What is the difference between a trauma informed teacher and a trauma focused teacher?

Trauma informed – A trauma informed teacher

·       Has knowledge of the manifestation, causes, and pervasiveness of trauma

·       Understands what makes yoga a vital tool in trauma recovery

·       Has awareness to recognize and respond to nonverbal signs of trauma in yoga students

·       Applies the basics of skilful intervention when a student is triggered  

·       Creates a space of safety and choices.

·       Teaches to minimize the potential of triggering students’ trauma regarding cuing, adjustments, etc.

Trauma focused – A trauma-focused teacher

·       Attunes and responds effectively to the needs of yoga students with differing nervous system presentations and physical abilities. i.e., can teach a class with people who are more hyper-aroused, more hypo-aroused, as well as people with injuries/physical conditions requiring props, modifications, and/or chair options – concurrently providing options for each type of need.

o   Is well tuned in to notice and respond to students’ individual needs in the moment

·       Provides yoga instruction with a specific focus to support trauma recovery:

·       Manage hypo- and hyperarousal episodes

·       Increase affect tolerance (ability to tolerate, titrate and pendulate emotions)

·       Increase mental self-regulation

·       Agency over pain management/intensity of experience

·       Increase sense of embodiment (decrease depersonalization, derealization, etc.)

·       Improve executive function (concentration, planning, etc.)

·       Overcome/dis-identify from shame/guilt imprints

·       If classes are geared toward other mental health recovery concepts (yoga for anxiety/yoga for depression) instructor is aware that many people diagnosed with anxiety and depression are trauma-impacted, and is able to differentiate instruction to accommodate accordingly.

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