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Module 1

Trauma-Informed Yoga Training
Course Content

Please note that there is always some variation in material covered, based on the existing experience and interests of participants in attendance. The length of the training varies between 25-30 hours, depending on the amount of time available at each venue, whether we are able to run demo videos during lunch breaks, and the time the group votes to wrap up on the final day.

  • What is Trauma-Informed Yoga?
    • Core philosophy, goals and practice principles grounded in the literature on trauma-informed care, somatics and yoga theory
    • Considerations and caveats with different styles of yoga
    • Scope of practice considerations
    • Recognizing that trauma is in every yoga/meditation class
    • What TIY is and is not
  • The Transcendence Trap
    • Adverse effects of yoga and meditation, and common pitfalls of contemplative practices
  • Foundations of Trauma and Attachment
    • The neurobiology and psychophysiology of trauma and attachment
    • Frameworks for understanding stress and dysregulation
    • Understanding hyper- and hypo-arousal
    • Role of addictions and management strategies
    • Dissociation and spiritual bypassing
    • “Biological completion”, complex syndromes and other themes
    • The activation cycle of social engagement strategies, orienting, fight/flight, freeze/collapse and discharge/deactivation
    • Recognizing signs of activation in our students and ourselves
    • Interoception, exteroception, neuroception and proprioception
    • Aligning yoga theory and practices with the science of breath physiology
  • East Meets West: Shared Principles Between Yoga Theory and Somatic Approaches to Trauma
    • The Panchamaya (koshas) model
    • Chakras and their relationship to trauma
    • Understanding why yoga postures can be triggering through the lens of procedural (body) memory, incomplete motor sequences, “biological completion” and expansion-contraction patterns
    • Expansion and constriction (pendulation)
    • “Red” trauma vortex (dukha) and “blue” healing vortex (sukha)
    • Brahmana (gas pedal) and langhana (brakes)
    • Titration (vinyasa krama)
    • Periphery to core
    • Approach and retreat
    • Holding opposites
  • Emotional First Aid Skills for Self-Soothing
    • Grounding practices
    • Sensory orienting
    • Containment and self-nurturing
  • Self-Care and Resiliency for Yoga and Meditation Teachers
    • Fostering therapeutic presence and holding space
    • Self-regulation for teachers
    • Healthy boundaries: Joining versus merging/disconnecting
    • Understanding vicarious trauma and compassion fatigue
    • Self-compassion practices
  • Multi-Level Teaching Considerations
    • Integrating trauma-informed principles when teaching classes in your existing yoga styles
    • Adapting postures, language, classroom settings, class planning, sequencing, communication, adjustments, proxemics, marketing, and tending to activation, etc.
    • Differences between drop-in, closed groups and private lessons
    • Building partnerships