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Trauma Center Trauma-Sensitive Yoga (TCTSY) is an empirically validated, clinical intervention. It is used for complex trauma or chronic, treatment-resistant post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The TCTSY program is the gold standard for trauma informed yoga. It’s included in the National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices (NREPP) database published by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). In addition to yoga, TCTSY has foundations in Trauma Theory, Attachment Theory, and Neuroscience.


The TCTSY methodology is based on central components of the hatha style of yoga, where participants engage in a series of physical forms and movements. Elements of traditional hatha yoga are modified to build a trauma survivors' experiences of empowerment and cultivate a more positive relationship to one's body. Unlike many public yoga classes, TCTSY does not use physical hands-on adjustments to influence a participant's physical form. Rather, TCTSY presents opportunities for participants to be in charge of themselves based on a felt sense of their own body.  


Although TCTSY employs physical forms and movements, the emphasis is not on the external expression or appearance (i.e. doing it"right"), or receiving the approval of an external authority. Rather, the focus is on the internal experience of the participant. This shift in orientation, from the external to the internal, is a key attribute of TCTSY as a treatment for complex trauma. With TCTSY the power resides within the individual, not the facilitator (TCTSY-F). Further, by focusing on the felt sense of the body to inform choice-making, TCTSY allows participants to restore their connection of mind and body and cultivate a sense of agency that is often compromised as a result of trauma.   


Classes are designed so that participants are in control over what they are doing with their body at all times and the teacher is there to provide safe, professional guidance and to help students focus on particular dynamics (what muscles they are using, what it feels like to have their feet on the ground, what it feels like to breathe, etc.)


Participants will not have to talk to other participants, making this class more comfortable for those individuals who find it difficult to be in groups.


Trauma-sensitive yoga is a way for us to safely experiment with having a body. Through yoga we can experiment with:

  • Breathing

  • Moving

  • Strengthening

  • Stretching

  • Resting


To read the research for TCTSY as body based form of treatment for complex trauma, please click HERE.

“For real change to take place, the body needs to learn that the danger has passed and to live in the reality of the present.”


BESSEL VAN DER KOLK, M.D.
The Body Keeps the Score

Trauma Sensitive Yoga is for

  • Feeling empty, disconnectedness, or a sense of hopelessness in relationship to your body

  • Feelings of worthlessness

  • Feeling overwhelmed

  • Anxiety

  • Depression

  • Numbing

  • Seemingly unexplainable body aches or pain

  • Disordered eating

  • Body image concerns

  • Loneliness

  • Tendency towards isolation

  • Survivor of abuse

  • Feeling like you’re crazy or something is wrong with you

    You are not alone. It doesn’t mean anything is wrong with you. These feelings and experiences may be due to the impact past trauma has had on your body. Pas traumatic life events can impact the parts of your brain that connect your mind and your body. This is a wonderful survival mechanism that works as trauma is occurring. Once the trauma has passed, this can feel like a disempowering and scary way to live. TCTSY may be able to help bring those parts of your brain back online relieving many of the symptoms of trauma and leading to a more harmonious life.


The TCTSY Difference

TCTSY is the gold standard for trauma informed yoga and is the only course that has clinical empirical evidence to the theoretical underpinnings and specific format that is followed. Trauma informed yoga is any yoga that claims to be trauma informed and potential the instructor has done through some type of training. There are various trainings available for various lengths of time that a person can take and claim they are teaching trauma informed yoga. In order to become a Trauma Center Trauma-Sensitive Yoga - Facilitator, one must be a certified yoga instructor or licensed mental health professional, complete pre-training course, and then complete the 300-hour Trauma Center Trauma-Sensitive Yoga (TCTSY) Certification Program for Yoga Teachers and Mental Health Career Professionals through the Center for Trauma and Embodiment at JRI.


Additional Info

  • TCTSY is adaptable to all ages and levels of physical ability

  • TCTSY can be practiced on a mat or in a chair

  • TCTSY is offered in a group setting or in private sessions

  • Group classes are 60 minutes in length; private sessions are offered in 30 or 60 minute intervals