Blog Uncategorized What Makes Trauma-Informed Yoga So Beneficial? 

What Makes Trauma-Informed Yoga So Beneficial? 

When was the last time you dealt with a traumatic event? Never mind the timing, there is a chance the negative effects of it are still haunting you. It could be hard to fall asleep, concentrate on your job and other responsibilities, or simply engage with others. 

That’s why choosing typical yoga classes may not be the best solution for you. People dealing with trauma may try to avoid any triggering situations or even poses reminding them of the adverse experience. 

Trauma doesn’t just affect the mind but also your body. This can make mind-body practices like yoga utterly challenging and initially stressful for those who have endured any form of trauma. 

This leads many individuals to start their healing adventure with trauma-informed yoga.

What makes trauma-informed yoga so beneficial? The purpose of trauma-sensitive yoga is to help you understand what’s going on in your body. Once you get the hang of it, you start working on releasing built-up emotions, stress, and tension.

Professional trauma-informed yoga teachers go through special training. They become conscious of the person’s trauma and pick the right strategies to work with that. 

A trauma-informed approach is especially useful to those individuals who have difficulty expressing their emotions and experiences verbally when talking to their therapist. In this case, immersing slowly into either group or individual sessions could become a great starting point in healing trauma. 

What are trauma-informed techniques?

Trauma-informed yoga is a grounding practice concentrating less on the poses and more on the ways they’re taught (1). Outside of this practice, there are beneficial yoga asanas but some of them may trigger the memory of the traumatic experience. Trained yoga-sensitive teachers must create a safe environment for their practitioners. 

Trauma-informed techniques encompass effective, safe poses. The following postures are six of the most common incorporated into trauma-informed yoga training:

  1. Plank
  2. Mountain Pose
  3. Warrior Poses
  4. Staff Pose
  5. Most standing poses
  6. Gentle twists (4). 
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  • Start on all fours, keeping your wrists under your shoulders.
  • Step one leg straight back, grounding all the toes; then step the other leg back. Create a straight line with your body.
  • Reach your heels back and firm the legs. 
  • Push your hands and all of your fingers steadily and evenly into your mat and straighten your arms.

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Mountain Pose


  • Stand with your feet parallel and your heels slightly apart.
  • Lift your toes and draw them back down on the mat.
  • Lift the top of your sternum straight toward the ceiling and broaden through your chest. Have your shoulder blades draw down your back, away from your ears.
  • Allow your arms to relax alongside you with palms facing forward.
  • Balance your head directly over your hips and gaze ahead. Breathe slowly.

Warrior Poses

Instructions for Warrior 1:

  • Stand still, then step your left foot forward into a wide, but comfortable, stance. 
  • Keep your foot parallel and your toes pointing to the top of the mat, and bend your knee into a mini lunge.
  • Squeeze your shoulder blades together and downward, then lift your chin to gaze at your hands overhead. 
  • Hold your pose and then repeat on the right side.

Staff Pose


  • Get in a seated position with your legs extended forward.
  • Straighten your arms bringing your hands alongside your hips.
  • Touch your big toes together maintaining a small amount of space between your heels.
  • Flex your ankles, drawing your toes back.
  • Push on with your big toe mounds. Turn your inner thighs in and down pressing down with your femur.
  • Soften your front ribs and draw the heads of your upper arms back.
  • Release your arms and shake out your legs to exit the pose. 
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A variety of personalized considerations are made by trauma-informed yoga instructors. For example, teachers working with ex-cons should not ask their students to put their hands behind their heads or face a wall. Those dealing with survivors of sexual assault should abstain from sexually suggestive postures (4). The ability for trauma-informed yoga instructors to take an individualized approach that considers a person’s biological, psychological, and sociological history is what sets this approach apart from standard yoga practices. 

trauma informed yoga  

What are the 4 components of the trauma-informed approach?

The trauma-informed approach is guided by four assumptions, known as the “Four R’s” (2).

