Toward Becoming a Trauma-Sensitive Yoga Teacher: Best Practice Guidelines

by David Emerson, E-RYT

Trauma is a disease of our time. From one angle, estimates show that at least 1 in 4 adults in the United States have suffered some form of life changing trauma. Pilot studies at the Trauma Center have shown that yoga can be an effective adjunct treatment for trauma survivors. For yoga teachers this is very important information. We can expect that several students in our average yoga studio or health club classes have experienced significant trauma and that yoga may be very beneficial for them if they can tolerate it. While many of those students may not have the diagnosis Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, some do and all will benefit from a yoga teacher who has a trauma-sensitive approach. The suggestion is that some trauma-sensitive modifications may help students tolerate yoga who in the past may have never returned for that second class.

Toward Becoming a Trauma-Sensitive Yoga Teacher: Best Practice Guidelines is an outline of how we modify yoga classes at the Trauma Center to be trauma-sensitive. Along with a presentation of several key modifications there is also a description of trauma-sensitive themes that teachers may want to incorporate. We have also included some handouts that we use during our trainings that help readers think about structuring a trauma-sensitive class. These guidelines for practice are intended to help yoga teachers modify their existing classes or begin to develop specific trauma-sensitive classes. Finally, this manuscript is intentionally non-clinical in nature in recognition that there are many other resources, many available on this website, that are designed for more intensive, clinician-lead intervention with traumatized individuals and groups.

All proceeds from the sale of this manuscript go directly to the yoga class fund at the Trauma Center. We do not turn anyone away for financial reasons.

Toward Becoming a Trauma-Sensitive Yoga Teacher: Best Practice Guidelines can be purchased online or by regular mail. Listed below are product prices plus shipping & handling costs for U.S.P.S. Priority Mail, both Domestic (USA), and International (including Canada and Mexico).

Order and Pay Online

To order and pay for the manuscript online by using PayPal, click the appropriate "Pay Online" button. The mailing cost will automatically be added to the item price.

Yoga Teacher Guidelines Plus Shipping & Handling Domestic Rate $7.00 Plus Shipping & Handling International Rate $15.00

Order and Pay by Mail

To purchase Toward Becoming a Trauma-Sensitive Yoga Teacher: Best Practice Guidelines via mail, print out this page and send it, along with a personal check, cashier's check, or money order payable to The Trauma Center at JRI, to:

The Trauma Center at JRI
Attn: Zachary Levko, Training Coordinator
1269 Beacon Street
Brookline, MA 02446

Toward Becoming a Trauma-Sensitive Yoga Teacher: Best Practice Guidelines, by David Emerson, E-RYT, Order Form

  • Name:
  • Agency/Company:
  • Email Address:
  • Phone Number:
  • Street Address:
  • City:
  • State/Zip Code:
  • Item(s) Ordering:
  • Amount enclosed:

Click for information on Yoga Workshops and Yoga Specialty Training and Consultation Topics.


Join us in Establishing an Endowed Research Directorship: The van der Kolk Chair


Join our Challenge Match - Child Neurofeedback Study


NEW ARTICLE: Unseen Wounds: The Contribution of Psychological Maltreatment to Child and Adolescent Mental Health and Risk Outcomes


NEW ARTICLE: The Body Can Change the Score: Empirical Support for Somatic Regulation in the Treatment of Traumatized Adolescents


NOW ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS for 2015-2017 Postdoctoral Fellowship


DVD's of the 25th Annual Trauma Conference held in Boston 2014


NEW BOOK by Dr. Bessel van der Kolk: THE BODY KEEPS THE SCORE: Order today!


Announcing Our Newest Clinical Program, 0-5 Thrive, Meeting the Needs of All Families Raising Young Children


New: Journal of Family Violence Special Issue on Child & Adolescent Residential Trauma Treatment


SMART Manual *Second Edition* Now Available: Sensory Motor Arousal Regulation Treatment


New Article: Clinical Significance of a Proposed Developmental Trauma Disorder Diagnosis: Results of an International Survey of Clinicians


Trauma Sensitive Yoga DVD