Changing lives by fostering healing and resilience in vulnerable and marginalized communities through trauma-informed yoga.
We envision a world in which all vulnerable and marginalized communities and those impacted by trauma have access to the healing power of yoga.
What do we mean when we say we work with vulnerable and marginalized communities?
We work with people whose lives have been shaped by trauma and interpersonal and structural violence. This includes communities impacted by incarceration, addiction, poverty, mental and behavioral health challenges, homelessness, sexual assault, and war. We especially focus our efforts in organizations that address the intersections of these issues.
What do we mean by Trauma Informed Yoga?
Trauma-informed care is both a philosophy and a way of providing services based on compelling research over the past 20 years. The research indicates the exposure to trauma is not only dramatically more prevalent than previously known, but also closely linked to many detrimental medical, psychological and social outcomes throughout an individual’s lifespan. Check out this great TED talk that goes more in-depth about this issue.
Trauma exposure is also cumulative, meaning that as the number of adverse childhood experiences increases, so does the level of impairment and problems. This philosophy takes into account the effects of trauma and modern life stress on brain functioning and moves our orientation away from a deficit based model that asks “What is wrong with you?” to a model of understanding that asks “What has happened to you?”
Exposure to adverse experiences is especially harmful during childhood when the brain is in a rapid stage of development. Immediate interventions such as trauma informed yoga offer real hope for minimizing negatives consequences, but even in situations where the traumatic experiences occurred long ago yoga and mindfulness are proving measurable outcomes of success.
The theoretical basis for trauma informed yoga as a treatment methodology is grounded in the idea that people who have undergone trauma feel unsafe in and/or disconnected from their bodies. Yoga is a means to reconnect the individual with their body. First, notice that they are living in a body, next to build safety within the body, and lastly to develop the body as a resource. Our goal then with our yoga practice is to create a safe environment in which the practitioner can learn to befriend bodily sensations, to increase self-knowledge, to improve self-regulation, and to create a place of refuge within oneself. We hope that the possibility of re-inhabiting one’s body becomes a reality for our students.
Learn more about how trauma shows up and lives in the body and how yoga can help to heal trauma.
Living Yoga commits to these principles in fulfilling our mission. Our values are the framework within which we seek to address the needs of the community, the administrative responsibilities of our organization, and the manner in which we communicate with all whom we serve.
“helping people create positive change from the inside out…”
- We honor all people and the underlying potential for greatness in their lives. Through the practices of yoga and meditation, we teach skills which support each student’s ability to pursue their full potential.
- We encourage our students to utilize these skills outside the classroom, contributing positively to the communities in which they live.
- We strive for transparent honesty in our communication with donors, institutions, staff, and students.
- We conduct ourselves with consistency in word and deed, maintaining integrity and professionalism in all our community interactions.
Respect and Compassion
- We honor the diversity of our students and teachers, endeavoring to provide outreach in a manner that is proactive and informative, but respectful of individual beliefs and culture.
- We encourage non-violent communication, openness, and safety in our classes, compassionately aware of the personal challenges experienced by many of our students.
- We are respectful of the internal cultures of the institutions in which we serve.
- We honor the mission of Living Yoga by maintaining administrative systems, policies, and procedures that ensure long-term sustainability of our programs.
- We prepare for growth through clear documentation, codification, and systematic record keeping.
- We encourage the effective and sustained development of human resources by providing meaningful opportunities, extensive training, mentoring, and support.
- We honor the practice of selfless service, or Karma Yoga, recognizing that the one served and the one serving are both being transformed.
- We engage the community to identify opportunities, and mindfully match our resources to these needs in a manner consistent with the Mission and Guiding Values of Living Yoga.