Yoga Therapy in Trauma Care

I have studied a number of courses with Dr Desikachar. They have all been excellent.  Well structured, well prepared, containing excellent information and taught in a timely fashion.  Here I write regarding a course on Trauma or Paritapa that I have studied most recently with Dr Desikachar. 

I have been a psychological trauma specialist for over 26 years.  I was interested to study this course with Dr Desikachar, as I was interested to learn about the connections between Trauma Theory with Yoga and Yoga Therapy.  Right form the outset Dr Desikachar presented several models that I had not come across previously. He built the course gradually, teaching the Definitions of Trauma and basic Trauma theory and types of trauma followed by kinds of Trauma as identified in Yoga Therapy. As this course was for Yoga students who were interested in, but whom may not have previous knowledge of trauma theory, it was necessary to go back to the basics.  The course covered symptoms of trauma both short and long term, and the causes of trauma both from a Western and Yogic perspective.  It them went into the Effects of trauma including Dissociative Disorders.

The concept of Duhkha Samyoga  (the pain trap) was discussed with reference to Modern neuroscience perspectives.  What I found most interesting was the description of the effect of trauma on the Cakra and Prana Systems which is how Yoga understands the impact on the person, and where the transformation process can ensue.  Dr Desikachar covered this in some detail.

The more I study Yoga the more I find that it is both simple and extremely complex.  I find that Dr Desikachar is an entertaining speaker who has a complete grasp of his teaching subject. He has a unique ability to synthesis complex concepts in such a way that the layperson is able to grasp the ideas and concepts.  Furthermore, Dr Desikachar has the ability to integrate Yogic concepts with Western thinking, which is particularly helpful for the Westerner.

What delighted me the most about this course was the description regarding “Re-negotiation” in treatment.  Here was a Yogic description of a treatment process I have developed in my own work, using “Re-negiotiation as a process of Smirti-Sodhana, creating new Samakara-s based on new memories.”  I would now like to follow up with a module purely on treatment.

In most of Dr Desikachar’s courses, personal practice is encouraged, but with the Trauma course this was not delved into, no doubt due to the lack of safety that could ensue if the participants were encouraged to access their own traumatic memories whilst under-going an internet study course without personal support.  Hence the material in this course was kept at the cerebral level rather than the personal. 

In short, I would highly recommend this course to students who wished to learn about Trauma seen from a Western and Yogic perspective.  It would suit students of Yoga Therapy or, Yoga Teachers who want a greater understanding of aspects of functioning their Yoga students may be dealing or struggling with.

Victoria Smith | Registered Psychotherapist | New Zealand