Why Trauma Informed Restorative Yoga-Yoga Nidra?
To explore why Trauma Informed Restorative Yoga – Yoga Nidra Restorative, lets look at what Restorative Yoga (RY) and Yoga Nidra (YN) are, the benefits, and how making RY-YN classes more accessible with a Trauma-informed approach is best practice for all yoga classes, regardless of the studio you teach at.
Restorative Yoga (RY) is a practice of deep relaxation that, as the name implies, offers restoration to your body, mind, nervous system, energy body and spirit. RY postures are typically supported with yoga props (items like bolsters, blankets, blocks) and are held for varying lengths of time, with an average of 6-12 minutes. Physically, when our bodies are supported in this way muscles can start to ease or relax, a passive stretch is reached and, our breath following cues from our body, steadies and regulates. When we engage in RY practice, we are attending to our nervous system and remaining it to rest, relax, and regulate. When RY is a positive, safe and adaptive experience, attending to ourselves in this way can lead to a number of positive outcomes:
- Lessens the impacts of stress and other distressing experiences.
- Can support/help with insomnia, depression, anxiety and other mental health concerns.
- Integrates positive and adaptive experiences into our whole system like calm, joy and happiness.
- Improves concentration and aids in concentration practice.
- Cultivates self-compassion and connection.
- and many more that could be named…
Yoga Nidra (YN) is a deeply restorative guided mediation practice that is the perfect compliment to RY or can be practiced on its own. Yoga Nidra, translated as “yogic sleep” systematically guides relaxation practices though our subtle energy bodies and offers relaxation on all levels of being; mind, body, and spirit. Its benefits are similar RY above.
Sounds wonderful and supportive, right? Yes! And, what happens when being in stillness, connecting inward, being in a quiet environment or being in relationship with your body doesn’t feel safe? How do we attend to individuals in our RY-YN classes with this real, lived experience? Folks with this experience are in your yoga classes.
Trauma Informed Restorative Yoga-Yoga Nidra (TI RY-YN)
Trauma informed yoga facilitation provides tools that attend to the relational, emotional and energetic needs of our participants. Many participants, whether disclosed or not, have lived experiences perceived as traumatic or adverse life experiences. Trauma informed knowledge and skills better enables us to meet the needs of our collective.
Trauma is disempowering and takes away choice. Trauma informed yoga aims to “give back” what was taken by virtue of traumatic experience(s) by providing opportunities for participants to reconnect to and reclaim their body using:
- kindness/ahimsa, and
- mindfulness/present moment, embodied experiences.
Trauma informed facilitation involves various skills that can be learned, but are often not included in standard YTT programs (unless specially designed to be trauma informed). So ongoing training, education, practice and experiential learning is vital to our ability to hold trauma informed spaces for those we serve.
Restorative Yoga and Yoga Nidra practices are so, so beneficial to our systems as a whole and all folks, regardless of their bodies lived experiences, deserve to gain the benefit of this practice.