“Because trauma affects the body’s physiology, and because traumatic memories are often stored somatically, leaders in the field are increasingly insisting that trauma treatment must incorporate the body… practitioners are able to cultivate the ability to remain present, to notice and tolerate inner experience, and to develop a new relationship with their body. This body-based practice then has a ripple effect on emotional and mental health, or relationships, and on one’s experience of living in the world.” Overcoming trauma thru Yoga, Reclaiming your Body, by David Emerson and Elizabeth Hopper, PhD.
In March I completed a 40 hour training in Trauma Sensitive Yoga (TSY), at Kripalu in Lenox, Massachusetts. The training was to teach yoga teachers and clinicians how to use TSY as an adjunct to psychological work being done with trauma survivors. This particular style of yoga is a modified yoga program developed at the Trauma Center in Boston, Massachusetts. As a clinician I am very excited to offer individual TSY sessions to my clients (or to others who are currently working with a therapist) who have experienced trauma in their lives and as a result may feel disconnected, isolated, anxious, and/or depressed.
In 2003, I was certified as an Asthanga yoga teacher, a very different type of yoga from TSY. Still, having experience as a yoga teacher and a yoga student allows me to teach TSY effectively.
TSY can help trauma survivors begin to cultivate a more positive relationship with their bodies through mindfulness, breathing, and gentle and safe movement. This yoga supports connecting the body and the mind, through the process of interoception, being present, creating rhythms, and having choices. The theory behind this yoga practice is physiologically technical, and I’d be happy to answer any questions and explain further about how the effects of this yoga are being studied and researched.
Dr. Bessel A van der Kolk, founder and medical director of the Trauma Center in Boston, refers to trauma as “a disease of not being able to be present.” Dr. Van der Kolk also states, “The body keeps the score.” Emotional pain and traumatic memories can be stored in the body long after the trauma has ended.
Using Trauma Sensitive Yoga as an adjunct to psychotherapy allows clients to experience their bodies, gently and safely. By restoring a sense of control through choice, being in the present moment, and establishing a safe connection, the body and mind can begin to reconnect and heal.
At my therapy office in Sedona, I have a private room set up for individual yoga sessions. This is a very exciting addition to my psychotherapy work, and TSY is an innovative practice that can help people move through trauma toward healing, as well as rediscovering the natural intelligence of the body.
Please contact me with any questions or to set up an initial appointment.
Doreen Ellis, LMFT