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10 Signs You're NOT in a Trauma-Informed Yoga Space

If you were to look the definition of trauma up in a dictionary you would likely find something along the lines of “a deeply distressing experience”.

However, in the United States, the occupation with the highest level of reported Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is public bus drivers.

This statistic feels as though it must be incorrect when compared to the definition that we find in a common dictionary. Driving a bus cannot be such a distressing experience can it?

This brings us to the more modern and widely accepted understanding of trauma in psychology.

That is, that trauma is not necessarily an experience, it is a neurological response to an individual’s feeling of having a lack of resources to respond adequately to the ‘distressing experience’.

Over 75% of Canadians report having experienced trauma which makes it extremely important that when we teach yoga, we guide students in a trauma-informed manner so they are better able to sink into the blessings of this practice.

Here are 10 signs you're not in a trauma-informed yoga space:

  1. The teacher doesn't introduce themselves and start the class by setting 'space agreements' & 'class empowerment’.

  2. The class doesn't have options, modifications, variations or accessibility.

  3. There is a feeling of competitive based, goal-oriented, body focused asana.

  4. There is a fast pace that you have to keep up with in order to participate in the class.

  5. There is no invitation to listen to your body and your feelings.

  6. There is no consent for hands on adjustments.

  7. Class is taught with instructions not invitations.

  8. Students are singled out and used as an example.

  9. Teacher is oblivious to their privilege and the ways that trauma can manifest in marginalized communities.

  10. Teaching without any awareness of the history and culture of yoga.

At Anuttara, we teach our students to be careful in what language we use in our yoga classes but we are also aware that we can never teach a yoga class that is 100% trigger free.

Everyone has unique triggers and we cannot expect ourselves to be able to predict them all. Our classes are filled with choices and we make suggestions not requests.

We teach:

  • How to introduce yourself as a guide

  • How to modify asanas with props and variations

  • Non-goal-oriented & trauma-informed language

  • How to invite students into their experience

  • How to provide hands-on adjustments (if consent is given)

  • How to ask for consent

  • The history and culture of Yoga from Eastern Tradition

  • So much more...

Anuttara Yoga honours ancient spiritual roots of yoga while preparing you to be a trauma-informed, inclusive guide in the modern world.

This training is for aspiring teachers, those who want to deepen their practice, and yoga teachers seeking to provide more authentic and inclusive classes for their students.

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