There is a new yoga studio in town, Ujjayi Yoga Tasmania, and they have a new and modern twist to yoga. Based on new empirical evidence coming out of clinical trails in the US, Ujjayi are using yoga to helping people recover from trauma.
Owner and Founder of Ujjayi (“Oo’jai”), Sarah Van Est, previous worked with local women impacted by domestic and family violence and as a researcher and educator helping other mental health professionals to appropriately respond to people with a trauma history. Last year she diversified her skill set to become a yoga therapist, to offer something new and innovative for people recovering from trauma in Northern Tasmania.
“This type of therapy is really interesting, it’s about helping people re-connect with their bodies, feel safe and learn to trust their bodies again,” explains Sarah. “And no one was really working in this really important space.”
Many of us will experience some trauma in our lives from a wide range of high stress events. As new research explains more about the lived experience of trauma as a physical response, experts are turning to new body based therapies for recovery.
Trauma and the symptoms of trauma are felt and held in the body. “Tension in the shoulders, anxiety felt in the gut or a lump in the throat are all symptoms of trauma people carry constantly in their body,” says Sarah Van Est, the founder of Ujjayi Yoga Tasmania and trauma expert. “That’s why we are following best practice in trauma recovery and offering specialised body based therapies at our centre.”
“For a long time we have been talking about the flight, fight or freeze response that people enter into during high stress situations,” explained Sarah, “our nervous system kicks into action to keep us safe. But when the nervous system gets stuck and doesn’t self-regulate back to normal, that’s a trauma response.”
“What’s interesting is that trauma recovery has been using cognitive based, talking and psychotherapies to address these physical symptoms for a long time. It’s exciting to be part of something new that is taking a whole new approach to recovery.”
After years of clinical trials in the US, trauma specialist David Emerson created Trauma Sensitive Yoga (TSY) which has had profound success in assisting people manage their symptoms and recover from trauma. In partnership with local mental health services, Ujjayi Yoga are currently working with people in Northern Tasmania impacted by trauma to help them manage their symptoms and recover using Trauma Sensitive yoga.