An old man told his grandson: “My son, there is a battle between two wolves inside us all. One is evil. It is anger, jealousy, greed, and resentment, inferiority, lies and ego. The other is good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, humility, kindness, empathy, and truth.”

The boy thought about it, and asked, “Grandfather, which wolf wins?”
The old man quietly replied, “The one that is fed.

The intention of these classes is multiple. At the very least the subject might be of academic interest, especially to clinicians & yoga teachers.

Our more ambitious hope is two-fold:

  • that through a deeper understanding of how all mammals survive danger, trauma survivors have an opportunity to re-frame their 'symptoms' as predictable, understandable & functional adaptations
  • that through a deeper understanding of how yoga practices interact with our nervous systems, survivors are able to make the best use of yoga practices as trauma interventions

Yoga Psychology

All yoga teachings share a core belief:

That connecting and relating, whether to ourselves or to others, is central to human nature. When one is consistently yoked or related to with compassion, our systems are balanced and support the development of our highest capacities. Love feeds the Good Wolf.

When the yoking is consistently indifferent or threatening, our survival systems dominate and the stage is set for us to shut down, withdraw and become sick. The Bad Wolf begins to eat us from the inside, out.

All yoga teachings share a second belief:

Under the right conditions & using the right tools, humans are infinitely capable of compassionately re-connecting.

  • The right conditions are unconditional love & acceptance
  • To connect compassionately is to be in a state of Yoga
  • The tools are The Eight Limbs
  • To practice The Eight Limbs is to practice yoga

Three thousand years after the Vedic meditators shared their insights into the human condition, contemporary attachment & trauma theorists have begun to tell a strikingly similar story.

From attachment & trauma theory we explore the mechanisms of:

  • panic attacks & free floating anxiety
  • fear & terror
  • flashbacks, dissociative episodes & triggered states
  • self-injurious urges
  • hyper and hypo-arousal
  • memory loss
  • 'foggy thinking' & attentional difficulties
  • impairment of sight and hearing
  • loss of bodily functions
  • digestive & excretory problems
  • chronic fatigue/ME
  • loneliness & alienation
  • inability to notice bodily sensations or locate them
  • shame
  • loss of sexual feelings & the fear of connecting sexually

From The Yoga Sutras we explore:

  • the yamas - practices of Goodness
  • the niyamas - practices of Compassion
  • asana - postures
  • pranayama - breath work
  • meditation

Classes will be both theoretical & practical, with ample opportunity for questions & answers, self-reflection & group discussion.

These classes are trauma informed classes. As such, we understand that the content may be triggering. We encourage students to take any necessary steps in their self-care.