Can Yoga Really Help Us Heal Trauma? by Molly Boeder-Harris

Can Yoga Really Help Us Heal Trauma? by Molly Boeder-Harris

No longer does a day go by where I won’t see a story about healing PTSD with yoga, receive an advertisement related to upcoming trauma-informed yoga training and workshops, or be privy to a Facebook conversation among studios and teachers about how to accommodate trauma survivors within the mainstream yoga community. (We have our own Trauma-Informed Yoga Teacher Training coming up November 4-6th.) As a yoga student, a yoga teacher, a sexual assault, rape and trauma survivor, and an educator on how we address the impacts of trauma in yoga, I think about yoga, the body-mind-soul connection and the pervasive nature of trauma in our society and our psyches daily. Quietly and internally, I’ve struggled with so many personal questions about the conversation we are having, who is participating, who is left out, how and why we choose to look the other way, and importantly, what it is we are assessing when we are determining “if” and “how” yoga heals trauma...

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Sit down, close or lower your eyes, sit up tall, and breathe in...

Sit down, close or lower your eyes, sit up tall, and breathe in...

The first four instructions you often hear in class most days.

How does the way you enter the practice set you up for a transformative experience on the mat each and every time? It might be the simplicity of these instructions, broken down to their physical, mental, and spiritual components, that help set the tone for your experience.

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Something lost, something changed

Something lost, something changed

It is possible for both loss and change to lead to transformation, but it is not possible for transformation to occur unless something is lost and something is changed.” –Anthony Padovano

Over the years, my commitment to teaching yoga has evolved into and often represented a place to allow for my own vulnerability; to say the difficult, unspeakable things that many of us are thinking but don't want to say or can't say out loud about the price of humanity, and a real, honest forum for our collective growth. We gather to practice together year after year, lifting our hearts and hands up after mass shootings and horrific acts of violence reported in our own home state, during wild and viscous election years where the vitriol of the media douses the airwaves with acidic discord, through catastrophic natural disasters that cost lives and homes by the thousands, and small tragedies by the dozen in our own homes and hearts, all hoping that somehow that our small contribution of love and hope will collectively add up. I speak openly about these difficulties, losses and stumbling blocks in class, hoping to open the door to unearthing something like meaning for us all in the middle of the sometimes searing pain that makes my voice shake right in front of you all...

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