MISTY: Infusing Your Healing Practice with a Trauma-Informed Lens

Trauma is pervasive in our culture - from childhood and developmental trauma to sexual assault, grief, loss, physical injury, emotional abuse, and so much more. Survivors of trauma find their way on to their mat to find connection with their physical and emotional beings. The way that we show up for them as teachers can be the difference between creating a safe, inviting, and healing environment or one that reinforces the self-doubt, pain, isolation, and activation of the fight or flight signals within the body that can be present after the experience of trauma.This training is designed to provide you with the tools and the confidence to create more of an inviting class environment for trauma survivors.

Survivor-Centered Yoga (SCY) is a form of healing that allows sexual assault survivors to process nonverbally and safely connect to what they are experiencing internally. It provides them with an outlet that is accessible, allows them to find balance and strength, and, most importantly, helps them recognize that they are always in control. These embodied experiences on the mat move outside of typical referrals and practices in which people are asked to process cognitively, and give survivors tools and skills to self-regulate and connect inward.

The SCY style incorporates a thorough understanding of the neurological, biological, psychosocial, and social effects of trauma and violence on an individual. Increasing one’s awareness of the nuances of trauma can aid in the development yoga practices that are supportive, and practices that empower survivors to regain control both on and off the yoga mat.

The experience of practicing SCY can powerfully connect survivors of sexual violence to the healing process. Processing through talk therapy and support groups can be extremely helpful for survivors, but cognitive processing doesn’t help the survivor access the trauma that is stored in the body. Accessing healing at the somatic level provides survivors with an opportunity to befriend the same body that was violated during an assault (or repeated assaults). SCY also breaks down barriers associated with talk therapy such as the shame connected with reaching out for help, the need to be able to name the trauma and talk about it with a complete stranger, and traditional distrust of an institutional system that doesn’t support survivor needs (counseling can be associated with law enforcement and medical providers that a survivor may interact with if they choose to press charges). Instead of feeling compelled to go to “therapy”, survivors report feeling more comfortable going to their yoga classes with others who identify as being survivors.

This is a course that is brought to you by the Montreal International Symposium on Therapeutic Yoga (MISTY)

Course Objectives:

  1. To develop an understanding of specific yoga practices and systems
  2. To explore of the ways that we can heal trauma through yoga
  3. To provide the foundation to understanding trauma and the way it can be present in individuals
  4. To develop the teaching techniques that can be integrated into any class you teach (including ways to create a safe and intelligently sequenced class, the best ways to language your instructions, providing mindful assists to students, and much more)
  5. To provide an introduction to the ways in which yoga can support survivors in sexual assault through an overview of the:
    - Impact of sexual trauma on the body, mind, and spirit
    - Spectrum of sexual violence
    - Primary tenants of survivor centered yoga and how this modality connects survivors with their innate capacity to heal

This course is open to all yoga instructors and health care professionals – physiotherapists, physiotherapy students, physiotherapy assistants, occupational therapists, chiropractors, naturopathic doctors, massage therapists, registered kinesiologists, medical doctors, nurses and midwives.

About the Instructor:

Alexis Marbach, Yoga Therapist, Masters Public Health

Alexis is passionately committed to working with survivors of sexual violence. She believes that traditional modalities to support survivors (counseling, therapy, support groups) do not necessarily work for every survivor and that each individual deserves to have a number of holistic healing options to best meet their needs. It is disheartening that survivors still struggle to get the support and long term care that they need from service providers and from family and friends. It is challenging for informal support networks to understand and conceptualize that healing is a life long process, and that the path to healing and wellness is not linear and often times feels nonsensical. Alexis wants to be able to help survivors develop a toolkit of mental, physical, and breath-work exercises that they can call upon at any time to reduce the influence of a trigger, regain their connection with their body, and calm their mind.

Alexis’s experience working in the field of sexual violence intervention and prevention has lead her to be incredibly sensitive to the needs of survivors. She is conscious of her word choice when giving instruction and provide physical adjustments only after asking a student for permission to be in their physical space. Students know where we are headed, and what kind of poses they will be working on so that they feel as though they can control their physical and mental energy and not be surprised by any parts of class.

Helene Couvrette, C-IAYT Yoga Therapist, E-RYT500, 200RYS, 300RYS

Her passion for yoga inspired her to share yoga with a few friends in the basement of one of whom eventually lost her battle with cancer. She soon realized her love of yoga could only be surpassed by the desire to share it with others & the joy of seeing them benefit from yoga on many levels.

In 2002 just after delivering a stillborn boy Helene embarked on a 200hr YTT Certification Course. During 2003 she continued the training at same time began teaching yoga at the St. Lazare Community Center. Helene continues to teach regular yoga classes with a therapeutic approach, offers Private Yoga Therapy Sessions & mentors a 200hr Yoga Teacher Training. Winter of 2018 she will introduce an Advanced Yoga Teacher Training focusing on Therapeutics

Helene is also co-founder of this international conference bringing health care professionals & yoga therapist together with the mission of integrating yoga into the Canadian health care system.

Instructor Name Alexis Marbach
Cost CA$125.00
Run Time 2:44:14
Access Duration Indefinite access after purchase