What to Expect From a Trauma Sensitive Yoga (TSY) Class Part 2
There are 5 key elements you can expect from a TSY class:
- Choice & Action
As was discussed in the Part 1 series of What to Expect in a TSY class sensing is a key element you can expect. It is the first element to be developed in the sensing:choice:action chain of experiences provided in a TSY class. Sensing is the ability to begin experimenting with sensing your body from the inside out. What in the world is that? Sounds more complicated than it really is. Let’s try a quick example. Take a deep breath right now. What do you notice? Can you sense your belly rising, your shoulders lifting, your ribcage expanding? There you have it. You have connected to your interoception in your body (your ability to sense your body from the inside out) or what we sometimes refer to as our 6th sense. Interoception is a key factor in recovering from trauma of many kinds as one of the key survival strategies in trauma is to disconnect from your body therefore disconnecting you from your 6th sense. While helpful during the trauma, as one is trying to emerge into their daily life again it can feel very overwhelming and disjointed. Sometimes it can feel like a head being carried around by this weird lump of material instead of actually being connected to your living, breathing incredible body. No need to get too “heady” about it, just remember in a TSY class there will be LOTS of invitations to notice (hopefully non-judgementally) the sensations in your body as you breathe in a posture.
Another key element to expect in a TSY class is the element of safety. This comes in a bit of a different form than traditional yoga classes. In a traditional yoga class many instructors will tell you they will be wandering around class and offering assists in postures to make sure you are doing the posture correctly and to ensure your physical safety. WE DO NOT DO THIS, EVER.
One of the key components in a TSY class that promotes safety is that there will NEVER be a hands on assist in class and we NEVER walk around class observing how you are moving in the sequence. In fact, in a TSY class the instructor will probably be facing the front of the class with a mic on and NOT facing the participants so as to create an environment where participants do not feel “observed” or “watched” as they are working with breath and movement.
The TSY class can be modified so ANYONE can participate. Often times participants will have lasting physical injuries in addition to emotional injuries to overcome. This DOES NOT prevent you from attending class. I always say, “if you can breathe you can do TSY, all the postures are optional after that.” The postures in the class are accessible to anyone as the goal of class is never to teach you how to stand on your head, twist yourself into a pretzel or anything of the like.
Another key element to expect in a TSY class is compassion. Now I am not talking about a hippie, granola, one-love kinda compassion. I am talking about the ability to exercise the chain of sensing:choice:action and encouraging compassionate action as you move through class. Many of us survivors of trauma have learned how to tough it out, to push through the pain and to numb what is going on in order to survive. This class is the EXACT opposite of that. Your job as you enter class is to listen as intently as you can to how your body would like to be moved moment by moment in class. I have had several participants in previous classes who have come to class and compassionate movement for their body that day was to lay still and breathe FOR THE ENTIRE CLASS. Yes, the entire class. This was absolutely healing for them to listen to their body and do exactly what it was asking for in the moment. All the postures are just suggestions, listening to your body is THE key component in a TSY class.
TSY is a safe and gentle way for individuals to experiment with being comfortable in their body. Through experimentation with breathing, poses, movement, stretching and strengthening I aim to reconnect survivors with the greatest source of wisdom; their bodies. Studies have shown that TSY increases interoception (our 6th sense), decreases PTSD symptoms, increases the ability to remain grounded in the present moment and more fully develop a sense of self.
Below are some items to consider when determining if this is the right fit for you.
- No experience needed. Classes are made accessible to everyone, regardless of physical ability.
- No hands-on assisting by instructor, ever.
- Please bring your own mat.
- This is an open group.
- Pre-registration is not required but available.
- First come, first serve.
- Payment is due upon admission.
Trauma Sensitive Yoga (TSY) Starts March 15th
The class will be: Every Other Thursday afternoon from 4:30-5:30 at 5366 S Bannock Street Littleton, CO 80120 (Located inside the Overstreet Dance Studio).
Parking on Bannock Street is easiest. Signs will be posted to assist with finding the room.
While this series is starting up for women I am really looking forward to offering a men’s class on the corresponding Thursday’s in the same location and the same time! Please click here to sign up for the Men’s Trauma Sensitive Yoga class list.
As always, it is my sincere privilege to offer up this space for healing.
Please feel free to reach out with any questions or comments.