Inhale - Exhale

Approach to moving through trauma

Trauma - Is defined as an adverse emotional reaction to a singular or repetitive event that caused severe physical or psychological harm. It can be characterized by a persons inability to move past & process the experience without reliving it over and over. 

Trauma - Leaves a lasting imprint on the mind, body & brain. 

Trauma sensitive/informed Yoga Therapy is a bottom-up approach that assumes we can change post-traumatic symptoms through the body, in conjunction with top-down talk therapy. Yoga Therapy can be a supportive practice that helps trauma survivors recalibrate the nervous system, build resilience and create a safe container to heal in. 

Trauma sensitive/informed yoga is an approach to creating a safe, sensitive space in which clients can learn regulation skills through connection with breath and increased body awareness, also know as Interoception. 

Focus is on mindful perception in a safe container, noticing physical sensations. Being able to hold space for the affected person so they can choose to observe their emotion and physical reactions without being flooded or overwhelmed by them. 

There are five aspects in a tradition yoga session that we take into consideration when planning a trauma sensitive/focused session:




Teacher Qualities 




We assume anyone walking through the door may have experienced trauma

We recognize our students as experts on their bodies and experiences

We aim to create a safe, comfortable space that is empowering for all students

We strive to provide options & modifications for forms there is no 'ideal' shape

We avoid too much stimulation with music, scents, objects in the room, lighting, etc.

We acknowledge that some forms & props may make some students feel vulnerable

We refrain from rigid language/statements and cueing

We refrain on all hands-on assists

repetition instead of variety. Enhance the experience of safety through what is familiar & achievabl


Process to empowerment

Reclaiming The Body: Having a Body 

Asana & Grounding

First and primary goal is to hold space for clients to recognize that they have a body.

Guiding through physical movements that are clear and mechanical. Using invitations for clients to try something, rather that telling them what to do or directing their bodies. 

This is the first step to creating safety around being embodied. 

Befriending Your Body

Language of Invitation & Inquiry

Includes words, tones and inflections. Encourages clients to be present, and experience each moment as it arises. Coming from a place of interest, inquiry and curiosity, and away from the negative self-doubt/judgmental chatter that can arise in our minds. 

Clear & concrete. Noticing what you notice. Visceral experiences. 

Providing the client with options and choices. Empowering & reminding the client that it's their practice and they are in control. Never directing the client about how to move their bodies, but inviting the client to experience new movements and sensations.

Main intention is to promote choice & control. Empowering clients to make decisions in real-time, that suite their practice in the present moment. 

No right or wrong way. 

Being a curious explorer in your body and a witness to whatever may or may not come up.

Body as a Resource

Self Regulation & Reconnection

Sharing psycho-education with the client in regards to trauma and how the body stores trauma. 

Providing insights & tools to help the client navigate through daily life and be able to self-regulate as triggers and stress come to surface. 

Empowering the client that they have everything they need to move through the sensations & experiences that may arise for them.