TIP #1 - Don't Assume (in this environment, either.)
In day to day life, the habit of assuming is more than likely offensive to those around us but most definitely limiting, for each and everyone of us. In a Trauma Informed setting assuming is very possibly even a threat - yes, threat - to our student's personal healing, and overall life quality both on and off the mat. The Founder of Inner Beat Yoga™ actually stopped practicing in community settings, and instead only held a home practice for years, after she experienced a teacher translate her choice to move her hips in downward facing dog in order to stretch them as a "sexual move." When she heard his booming voice shout out across the room, "There is no reason to move so sexually." in front of a class of 30+ she had not only a cognitive dissonance because that was far from her intention, but also had a sinking feeling that turned her world upside down long after shifting out of downward facing dog. So, let's look closer: why do we assume in the first place? Can you personally think of why you started assuming ... way back when? Jamie Yslas with Veteran's Yoga Project says that, "The moment that you start assuming is the moment that you stop assessing." Everyone has their own reason. This unraveling of the WHY is warrior work. It takes time and practice which of course requires dedication. Are you dedicated to unfolding why you might err on the side of assumptions that might then lead to the use of damaging language in the classroom to your students? Are you aware of what potentially damaging language sounds like? When you attend Inner Beat Yoga's™ 20 hour, 30 hour, and/or 230 hour training, online or in-person, we work deeply with you to unfold all kinds of greatness in your teaching. The more we hone our abilities to listen deeply to ourselves and our basis as to how we teach, and show up, the more that clients and students will have rewarding lives on and off the mat.
TIP #2 - Consider the Whole Person
Trauma affects us in all ways. Therefore, the second that you as a teacher start teaching Trauma Informed Yoga is the exact moment that you need to look at more than the student's body structure and/or alignment. It is known that trauma affects 70% of human beings. It is therefore highly likely that the person in front of you has been affected by trauma in some way and therefore it's just a matter of time before someone influenced by trauma is going to be in front of you. If you plan on making a big change in people's lives, which something tells us you are because you're here at this website right now, it is key that we do the warrior's work to see how our lives' biggest events have impacted us. The Founder of Inner Beat Yoga™ has worked on unwinding the impact of trauma on the yoga student's body since 2013. In these courses, we will help you learn how to step back and look at the whole trauma piece in order to understand on a cognitive level how the body, brain, emotional self, and subconscious mind are affected.
#3 TIP - Be Careful not to Dominate
In a traditional classroom you are asking people to basically mirror you as they practice the poses. However, in a Trauma Informed classroom, as guides, we've got to step back not only from our assumptions, but also our expectations. In Trauma Informed Yoga our greatest priority is to encourage connection to the self and the moment even over our students connecting to us as teachers. People's bodies are maps for the last however many years they've been on this planet plus some. It is, therefore, up to us to support people in the returning to the present moment time and time again in order to best facilitate anchoring people in the change that they came to the classroom to create.
TIP #4 - Rearrange Your Perspective one thought at a Time
How many times have you heard a teacher say, "And, if you are more flexible or 'advanced', then continue to follow me . . . if not, just stay where you are."? The word "advanced" usually does one of two things for the students, One, it has the potential to elicit the desire within the practitioner to "Keep on keeping on." Or, "Go go go." Even though the current embodiment of the posture they're working on hasn't fully reached a level of practice that actually benefits the practitioner them self they charge forward with full "team spirit". In addition to our tendency to "press on" without pause and appreciation for the current experience is the often present sense of shame or "not being enough" that Yoga students tend to feel or think if everyone in the room is doing something that they're not. In reality advanced is being able to be in the posture with a clear mind. The practice of Yoga is to have union between all parts of self. The chances are that the trauma-affected practitioner in your class is best served by the facilitator encouraging self-connection above all else. This is a fine dance and skill to be learned by the Yoga facilitator. In reality, trauma survivors have a difficult time enough time as it is to connect inward to feeling. Therefore, feeling and authentic connection and being OK with what-is for your students is key. This is just one example of classroom semantics. There are plenty in each of our continuing education worthy courses right here from the comfort of your own home, and/or computer.
TIP #5 - Acknowledge and Honor Your Scope of Practice
Trauma Informed Teachers need to have skills that reveal how to "stay in our lanes", so to speak. Oftentimes, teachers decide to add Trauma Informed to their practice because they are enormously caring and perceptive people who want to make change in the lives of those people with who it will count the most. Still, figuring out how to navigate your role as a Trauma Informed Teacher is essential to being effective and guarding against burnout. We discuss Scope of Practice at great length in all of the e-courses no matter which one you choose. For now, consider in each interaction with students how you can best "stay in your lane", and respect the person and the boundaries of your relationship with them.