What Is Trauma-Informed Yoga?

Trauma-informed yoga (TIY) is an approach to creating a safe, sensitive space in which students can learn regulation skills through connection with the breath and increased body awareness.

Yoga can be a supportive practice that helps trauma survivors recalibrate the nervous system and heal. But some yoga classes can be trigger students and re-traumatize students. Yoga can help rewire the brain and body to feel safe when the class is taught in a trauma-sensitive way. 

Survivors are more likely to experience hyperarousal, hypervigilance, and increased stress hormones. Since trauma is stored viscerally, working with body movement is key to learning self-regulation skills.

Trauma-Informed Yoga
Trauma-Informed Yoga at Austin Trauma Therapy Center

Principles of TIY

  • We assume that 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 and modifications for yoga poses recognizing that there is no “ideal” shape.
  • We avoid too much stimulation with music, scents, objects in the room, lights, etc.
  • We acknowledge that some poses and yoga props might make students feel vulnerable.
  • We refrain from rigid statements and cueing and instead use language of inquiry.
  • We refrain from “hands-on assists” or apply them cautiously if we do use them.
  • We teach postures, movements, and ways of breathing that facilitate calmness.

You may notice that those principles also create safer spaces for highly sensitive people. 

Whether you’re highly sensitive, have experienced a trauma, or both, I highly suggest looking for teachers trained in trauma-informed or trauma-sensitive yoga. 

Contact Us

If you want to learn more about Trauma-informed Yoga, please contact us, today! We’d love to discuss this in more detail, with you. We look forward to hearing from you!