosophy and physicality of the yoga practice re-educate the body and the mind through movement, breath, and stillness. Our breath anchors us in the present moment and empowers us with the ability to self-regulate.
THE BENEFITS OF YOGA ON TRAUMA - published research in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry:
Yoga as an Adjunctive Treatment for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: A Randomized Controlled Trial
Bessel A. van der Kolk, MD; Laura Stone, MA; Jennifer West, PhD; Alison Rhodes, MSW Med; David Emerson, MA; Michael Suvak, PhD; and Joseph Spinazzola, PhD
People ask us, “why yoga?” Our answer, is that the resources gained through yoga are at the very foundation of our lives - the ability to breathe, to gain physical and emotional strength, and to make healthy life choices. These resources in turn, help us to better care for our ourselves, and our loved ones.
For the people we serve Trauma-Informed yoga provides the tools to heal, and to feel strong & safe in their bodies so they can help end the cycle of violence in their families and communities. Domestic violence often leaves survivors with physical conditions that can be mitigated by yoga such as broken bones, head trauma, and nerve damage. Emotionally, yoga helps survivors to reclaim their power. The practices help them feel a connection to their bodies, calm their nervous systems, and decrease their levels of anxiety.
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Exhale to Inhale is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. New York, NY. (800) 585-6081.
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