As a Creative Arts Therapist who specializes in the body and is a former Yoga teacher this article is not at all surprising. Most therapists who have worked with trauma survivors know that people have a tendency to have some level of dissociation with their bodies. Yoga can gently bring a new level of conscious feeling, movement and functionally of the body which can’t be processed with other modalities.
As a teenager, Rocsana Enriquez ran away from home frequently to escape fights with her mother and sexual abuse from her stepfather. She got involved with street gangs and cycled in and out of juvenile detention.
While she was incarcerated in Central California, she started to learn yoga. It became an outlet for her anger and an antidote to the deep insecurity she felt. Before she got into a fight, she reminded herself to take a deep breath. And she loved the way she felt when she stretched into “Warrior II” pose. “It made me feel very strong,” she said.
A new report by the Center on Poverty and Inequality at Georgetown Law School shows that yoga programs can be particularly effective at helping girls who are incarcerated cope with the effects of trauma that many have experienced. Research shows yoga and mindfulness can promote healthier relationships, increase concentration, and improve self esteem and physical health.
Such programs, if offered more broadly, would be a cost-effective way to help one of the country’s most vulnerable groups heal and improve their lives, the report says.