I facilitate an 8 week yoga as healing program for survivors of sexual trauma at the local rape crisis center in Orange County, CA and I am the founder of Transcending Sexual Violence through Yoga. For this class in particular, the art facilitator through the organization Art & Creativity for Healing, Inc., created custom canvas yoga mats so the survivors could paint within the comfort and support of their yoga mat.
There is nothing more powerful than the holistic benefits of painting abstractly the emotions that reside within you that sometimes you just do not have the words for. Now add the the component of painting within the four corners of a yoga mat that has provided unconditional support through the heart-wrenching process of healing from sexual trauma…
The survivors who participated in this series are the strongest, most amazingly resilient individuals I have ever come across. How I have been so blessed to be apart of their lives and healing process, I will never understand. – Zabie Khorakiwala, from Healing is an Art
For someone to heal from PTSD, one must learn how to control bodily reflexes. PTSD causes memory to be stored at a sensory level—in the body. Yoga offers a way to reprogram automatic physical responses…What is beautiful about Yoga is that it teaches us—and this is a critical point for those who feel trapped in their memory sensations—that things come to an end. –Bessel van der Kolk, MD, Trauma Specialist from WCSAP
Rachel Grant offers a specific routine, designed by Zabie, that survivors of sexual trauma can easily do in the comfort of their own home: “This post provides you with specific yoga postures and explanations to address a variety of struggles and symptoms that survivors may face. As you will see in the cues provided below, every posture is an invitation–an opportunity for you to personally explore your body in your own way.” Find that routine, with pictures, here.
For yoga instructors, Zabie offers 10 things to consider while teaching trauma-informed yoga.
Related article: Why Talk Therapy Doesn’t Heal Rape Trauma
Related Post: Working with Survivors of Abuse