Cultivating a Trauma Informed Approach to Teaching Yoga

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Over the next few months, we will be sharing some of the final projects (~7,500 words) written by the graduate teachers from our recent 2015-17 Yoga Teacher Training Course.

This third in the series is from Rebecca Sutton (Rudrani) entitled Cultivating a Trauma Informed Approach to Yoga.  An excerpt from the introduction is given below, and the link to her full project is given at the bottom.

Based on my research for this project, and my own direct experience, I have witnessed the positive and profound effect that Yoga can have on the lives of trauma survivors and those who suffer from traumatic stress.  I have also experienced first-hand the harmful effects Yoga can have when taught from a non-trauma informed perspective. I believe there is a real need in our culture for Yoga teachers who can approach their teaching from a trauma informed perspective.

For survivors of trauma experiencing traumatic stress, the traumatic event/s are not simply recalled as memories in the past, in many instances they are not recalled in the form of cognitive memories at all, they are re-experienced viscerally (felt), within the brain and body’s systems, as a very real and present terror. Long term traumatic stress has a lasting impact on cognitive, physiological and neurological function.  

The overall aim of this project is to increase awareness of traumatic stress disorders, to acknowledge that trauma and traumatic stress are not rare and to promote the need for a trauma informed approach to teaching Yoga.