What is Trauma?

trauma sensitive yoga

trauma sensitive yoga

Trauma and its symptoms are more prevalent in society than is often thought. Nearly half of us, that is about 6 of every 10 (or 60%) of men and 5 of every 10 (or 50%) of women experience at least one trauma in their lives. About 7 or 8 out of every 100 people (or 7-8 per cent of the population) will have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD, the most full-blown grade of trauma), at some point in their lives.

Trauma may result from a wide range of stressors such as being in a serious accident; having surgery or surgical procedures; the break -up of a significant relationship; the discovery of a life-threatening illness or disabling condition;  being in war zones or being in a major natural or technological disaster; being physically punished by parents as a child; being attacked, mugged or beaten by anyone; being pressured into having unwanted sexual contact; having a close family member die violently ie in a serious car crash, mugging or attack.

Symptoms of Trauma

The symptoms of trauma include anxiety, depression, substance abuse, mood disorders, suicidal ideas or attempts, self-harm, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), anorexia, flashbacks, avoidance behaviour, a feeling of being detached from other people, trouble sleeping, a feeling of frequently being ‘on guard’ or an exaggerated ‘startle response’, restlessness, distraction and trouble concentrating, irritability and outbursts of anger. However the major faculty that trauma interferes with is the ability of our higher brain to connect with a sense of meaning or purpose – what is called ‘the instinct of privilege’. So traumatised people are poor at goal setting, feel like their future has shrunk or they don’t have a future, have an overriding sense of purposeless or lack of meaning.

People suffering from trauma often behave in inappropriate ways, they can scare others and embarrass themselves and drive people away. Because they have no idea of where these powerful feelings that are still with them come from, they experience greater degrees of shame and self-loathing and have a sense of being out of control and becoming a ‘monster’ who no one can be safe with.

Integral Yoga: Help Dealing with Trauma


gentle, easy postures

gentle, easy postures

Mindfulness-based integral yoga with a sensitive teacher and some considerations for a trauma sensitive practise, can be helpful in trauma recovery. Effective treatment for trauma needs to involve:

1. Learning to tolerate feelings and sensations by increasing capacity for interoception. This will strengthen hypocampal and precuneal activity in the brain and improve cortical function to help process the trauma and reduce dominance of the emotional arousal of the right hemisphere, and develop a sense of self awareness and tolerate sensations in the body

2. Learning to modulate one’s own physiological arousal or to self-regulate. This will strengthen the vagal tone and the PNS response to increase HRV and RSA to improve self-regulation and reduce physiological arousal levels.

3. Learning to engage in taking effective action – to overcome the feelings of physical powerlessness and helplessness from the traumatic experience (s), thereby replacing the passive fear response with an active coping strategy. This will help to release the energy of the ‘stuck’ emotional response from the body.

Because the trauma survivors sense of control has been taken away rendering the individual helpless in the face of the event or experience, it is absolutely necessary that throughout the treatment the person is empowered with a  sense of choice, control and volition. This requires a trauma-sensitive yoga teacher.
Read more on our blog : Yoga and Help Dealing with Trauma:

Read more on our blog:  How the Body Deals with Trauma

How it works

After a FREE initial consultation a bespoke programme will be developed for you and you will be given a training plan to work to in your own time in between sessions. Each yoga therapy session lasts 75 mins.

Each session costs £35, or you can join a small group class of minimum three people for a cost £10.

You will also receive the following resources FREE, to support your learning:

  • DVDs and CDs with practice materials
  • booklets and information
  • email and phone support
  • personal practice plan

Contact Us to Find out More