What is Trauma-Sensitive Yoga?
I have always known that yoga was both physically and emotionally transformational, regardless of which of the two gets you hooked in the first place. But recent research and studies have concluded that yoga is also highly effective in helping to heal the effects of trauma, primarily because of the mindful nature of yoga and the physical attention to those areas of the body that are storing (affected by) trauma. Sometimes it is easy to notice those effects — a lingering soreness after a car accident, or hand tremors in a young soldier after returning from war. Other times, the pain is mysterious, irritating, or so well hidden that it just looks like temper tantrums, addictions, or even perfectionism. Trauma happens to nearly all of us at one point in our life. If you have fallen off a bike, been bullied at school, lost an important caretaker, needed surgery, or have gone through a tough breakup, you have experienced some level of trauma. In addition, many adults have also been the victim of child neglect, child abuse, violence, or sexual abuse. If we are in a supported environment, we can often move through and past that trauma. It is when we are stuck, either literally or figuratively, that the past events give us so much lingering pain. Yoga can not undo the trauma we have experienced; but it can help us to move through and past it finally, and to learn to let go of the very real pain that our body has been hanging on to.
Trauma-sensitive yoga for kids works with the symptoms of known or unknown trauma, such as lack of empathy, lack of body control, lack of self-regulation, fearfulness, anxiety, and anger. A clinical therapist may work with a child on diagnosing (or not) any special needs. This is the person who will talk with your child about any issues he or she has going on emotionally or mentally. The Yoga Teacher uses yoga (not clinical therapy) that helps kids to find a connection with their own bodies, with the power of their choices, and with the strength of their voice, in order to retrain any physical patterns that have gotten “stuck”.
Would your child benefit from Trauma-Sensitive Yoga? Let go of the worry about diagnosis. Think about the behaviors that may or may not be trauma related, and whether they are problematic for your child or your family. These are some of the things to consider:
- How well do they engage with other kids?
- How well do they engage with adults and authority figures?
- Do they struggle with concentration, focus, stillness?
- Do they struggle to follow directions?
- Do they become frustrated, angry, or withdrawn during activities other kids seem to enjoy?
- Do they struggle to express their needs, their boundaries, their opinions?
- Do they struggle to accept other people’s needs, boundaries, opinions?
- Do they say they are “stressed out”, “bullied” “stupid” “bored”?
- Do they have hyper-sensitivities that often get in the way of your family needs and routine?
- Are you concerned about the amount of time they spend on social media? Do you know how much time they spend there? (Instagram and Snapchat are very popular — today anyway — but they contribute to so many social conflicts)
Being picked on is painful. Being mocked and bullied over social media is even more painful because it is pervasive and persistent, which leads to kids getting “stuck” in that moment — over and over again. Attending Trauma-Sensitive Yoga helps kids find ways to get unstuck, which are coping tools that they can utilize whether something tragic has happened in their life or not.
Want more information? Send me an email and let’s talk!