Trauma-Informed Empowerment And Support | What Science And Research Says
What Does “Trauma-Informed” Mean Here?
In my work, Trauma-Informed empowerment and support does not equal an assumption of “brokenness.”
In fact, being Trauma-Informed here involves the opposite: to be Trauma-Informed in this community is to hold an understanding of the humanity, resilience, 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.
And, 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 any temporary or limiting external factors that can never truly define them, or worst, viewed primarily based on any of 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 personal 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 developed, 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 (since no human goes through life without suffering or witnessing suffering).
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 their 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, and beyond, because I have the utmost confidence in their ability to create positive and lasting change in themselves and in their lives.
For me, to be Trauma-Informed is to 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 Resilience
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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 his/her family/relationships/community, or experiences any other overwhelming (in any way) occurrence, the reactions that are created in that 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 on 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 relax, recover, build resiliency, and thrive.
Since many are unable to fully find healthy environments 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 and empower 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 (often with greater strength) after experiencing a physical, emotional, social, or mental disturbance of some kind, and, it is defined by the ability to recover, heal, and move beyond adverse events and experiences. Resilience is a skill that everyone has the capacity to develop or to strengthen in some way and it is a vital skill to possess when overcoming trauma or reducing its effects in one’s life.
What Does This Mean For Those Who Have Experienced Trauma, Adversity, or Toxic Stress Of Any Kind?
All modern (and ancient Yogic) 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 lasting/stable joy and resilience after trauma.
What Does Moving Forward Here 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 pain/suffering within a person’s body-mind than is necessary to recover from overwhelming distress. 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, therefore, to 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 an impactful 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/experiences that are labeled as “traumatic,” are, due to fear-based social “norms,” ideologies, and so forth, traumatized beings who are disconnected from their True Self and responding in dysregulated ways to the illusions of their experiences in the world accordingly (through conditionings, attractions, aversions, etc) long after they need these responses to survive any given life situation (often remaining dysregulated for their entire lifetime without proper intervention).
This pattern of unconscious fear-based/disconnected 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 her/his True Self by regulating the ego-body-mind complex, in order to dwell in the direct experience of her/his True Self that is eternally peaceful consciousness/awareness itself.
So, although most human beings are inherently traumatized to varying degrees due to the presence of their false overidentification with their ego-body-minds and the illusions of the world, only those who break the spell of ego identification gain Liberation in this lifetime. Trauma that is effectively processed shakes up the ego and causes a person to work toward, and recognize, her/his inherent wholeness and completion beyond fleeting suffering and experience. Properly utilized and healed, a traumatic experience can support human beings with shedding their body-mind dysfunctions and connecting with the Truth of who they are at their core.
Trauma-Informed empowerment and support, 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 living 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 beyond your suffering if you have faced any type of trauma.
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
Getting Trauma-Informed Support And Empowerment Here
In addition to upholding Trauma-Informed standards in everything that I do here, I also work with select students one-on-one, to craft (and fulfill) their own personally created (and expertly guided) Joyful Living Plans toward body-mind Liberation, True Self-Awareness, higher connection, and blissful expression.
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 and/or self-ignorance 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 from me, I am here to empower you with developing the resilience, the plan, and the inner skills/resources that you need to effectively move forward toward your full joy and Liberation in this lifetime.
Let’s create something beautiful together!
The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma
Embodied Healing: Survivor and Facilitator Voices from the Practice of Trauma-Sensitive Yoga
Complex PTSD: From Surviving to Thriving: A Guide and Map for Recovering from Childhood Trauma
Survivors on the Yoga Mat: Stories for Those Healing from Trauma