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Trauma Sensitive Yoga

Clare is a certitifed Trauma Center Trauma Sensitive Yoga Facilitator (TCTSY-F) and is involved in running an ongoing yoga program at the Western Centre Against Sexual Assault as well as CASA House (Centre Against Sexual Assault) in Melbourne's CBD. These sessions are part of a holistic body-based therapy program offered free to clients of these services.

Clare has also, in the past, facilitated Trauma Sensitive Yoga programs for the Northern Centre Against Sexual Assault, South Eastern Centre Against Sexual Assault, Counterpoint Young Women's Refuge, and the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre.

A Trauma Sensitive Yoga class looks and feels quite different to a general yoga class. The emphasis in a trauma sensitive yoga class is to create a safe, predictable and non-judgmental space in which participants explore the notion of “having a body”. The trauma sensitive yoga session provides an opportunity to safely experiment with breathing, moving, strengthening, stretching and resting. There is a focus on participants making their own choices about what and how they practice, and the careful use of invitational language ensures that each participant is practising in a way that feels safe and manageable for them.

Judith Herman defines trauma in this way: "Traumatic events are extraordinary, not because they occur rarely, but rather because they overwhelm the ordinary human adaptations to life. Unlike commonplace misfortunes,traumatic events generally involve threats to life or bodily integrity, or a close personal encounter with violence and death. They confront human beings with the extremities of helplessness and terror, and evoke the responses of catastrophe." Herman explains that 'traumatic events overwhelm the ordinary systems of care that give people a sense of control, connection,and meaning."

Through the experience of trauma, the body can become a place that is not safe, and a place from which it is difficult to simply experience everyday life. It can be an enormous part of the healing process for trauma victims to reclaim their body as their own.

By taking time to notice their body, to safely explore choice in moving their body, participants may begin to develop some sense of connection to their body and can experiment with strategies that allow them to face feelings and triggers in a safe, non-harmful way.

Trauma can be experienced as a result of physical or sexual violence; the refugee journey; experiencing or witnessing a car (or other) accident; severe illness and/or medical intervention; traumatic childbirth among many other things.

The TCTSY methodology is based on central components of hatha yoga, where participants engage in a series of physical forms and movements. Elements of traditional yoga are modified to build trauma survivors’ experiences of empowerment and cultivate a more positive relationship to one’s body. Unlike many public yoga classes, TCTSY does not use physical, hands-on adjustments to influence a participant’s physical form. Rather, TCTSY presents opportunities for participants to be in charge of themselves based on a felt sense of their own body.

Developed at theTrauma Center in Boston, TCTSY is an empirically validated, clinicalintervention for complex trauma or chronic, treatment resistant post-traumaticstress disorder (PTSD). In addition to yoga, TCTSY has foundations in TraumaTheory, Attachment Theory, and Neuroscience. More information, resources and interesting reading can be found at and

In Term 2 Clare will run community based trauma-sensitive classes, open to women who have experienced trauma, in both Yarraville and in Selby (in the Dandenong Ranges).

The Yarraville course will run at 1.30pm on Wednesdays from May 1st until June 19th.
Details can be found at but if you have questions about this course, or would like to book a place, please contact us at Yarra Ranges Yoga.

The Selby courses will run at 12pm on Fridays from May 10th until June 28th (8 week course) . These classes will be held in The Studio at Ranges Integrative Health (125 Belgrave-Gembrook Rd, Selby) and bookings are essential.

Individual TSY sessions are also available, in both Monbulk and Selby and the cost is $80 per hour.

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