Trauma-informed Yoga classes to help break the cycle of addiction May 10-12
The community is invited to join specialized yoga workshops May 10-12
WENDY GOLDSMITH—SUBMITTED PHOTO
any Chilliwack residents have noted increased
drug use in their community. But not everyone realizes that people often use
drugs or alcohol to smother the pain of past trauma such as childhood abuse,
sexual assault or other kinds of violence. After completing recovery
programs, trauma survivors can struggle with relapse, because those
difficult memories and emotions return with frightening clarity.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is notoriously difficult to treat with traditional talk therapy. When survivors think about past trauma they pass into “fight or flight” mode, effectively shutting down the rational, problem-solving portion of the brain.
One modality achieving success is trauma-informed yoga. Researchers at The Trauma Center at Justice Resource Institute in Massachusetts discovered that people with substance dependencies are less likely to relapse when yoga is part of treatment than with traditional therapies alone.
Yoga is helpful for two reasons. First, yoga draws awareness to sensation in the body, a skill people with PTSD often lack. Second, participants practice breathing through uncomfortable sensations - the opposite of numbing out with drugs or alcohol.
While most Canadians are comfortable attending a regular yoga studio, trauma survivors require a special approach. A trauma-informed teacher, for example, might offer options to meditate standing, sitting, or reclining, with eyes open or closed. Choices are important for people who have lived through abuse or assault; being able to opt out allows those in recovery to reclaim power over their bodies and eventually their lives.
“Invitational language”, as described, is one of the techniques that Chilliwack-area yoga and movement teachers can learn over the weekend from May 10 to 12. Yoga Outreach will deliver three days of instruction backed by the latest research in trauma-informed yoga.
The non-profit has a 23-year history in BC of
providing mindfulness tools to people in domestic abuse shelters, prisons,
and in addiction recovery centres. In 2018, Yoga Outreach dispatched 70
volunteer teachers to lead 1,275 trauma-informed classes throughout the
Lower Mainland, Kamloops, Williams Lake, Victoria, Nelson, and others across
Graduates of the 18- hour course can apply to volunteer at Rosedale Intensive Residential Treatment Program for women, or at other Yoga Outreach programs. Attendees may also employ a trauma-informed approach in their regular movement classes, using the course as a stepping stone to further work in social service settings.
Learn more here.