Yoga, Trauma, & the Nervous System
6 May - 3 June | Thursdays, 6:30-9:30pm
In recent years, trauma has become an ever more present word, concept, and question for many yoga teachers, in both their personal and teaching practises. “Trauma-informed” and “Trauma-aware” yoga teacher trainings abound, often offering competing ideas and practices, or simply practices which are triggering and disempowering for students and survivors.This course grows out of the political justice work of grassroots organisations of survivors, disabled activists and those who hold space for them. We will examine together the many ways in which therapeutic yoga spaces can enable practices to be offered either as tools of liberation, or of well-meaning disempowerment.
Our teaching team brings together three facilitators who have been working for years in the space of social justice-informed, inclusive, survivor-focussed yoga teaching and practice. Their desire is to share with you a deeply practical, evidence and experience informed approach to yoga, the nervous system and trauma.
There is no simple fix or cookie-cutter approach to working with these ideas in our yoga teacher and practice. We will share knowledge and experience with you, but perhaps most importantly equip you with the tools to ask questions, build your confidence, and develop strategies for working with a wide variety of students and situations.
1. Welcome, Introduction & Agency (Harriet/Theo): You’ll be welcomed to the course, introduced to the key themes and ideas covered. We’ll begin to think about how our yoga practice, our lives and our world intersect with trauma, stress & the nervous system. We’ll consider the concept of agency and how it manifests in yoga and beyond.
2. Trauma & the Nervous System (Laura/Harriet): Deep dive into the anatomy of stress and the nervous system. We’ll unpack the relationship between the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems, and what happens when we’re stressed or experience traumatic situations.
3. Approaches to Asana (Harriet): Building on weeks 1 & 2, we’ll turn our attention to the practice, teaching & sequencing of asana. We’ll consider how we can become more invitational in our language and teaching, and how we can enhance our understanding of asana through awareness of the nervous system & stress.
4. Approaches to Pranayama, Meditation & Relaxation (Theo/Harriet): Pranayama and meditation have the capacity to be some of the most transformative and nourishing practices within yoga, and at the same time, hold potential to be some of the most triggering and upsetting. This week we’ll consider how to enhance our sharing of these practices to be inclusive of neurodiversity & stress.
5. Social & Political Contexts of Trauma (Theo/Harriet): In our final week, we’ll explore the social and political contexts of trauma in contemporary yoga, and more broadly within our lives and world. We’ll discuss strategies for integrating this course, as well as practical ideas for how to put your new learnings into practice.
This module is offered as part of Nourish’s 300 hour teacher training, but can be taken by any teacher wishing to improve their skills in this area as Continuing Professional Development (CPD). The module will run as five weekly sessions of three hours, and combine theory, practice and skills development.
Nourish Yoga Training’s 300 hour Advanced Teacher Training is registered with Yoga Alliance (International), and is completed as a series of standalone modules which can be taken over 3 years. More modules are forthcoming in 2021.
There are limited spaces available. As this course focuses on a personal, experiential approach to the material, live attendance is required. You are able to miss one session and a recorded session can be provided for the missed module only at no further cost. If you need to miss the final week, which includes a teaching practice and feedback session, a catch up session may be provided at the trainer’s discretion, and will incur an extra charge.
A note on the purpose of this space
This course is intended as an introduction and overview of the nervous system, stress and trauma for yoga teachers. This course is not a therapeutic space, nor it is a counselling course. We acknowledge that the material presented could naturally give rise to strong feelings, memories and experiences for our students, and will do our best to offer support through signposting to appropriate services which may provide more structured and clinical support if needed.
This course is ideal if you are looking to make your yoga teaching more trauma-aware and inclusive. However, this course does not prepare you to teach speciality “Trauma-Sensitive/Trauma-Aware” classes (i.e. targeted directly/especially at students navigating trauma), nor does it prepare you to work with students in a clinical or therapeutic way.
This course is appropriate for those who, as a minimum, have completed their 200 hour yoga teacher training. We will consider trainee teachers on application, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss.
We believe in the importance and value of this training, and would like to offer a scaled pricing system, which enables attendees to pay which tier feels most appropriate for them. Please note there are NO further discounts available (i.e. no student discounts, etc).
Community price £139
Standard price £169
Supporter price £199
About the facilitators
is the founder and lead trainer of Nourish Yoga Training. Movement, yoga, and our minds have always fascinated her. From a young age, Harriet has nearly always been involved in some form of dance, martial art, gymnastics or sport. She found yoga as a thirteen year-old and it firmly secured its place in her heart. Harriet’s teaching emphasises empowering students to embrace and nourish their bodies and minds, with a focus on embodied movement, cultivating intuition and fun. She relishes the opportunity to make practice matter in everyday life through social justice & making yoga accessible and inclusive. Harriet is currently registered with Yoga Alliance (E-RYT® 500, YACEP®).
Dr Theo Wildcroft
is a yoga teacher, writer and scholar working for a more sustainable relationship between our many selves, the communities that hold us, and the world that nourishes us. She is currently registered with the IYN (RYT500) and Yoga Alliance (E-RYT® 500, YACEP®). Her research considers the democratization of yoga post-lineage, and the many different ways yoga communities are responding to concerns about safety in practice. She’s a lover of vulnerable people, of wild things and wild places, and of the simple miracle of life itself. Countless people have downloaded her yoga nidras, which are profound but gentle, take you on unexpected journeys, and are always spontaneously created. Drop in and listen for real.
is the founding director of Edinburgh Community Yoga and is a Minded Yoga Therapist and experienced yoga and meditation teacher. She is passionate about making these embodiment practices accessible. Laura works therapeutically both in groups and one to one, with a particular interest in trauma informed yoga for mental health. She is endlessly fascinated by the relationship between mind and body and is motivated by a deep faith in our ability to heal. Laura also presents and lectures on the importance of body/mind practices for stress management and trains yoga teachers interested in working in outreach settings.