Survivor Yoga

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Yoga for Trauma Recovery

Survivor Yoga was created at Hooyah Health Center. Survivor Yoga is used to help survivors on their journey through trauma recovery.

How is Survivor Yoga different from regular yoga?

1. Trauma Sensitive Language

Language is important in order to not trigger past memories in the body and the mind. 

2. Choice

Participants are always given a choice and there is not right or wrong way to do Survivor Yoga.

3. Contact

Survivors may feel vulnerable during yoga and touching a survivor may trigger past memories. The therapist does not touch particpants. Due to the power dynamic between therapist and client, the therapist does not ask if the therapist can touch the client when completing a yoga form. Sometimes bands are used to enhance and elevate a yoga form. This is only done after the therapist has assessed that trust has been built and symptoms have decreased. The therapist may ask to touch the band in order to elevate the yoga form but the client is not given skin contact by the therapist. 

4. Trauma Channels

Trauma channels can open during body work (acupuncture, chiropractor, massage, yoga). When the trauma channels open unexpectedly, the survivor experiences a flooding of panic and fear. It is similar to a panic attack. What we do here at Hooyah Health Center is to open the trauma channels in a controlled, safe, and purposeful environment. 

5. Discharge

Discharging trauma within the control of the survivor in a safe environment.

Yoga can open trauma channels in survivors. When this happens survivors, panic and struggle with flashbacks or worse. The key is having control in opening the trauma channels and being in a safe place. 

6. Mindfulness

Survivors are living in the past with their trauma memories in the body and the mind. Understanding and knowing the body and mind are in the present will help the survivor to be in homeostasis. 

7. Meditation

Meditation helps to relax and calm a body that may be hyperaroused or hypoaroused to homeostasis.

8. Homeostasis

When a survivor was abused and traumatized, their mind and body was at survival: flight, fight, fall, and feign death. The constant hyerarousal and hypoarousal caused the body to be in a state of chaos. After this has happened so many times, the body does not know how to reach homeostasis. When the body and mind is in homeostasis, it is uncomfortable sometimes even painful. Survivor Yoga encourages the body and mind to be at homeostasis. This practice helps the body and mind, little by little, to be in a state of homeostasis. Homeostasis is different for each individual. 

9. Each Small Step is Success

Trauma recovery is a hard road full of challenges and barriers. Each step, no matter how little, is a success.