Emily – Online Trauma-Informed 200hr YTT


My yoga journey began perhaps quite different from the norm, due in no small part to various mental health issues and neurodivergence that I had difficulty managing. I had always struggled with keeping up habits, I lead my life quite chaotically and found it difficult to find a routine, and the same came for the exercise of any kind. I would go through phases of intense obsession with exercise but once the streak ended I would be right back where I started. If I had come to yoga that way, I never would have stuck with it long enough to feel its power. So instead, I came to yoga slowly. And almost resentfully at first!

My friend and flatmate encouraged me to join her for 20 minutes of yoga once a week. It didn’t change for a few months, I was only going because of her encouragement, and I skipped a few weeks here and there. But I stuck with it. Slowly, I started finding that I was leaving the mat with a sense of peace. I started to practice longer and more regularly, and slowly, I fell in love with yoga. Eventually, I was practicing every day, loving the peace and connection I found on my mat, and finding stability in life off the mat.

I made the decision to train to be a yoga teacher when I read ‘The Body Keeps The Score’ by Bessel Van Der Kolk. It was such an impactful book that changed the way I viewed my own experiences of trauma, and how yoga could be used to help trauma survivors. I had previously had thoughts of teaching, but it was this book that set me in motion.

When I was ready, I started looking specifically for trauma-informed/trauma-sensitive yoga teacher training, and when I found SYI and discovered Bessel on the syllabus, it was a no-brainer. I knew with every part of me that I was meant to find this training, and despite it being offered in another time zone, I signed up without hesitation. And not for a second did I regret it.

I was up until two or three in the morning on the nights we had training, often not sleeping until hours later because I was still buzzing with the adrenaline of everything I had learned during those precious twelve hours. I found this training so deeply transformational, and I came away feeling that I could sit with the experience for weeks and still not process it all. I find myself going back to the things I’ve learned over and over again, even now sharing it with as many people as I can. I have found so many tools to aide my own healing, as well as such a rich and deep understanding of how trauma works.

Online Trauma-Informed Student Yoga Testimonial - Emily Images Desktop 02
Online Trauma-Informed Student Yoga Testimonial - Emily Images Mobile 02

The psycho-education, whilst I had learned much of it before, hit completely different when combined with embodiment practices and journaling. It made it not just an academic experience, but a personal, transformative journey. Add in the potency of the deeply loving and accepting community that was created, and it became pure magic. I cannot thank every single person who I went through this training with enough for the part they played in creating this powerful magic.

Now that the training is over, I plan to do volunteer work at a local mental health charity. I have met with them to discuss putting together a 12-week set of classes for clients who are on the waiting list for therapy. I also hope to put on small classes at a studio with a trauma-informed focus. The trauma-informed training really changed the way I am moving forward as a yoga teacher. Specifically, the community project really pushed me to look for ways I could be of service. Before the training, I had assumed I would go the traditional yoga teaching route, teaching classes at studios or community halls.

This training pushed me to look further, and my project came to me as if it had been in my head the whole time. Since the end of my training, I have begun to enact my project: I’ve met with the directors of a mental health charity that supports those who have fallen through the cracks of the National Health Service, and who are unable to pay for private support. We plan to put together a course of 12 free classes for those who are on the waitlist for support from the charity. Once the initial 12 weeks are up, I hope to evaluate the success of the project and build on what I have learned.

As I move forward in my yoga journey, I feel equipped with a wealth of knowledge and understanding that I just couldn’t have gotten anywhere else. I’d like to thank School Yoga Institute, and my amazing teachers Brooke and Jeanine, for creating such an incredible space for healing, for community, and connection, and for creating a training that will create change that reverberates throughout the world. If you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far, go together.