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The African American Museum in Philadelphia

701 Arch Street

Philadelphia, PA 19106

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This series is based on evidence-based research that demonstrates that yoga is effective in combating
complex trauma (Emerson, 2011, Kolk, 2014). While each class will blend three main themes
identified as important for a trauma sensitive yoga practice, each weekly session will be devoted to
exploring a particular topic in depth. The subjects with a short description are:

Theme 1| Experiencing the Present Moment: Awareness
Here we will focus on learning to live in the present and reconnecting with the body. Often
repeated insults cause a person to dissociate from the body. When we separate from the
body and are responding to triggers, we lose the ability to make choices at that moment. By
learning to use the breath to combat triggers and engage at the moment, we can dwell in the
space between stimulus and response to make informed choices. Here participants will
experience breathing exercises and practice various forms of meditations.

Theme 2| Empowerment: Making Choices
Trauma is often an experience of having no choice. Repeated trauma often results in
doubting ourselves and that we have no control over what happens in the world around us
or our lives. Part of the process of healing is reclaiming a sense of agency and a felt sense of
control. While self-defense classes and other physical practices offer a source of
empowerment these classes can often serve as triggers especially when complex trauma is
present. What trauma sensitive yoga offers that is distinct from other physical practices is a
structured, supportive, and self-paced method where participants can make choices about
their bodies and their experiences that are, kind, gentle and compassionate. During this
module, participants will be encouraged to make small manageable choices concerning their bodies.

Theme 3| Creating Rhythms: Synchronicity
Trauma isolates and often life is often lived behind a veil that cuts those affected by trauma off from the rhythmical dance and exchange that characterizes human relationships. Yoga is one way that one can experience being in sync with other people, through breath, movement, and shared experience. In this module will explore rhythms in tangible forms such as linking breath with movement to explore a sense of flow and timing--both within ourselves and about others. Participants will explore intrapersonal rhythms involving matching one’s breath and movement and interpersonal rhythm where participants will move in synchrony with others.

Outcomes:
Participants will leave the workshop with tools to combat traumatic stress insults. These tools will include:
• A personalized 30-minute yoga and meditation practice
• Knowledge of meditation and a meditative practice
• Breathing techniques to combat anxiety and induce calm
• Greater appreciation for their body’s
• Improved or renewed sense of empowerment

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The African American Museum in Philadelphia

701 Arch Street

Philadelphia, PA 19106

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