Reviewing Trauma-Informed Yoga Module

A module in Yoga Therapy Teacher Training at Niroga Institute, taught by Antonia Fokken, LMFT, RYT 500.  What was a surprising take away from this module? That:  “Yoga can be Medicine or Poison” depending on how it’s taught as I had believed that yoga as a general rule is medicinal.  But just like not all foods are nouishing and good; while some foods are indeed medicinal – rainbow colored veggies and fruits and grains, while other process foods high in bad kind of fat and carbs are not – they are both foods.  One can draw a similar analogy when it comes to yoga – depending on how it’s transmitted and instructed, the effect is so different so it all starts out with – your intention.  To be medicinal or poison, it’s that impactful, your teaching methodology, so we have to be so careful.  It’s not about TLC and soft voice, being nice, temporary fix of a pose etc. – all the prevalent misunderstanding – it’s about how we need to be so so mindful, and,  above all, do no harm. How does one define trauma to begin with – for some, it begins with that.

Traumatic symptoms are not caused by “triggering”event itself but by the frozen residue that remains trapped in the nervous system where it can wreak havoc on our bodies and spirits.”

and leads to the following conclusion some may find surprising:

“The key to healing traumatic symptoms is through our physiology..”

-Peter Levine

We don’t want to be tip-toeing around,and interface as though you are dealing with fine-china with crack lines you are afraid to touch for fear of a breakdown – I mean, what could be more annoying than be treated as though … No, it’s about respecting and empowering the person to find the safety he/she can access with techniques – to fully become engaged in one’s own healing process and for that, first above all, it’s about that place of … safety and support …trust.  That does not mean just nice platitudes, no matter how well meaning, but actual science based techniques that one can pull out that toolbox whenever needed to really live in the present moment.  To overcome fear.

Then I am reminded of the 6 R’s of Healing Trauma as referenced by Bruce Perry presented by Antonia Fokken and how it would look like in a yoga practice …which was based on his recommendation of

 “Patterned, repetitive, rhythmic somatosensory activity … elicits a sensation of safety.  Rhythm is regulating.”

& it was a beautiful practice we learned so much from.  Thank you for all the teachings … the best faculty teachings @ Niroga:)  All gratitude.

Does anyone have these books suggested by Niroga I may borrow?

 “In an Unspoken Voice:  How the Body Releases Trauma and Restores Goodness”

by Peter Levine

The Body keeps the Score

by Bessel van der Kolk

Otherwise, off to the library …



Sunday evening Yoga Class … Surprisingly a good turnout for Oscar Night …no production or agenda, intuitively moving through the sequence with clear intention of my own, which is … a respite for all. We are so hard on ourselves and we want to self-improve but this is also part of that “quest” by way of getting out of ourselves to find ourselves.  Used to teach 90 minutes, not this 75 minutes and the comments are the same – the class went by so fast … it was over so fast … it’s what I needed but it went so fast.  I felt unkind getting the students back up to end the class as I know they could have easily stayed another 20 minutes for delicious Savasana.

Time … it’s a concept.  It can go fast or very very slow …

Deep dive release is a good way to prepare ourselves for the onslaught of TO DO LIST checkoffs Monday.  Gratitude … if you find to do list to be of value, add to that list this:

try making a gratitude list – just add one every night and see.



Adho Mukha Svanasana

Dog Pose … not all dog pose is a down-facing dog pose:)