Trauma Center, Trauma Sensitive Yoga (TCTSY)

A yoga practice developed by survivors of trauma, for survivors of trauma.

Trauma Center, Trauma Sensitive Yoga (TCTSY) is the world’s only dedicated yoga program to be listed as an evidence-based practice for the treatment of complex psychological trauma. It was developed in collaboration with yoga teachers, top trauma treatment and research professionals, as well as survivors of complex trauma, in order to create a style of yoga that directly supports recovery and peaceful embodiment. See the video at the bottom to learn more.

How is Trauma Sensitive Yoga different from other yoga styles?

The practice of yoga comes from India and is based upon ancient philosophy from which the various styles practiced today originate. Each style represents a different interpretation of philosophy, and how the physical practice of yoga should be approached and taught. A few popular examples of these different styles include Ashtanga, Iyengar, Vinyasa, Hatha, Yin and Power Yoga (among others).

 

While TCTSY includes all of the same physical postures and forms as other styles, the instruction and delivery of a TCTSY lesson is based on modern trauma theory, attachment theory (the psychology of relationships) and neuroscience, instead of ancient texts and philosophy from India. These theoretical underpinnings then form the basis of a highly trauma-informed practice and environment in which yoga becomes a vehicle for healing and recovery.

How does it work?

While all of the same yoga postures are used, the difference exists in TCTSY promotes body ownership, empowerment of the survivor, as well as personal agency and safe connection with others, through a methodology built upon 5 central themes: invitational language, choice-making, interoception, shared authentic experience, and non-coercion. Each of these is seen and felt in every session and supports an environment in which the practitioner is in complete control of their body and their corresponding internal experience is given validation.

Who does it help?

TCTSY is most helpful for people who have survived situations of complex trauma. This refers to an experience of trauma that takes place between people (abuse, assault, neglect and abandonment are a few examples) and prolonged or repeatedly experienced.Commonly such experiences cause people to have very fraught and complicated relationships with their bodies. This can include feeling estranged or disconnected from your body (as though it doesn’t belong to you), ongoing internal discomfort or chronic pain, physical numbing or dissociation, shame or disgust towards one’s physical being and all of its associated functions and sensations.

 

TCTSY is built to take all of these known issues into account, and to provide a safe yoga environment in which each participant can choose what they do and how they do it, based on their level of individual comfort. As such participants can engage with rediscovering and reconnecting with their bodies at a pace which is suitable to them, without becoming overwhelmed. TCTSY is extremely helpful for those in therapy.