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Holding Space- How to Integrate Trauma Awareness into the Art of Teaching Yoga


  • Chicago, IL 60616 (map)

Trauma, broadly defined as ’too much experience too suddenly’ affects millions of people each year. Traumatic events leave their mark emotionally as well as physically as the symptoms of trauma are long-held within the body often dysregulating the central nervous system and creating ongoing feelings of hyper vigilance and physical agitation. Whether it be the news of a terrorist attack, a car accident, or physical/sexual abuse, the pain of trauma often leads survivors to disconnect. The body becomes the enemy, something to be feared and even abused. This disconnection leads to addictions, eating disorders, depression, isolation and hopelessness. Luckily, today there is a growing body of research finding that the ancient practice of yoga is a powerful treatment for trauma. Not only can yoga reduce the symptoms of trauma, but can reconnect survivors to their inherent worth and the light that is contained within.

Teaching yoga to trauma survivors requires compassion and patience as many survivors are fearful of their body and hesitant to connect to present moment sensations and emotions. This training seeks to ignite a conversation about trauma awareness that will help yoga teachers become more inclusive for students recovering from trauma.

You will learn:

  • The definition of trauma
  • How trauma is stored in the body
  • How to read bodies for signs and symptoms of trauma
  • Trauma sensitive presence and attunement as a teacher
  • Sequencing principles for a healthy stress response
  • How to safely use yoga sequencing and cueing to build resilience
  • How to include trauma sensitivity into public classes
  • How to hold space for students when emotions arise on the yoga mat
  • How and when to offer modifications

The principles in this course are an integration of yoga theory and practice as well as an integrated perspective from cutting edge trauma theorists including Pat Ogden, Peter Levine, and Bessel Van Der Kolk.

After this course, you will understand the physiological impact of trauma and how to create a yoga practice to help students as well as yourself self-regulate, find ease within, and build resilience.

This course is for yoga teachers, yoga practitioners, clinicians and anyone else who uses yoga as a tool in their work with students/clients/patients. Experiential as well as didactic information will be presented.