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Bookshelf Therapy: Yoga for Trauma Recovery

Hey there! Welcome to our cool new blog series called Bookshelf Therapy where we tackle mental health questions inspired by books we've read. Basically, we'll pick a book, chat about a mental health topic using it as a guide, and drop some wisdom from the author. Sounds interesting, right?

In this post we'll delve into insights from Yoga for Trauma Recovery - by Lisa Danylchuk

Ever tried to do a downward dog while contemplating your childhood traumas? No? Well, 'Yoga for Trauma Recovery' might just convince you to give it a go!"

Welcome to Dr. Christy Kane LLC, where our passion for innovative therapy methods drives our approach to mental health care. Our practice is dedicated to exploring cutting-edge treatments and integrating them into traditional therapeutic frameworks to provide our clients with the most effective and holistic care.

We believe in the power of combining modern psychological insights with alternative methods to foster healing and growth.

Today, we’re excited to introduce you to a remarkable book, "Yoga for Trauma Recovery." This book is a treasure trove for anyone interested in the intersection of yoga and psychotherapy, especially those seeking to understand how these practices can aid in trauma recovery. The book delves into the theoretical foundations and practical applications of integrating trauma-informed yoga and somatic psychotherapy, offering a comprehensive guide for professionals and individuals alike.

Here's a funny story: during one of our team yoga sessions, I attempted a crow pose and ended up in what I like to call a "face plant of enlightenment." It was a humbling reminder that every journey, including healing, comes with its falls and rises.

As mental health therapists, we at Dr. Christy Kane LLC see the profound potential in blending yoga’s ancient wisdom with modern therapeutic practices. This book aligns perfectly with our mission to embrace innovative methods that empower our clients on their paths to recovery. Join us as we explore the transformative insights of "Yoga for Trauma Recovery" and how it can enhance your well-being.

Why Trauma-Informed Yoga?

Imagine yoga but with a side of deep emotional healing. That’s trauma-informed yoga—a practice designed to help individuals reconnect with their bodies in a safe, supportive environment. Trauma-informed yoga recognizes that trauma impacts both the mind and body, and it adapts traditional yoga practices to address these specific needs. It emphasizes creating a safe space, allowing participants to move at their own pace, and offering modifications to make poses accessible to everyone.

The importance of trauma-informed yoga lies in its ability to combine physical movement with emotional recovery. Traditional yoga focuses on physical postures, breath control, and meditation, which can be incredibly grounding and stabilizing. Trauma-informed yoga builds on these benefits by incorporating an awareness of how trauma affects the body. This approach helps individuals develop a sense of safety and control, which is often disrupted by trauma.

If you're wanting to try some yoga at home, we highly recommend checking out trauma-informed yoga from Caesar Barajas. His classes are incredible!

Integrating Yoga and Psychotherapy

The integration of yoga and psychotherapy creates a powerful synergy that enhances healing. Psychotherapy provides a structured environment to explore and process traumatic experiences through dialogue and therapeutic techniques. Yoga complements this by engaging the body, helping to release physical tension and stored trauma. This dual approach acknowledges that trauma is not just a psychological issue but also a somatic one.

By combining the strengths of both practices, trauma-informed yoga and psychotherapy offer a holistic treatment that addresses the full spectrum of trauma's impact. This integration helps clients achieve deeper emotional regulation, increased body awareness, and improved overall well-being.

As "Yoga for Trauma Recovery" puts it, “Trauma-informed yoga provides a safe space for healing, honoring both the mind and body’s journey through trauma.”

This quote encapsulates the core premise of the book: the recognition that effective trauma recovery must consider both the psychological and physiological effects of trauma. By weaving together yoga and psychotherapy, this approach offers a comprehensive path to healing that is both gentle and profound.

The Heart of the Matter: Main Tenants of the Book

“The body remembers what the mind forgets. Through yoga, we can gently guide the body towards healing.”

"Yoga for Trauma Recovery" lays out several foundational tenets that underpin its approach to healing trauma through the integration of yoga and psychotherapy. Understanding these main tenets is crucial to appreciating the book's depth and practical applications.

  1. Understanding Trauma and Its Effects on the Body

Trauma impacts both the mind and the body, often in profound and lasting ways. Traumatic experiences can lead to chronic stress, anxiety, depression, and various physical ailments. The book emphasizes that trauma is stored not just in our memories but in our bodies. This concept, known as somatic memory, highlights how trauma can manifest as physical tension, pain, and other bodily symptoms. The authors state, “The body remembers what the mind forgets,” illustrating how deeply trauma can embed itself in our physical being. This understanding is essential for developing effective therapeutic approaches that address the full scope of trauma's impact.

2. The Role of Yoga in Trauma Recovery

Yoga offers a unique avenue for addressing trauma because it works directly with the body through movement, breath, and mindfulness. Trauma-informed yoga adapts traditional yoga practices to be sensitive to the needs of trauma survivors. This includes creating a safe and supportive environment, offering choices and modifications for poses, and focusing on bodily awareness and self-regulation. The book explains, “Trauma-informed yoga provides a safe space for healing, honoring both the mind and body’s journey through trauma.” By engaging in these practices, individuals can begin to reconnect with their bodies, release stored trauma, and develop a greater sense of control and safety.

