How is Trauma-Informed Yoga similar and different from "regular" Yoga?
THRIVE Trauma-Informed Yoga is similar to other types of yoga in that it involves physical movement and awareness of your body, mind and breath. It is different than classes you may experiences in studios in that it does not incorporate physical assists/touch by the facilitator. Another key difference is that the emphasis is on the inner experience of the shape rather than enforcing what a pose should look like. Since trauma greatly complicates our relationship with choice, your agency in choosing your expression of the pose is central to this system.
How did you develop this system?
I drew upon my years of clinical experience, yoga practice and teacher training, and consolidated the most sound and researched approaches to treating embodied trauma. THRIVE draws from evidence-based interventions such as Dialectal Behavior Therapy, Self-Compassion, and Trauma-Sensitive Yoga. The THRIVE Trauma-Informed curriculum is grounded in the most current neurobiological research and attachment theory, as well as group theory, buddhist psychology and yogic philosophy principles.
Do I need to be an experienced yogi to participate in the groups?
The group is welcoming of all bodies and all levels of practitioners. Modifications will be offered so that you can feel free to choose the option that is most useful for your body/mind in each shape.
Is the goal to "release" or re-experience my trauma while I'm in the yoga shape?
No. The intent of this practice is to help you attune to your body by noticing sensations in the moment, rather than eliciting or interpreting them. If they become overwhelming, you can let the facilitator know and you will be given tools to cope.
Do I have to have a diagnosis of PTSD to engage in this practice?
You don’t have to identify with the PTSD or trauma label to benefit from this practice. This practice can be especially useful for people who have lost touch with or not developed a connection with their bodies due to disordered eating, depression, anxiety, or systemic trauma such as sexism, racism, homophobia and/or transphobia.
What if I get triggered or suffer a flashback during or after the practice?
It is highly recommended that you be engaged concurrently in psychotherapy if you choose to participate in one of our groups. Yoga is sometimes thought to be soothing and calming, but it can also be activating and bring up difficult emotions.
I'm out of shape and not flexible. What if I get this yoga wrong?
There is no way to fail at trauma-informed yoga. However, THRIVE can be a confronting practice if you struggle with perfectionism and self-loathing. Those thoughts and corresponding feelings will likely be stirred up during the practice, which is actually a good thing because we can then work with them with compassion.
What does Trauma-Informed Yoga have to do with Social Justice?
Trauma does not occur in a vacuum. Systemic trauma such as racism, homophobia, sexism and socio-economic oppression affects communities, families, and has immense bearing on how people process their individual trauma. Through learning about oppressive and healthy power dynamics and implementing the utilization of non-coercive and inclusive language when teaching, teachers who train in the THRIVE system begin to pave the way to think in a systems-oriented way.
THRIVE’s intent is to re-define “seva” (service) as going beyond the white affluent yoga culture’s dictates of what it thinks others need. THRIVE is driven by a mission of social justice, cultivating the art of humility needed to listen, and the belief that yoga can always be taught through a trauma-sensitive lens.
How do you blend group therapy with yoga?
During the group series, we start with 45 minutes of movement or trauma-informed yoga. We then transition to a process group or group/talk psychotherapy. Group psychotherapy has been shown to be as effective as individual psychotherapy to treat the majority of diagnoses people typically present in mental health treatment settings.
How can I get involved with THRIVE?
If you are a mental health provider who is also a certified yoga teacher and would like to facilitate a group, let's connect! If you are a yoga teacher who would like to volunteer teach a community class for THRIVE (and attend trainings for free!), please reach out.