It is now proven that yoga is an effective complementary treatment for PTSD and complex trauma. (Read the randomized controlled trial findings here and summary here.) Yoga can help people working with trauma to tolerate physical or sensory sensations that have negative associations or are triggering, and increase their emotional awareness, decreasing symptoms of PTSD/trauma. 

A growing number of studies also suggest that yoga helps combat stress, anxiety, depression, and insomnia by calming the nervous system and modulating our bodies' stress response symptoms, such as heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing. 

Joanna has a strong interest in these therapeutic applications of yoga and has trained in Trauma-Sensitive Yoga with David Emerson and Jenn Turner of the Trauma Center at Justice Resource Institute in Boston, MA. She has taught yoga to veterans at the Military Family Clinic at NYU Langone Medical Center and through the Wounded Warrior Project. She has also taught in-patients at the New York State Psychiatric Institute and and at Hazelden Tribeca 12, an addiction recovery program for young adults. 

Yoga isn't about being flexible or thin, or learning to put your leg behind your head. No previous experience is required to benefit from a therapeutic yoga class, and there is no physical fitness requirement. You do not need to wear a special outfit or to subscribe to a particular belief system. 

If you or someone you know is interested in yoga as a complementary treatment, please contact Joanna. She'd love to help if she can, or point you in the right direction. 

NOTE: Joanna gets many questions about trauma-sensitive yoga classes. Unfortunately, she doesn't have any trauma-sensitive group classes in New York to recommend at this time. The closest thing she can recommend is slow/down at the Shala's Brooklyn location on Friday evenings. This is not a designated trauma-sensitive class; it's a slower-paced vinyasa class designed to help with stress, anxiety, and toning the nervous system. Slow/down is appropriate if you are comfortable in a yoga studio. Hands-on assists are offered but you are welcome to tell the teacher you prefer no assists (please arrive early to chat about this and any other concerns). 

Joanna teaches trauma-sensitive yoga privately, which is a better option if you are easily triggered and/or have no previous yoga experience.