A few weekends ago, I was lucky enough to be involved in Yoga Outreach Vancouver's weekend Trauma Informed Yoga Training with Nicole Marcia. Myself and 13 other lucky Kamloops teachers gathered downtown at the Desert Gardens conference room to learn from a plucky (can't believe I just used the word "plucky" (sorry Nicole) :), outgoing and passionate teacher.
The weekend was a roller coaster ride of emotions for me as I concurrently studied my face off while having some pretty traumatic personal memories resurface, triggered by the content of the training. I would say, this was a teacher's gift, to get to experience first hand what some of our trauma surviving students may go through if triggered in one of our yoga classes. To know what it is like to flashback to a time you had forgotten and relive all those emotions and feelings as if it was happening right in the moment now.
I learned it's not the end of the world if this happens, if someone gets triggered in your class by something you say or do, or by something that has nothing to DO with you as a teacher, and I can say from personal experience, if a person has the right support and tools, that dealing with a trigger as it arises can be a valuable opening and opportunity to move through some pretty painful past experiences, and be rid of them.
The somatic experience of the body as it moves through the physical postures and breath and mindfulness techniques, is the perfect place to process and heal. What has been stored in the body can sometimes be released by working with the body through mind body practices like yoga, and we don't even have to know what a particular emotion or feeling is about, we don't have to necessarily even talk about it. If we can breathe through the sensations, honour the moment, and let it pass, some powerful healing work can be done.
What I learned in our weekend with Nicole is how we, as teachers, can create as safe a space as possible for people, to hold that space for them, for them to just be, to explore their body and their breath in a safe environment. We learned to make it as supportive as possible for people to do any work that might arise for them, or to do no work, as the case may be.
I learned it's not the end of the world if someone falls apart in class, that it can even be a beneficial thing. I know it has been for me in my yoga practice; the tears, the heartbreak released. It is a safe, nurturing space where you can release what needs to be released.
I feel more confident now, knowing I have the tools to support someone in their process, whatever that might look like. And I think as Tania said once, that it changes the way she views each individual who walks through the door of her classes.
This increased sensitivity and awareness of the wide range of possible experience that our students might have coming through the door, allows us to facilitate classes more skillfully and compassionately.
I am grateful to Nicole Marcia and the whole group that weekend who worked together and supported one another. I am happy to share the finer points of that trauma informed training in our 30hr upcoming Restorative Teacher Training here in Kamloops, BC starting November 17th. There are still some spots available if you want to get in on it. If pricing is a barrier, please speak to me, and we can probably work out an arrangement. Peace to all!
For more info: https://www.angieedgson.com/restorative-teacher-training