Thoughts on Yoga for Trauma
This is a précis of my notes for the presentation I gave over the weekend at Evolve Yoga Festival. I’m going to put up a voice recording of my talk too, in case that interests any you, so stay tuned!
I owe a debt for some of the info in this piece to American yoga teacher Linda Karl. She has lived trauma first-hand, and she, like me, has been teaching in a pretty much trauma-sensitive way for many years, thanks to her training in the Krishnamarcharya tradition (and her own experience). Find more of her thoughts on the topic here. (She also runs teacher trainings – very awesome!)
- Be mindful of your language. Suggestions rather than commands. You might steer clear of sexual reference of any sort. I often don’t, but then my students tend to know me well and know my background, so it opens a different kind of a conversation.
- Be respectful of people’s limitations and differences in their bodies. Sounds obvious, but it isn’t – we are often quite unconscious of how we treat others in yoga class. I’ve certainly been guilty of slipping up here!
- Be sure people always know where you are in the room.
- Be careful what poses you choose: hip openers might be an issue, as might backbends. As might Child Pose. I hated Child Pose when I started yoga because it opened the back of my body, where I felt most vulnerable, and it meant I couldn’t see what was going on around me. Not good when you don’t feel safe. Not good at all. Learn modifications to give people.