Today the Yoga for Trauma & Mental Health workshop was more uplifting. For starters it was SUNNY out. The workshop was hosted at Sleeping Dog Farm which is a beautiful location. We spent most of the day in a bright round room with horses, chickens, vegetable gardens and mountains as our backdrop. It was lovely. The instructor Nicole Marcia taught us a couple sample Yoga for Trauma classes. One for people very new to yoga suffering from trauma and one for people a little further along in the healing process. We did a check-in first thing in the morning and I ended up crying. Sigh. Yes.. I was one of those criers at the workshop. She handled it very well though. She acknowledged that she had left us hanging a bit and apologized and said she would do a more formal grounding and closing of the sessions. I really liked her down to earth approach and her ability to accept responsibility for the room and her part as a facilitator.
There was a lot of practical tips about how to modify postures that might cause triggers and stress responses in students. We also talked a lot about our usage of language. We went over techniques for helping our yoga instructions come off as gentle and full of choices for those suffering from trauma. Essentially there was a lot of focus on creating a safe space that would be empowering for our students. The beautiful thing is that the skills are applicable to any yoga class. As Nicole mentioned, you might not even know someone in your class is suffering from trauma. I felt much brighter and inspired afterwards which was a relief. After the first night I was wondering if perhaps my past made me a little too sensitive to teach this population. I think having my own experience with trauma could be a great gift though in regards to my teaching. My past has certainly increased my ability to feel compassion and relatedness to those who might be suffering through some rough times.