by Nancy Kochuk
Retreat Center of Maryland is offering a special workshop on teaching trauma-sensitive yoga for teachers, therapists and other health professionals who work with trauma survivors.
Yoga and meditation are known to help promote healing for individuals who have experienced trauma - whether from emotional or physical abuse, sexual assault, war-time experience, natural disasters, illness or other difficult experiences. Students in trauma-sensitive classes learn how to work with the mind, body and breath in ways that foster healing, resilience, self-awareness and self-compassion.
What are the hallmarks of a trauma-sensitive class? Each class is different and geared to the needs of participants, but it starts with a safe, supportive and respectful environment. Special emphasis is placed on offering options. Students must be free to make simple adjustments that make their poses more appropriate for their own bodies - as well as to opt out of any pose. Giving trauma survivors choices is a bedrock principle.
Trauma-sensitive yoga practices nurture and support students and help them reestablish ownership of their bodies and minds, an essential step for healing.
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Nancy Kochuk received her 500 hour yoga teacher certification in 2015, is a member of the Board of Directors of Retreat Center of Maryland, teaches gentle yoga at the Yoga Center of Columbia, and is the volunteer coordinator and teacher for Maryland Prison Yoga Project.