Trauma-Conscious Yoga is a progressive healing modality bringing peace and community to military servicemembers, veterans and their families, while galvanizing medical institutions enthralled by its clinical health benefits.
Developed by Connected Warriors, Inc. Founder, Judy Weaver, C-IAYT, ERYT-500, YACEP, Trauma-Conscious Yoga is built upon a “safe, secure, and predictable” yoga practice and classroom environment to empower servicemembers, veterans and their families or “warriors”.
Connected Warriors, Inc. is a Boca Raton-based nonprofit organization providing cost-free, evidence-based Trauma-Conscious Yoga therapy to warriors of all ages and practice levels in the U.S. and internationally. Thanks to their synergistic partnership with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Connected Warriors is at the forefront of clinical studies on yoga’s positive effects.1
What’s the deal with trauma—and why does it matter? “Trauma is all around us,” Weaver affirms with a swirl of her wrist. “If we let the body do what it wants to do naturally, then we would be better able to cope with trauma,” she elaborates. From traffic nightmares and hurricane threats to deployments and wars, trauma can potentially overwhelm the senses and hijack the nervous system, pushing a person into a cloud of post-traumatic stress (PTS) or what Weaver calls the “trauma groove”.2
What does the body naturally want to do with trauma? It would likely rather expel trauma than turn itself into a toxic storehouse. Children shake off their stress instinctively. For better or worse, growing up often means learning to internalize some trauma. Throwing a temper tantrum is unbecoming. Yet civility has consequences. And for warriors, suppressing or “muscling through” trauma isn’t a matter of being polite—it’s life or death.
Sometimes success and survival come at a cost. According to The National Center for PTSD, seven to eight percent of Americans will have PTSD at some time during their lives. Compared to the general public, veterans experience higher rates of PTSD. In any given year, 11 to 20 percent of the younger American veterans deployed after 9/11 to Iraq and Afghanistan will have PTSD.3
If trauma is a poison, then Trauma-Conscious is an antidote helping reverse damage, retrain the mind and restore the body.
Trauma-Conscious Yoga’s Secret Formula
Yoga: The “asana” flow or physical yoga posture sequencing challenges and safeguards warriors. Warriors are encouraged to honor their personal needs and pace.
Warriors learn how to use props, such as blocks and straps, to assist their current practice and to prepare them for mainstream yoga classes in case they choose to transition into the broader yoga community.
The postures are restorative, allowing a gradual and manageable release of trauma.
Classroom: From the tempo to the temperature, the classroom environment is set up to minimize triggers and maximize benefits.
All teachers are Yoga Alliance Certified and have successfully completed the Connected Warriors Trauma-Conscious Yoga Teacher Training course.
Teachers guide warriors through breath and body work, showing them how their yoga practice is their toolkit for building resilience and healthy coping skills.
Secret Ingredient: The warriors! The warriors are the shining stars of Trauma-Conscious Yoga’s success and deserve all of the credit. By showing up and being present week after week, warriors are the ones creating communities and healing together through the practice of Trauma-Conscious Yoga.
Connected Warriors invites all warriors to discover resilience and community through Trauma-Conscious Yoga!
To locate a class or learn how to help Connected Warriors serve those who have served, visit ConnectedWarriors.org.
1 American Journal of Preventive Medicine: July, 2017. Clinical Trial: NCT02524158
2 To reduce stigma and increase understanding, the letter “D” was omitted.
3 VA: National Center for PTSD. 2016.