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Infusing Your Healing Practice with a Trauma-Informed Lens

Infusing Your Healing Practice with a Trauma-Informed Lens

Infusing Your Healing Practice with a Trauma-Informed Lens

This course includes
2:44:14 of Course Material (View)
Lifetime access after purchase
Certificate of completion
This course was recorded in March 2017


Trauma is pervasive in our culture - from childhood and developmental trauma to sexual assault, grief, loss, physical injury, emotional abuse, and so much more.

Survivors of trauma find their way on to their mat to find connections with their physical and emotional beings.

The way that we show up for them as teachers can be the difference between creating a safe, inviting, and healing environment or one that reinforces the self-doubt, pain, isolation, and activation of the fight or flight signals within the body that can be present after the experience of trauma.

This training is designed to provide you with the tools and the confidence to create more of an inviting class environment for trauma survivors.


What is Survivor-Centered Yoga

Survivor-Centered Yoga (SCY) is a form of healing that allows sexual assault survivors to process nonverbally and safely connect to what they are experiencing internally. It provides them with an outlet that is accessible, allows them to find balance and strength, and, most importantly, helps them recognize that they are always in control.

These embodied experiences on the mat move outside of typical referrals and practices in which people are asked to process cognitively and give survivors tools and skills to self-regulate and connect inward.

The SCY style incorporates a thorough understanding of the neurological, biological, psychosocial, and social effects of trauma and violence on an individual. Increasing one’s awareness of the nuances of trauma can aid in the development of yoga practices that are supportive, and practices that empower survivors to regain control both on and off the yoga mat.

The experience of practicing SCY can powerfully connect survivors of sexual violence to the healing process. Processing through talk therapy and support groups can be extremely helpful for survivors, but cognitive processing doesn’t help the survivor access the trauma that is stored in the body.

Accessing healing at the somatic level provides survivors with an opportunity to befriend the same body that was violated during an assault (or repeated assaults).

SCY also breaks down barriers associated with talk therapy such as the shame connected with reaching out for help, the need to be able to name the trauma and talk about it with a complete stranger, and traditional distrust of an institutional system that doesn’t support survivor needs (counseling can be associated with law enforcement and medical providers that a survivor may interact with if they choose to press charges).

Instead of feeling compelled to go to “therapy”, survivors report feeling more comfortable going to their yoga classes with others who identify as being survivors.

Course Objectives:

  1. To develop an understanding of specific yoga practices and systems
  2. To explore of the ways that we can heal trauma through yoga
  3. To provide the foundation to understanding trauma and the way it can be present in individuals
  4. To develop the teaching techniques that can be integrated into any class you teach (including ways to create a safe and intelligently sequenced class, the best ways to language your instructions, providing mindful assists to students, and much more)
  5. To provide an introduction to the ways in which yoga can support survivors in sexual assault through an overview of the:
    - Impact of sexual trauma on the body, mind, and spirit
    - Spectrum of sexual violence
    - Primary tenants of survivor-centered yoga and how this modality connects survivors with their innate capacity to heal



This online course is open to all yoga instructors and health care professionals – physiotherapists, physiotherapy students, physiotherapy assistants, occupational therapists, chiropractors, naturopathic doctors, massage therapists, registered kinesiologists, medical doctors, nurses, and midwives.

Note: This session was recorded at the Montreal International Symposium on Therapeutic Yoga (MISTY) in March of 2017

The instructors
Alexis Marbach
Yoga Therapist, Masters Public Health

Alexis is passionately committed to working with survivors of sexual violence. She believes that traditional modalities to support survivors (counseling, therapy, support groups) do not necessarily work for every survivor and that each individual deserves to have a number of holistic healing options to best meet their needs. It is disheartening that survivors still struggle to get the support and long term care that they need from service providers and from family and friends. It is challenging for informal support networks to understand and conceptualize that healing is a life long process, and that the path to healing and wellness is not linear and often times feels nonsensical. Alexis wants to be able to help survivors develop a toolkit of mental, physical, and breath-work exercises that they can call upon at any time to reduce the influence of a trigger, regain their connection with their body, and calm their mind.

Alexis’s experience working in the field of sexual violence intervention and prevention has lead her to be incredibly sensitive to the needs of survivors. She is conscious of her word choice when giving instruction and provide physical adjustments only after asking a student for permission to be in their physical space. Students know where we are headed, and what kind of poses they will be working on so that they feel as though they can control their physical and mental energy and not be surprised by any parts of class.

Course Material included in this course
  • Infusing Your Healing Practice with a Trauma-Informed Lens
  • Intro to Alexis and Audience Intros
  • Trauma
  • What we know when people walk into our class
  • Is Yoga Therapeutic?
  • Basic Tenets of Trauma Informed Lens
  • Why This Approach?
  • Road To Recovery
  • How The Body Responds To Trauma
  • Sympathetic vs. Parasympathetic
  • How Yoga Can Help
  • Making Your Practice Trauma-Sensitive
  • Making Your Practice Trauma-Infused
  • Assisting and Touching
  • Sequencing: What Poses Feel Safe or Vulnerable
  • Breath
  • Trauma Informed Yoga Teacher
  • Feedback
  • Trama Resilience
  • Introduction
  • Responses to Trauma
  • Understanding Trauma
  • Careful Wording
  • Triggers
  • Conclusion
  • Feedback
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