About the Program
Yoga as Healing is an multiple week program taking place during each semester at USF in conjunction with UCSF. They are often offered on Wednesday evenings at USF. Each class offers survivors a safe space to gain greater awareness around strength, stability, assertiveness, and mindfulness. Classes will have different themes, focus on various restorative postures, build strength in the core, explore positive affirmations, and will also be coupled with guided activities including de-briefing exercises, journaling, and art. Join us for one of our yoga programs to find deep connection, build community, and continue on your journey to heal.
How does it work?
- Memories of sexually violent experiences can be intrusive, which can create challenges for survivors. These memories can also make it difficult for survivors who are looking to establish connection in their lives and learn how to trust again. The entire experience of practicing yoga can help survivors find union between seemingly disconnected and challenging aspects of the self, allowing participants to slowly build the pieces into an integrated whole. In The Body Remembers: The Psychophysiology of Trauma and Treatment, Rothschild recognizes the need for therapy to consist of helping people to stay in their bodies and to delve deeper into understanding these important bodily sensations. Yoga's focus on self-acceptance provides survivors with tangible benefits that will become noticeable throughout their practice. This gradual integration can be transformational and healing for a survivor of sexual violence.
- Healing after sexual trauma requires patience and consistency. "Yoga allows survivors to regain a sense of comfort and ease within their own shape, to process nonverbal feelings that transcend language, and to experientially cultivate gratitude towards the body, which serve as a reminder of one's resilience" (Boeder, 2012). Yoga gives survivors the opportunity to find their voice.
- Research supported by NIH shows that ten weeks of trauma informed yoga markedly reduced PTSD symptoms of clients who had failed to respond to any medication or any other treatment. Research from Harvard shows that practicing mindfulness decreases the activity in the amygdala. Doing so can help survivors decrease reactivity to potential triggers. Many programs have found that survivors who are uncomfortable with or express a lack of interest in talk therapy have flourished in art or movement-based formats (Holistic Healing Services for Survivors, Poore, T., Shulruff, T., & Bein, K., 2013).