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5 Things to Know about Trauma Conscious Yoga with Crystal Hamilton

Updated: Jul 13, 2021

1. What is Trauma Conscious Yoga?

Trauma Conscious Yoga (TCY) is the blend of trauma-informed movement with somatic psychotherapy and indigenous healing practices. However I do tend to minimize the psychotherapeutic interventions for my Thursday class as it is the non-clinical version. TCY encourages the opportunity to be in the present moment through bringing awareness to the breath and the physical sensations of the here-and-now. The class provides a space to notice what we feel in our bodies and make choices about what to do with those movements.

2. How is TCY unique from other practices?

What makes TCY unique is the promotion of explorative movements through choice making and the use of trauma-informed language. The changes in the language might be: not using the words 'pose' and instead saying 'form' and 'shape.' Additional language changes may be offering a description of the form and not verbalizing the traditionally labeled, "pose." The student is in control over what they are doing with their body at all times and the instructor is there to provide guidance for students to notice particular dynamics (i.e., what muscles they are using, what it feels like to have their feet on the ground, what it feels like to breathe, what sensations you are feeling in the present, what variations they would like to try in their shape, and etc.).

3. Who might benefit from trying a TCY class?

TCY can help with practicing the use of interoception, where we are moving the body and feeling the body in the present. At the most basic level, interoception is the ability to perceive the internal state of our bodies and allows us to answer the question, 'how do I feel?’ Having trouble with interoception can make self-regulation a challenge. Overall TCY is good to help with grounding and mindfulness.

4. What is your favorite aspect of yoga/Why do you practice?

I like that yoga promotes the mind-body connection and noticing the breath. I practice yoga to remind me to be present in my breath and body throughout my daily life.

5. Do you have any advice for someone new to TCY, or yoga in general?

I would say to perhaps take a class that is labeled as gentle or trauma informed. This is because these classes will tend to include meditation, mindfulness, moving with intent, and working on the breath. Western yoga has many benefits with physical exercise, but try a class that practices the union of the mind-body connection and promotes it as a way of life and not limited to a 60-to-75 minute class. This is not to say westernized yoga does not have its place, but be informed that yoga is predominately westernized in the states and sometimes do not fully mirror their indigenous roots.

To learn more and experience a Trauma Conscious Yoga practice, don't miss Crystal's weekly Trauma Conscious Yoga class.

Author: Suzanne Godard

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