Episode 11: Trauma sensitive yoga practice. Creating a safe space in a yoga studio for survivors of sexual assault.

Today’s show looks at a different way working with survivors of sexual assault. In this episode, you’ll hear how Clare uses trauma-sensitive yoga to support survivors of sexual assault. Clare Pritchard has been practicing yoga since 1995.  She is a Certified Trauma Center Trauma Sensitive Yoga (TCTSY) Facilitator, a Certifed Iyengar Yoga teacher, and has completed a number of certificates in yoga programs for children.

In this episode, we talk about hows yoga help survivors of trauma and how it can be integrated with a range of other traditional therapies and medication.

We discussed burn out and self-care when working in an industry and with individuals that have experienced trauma.

Clare has been involved in working at Centres Against Sexual Assault since 2000. She began this association working as a Counsellor/Advocate at CASA House but her role in the field has now transformed into a role which provides support and healing to victim/survivors of trauma through yoga. Clare has delivered the yoga component of the Body Based Therapy Program at WestCASA (Centre Against Sexual Assault) since 2011, and at CASA House since 2017.  She has also delivered programs in the Northern and SouthEastern CASA’s, and Counterpoint Young Women’s Refuge. In a voluntary capacity, Clare has provided yoga classes within the Maribyrnong Detention Centre, the Asylum Centre Resource Centre and the YWCA Girl Storey program for marginalised young women

Clare talks about how trauma-sensitive yoga is different from other styles of yoga. When she started running it she brought into yoga  her knowledge of impacts of trauma to make it safe and appropriate 

Some key points of trauma-sensitive yoga

  • It’s invitational
  • All efforts are made to minimise triggers in the session
  • experience of being able to make a choice
  • when we think about trauma is generally an experience where people have had all choice and control taken away. 
  • choice in where you move, how you move and what you do. Guided choice.
  • there’s an intentional language of ownership – eg move your arm if you’d like to

It may not be suitable for

  • People who are suicidal
  • Who’ve had recent inpatient admissions

As a clinician it’s good to look at the credentials of the person running the yoga and if they have knowledge and experience in working with trauma. 

Listen out for them mentioning 

  • Safety
  • Minimising triggers
  • No-touch in session

Some tools and resources recommended by Clare

Clare can be found at www.yarrarangesyoga.com.au

David Emerson, E-RYT, founder and director of yoga services at the Trauma Center at the Justice Resource Institute in Brooklin, is one of the major contributors to this field. 

Body keeps score by Bessel van der Kolk

Trauma Stewardship: An Everyday Guide to Caring for Self While Caring for Others. Author Laura van Dernoot Lipsky

tps://health.usnews.com/wellness/mind/articles/2017-03-29/how-yoga-helps-survivors-of-trauma

https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/health/article/Trauma-centered-yoga-helps-patients-with-PTSD-6717475.php?t=7f53ff22de&cmpid=email-premium

https://www.socialworktoday.com/archive/111714p8.shtml

https://www.traumasensitiveyoga.com/uploads/3/1/6/6/31663259/fostermagimg20181005_11042983.pdf

http://www.traumacenter.org/products/pdf_files/Peaceful_Embodiment_Through_Yoga_R0002.pdf

http://www.traumacenter.org/products/pdf_files/Yoga_Complementary%20Treatment_PTSD_West_W0002.pdf

https://www.traumasensitiveyoga.com/ :  info about TCTSY and the Center for Trauma & Embodiment (formerly Trauma Center)

https://www.traumasensitiveyoga.com/resources.html : link to articles, publications and research (there are TCTSY-specific ones) 

https://www.aap.org/en-us/documents/ttb_aces_consequences.pdf : general info about the impact of childhood trauma. might not be relevant! 

www.yarrarangesyoga.com.au