  1. Realization. This first assumption is about realizing your trauma and the potential ways for recovery. People understand how trauma can affect families, organizations, groups, communities, and individuals. You realize that trauma plays a role in mental and substance use disorders. Similarly, there is a realization that trauma is integral to other systems (criminal justice, child welfare, primary health care, and community organizations). 
  2. Recognition. This is the time when you start recognizing the signs and symptoms of trauma. These signs may be based on age, gender, or setting-specific. Good examples are your hyperactivity and inability to control your anger, difficulty in understanding or regulating your feelings, lacking trust in others, lower self-esteem, and/or lack of confidence. Recognizing trauma can be executed through trauma screening and assessment as well as employee assistance, workforce development, and supervision practices.
  3. Response. This third assumption is that you respond in a way that is in keeping with your knowledge of trauma. You do this by applying the principles of a trauma-informed approach. The program, organization, or system realizes that the experience of traumatic events affects all people. The organization offers trained practitioners who use evidence-based trauma practices in their training. 
  4. Resistance to re-traumatization. Trainers use special approaches to avoid triggering painful memories that re-traumatize clients with trauma histories. 
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Read more: What Childhood Trauma Do I Have?

What is an example of a trauma-informed practice?

In trauma-informed yoga sessions, teachers know that people in the class may be dealing with traumatic experiences. With this in mind, they’ll pour effort into making students feel less vulnerable.

Here’s a good example of a trauma-sensitive practice – instead of asking students to shut their eyes, a teacher might encourage them to lower them down or simply look at the floor. Someone living with trauma might find it scary to close their eyes (1).

That’s why the professional teacher tries to prevent additional triggers by changing the instructions in some yoga poses. 

Well-trained instructors are aware of the yoga samples that can trigger trauma. It may include: 

  • holding postures for longer
  • certain breathwork practices (pranayama)
  • yoga postures that aggressively open the hips and spine
  • physical assistance without permission
  • artificially heated environments 
  • when a teacher’s sequencing and language are rather exclusive than inclusive (4). 

What are the 4 C’s of trauma-informed care?

Trauma-informed care shifts the focus from “What’s wrong with you?” to “What happened to you?”

The following care approach highlights that healthcare organizations need to have a complete picture of a patient’s life situation, both past and present – to provide high-quality healthcare services (5).

Trauma-informed care cultivates trust, resilience, and a sense of control. The 4C’s of the trauma-informed care are: 

  1. Calm. Acknowledge your feelings when you are caring for the patient. Breathe deeply and calm yourself to show and promote calmness for yourself, your patients, and your co-workers. Practice soothing exercises (deep breathing, grounding) with patients. Understand trauma and its effects to enhance a calm, patient attitude toward your patients and co-workers (3). 
  2. Contain. Ask about the level of trauma history detail to maintain the emotional and physical safety of the patient. This will also respect the timeframe of the healthcare interaction and allow you to offer the patient essential treatment options (3). 
  3. Care. Practice compassion and self-care for yourself, your patients, and your coworkers. Cultivate a compassionate attitude toward oneself and others. Don’t hesitate to show support, de-stigmatize negative coping behaviors, and manifest cultural humility to boost the healing process (3). 
  4. Cope. Highlight healthy relationships, coping skills, and interventions that sustain hope, trust, and resiliency. Ask for more practices that help the patient feel better. Provide scientifically-based treatment for the trauma result including substance use and mental illness. Implement cultural practices for better well-being and social connection (3). 
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Why is trauma-informed yoga important?

The combination of yoga and trauma-informed therapy is new but its benefits are quite impressive. Trauma-informed yoga is important as it’s being used as a supplementary treatment for people with trauma-related issues, according to a 2015 study (7).

Another study showed that trauma-informed yoga played a crucial role in reducing the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and its effects (6). 

64 women living with chronic PTSD participated in the study. One group was assigned to trauma-informed yoga while the other was to supportive women’s health education. In conclusion, 16 of 31 participants (52%) in the yoga group no longer met the criteria for PTSD in contrast to six of 29 participants (21%) in the group who endured women’s health education (6). 

