What is Trauma-Responsive Yoga?
Trauma-Responsive Yoga (TRY) is a trauma-healing resource curating Trauma-Informed Yoga, Therapeutic Yoga, and Trauma-Sensitive Yoga practices, with the latest, evidenced-based clinical research regarding the effects of trauma and stress on the brain/body, along with cognitive, emotional, and somatic effects and behaviors. TRY uses invitational, predictable movements and/or postures to mindfully connect to the body, endorse safety, minimize triggers, and promote agency. TRY holds a partnership with the nervous system and uses this as a conduit to “feeling” safe in the body versus “talking” one’s way to feeling safe. TRY gentle movements and/or postures, breathwork, social connectivity, and self-compassion exercises are all key elements to healing stress and trauma within this framework. TRY can be used as an adjunctive intervention with individuals and/or groups.
What sets Trauma-Responsive Yoga (TRY) apart from traditional yoga? Movements and/or postures used in TRY are “people-informed,” prioritizing the emotional and psychological safety. First, the invitational language that is repeatedly used allows for autonomy and choice-making; such as when and how they would like to engage in a specific movement (e.g., “when you are ready,” “if you would like”). Second, touch is never used with TRY. This minimizes the potential for hyper/hypo-arousal, dissociation, and/or re-traumatization. Third, movement and/or posture alignment or conforming to a standard of what one is “supposed to look like” is highly discouraged. Rather, the invitation to connect inward is emphasized to bring greater self-awareness to one’s inner experience. Fourth, TRY classes are typically single gendered, with class attendance recommended to be 7-8 participants or less This helps promote a sense of safety and a more personal and intimate experience. Fifth, many of the movements and/or postures can be made accessible to all, regardless of physicality. Last, prior yoga experience is not required for the clinician/instructor or the participant. Most important, is for the clinician/instructor to have a strong somatic/embodiment based stress and trauma understanding, bridged with the experiential practice gained in this workshop!