What Does It Mean To Be Trauma-Informed Here?
In my work, Trauma-Informed care does not equal an assumption of “brokenness.”
In fact, Trauma-Informed care here involves the opposite: to be Trauma-Informed in this space is to hold an understanding of the humanity, resiliency, and divinity of everyone I work with.
My Trauma-Informed training (and experience working with survivors of different types of trauma, observing/studying the world in general, and healing my own share of traumas in life) has taught me that humans come to Yoga/Meditation (and everything else in life) with a wide range of experiences. People achieve the best outcomes on their journey when they are fully seen in their essence, not leered at through the lens of false/colored perceptions that zoom in on the small, fragmented, and painful parts of their life experiences that caused them immense suffering (much of which may have very well been outside of their control, and all of which they survived to the best of their capacities at any given moment). People grow best when they are not reduced to the challenges that they have faced, but are, instead, held in high esteem because of the strengths that they grew, created, and used to overcome these challenges.
This space honors the strength and capacity of all people, all of whom are, at their core, trauma survivors to one extent or another until they become fully self-collected and liberated in this lifetime.
Here, everyone is:
- Treated non-judgmentally, while being held to high standards of conduct and expectations for growth
- Supported to work on their practice safely and at the right pace in order to reduce injury in both their bodies and minds
- Held in the highest positive regard, because I know the capacity for everyone’s greatest expression, and this capacity serves as the Truth of who they are above all else
Here, I support and empower my students’ greatest transformation and movement forward for success on their Eightfold Path because I have the utmost confidence in their ability to create positive and lasting change in themselves and in their lives.
For me, Trauma-Informed care is an acknowledgment that every human being is inherently whole, with the capacity to restore and/or gain connection to, their True Self by balancing and consciously regulating their body-mind, and developing a stronger connection with their spirit.
TRAUMA, HEALTH, HEALING, AND RESILIANCE
Trauma responses are paradoxically a natural part of the healing process.
If a person experiences overwhelming stress or disturbance to his/her neurological system or physical body (or to both) or moves too extremely away from his/her normal state of homeostasis when, or after, he/she experiences or witnesses stressful events such as forced migration, a natural disaster, a critical accident, war, abuse, ongoing tensions, extreme violence, dysfunction in our families/relationships/communities, or any other overwhelming (in any way) occurrence, the reactions that are created in a person’s body and mind are his/her natural attempt to recover, regain homeostasis, and prevent further damage. Short-term, this is actually beneficial.
Sometimes, however, a traumatized person’s body and mind can get stuck in a state of inflammatory response to traumatic events or experiences for far longer than is required for them to escape from danger or even to effectively heal, which can include many years after a traumatic experience or event has passed. This can cause some who experience trauma to remain in such a heightened state of overprotection and arousal that they begin to counterproductively create damage to their physical, psychological, and social health/well-being, doing the opposite of effectively accomplishing their goal of healing their bodies and minds as intended.
Definition of Health
The World Health Organization defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being, not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”
This state is defined by possessing a healthy body, adequate nutrition, and a safe environment in which one’s biological functions can be effectively regulated and maintained.
This is “[a] state of emotional and psychological well-being in which an individual is able to use his or her cognitive and emotional capabilities, function in society, and meet the ordinary demands of everyday life.” -American Heritage Dictionary
“Social well-being is an end state in which basic human needs are met and people are able to coexist peacefully in communities with opportunities for advancement. This end state is characterized by equal access to and delivery of basic needs services (water, food, shelter, and health services), the provision of primary and secondary education, the return or resettlement of those displaced by violent conflict, and the restoration of social fabric and community life.” -United States Institute of Peace
Health is also a state that requires freedom from violence of all levels, from physical violence to the absence of psychological abuse and discrimination in the form of racism, sexism, and so forth.
Trauma, Toxic Stress and Adversity
It is obvious from collective research at this point, that healthy conditions are not always present in some families, relationships, workspaces, or societies, which is why, for many, going about their normal day-to-day experience can often be a traumatizing experience in and of itself.
This is especially true for many who have been experiencing trauma (overwhelming physio-psychological inflammation) since childhood.
Adverse Childhood Experiences and Health
-Arizona Trauma Institute
With these understandings in mind, however, it is also clear that in order for individuals to function optimally in their lives and societies, all that is required (easier said than done in many cases, I know) is for them to get a set of conditions in place that will create a healthy environment in which they can recover, build resiliency, and thrive.
Since many are unable to fully find that healthy environment externally, however, the good news is that this space can be created within. There are innate resources that all humans possess in their bodies and psyches that enables them to heal and recover from any imbalance that they may experience after being impacted by trauma, adversity, or toxic stress that may compromise their health in some way. All a traumatized person has to do is to identify and tap into these inner resources and use them effectively toward their positive movement forward.
My work is designed to support this process of effectively moving forward.
