This isn’t something I normally do, but I’m posting this on both of my blogs because this changed my life. As of last Monday, Trauma Sensitive Yoga wrapped. They will have a new class beginning in April or May I think, and for anyone that’s had trauma—whether physical, mental, or emotional—this was an amazing experience. They also offer scholarships!
I want to share my overall experience because I feel this class benefited me greatly. I’ve been to yoga classes before and most of those have been okay. Not bad, but not helpful either. Part of that is because those classes weren’t designed for someone like me who has a hard time being present in my body.
The TSY instructor was fantastic in this way. Constantly reminding me to be aware of my breath, to focus on my contact points (like what part of my feet were touching the mat and so on), and the more we went, the more she helped me be comfortable with being present.
This doesn’t seem like it would be a big deal, but to someone who is rarely present in my body, this is huge!
She began with a reminder to be aware of my contact points, then as the class went on, she encouraged me to explore what it might feel like to put force into those points of contact. Then to release the pressure. To move in that position so I’d feel what that was like. All helpful in keeping me in my body as we practiced.
She also reminded me that everything is ‘my’ choice. If something didn’t feel right, I didn’t need to do it. This method of instruction—while at first didn’t make sense to me—ended up being very useful. Not just in yoga, but also in life. By acknowledging to myself that it’s ‘my practice, my choice’, it keeps me in a present state. Making a choice means being present. Following means I can check out.
This is why I’ve found things so hard in the past, because I simply want to follow. But following means I do check out eventually, and that’s not helpful.
I also found my breath. Not the one that others told me to follow, but my own. The breath that calms me because it’s mine and mine alone. When breathing with ‘my’ breath, I move at my own pace. The one that’s just perfect for me.
Toward the end the instructor had me experience what it was like to breathe with others. Aligning our breaths and movements. But this came after I’d found my breath. I feel this step of finding our own practice first was vital to me understanding what it was like to then align my breath with others. It took something from a place of following instructions and into a place of ‘my’ conscious choice.
Not only has the course brought me a great inner calm, but it’s also helped me physically.
Before this class I had a hard time getting into certain positions because they reminded me of my trauma. But the environment is so peaceful and safe, that slowly I was able to get into these types of positions and if I cried while in them, it was okay. I didn’t need to be worried that I’d be judged or laughed at. My feelings were honored.
The studio also had my therapist’s information as well as a couple of people to contact if I became triggered and they couldn’t bring me back. All super smart things when working with trauma. Especially for those with PTSD.
Another thing I found useful was that my joints stopped popping so much. Because this course is designed to be a mellow introduction, it showed me that easy movements are actually better for me. At least for now.
Before this class my hips popped out of joint often. It was fantastic for my dancing because that meant I could do these insane things. But it was very bad for my body because what was really happening when I pushed my body like that—no matter how good it felt in the moment—was that I was making my joints worse. After completing this course, my hips no longer pop out of place.
This is a sad day for my dancing, but a great one for my health.
Overall this was the most amazing and healing experience. No one ever invaded my bubble (which can be quite big), and I was always encouraged to go at my own pace, and I was thanked for attending each session I did. It was lovely and I feel this helped me significantly. I’m moving into a place of being present more and more, and remaining calm even when I’m being attacked or in a stressful situation.
This class is worth taking! ❤
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*image from freeimages.com*