By Adrian Molina
Every yoga teacher should learn trauma-informed yoga because we got it all wrong. We borrowed a philosophy from the East and put it in our retail windows. We made a business of yoga pants and mats. We prostrated to self-proclaimed yoga gurus while kissing the feet of teachers who overstepped the boundaries of respect and dignity with their students.
Every yoga teacher should learn trauma-informed yoga to see bodies with histories walking into the studio rather than seeing bodies as pieces of clay to be molded into Michelangelesque sculptures with a distorted notion of what is right and what is wrong.
Every yoga teacher should learn trauma-informed yoga to be reminded that in addition to muscles, bones, and connective tissue, students possess a nervous system that might not be fully present even though their body is on the mat.
Every yoga teacher should learn trauma-informed yoga to come down from the ivory tower of entitlement, to stop playing power dynamics, and to see people for who they are: A reflection of ourselves. A reflection of life. A little bit of sugar, a little bit of salt.
Every yoga teacher should learn trauma-informed yoga to understand that what they learn in a two-hundred-hour teacher training is merely the bare bones of a fitness program in disguise that can be manipulated for the benefit of a few and used to perpetuate systems of oppression.
Every yoga teacher should learn trauma-informed yoga to understand how much baggage we bring into the studio and how we can process it in order to facilitate and create a nurturing environment for our participants.
Every yoga teacher should learn trauma-informed yoga to appreciate the way the practice helps heals wounds instead of instilling more damage in an already complicated scheme of social issues.
Every yoga teacher should learn trauma-informed yoga to question everything they think is right about the way they teach and to be humble enough to realize that we may not know everything and that we can and must do better.
Every yoga teacher should learn trauma-informed yoga to give students the freedom to choose what they want to feel in their bodies. To choose how to move, if they want to move. To choose to breathe in whatever way they want to breathe, whenever they want to breathe that way.
Every yoga teacher should learn trauma-informed yoga to know that we are not putting pieces of a sequence together but actually helping our students to put pieces of a fragmented story together and that is the real meaning of yoga.
Adrian Molina has been teaching yoga continuously since 2004. He is a well-known and respected instructor in Miami and New York, with an extensive worldwide following through his platform and school of yoga, Warrior Flow. Adrian is a writer, massage therapist, Reiki healer, meditation teacher, sound therapist, end-of-life doula, Mental Health First Aid facilitator, and a Kriya yoga practitioner in the lineage of Paramahansa Yogananda. Adrian is recognized for the community building work he does in Miami and New York as founder and executive director of The Warrior Flow Foundation, which brings the benefits of therapeutic and accessible yoga, mindfulness, and stress reduction tools to schools, shelters, hospitals, first responders, and hospice care.
Warrior Flow blog highlights leaders and change agents in yoga, movement, mindfulness, mental health, social justice, and community outreach. Subscribe to Warrior Flow TV to receive blogs and other news from Warrior Flow TV. Follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Warrior Flow TV offers hundreds of classes, including vinyasa yoga, meditation, HIIT, Pilates, barre, full-body workouts, yin yoga, restorative yoga, and much more, all for one low monthly or annual subscription fee. And a portion of every subscription supports The Warrior Flow Foundation. Click here to learn more.