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Trauma Informed Yoga (TIY)

What is TIY?

 

TIY is a body-based (somatic) therapy in which participants practice awareness of bodily sensations. Body-based therapy is sometimes called ‘bottom – up’ therapy, as opposed to talk therapy, which is ‘top – down’.
 

How is TIY different from a regular yoga class?

 

TIY differs from a ‘regular’ yoga class, in that our focus in TIY is entirely on the perception of bodily sensations in different yoga forms (postures). The ability to perceive bodily sensations is called interoception. Where a regular yoga class may focus on emotions, visualisation, themes, or other thought-based processes, TIY only focuses on what can be felt right now, within the body.

 

How does the TIY approach help in cases of Complex PTSD?
 

Scientific research shows that people with Complex PTSD have lessened awareness of internal sensations. This creates a feeling of being ‘outside the body’ or disconnected from oneself. In TIY the only objective is to practice feeling bodily sensations – ANY sensations – thus building interoceptive awareness.

What is the goal/intention of TIY?

 

Our goal is to observe body sensations. Sometimes the sensations that can be observed within the body are pleasant. Sometimes they are uncomfortable. All that is asked within each form is that the participant notices the sensations, and asks themselves, what do I notice? Is it tolerable? If it is not tolerable, the participant can choose to leave the form and find a more acceptable and accessible form. The only goal is to observe the sensation.

 

A TIY session is very invitational. All forms are optional, and there are always choices about participating at all, and how to participate if people choose to join.
 

What do we avoid in TIY?

 

In TIY we never suggest that a yoga form will result in a certain outcome, e.g. relaxation, calm, energy. We observe whatever bodily outcome arises, and that is all.


Each participant will vary in their experience of each form. It is important that participants arrive to a TIY session without an expectation of – for example – ‘being relaxed’ after the session. Like talking therapy, body-based therapy can be very challenging and uncomfortable. We avoid setting an expectation of a pleasant outcome, as this can result in a feeling of failure. There is no failure in TIY. We only observe what is already there.

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