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Notes From The Trauma-Sensitive Yoga 10 Week Course. Week Four: Language and Rhythm

(Facilitator notes from 10-week course)


Language

Language choice and use is a key therapeutic aspect of TCTSY.

1. For example, facilitators continuously speak to help hold attention. This can be especially helpful for people with the dissociative subtype of PTSD, the verbal cues and sound can act as an anchor to help them reorientate into the present moment.

2. In line with this, instructions are sometimes repeated to provide verbal cues in a space where there might otherwise be silence. This also helps if a client has dissociated or is focused on (sometimes overwhelming) physical sensations.

3. Countdowns in forms gives insight into how long we might be in a shape.

a. Provides informed choice i.e., how long the hold will be- that the sensation will end

b. Creates a rhythm in the practice


Rhythms

Trauma can lead to a sense of constriction and immobilization. For example, avoiding areas, people, and places that remind someone of their trauma. This restricts day-to-day living

Bessel van der Kolk conceptualises trauma as a failure of the organism to mount a successful defence against a threat, resulting in immobilisation as a conditioned response.

For many their experience is that the trauma, or the feelings, around a trauma may never end. The experience can be so gripping on both an interpersonal and psychological level that it continuously repeats. There seems to be no end.


Other trauma therapies might focus on repeating behaviours and/or thoughts that are tied to past trauma experience(s). Here we focus on the body.

As a body-based practice, TCTSY provides an environment where we get to experience physical sensations beginning and ending. That is, we get to experience firsthand that we can feel more than one thing- experiences come and go, they have a rhythm.


For example, a person might notice that they have been holding tension in a particular place for quite some time. When they notice its sometimes possible to physically change how they are holding their body- the sensation comes to an end, and they start to experience a different way of being in their bodies- a different way of being.

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