3. Integrating Somatic Psychotherapy with Yoga

Somatic psychotherapy focuses on the body's role in emotional and psychological healing. By integrating somatic techniques with yoga, therapists can offer a more holistic approach to trauma recovery. This integration involves using body-based interventions alongside traditional talk therapy to help clients process and release trauma. Techniques might include breath work, mindfulness, and movement practices that encourage clients to become more attuned to their bodily sensations and emotions. The authors note, “Combining somatic psychotherapy with trauma-informed yoga provides a comprehensive approach that addresses both the psychological and physiological dimensions of trauma.”

“Yoga offers a way to reclaim a sense of safety and embodiment after trauma.”

4. Personal Commentary on These Tenets and Their Significance

As a mental health therapist, I find these tenets incredibly significant because they align with the holistic approach we strive for in our practice. Understanding that trauma affects both the mind and body opens up new avenues for treatment that go beyond conventional talk therapy. The role of yoga in this context is particularly compelling because it provides tangible, physical ways for clients to engage in their healing process. By integrating somatic psychotherapy with yoga, we can offer a more nuanced and effective path to recovery.

These practices empower clients to reclaim their sense of safety and autonomy, facilitating deeper healing. "Yoga for Trauma Recovery" serves as a valuable resource, providing both theoretical insights and practical applications that can transform therapeutic practice and improve outcomes for trauma survivors.

My Take on "Yoga for Trauma Recovery"

Reading "Yoga for Trauma Recovery" felt like finding the missing piece of the therapy puzzle! As a mental health therapist, I’ve always believed in a holistic approach to healing, and this book seamlessly integrates the mind-body connection that is often overlooked in traditional therapy.

What I Found Most Valuable

One of the most valuable insights from the book is the emphasis on creating a safe and supportive environment for trauma survivors. The detailed strategies for making yoga sessions trauma-informed were enlightening. Techniques such as offering choices in poses and encouraging mindfulness can significantly enhance the healing process. The book also provides practical exercises that blend yoga with somatic psychotherapy, which I’ve found incredibly useful in my practice.

Surprising Elements

What surprised me most was the revelation that trauma can be stored in the body in ways we might not expect. The idea that physical symptoms, like chronic pain or tension, can be manifestations of unresolved trauma was eye-opening. This understanding has prompted me to pay closer attention to my clients' physical states and incorporate more body-based interventions in their treatment plans.

Anecdotes from My Practice

Incorporating trauma-informed yoga into my sessions has yielded remarkable results. I recall one client who struggled with severe anxiety and had difficulty engaging in traditional talk therapy. Introducing yoga into our sessions helped her reconnect with her body and develop a sense of safety and control. Over time, she reported feeling more grounded and less anxious, which significantly improved her overall well-being.

Keeping It Light

On a lighter note, trying out some of these yoga poses with clients has led to a few amusing moments. Picture this: both therapist and client attempting the tree pose, only to wobble and laugh as we try to maintain balance. It’s a humbling reminder that healing, like yoga, is a journey that includes plenty of wobbles and giggles along the way.

Overall, "Yoga for Trauma Recovery" is an invaluable resource that has enhanced my therapeutic practice and provided my clients with a powerful tool for healing. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in the transformative power of integrating yoga and psychotherapy.

Who Would Benefit Most from "Yoga for Trauma Recovery"

Mental Health Professionals

Mental health professionals, such as therapists and counselors, will find "Yoga for Trauma Recovery" particularly beneficial. The book offers valuable insights into integrating somatic practices with traditional psychotherapy, providing a more holistic approach to trauma treatment. Techniques and strategies outlined in the book can enhance their therapeutic toolkit, allowing them to address both the psychological and physiological aspects of trauma in their clients.

Yoga Instructors

Yoga instructors who wish to deepen their understanding of trauma-informed practices will greatly benefit from this book. It provides a comprehensive guide on how to create a safe and supportive environment for students who have experienced trauma. By learning to modify poses and offer trauma-sensitive guidance, yoga instructors can make their classes more inclusive and healing for all participants.

Individuals Recovering from Trauma

Individuals who are on their own trauma recovery journey will also find this book invaluable. It offers practical exercises and insights into how yoga can aid in their healing process. By understanding the connection between trauma and the body, individuals can use the techniques described in the book to develop a greater sense of safety, control, and emotional regulation. This self-awareness and empowerment can significantly enhance their recovery and overall well-being.

Each of these groups will find "Yoga for Trauma Recovery" a crucial resource in understanding and applying the healing potential of integrating yoga and psychotherapy.


In this blog post, we explored the transformative insights from "Yoga for Trauma Recovery," a book that integrates trauma-informed yoga with somatic psychotherapy. We discussed the importance of addressing both the psychological and physiological effects of trauma, and how yoga can provide a safe, supportive environment for healing.

"Remember, healing is a journey. And sometimes, it involves a little bit of yoga."

The book's main tenets include understanding how trauma impacts the body, the role of yoga in trauma recovery, and the benefits of combining somatic psychotherapy with yoga. Personal anecdotes highlighted the book's practical applications and its positive impact on clients.

Why Explore the Book?

"Yoga for Trauma Recovery" is a must-read for mental health professionals, yoga instructors, and individuals recovering from trauma. It offers valuable strategies and exercises that can enhance your practice and personal healing journey. I highly recommend diving into this book to discover how the integration of yoga and psychotherapy can create a powerful path to recovery.

As we navigate the journey of healing, it's important to embrace both the wobbles and the triumphs. Remember, attempting a new yoga pose—much like trauma recovery—may involve a few stumbles. But with each fall, we rise stronger and more balanced. So, grab a copy of the book, unroll your yoga mat, and prepare for a journey of healing and self-discovery.


Notes from the reading:


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