Teaching Yoga Sessions for PTSD

become a yoga instructorBy Faye Martins

If you are a yoga teacher, there are many student needs to be prepared for. It is amazing how much time teachers spend on independent research and specialized yoga teacher training. However, we know that yoga instructors need educational resources and training to help the world become a better place.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can come about after someone suffers a traumatic psychological experience, sees horrific events or has been physically violated in some way. The disorder is complicated and varied resulting in a host of symptoms and impairments. PTSD sufferers often undergo a combination of medicinal and psychological treatments. Yoga can help sufferers by providing a way to train the mind to recover from the pain. Postures, breathing and meditation can all work together to help PTSD sufferers cope with the past, present and future.


The Private Option

Private yoga sessions are ideal for patients with PTSD because they may not be comfortable in unfamiliar environments or in large groups of people. Instructors should take special care to provide a safe, comfortable environment for the student to release anxieties, fears and inhibitions through yoga training sessions.

Understand the Fears

Before designing and implementing a specific routine for the student, instructors need to form an understanding of what happened to the person and how it is affecting their life on a regular basis. These are sensitive waters to tread in and instructors must exercise the utmost in understanding and compassion. You might first give the student a form to fill out and later sit down with him or her to ask questions or form a better understanding. There may be specifics the client doesn’t wish to speak about which is okay.


Encourage the Client

PTSD is a complicated disorder full of ups and downs. The job of the yoga instructor is to provide gentle reassurance and encouragement when the client feels helpless. Gently guide them in meditation and breathing sessions to show the benefits breathing can provide. Encourage the client to focus on the positive aspects of his or her life instead of focusing on the anxiety and fear associated with the incurred trauma.

Provide a Whole Body Workout

Unless the client wants to focus on a specific area of the body, design a routine that will energize and invigorate the entire body. Teach simple flows like the sun salutation, moon salutation or the warrior series that can flow smoothly into each other so the client will have to focus on the breath and movement throughout the yoga session. Pepper some reflection and rest time into the routine by using child’s pose or another comfort-inducing pose. Encourage the client to feel gratitude for the present moment as he or she feels the sensations of the workout flow through the body.


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