The Role Of Yoga In Healing Trauma
A published study provides evidence of yoga having specific healing benefits.
The Center on Poverty and Inequality at Georgetown University’s law school provided reviews on 40+ studies published on healing benefits of yoga in various aspects of life. It mounts evidence primarily on the mental health benefits.
After going through trauma or other psychological issues, young women who practiced yoga achieved better self-esteem and were able to gain skills to be able to handle stressful conditions with ease.
Missy Hart grew up in Redwood City, Calif. — in gangs, on the street, in the foster care system and in institutions.
But at age 13, when she was incarcerated in juvenile hall for using marijuana, she found herself closing her eyes and letting her guard down in a room full of rival gang members.
Back then, she says, yoga was just another mandatory activity, run by a Bay Area program called The Art of Yoga Project. It offers what it calls “trauma-sensitive yoga” to incarcerated girls.
“Most of us [in juvenile hall] come from traumatic childhoods,” she says. “It was the only time you experienced a quiet time, when everything was so chaotic.” She believes the practice helped her cope with symptoms of bipolar disorder.
“What we’re learning,” says Rebecca Epstein, one of the report’s authors, “is that fights go down on wards after adolescents participate,” in yoga.
Further, statistics show that compared with boys, girls experience different forms of childhood trauma, with an impact that adds up over time. They disproportionately experience sexual violations, for example. And, for girls, this abuse is more likely to occur in the context of a relationship, Epstein says, which interferes with forming intimate and trusting relationships with others.
Yoga that is specifically designed for victims of trauma has modifications when compared with traditional yoga teaching.
Learn more about the report here.