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Exploring Trauma-Informed Yoga

trauma informed yoga minneapolis st paul

Yoga is generally thought of as a safe and beneficial practice. It’s promoted for strengthening the body and mind, and in many cases this is true.

But what happens when you don’t feel safe in your body?

Or your thoughts are harmful?

Sandra Maurer, co-founder of Terra Firma, joined me on the Well Connected Twin Cities podcast to discuss how yoga can be a powerful tool for trauma survivors specifically, but it needs to be done mindfully.

She helps us understand:

  • How trauma-informed yoga works in the body
  • What’s possible for trauma survivors when using this approach
  • Why it’s important to work with a trained facilitator

“The truth is trauma survivors are incredibly strong, we’re just trying to increase the sense of safety.”

Sandra Maurer

How it works

At Terra Firma, trauma-informed yoga is used as an active intervention for mental health. Facilitators guide groups or individuals through a practice using empowering language to invite rather than control.

“The power is constantly being handed back to the participant,” says Maurer.

What’s possible

Working with the body, participants are able to calm their nervous systems and begin to work through stored emotional trauma. This can be a compliment to traditional talk therapy, enabling participants to process their trauma in a more productive way.

Why it’s important to work with a trained facilitator

If you’re a trauma survivor looking to try this approach, just going into your local yoga studio probably won’t give you the support you need.

Triggering language and environments are all too common in the yoga world, although there’s a growing awareness of this issue and many instructors are pursuing additional training.

Terra Firma offers a professional training for yoga instructors and clinicians who want to facilitate trauma informed yoga or use it as a tool to support post-traumatic growth and healing.

They also offer weekly group classes (currently held online) and the first one is free.

“Trauma-informed yoga is non-hierarchal, inclusive, and adaptive.”

Sandra Maurer

Check out the episode here, and learn more about how Terra Firma began, the science behind trauma-informed yoga, and some important tips on how yoga instructors can create safer environments for everyone.


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