Yin like Flynn

By Nicole Hind

Lying on my stomach, fingers splayed out in front, raised on forearms holding the sphinx pose. I’m in a Yin yoga class, which involves a series of long slow holds and mat-based postures. I’m a little surprised when I begin to feel a warmth across my chest and in my upper arms. As I hold the shape the warmth grows, and then suddenly I feel as though I might cry. I allow the tears and a calmness descends as we are then told we can release the pose. I lie face down on the mat for a moment, noticing the release across the top half of my body where previously there had been tension and anxiety. Freedom.

There is growing evidence to show trauma gets trapped in the body, and to escape the impacts we need to speak to the body via sensation, emotion and other body-related experiences. Yoga can be incredibly healing for folks with trauma, being a mind-body-spirit practice. Yin in particular.

One issue though is that the cornerstone of healing from trauma is safety. Sometimes yoga can feel unsafe because well-meaning teachers may not be aware of practices that can trigger survivors. These days a number of teachers undergo trauma-informed yoga training so as to provide appropriate classes, but if there aren’t any trauma-informed options in your location, call the studio ahead of your booking and ask the following questions: Does the teacher turn the lights off without warning? Do they adjust students without permission? Do they tell students to close their eyes? You can also ask if the space is open and has natural light. In my experience yoga teachers are a kind and thoughtful bunch who would be open to exploring safer practice with you.

With a Masters in Narrative Therapy, Nicole has been practicing counselling for a bunch of years. Follow her blog to find out more: www.unveiledstories.com

Image courtesy of Amelia Disspain @yogabellingen. Photo by: Ben Brink