The Languages of Yoga

Instructor - Sarahjoy Marsh

Day & Time - Friday at 9:00 am - 4:00 pm

(This is an Optional Workshop, available with any Pass for $125 )

Brain Science-based, trauma-informed yoga tools for raising capacity, confidence, and interpersonal well-being for individuals who have experienced developmental delays, ptsd, anxiety, or depression.

In many settings where we teach yoga classes, our primary tool is language. We may not do hands on adjustments, we may not have props to offer, or we may not be in a setting that would encourage a demonstration. Therefore, the importance of skillful, strategic, and specific language tools becomes paramount to facilitating a yogic experience that speaks to the brain development of the students and simultaneously nourishes our brains to be at their best in relationship to our students.

This presentation will provide an overview of language for specific brain centers, such as the neo-cortex, precuneus, insula, amygdala, and hippocampus; as well as language tools for right brain and left brain yoga explorations. We will also explore the subtle shifts in language that can attend to the attachment styles of our students (anxious-ambivalent, avoidant-dismissive, disorganized, or secure).

In many programs offered through yoga outreach, students have experienced trauma, both developmental and acute. With developmental trauma, the precuneus may be under-developed or pruned back in favor of resources directed toward the amygdala. Language is a powerful tool that supports a student to both develop a sense of self and to cultivate interoception. As yoga is likely to stimulate a variety of internal sensations, some of which may feel frighteningly similar to PTSD sensations, language is a critical component to how we, as teachers, safely support students to navigate this inward journey.

Similarly, with the insula, a social engagement and empathy center in the brain, learning how language “turns this on” strategically becomes a vital tool for yoga classes. Some of our students’ developmental histories may have required them to merge, dissociate, over-empathize with a care provider or perpetrator, or to feel more porous emotionally than they can tolerate without self-harm tools that numb or distance them from feelings. With specific language tools we help our students to avoid reinforcing developmental traumas while also awakening the insula as a resource for both their compassion towards others and compassion towards the parts of themselves that have been in pain.

Developmental trauma creates pockets of discreet memory in our right brains, stored there until we have the resources, both external and internal, to explore, understand, and heal those trauma pockets. Utilizing right and left brain strategies in a yoga class helps us to help our students pace themselves, while also developing the mindfulness, emotional resonance, and interoception skills that will enable them to have some inner leadership in their healing process.

Additionally, as more students with developmental trauma join yoga programs, teachers who understand how attachment styles show up in yoga classes and how to use language that nudges students toward secure attachment empowers teachers to create healthy classrooms, prevents front-line delivery provider burn-out, cultivates compassionate responses for ourselves and our students, and prevents us from misunderstanding a student whose attachment style makes us fell overwhelmed or insecure (because our attachment networks are also involved in this relationship).

All Levels.  Please bring mat, 2 blocks and blanket.

Tolovana Inn

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