TC341: TRY – Trauma Recovery Yoga – Interview with the Founders
This week host Robin Masiewicz and co-host Amy Frost welcome Joyce Sportsman and Darwin Bosen, co-founders of Trauma Recovery Yoga.
Established in 2016, TRY is a team of trauma-informed yoga teachers who are dispatched to service individuals who have experienced trauma or are living in crisis. Trauma informed yoga incorporates a series of meditation, strengthening postures, and breathing which magnify the mind-body-spirit connection after the experience of trauma.
The effects of trauma
Trauma is emotional shock that follows a deeply distressing or disturbing incident such as: war, crime, accident, assault, or natural disaster. While shock and denial tend to immediately follow a traumatic event, its long-term effects can include: unpredictable emotions, flashbacks, strained relationships (due to anxiety, depression, and/or isolation), and a number of stress-related physical symptoms. Dr. Bessel van der Kolk, founder of the Trauma Center in Brookline, Mass., and a clinical psychiatrist specializing in post-traumatic stress, calls these physical symptoms “issues in our tissues.” Unresolved emotional trauma can manifest in the body as migraines, nervous ticks, clenched shoulders/neck/jaw, a sunken chest, and/or a heavy heart.
In recovering from emotional trauma, the American Psychological Association suggests to “engage in healthy behaviors to enhance your ability to cope with excessive stress.” In addition to proper rest, nutrition, and the avoidance of drugs and alcohol, the APA suggests using relaxation techniques.
However, given the effects of trauma, we can understand why relaxation might not come easily to those suffering from PTSD. This is where trauma-sensitive yoga comes in. Dr. van der Kolk explains that, with the proper approach, yoga can greatly benefit trauma survivors: “Yoga really attends to the body and the breath, attends to stillness. It allows you to feel everything you feel, to tolerate every sensation, and to live and move with it.” – Healing Trauma and PTSD Through Yoga
How Yoga Heals
In the interview, Joyce and Darwin talk about the importance of reconnecting the mind and body after a traumatic event, and research backs this up.
“A three-year NIH-funded yoga and trauma study conducted at the Trauma Center at Justice Resource Institute in Brookline, Massachusetts, with women who have treatment-resistant complex PTSD, has shown promising results. Bessel van der Kolk, MD, the study’s principal investigator, and his colleagues presented preliminary findings at the 2010 International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies conference in Montreal last November. Initial study results revealed that participation in trauma-informed gentle yoga leads to a significant reduction (over 30 percent) in symptoms of post-traumatic stress, including fewer intrusive thoughts and less dissociation from the body. By the end of the study (after only 10 weeks of yoga) several women in the yoga group no longer met diagnostic criteria for PTSD.” – Transcending Trauma: How Yoga Heals
BREATH IS PRESENCE
In the video below, Joyce shares how the loss of her 22-year-old son Jake inspired her to bring her yoga work to individuals dealing with trauma.
Trauma Recover Yoga (TRY) website: