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Summary

Survivors of trauma - whether abuse, accidents, or war = can end up profoundly wounded, betrayed by their bodies that failed to get them to safety and that are a source of pain. In order to fully heal from trauma, a connection must be made with oneself, including one’s body. The trauma-sensitive yoga described in this book moves beyond traditional talk therapies that focus on the mind, by bringing the body actively into the healing process. This allows trauma survivors to cultivate more positive relationships to their bodies through gentle breath, mindfulness, and movement practices.

Overcoming Trauma Through Yoga is a book for survivors, clinicians, and yoga instructors who are interested in mind/body healing. It introduces trauma-sensitive yoga, a modified approach to yoga developed in collaboration between yoga teachers and clinicians at the Trauma Center at Justice Resource Institute, led by yoga teacher David Emerson, along with medical doctor Bessel van der Kolk. The book begins with an in-depth description of trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), including a description of how trauma is held in the body and the need for body-based treatment. It offers a brief history of yoga, describes various styles of yoga commonly found in Western practice, and identifies four key themes of trauma-sensitive yoga. Chair-based exercises are described that can be incorporated into individual or group therapy, targeting specific treatment goals, and modifications are offered for mat-based yoga classes. Each exercise includes trauma-sensitive language to introduce the practice. The practices have been offered to a wide range of individuals and groups, including men and women, teens, returning veterans, and others. Rounded out by valuable quotes and case stories, the book presents mindfulness, breathing, and yoga exercises that can be used by home practitioners, yoga teachers, and therapists as a way to cultivate awareness, tolerance, and an increased acceptance of the self.
 

©2012 David Emerson, Elizabeth Hopper (P)2018 North Atlantic Books

Critic reviews

"This book sets out to facilitate the creation of healing environments. Clinicians will learn basic yoga skills that can be implemented within individual therapy sessions. Yoga teachers will find thoughtful advice on how to make assists that won’t trigger internal defenses. And trauma survivors will receive edict-free encouragement for using yoga as a tool for self-discovery. Thoughtful and thorough, Overcoming Trauma Through Yoga brings a spirit of optimism to the process of healing past wounds and reclaiming body and mind." (Rolf Sovik, PsyD, Yoga International Magazine)

“At last, an engaging, accessible, theoretically grounded guide for the safe and effective use of yoga to heal from trauma! With a rich understanding of both the practice of yoga and the legacy of trauma, the authors skillfully weave together theory, research, mindfulness, case vignettes, yoga instruction, and more into a clear and compelling argument for reclaiming the body through their trauma-sensitive modified yoga. Innovative and practical, this book is an indispensable resource for traumatized individuals, yoga teachers, clinicians, and anyone else who is looking to rediscover the natural intelligence of the body.” (Pat Ogden, PhD, founder of the Sensorimotor Psychotherapy Institute and author of Trauma and the Body: A Sensorimotor Approach to Psychotherapy)

“For yoga teachers, [Overcoming Trauma through Yoga] is invaluable for showing that all students are not the same, and that adapting your class just takes compassion, special care and knowledge, which this book provides. Clinicians will benefit by learning that yoga unlocks traumatized bodies.... Although trauma survivors may have moments of discomfort and strong emotions may surface as they read, Overcoming Trauma through Yoga offers something critical to their healing: hope.” (Dawn Hamilton, Life Force Yoga Healing Institute)

What listeners say about Overcoming Trauma Through Yoga

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Great approach to a sensitive matter.

Very useful and informative. Great for every yoga instructor and not just the trauma sensitive trained ones. It really makes you think how to phrase yourself when reaching a class, along with keeping an eye on how the students feel.

2 people found this helpful

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  • kmd
  • 21-08-18

info is good, narrator is not as good

the narrator was rushed it felt like I was listening to a robot read this this is a very sensitive topic it should be Redwood sensitivity and compassion and not in a robotic sterile voice. it almost felt like the narrator was uncomfortable with the material and was hurrying to get through it I didn't feel as though the narrator connected with the word she was speaking therefore I had a hard time connecting with the material I was hearing. I feel like with a different narrator this could be a much better audiobook

10 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-11-18

Read too much like an academic paper

Great title but this book needed an editor. Read like an academic paper. Was disappointed but it might be right for someone else, just wasn’t any help to me.



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  • livelongandstrong
  • 28-12-20

enlightening for a yoga instructor

I found this book to be extremely enlightening. I have a master's degree in counseling psychology and I am an ERYT-200. Not being exposed to this demographic in regards with yoga has made me become hyper-aware of changes that I need to make happen when entering this new population in regards to yoga practice. traditionally as an instructor I am leading people into alignment. as trauma sensitive alignment is not the goal rather being present in the moment and giving control to the practitioner. It has been a great foundational resource that I look forward to continuing developing.

a few things that bothered me was the pace at which the person reading the book demonstrated.. her guidance in the yoga class was non-stop. It felt like there was no space to be. The repetition of the same phrases felt grating on my soul.
a correction that may need to happen.. They kept referring to happy baby as a prone position. prone is face down. Happy baby is in a supine position on your back. I noticed this several times throughout the book.

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  • Rose Ericson-Caen
  • 24-08-19

very Informative

The information is invaluable although the performance and the delivery is very robotic so if you can keep yourself focused on whether saying and not get caught up in the fact that it sounds like one of those robotic voices were YouTube fixes You'll be able to take the information in

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  • KA
  • 13-11-18

Great resource

I teach yoga to trauma victims and this has been a very helpful book for me to better understand and change my language.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Mari
  • 31-03-22

Surly this is a computer driven voice?

The intonation sounds like a robot voice. As If it’s Alexa reading for you. Due to this I was unable to finish. Will read it on kindle instead 👍🏽

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  • Phoenix
  • 26-08-20

not done yet but so far

I really like the narrator. she speaks clearly and doesn't sound like a robot to me. I think the material is interesting and informative. will add to the review when done with the book.

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  • Leah E.
  • 03-08-22

Narration is horrible

It sounds like a computer is reading to you. The text is dry. A lot of information but only like 1 chapter that is good for yoga instructors.

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  • H. M. Nelson
  • 30-07-22

Waste of time and a credit

The first 2/3 of the book is explaining what trauma is and how many people experience it. The second third of the book is pointing out that being touched by strangers in a yoga class, etc may be triggering. Duh. I went to the authors’ website and it’s pretty much just as useless. So I guess the lesson is: find a trauma informed yoga teacher.

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  • Thando Njovane
  • 29-06-22

Terrible robotic voice

Terrible computer reader - not worth paying for it. May as well get a hard copy because the content is fine.