Healing and Resilience
Resilience, according to the Merriam Webster Dictionary, is:
1: the capability of a strained body to recover its size and shape after deformation caused especially by compressive stress 2: an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change
Resilience is about coming back to balance (consistent homeostasis) and wholeness after experiencing a physical, emotional, social, or mental disturbance of some kind, and it is defined by the ability to recover, heal, and move forward from adverse events and experiences. Resilience is a skill that everyone has the capacity to develop or strengthen in some way and it is a vital skill to possess when overcoming trauma or reducing its effects in life.
What Does This Mean For Those Who Have Experienced Trauma, Adversity, or Toxic Stress Of Any Kind?
All modern (and ancient) science and understandings tell us that everyone can heal after trauma, no matter how hard or impossible it may seem.
Coaching, Yoga, and Meditation have all been shown to help on the journey towards accomplishing this goal individually, but collectively, these three tools create a powerful force for positive transformation.
In my work, I use these three complementary support modalities (although I draw on numerous schools of transformative studies as well), to assist individuals with creating healthy pathways forward towards healing after trauma.
What Does Moving Forward Look Like?
Always remember that trauma responses are humans’ natural attempt to regain homeostasis after an overwhelming experience dysregulates their mind, body, spirit, or any combination of these aspects of themselves in such a way that they have a hard time regaining balance. That is all.
These responses, which are different for everyone (although they have some basic physiological commonalities amongst all people) manifest in different ways in different people’s lives, minds, and bodies, and prove that a person’s survival mechanisms are working as they should in response to a perceived threat.
The only time that these responses become an “issue” is when they are utilized for longer than is necessary to avoid danger and/or they start to create further stress/pain/suffering within a person’s body-mind than is necessary to recover from an overwhelming stress. When the body-mind becomes dysregulated in this way, it can cause a person to feel further disconnected from his/her sense of self/identity, which if realigned correctly during the healing process, can be a powerful opening for higher/greater transformation and connection with a Purer/Truer Self.
The most important thing to therefore note here is that working through trauma is paradoxically a powerful gateway through which one can gain greater wholeness and inner strength once effective healing of such a powerful disconnection from one’s sense of self takes place. Overcoming a life trauma that leaves one feeling disconnected from her/his sense of identity in the world is, ironically, a powerful means by which a person can gain a fuller connection with her/his True, undistorted, Self…a greater connection than the one that existed before an overwhelming trauma took place due to the development of new skills of self-regulation and realignment during the trauma healing process.
In Yoga, it is held (although not often explicitly stated plainly in the way that I do here and in my work) that all human beings, not just those who go through traumatic events, are traumatized beings who are disconnected from their True Self and responding to the illusions of their experiences in the world (conditionings, attractions, aversions, etc) long after they need them to survive (often for their entire lifetime without proper intervention).
This pattern of unconscious behavior, as a result of a person’s false perception of threat to their over-attached ego-identity (a false sense of self), creates unnecessary suffering (via Karma/actions that have a cause and effect in the world) until a person learns to connect with their True Self by regulating their ego (body-mind complex), in order to dwell in the direct experience of their True Self which is the eternally peaceful center of consciousness.
So, although most human beings are inherently traumatized to varying degrees due to the presence of their false overidentification with their ego, only those who break the spell of ego identification gain liberation in this lifetime. Trauma shakes up the ego and causes a person to work toward and recognize their inherent wholeness and completion beyond their experience. Properly utilized and healed, a traumatic experience can support human beings with shedding their body-mind dysfunctions and connecting with the truth of of who they are at their core.
Trauma-Informed care, particularly, the Trauma-Informed Yoga that I do in my work here, is an acknowledgment of the validity of your unique response to the experience of life. And my service/work supports you with realigning your body-mind and spirit with your True Self-expression in the world in order to facilitate a more joyful life experience.
I never simply assume that your inner world reflects any “disorder” called “Trauma” from any textbook since no textbook has been written about your unique expression in the world.
I see all who come to me for support fully as expressions of the divine, so, please, come as you are so that we can effectively work together to reveal your True and full expression in the world.
Know that I recognize your humanness, your capabilities, your strengths, and the beauty of the uniqueness of your experience in the world; this is what it means to be Trauma-Informed in this space.
Working With Me
In addition to upholding Trauma-Informed standards in all of my work, I also work with select students one-on-one, to craft (and fulfill) their own personally created (and expertly guided) healing plans.
Once a plan is created, I then empower my students to move forward, through Yoga and Meditation principles and practices, with the right tools, information, accountability, and support required to effectively transition them from a place of suffering to a place of thriving in their lives and as their True/best Self.
If you are a student, or wish to become a student, and want to receive personalized Yoga/Meditation support with your health and recovery process after a traumatic event or after living through toxic stress, I am here to empower you with developing the resilience and the plan that you need to effectively move forward.
Let’s create something beautiful together.