Survivor’s Yoga: Reclaiming the Body

Trauma Sensitive Yoga for Survivors of Trauma
Remedy Center for Healing Arts, 4910 Burnet Rd. Austin

Mondays, 4:30, beginning September 19, 2011

8-week series, pre-registration required, $150

Michelle Gatto, Certified Trauma Sensitive Yoga Instructor

What the student can expect:

Students will be able to find strength from within by developing a yoga practice/tools that will help with such challenges as sleep, anxiety and feeling helpless. I will be a guide in supporting the student develope a practice that will help with those challenges. We will always start off class with grounding postures with a focus on the breath and feeling grounded. We will slowly incorporate some gentle yoga postures in the middle of class and will finish class with a comfortable guided meditation.

Michelle Gatto is a Certified Trauma Sensitive Yoga Instructor, trained at Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health in Massachusetts. She completed her  teacher training with Bessel van der Kolk, co-principal investigator into PTSD for the DSM-IV, who is the Medical Director and founder of The Trauma Center at the Justice Resource Institute. Michelle continues to be mentored by David Emerson, coordinator of Yoga Services for The Trauma Center.

Michelle will guide students to explore the physical, emotional, and spiritual benefits of yoga with a practice designed to meet the specific needs of those healing  from trauma. Her class allows the student to explore beginning yoga postures in a safe environment.

She guides her students through calming and grounding techniques that promote self-regulation, as well as emotional and spiritual connectedness. Healing from trauma begins by slowly repatterning the limbic system. Trauma Sensitive Yoga is a great tool for helping oneself regulate especially after being triggered. Classes work  best as an adjunct to other forms of therapy.

Somatic micro-movements along with meditation, relaxation, and gentle poses can reduce the autonomic sympathetic response, muscle tension, blood pressure, and emotional distress and improve hormonal and neuroendocrine response. Through subtle physical movement and breathwork, we will explore what it’s like to really “be” in the body.

chair-assisted yoga

This is a restorative posture that helps with sleep.

Certain physical practices and postures can sometimes bring up uncomfortable feelings and sensations for survivors of trauma. Combining nonthreatening postures with conscious breathwork allows the student to experience surviving new physical sensations. Michelle’s role is to foster a safe, healing environment. She has carefully chosen Remedy, Center for Healing Arts, at 4910 Burnet Road in Austin, Texas, for a practice space because of its contemplative environment.

Michelle has experience creating safe practice spaces for homeless women (many of whom are domestic violence survivors), senior chair yoga students, at-risk teens, Alzheimer’s patients, and war veterans. She is drawn to teach yoga as a spiritually healing art and does not take an athletic approach with her students.

Simply “showing up” for class can re-pattern and regulate the mind and this builds trust in oneself and in the process. Trauma Sensitive Yoga is a way to make peace with the body and to reclaim the body as one’s own.