Dealing with Trauma Through Yoga

When used regularly and under the supervision of a qualified trauma-informed instructor, yoga can be very beneficial for trauma survivors in a number of ways. Here’s why yoga is so beneficial for those dealing with trauma…

While not a cure-all, yoga has been used by more and more doctors in recent years to help treat a wide range of illnesses and issues – both physical and mental. When combined with conventional treatments, yoga shows great promise in helping many people to cope with trauma and its resulting conditions, including anxiety, depression, and even PTSD.

Yoga provides therapeutic benefits to those who have suffered domestic abuse and violence, through engaging and balancing the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. Yoga classes taught by informed yoga instructors with experience working with trauma survivors can provide safe spaces and support for those who need rest and healing.

Here’s why yoga can be so beneficial for those dealing with trauma, according to

Trauma is complex and affects everyone differently. One common after-effect of trauma, however, is feeling disconnected from the body. Trauma can leave the nervous system in a reactive state—a state in which the body is primed to detect and respond to potential threats. Remaining in this switched-on, high-alert state is exhausting and can eventually result in dissociation, making a person feel disconnected from their bodies and from reality.

Practices like yoga which combine physical and mental aspects can help support trauma survivors in reclaiming their bodies, calming the nervous system, and reconnecting to their true selves.

Yoga and meditation practices help to downregulate the nervous system and engage the parasympathetic system—sometimes called “rest and digest” mode—allowing the body to access its natural state of healing and calm. Having access to a yoga and meditation “toolkit” can be highly empowering for domestic abuse and sexual violence survivors as it provides them with techniques for self-soothing and self-regulating after dealing with traumatic or threatening situations in which they had little autonomy.

There are a number of trauma-informed yoga centers and crisis centers that offer yoga to help survivors throughout the U.S. and abroad. If you yourself have experienced trauma, you may find working with a yoga teacher trained in trauma-informed yoga very helpful in reducing the intensity of your stress response and improving your ability to self-soothe. Click here to find a certified trauma-informed yoga teacher near you.

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