Yoga has long been understood to have many positive effects on one’s physical and mental health. Many mental health providers recognize the benefits of breathing and concentration while transitioning through poses on an individual’s capacity for emotional regulation, focus, and self-awareness. Dr. Balestrieri was among these providers, and developed a comprehensive program that utilizes a style of yoga called Trauma-Senstive Yoga, created by David Emerson, to help individuals heal the long-term effects of relational trauma.
Trauma-Sensitive Yoga is a form of yoga that was developed and empirically validated specifically for treating symptoms of trauma, post-traumatic stress disorder and complex post-traumatic stress disorder. Trauma can impact people in many different ways, and several trauma survivors report feeling disconnected from their bodies, thoughts, or emotions, disempowered and out of control. Trauma-sensitive yoga is gentle and aims to help people access their bodies in a safe and measured way. The emphasis in trauma sensitive yoga is on re-developing a connection with one’s own physical sensations, thoughts and feelings, strengthening one’s ability to recognize limits, and exercise one’s autonomy and personal choice in an embodied manner.
Combined with group therapy, trauma-sensitive yoga offers an integrated healing experience in Triune Therapy Groups’ 12-week program entitled Revive &Thrive: Yoga Therapy for Survivors. No previous experience with yoga, physical skill or flexibility is required to participate in trauma-sensitive yoga. This style of yoga can be practiced in a chair or on a mat, and is designed to meet each person at their current level of ability.