On top of that, trauma-sensitive yoga helps you slow down and focus on the present. People Healing Childhood Trauma or any other traumatic event may feel always on guard and unable to relax.

Trauma-sensitive sessions help you concentrate on the present moment and recognize what’s going on in your body. You focus on your breathing, and body sensations, which ultimately positively affect your mood (1).

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Trauma-informed yoga sustains a sense of inner balance and peace. Just observe the situation: if you’re overwhelming yourself with negative thoughts and emotions, it makes your muscles tense, and you don’t feel safe anymore. 

Practicing trauma-informed yoga in a safe space with respectful teachers or therapists helps manage and control what your body and mind are going through. You stop dividing your body from your mind and connect them through movement and breathing. Professional trainers also help you realize and tolerate your body and emotional sensations so they no longer seem strange to you (1).

If you’re not ready for group sessions or private sessions with teachers, why not try a 28-day Somatic Exercise for Trauma Relief? It’s easy to incorporate it into your daily routine. For that, you’ll need a spacious place and props, if desired. 

trauma informed yoga  


  • What is the difference between trauma-aware and trauma-informed?

When you’re trauma-aware you have a basic understanding of trauma, what it is, and its potential effects on people. Being trauma aware also means understanding potential sensitivities that trigger painful responses that trauma survivors may have. A trauma-informed approach recognizes the prevalence of trauma and aims to create environments that actively promote healing and resilience.

  • What are the 5 S’s in a trauma-informed approach?

The Five S’s of the trauma-informed approach encompasses Safety, Specific behavior, Setting, Scary things, and Screening/Services.

  • How do you process trauma on your own?

Effective ways to heal or at least reduce the symptoms of trauma include: engaging in physical exercises or other sports, practicing journaling, mindful techniques, and/or self-talk. Engaging in your favorite hobbies or other creative activities might also improve physiological and psychological outcomes. However,  processing trauma on your own may be difficult, never mind the effect of the intensity of your trauma. At this point, you should seek someone you trust and are ready to open up to. It could be your best friend, a family member, or a support group. 

  • What are the ABCs of trauma care?

ABC and its variations are essential steps used by both medical professionals and lay first-aiders who deal with patients. In its original form, it stands for Airway, Breathing, and Circulation.

ABC may also entail Awareness, Balance, and Connection for professional therapists dealing with secondary trauma.

The Bottom Line

Trauma-informed yoga is a grounding practice concentrating less on the poses and more on the ways they’re taught. Trauma-informed techniques encompass effective, safe poses executed under the supervision of the trauma-informed yoga instructor. 

The four components of the trauma-informed approach include realization, recognition, response, and resistance to re-traumatization. The 4 C’s of trauma-informed care are Calm, Contain, Care, and Cope. 

What makes trauma-informed yoga so beneficial? Trauma-informed yoga is important as it’s being used as a supplementary treatment for people with trauma-related issues, it may reduce the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and its effects. In addition, trauma-sensitive sessions help you concentrate on the present moment and recognize what’s going on in your body. 

Trauma-informed yoga sustains a sense of inner balance and peace. 

If you’re dealing with trauma, seek professional help or at least talk to someone you trust. Your additional remedies may include engaging in physical movements, journaling, and practicing meditation/mindful techniques. 


This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!


  1. How Yoga Can Help Heal Trauma (2022,
  2. SAMHSA’s Concept of Trauma and Guidance for a Trauma-Informed Approach (2014,
  3. Trauma and Trauma-Informed Care (2019,
  4. Trauma-Informed Yoga: A Guide (2022,
  5. What is Trauma-Informed Care? (2021,
  6. Yoga as an adjunctive treatment for posttraumatic stress disorder: a randomized controlled trial (2014,
  7. Yoga for Trauma and Related Mental Health Problems: A Meta-Review With Clinical and Service Recommendations (2015,