Castlegar and Creston are two of the final communities to join a five-year province-wide research project looking at how women and children can heal from trauma caused by violence.
Researchers are hoping to prove that yoga, with its unique focus on physical sensation, can reduce anxiety and help survivors gain control over common trauma symptoms such as panic attacks or insomnia. Funded by the Public Health Agency of Canada, the Reaching Out With Yoga program already provides trauma-informed classes in 21 transition houses in BC.
“Violence from an intimate partner is now widely understood as having the potential to cause trauma. The practice of yoga, and in particular trauma-informed yoga, is increasingly being recognized as a valuable practice in supporting the recovery of those who have experienced such violence,” says Joanne Baker, executive director of the BC Society of Transition Houses.
Over three years, the society and Yoga Outreach have noted significant positive feedback from participants, many of whom had never tried yoga before. Establishing programs at transition houses in small or remote communities allows distressed families the chance to access weekly mindfulness classes that those in larger cities like Vancouver or Kelowna take for granted.
Yoga Outreach is currently seeking volunteer instructors to teach classes at Castlegar and District Community Services Society. To volunteer, qualified yoga teachers must complete the Yoga Outreach core training, an 18-hour course that empowers instructors to plan trauma-informed classes for individuals facing multiple barriers, including domestic violence, PTSD, addictions, and mental health challenges.
Training in Castlegar is from Oct. 19 to 21. Register at yogaoutreach.com.
“This project is a huge step towards our goal of removing the barriers of access to yoga for our most vulnerable community members,” says Delanie Dyck, Yoga Outreach’s executive director.