Why do you think it is important that yoga teacher training would include trauma release in its curriculum?
I recently read an article that said that Australia was the second highest prescriber of anti depressant drugs. It has become ‘normal’ for people to take medication. The truth is it is not normal for us to be depressed. The statistic on trauma are equally as disturbing: An estimated 70% of adults in the United States have experienced a traumatic event at least once in their lives and up to 20 percent of these people go on to develop post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. An estimated 5% of Americans — more than 13 million people — have PTSD at any given time.
Whether we are aware of it or not it is likely that we have students attending our classes who have experienced a traumatic event. It is also likely that we will have students suffering from some form of PTSD.
Having an awareness of how to support those who have experienced trauma will afford you the ability to better meet and serve your future students and clients.
What type of yoga students do you commonly work with in your teaching environment, and who benefits the most from trauma release work?
My main work currently is with women, but I have also spent time working with Soldiers suffering form PTSD.
It is my experience that sadly most women have experienced some form of trauma. Whether this trauma occurred during childhood or as an adult it stays imprinted in the body. Using trauma release techniques helps to somatically clear the trauma from the body. Studies are now showing this is more effective than talk therapy alone. It is also empowering to the client.
Some of the benefits experienced include;
- Release of chronic tension and increase of energy and stamina
- Discharge of buried emotional and physical trauma
- Freedom from symptoms of sciatica and fibromyalgia
- Decrease of aches and pains
- Improved sleep
- Improved circulation
- Improved mood
- Improved sense of feeling grounded and focused
- Improved flexibility
How do you find trauma release work a beneficial part of your skill set?
It is almost an essential part of my skill set. I want to be able to support my clients and students. Whilst it is important that as yoga teachers we do not step out of our remit, we do hold a duty of care for our students. I believe it is important that we have a deeper understanding of what trauma looks like and are able to support and facilitate a class that can not only support the client but enhance their individual healing journey.
This can be of benefit in group classes but also when dealing with clients one on one.
Please mention to us some of the therapeutic yoga skills you use in trauma release and exercises that you call upon in therapy?
At the most basic level but one of the most important areas to explore is taking the client into body awareness. Experiencing the sensations within the body in the present moment. Somatic experiencing can assist the individual in renegotiating and resolving the effects that trauma has had on their bodies.
Pranayama or breath work is an essential component in healing trauma and beginning the process of healing the nervous system.
We will also use the process of tremouring. Self-induced tremouring releases a vibration through the body that can help to release the effects of trauma as well as bring about a sense of deep relaxation and calm to the student.
Have you personally found yoga to be beneficial to healing your own trauma?
Whilst this is a big statement to make, I do believe that yoga saved my life. Not just physically but also mentally. The combination of trauma specific yoga and a regular practice of both Hatha and Kundalini Yoga have played the largest part in my journey towards healing.
What do you feel is the best advantage that students doing this course with you will take with them to heal others?
The experience. I believe that the best teachers are those that teach what they know. I have no doubt that as a yoga teacher you will have your own unique story as to why you feel called to help others. When you learn how to use yoga as a therapeutic tool to assist in your own healing journey you are better able to serve others.
This course is an experiential journey into healing.
Find out more about the upcoming Trauma Release course with Samantha Lindsay-German
Saturday 12th & Sunday 13th August 2017 at Upper Brookfield Retreat.