Yoga for Trauma

Practicing yoga is one of the best ways to heal physical and mental pain, injury, and trauma. As such it is one of the key components of the Warriors Live On (WLO) integrative healing program.

The remedy for trauma is always one: to befriend the body again in order to develop a renewed relationship with it.  Growing the capacity to be aware and attentive to your body, mind and heart heals the past effects of trauma, restoring your ability to feel calm, focused and empowered in the present.

Freedom from recurring patterns arises from rebalancing rhythmic patterns in the body, breath and brain. Yoga was originally designed to renegotiate communication in the deeper neurophysiological and endocrine gland systems in the body and mind that are affected by trauma – structures such as the amygdala, HPA-axis, sympathetic/parasympathetic nerves, organs, and fascia.


Yoga Circle

Yoga session at Eight Elements West.


Structure of the Yoga for Trauma Class


Week 1:  Breath:  Breath & Rhythm Sequences 

Breath & Rhythm Sequences are vinyasa series held for 2-5 count in each pose, with alignment cues to tether and stabilize the body-mind-heart toward a calm, collected sense of self.


Week 2:  Yang:  Sympathetic Strengthening Sequences 

Sympathetic Strengthening Sequences are Iyengar style asanas that challenge you to become more alert, attentive and focused.  Feel more present in your body. This class prepares muscles and tissues to strengthen, and stimulates the nervous system toward aliveness.


Week 3:  Yin:  Parasympathetic Lengthening Sequences 

Parasympathetic Lengthening Sequences are performed in yin style, holding a pose for an extended period to open yin tissues which include fascia and joint ligaments.  Free tensions, and feel greater freedom of breath in releasing poses.   Relax, open, let go. 


Week 4:  Binds:  Vaults and Vayus Sequences

Vaults and Vayus Sequences emphasizes movements and binds for 3 pressure zones (vaults and vayus) in the body that build, contain and expand your energy – pelvis-abdomen, thorax, and cranium. 



Other Yoga Classes


Tues  7-8pm       Yoga As Medicine 101

Wed   7-8pm       Iyengar Yoga & Pranayama 101

Thur  7-8pm       Yoga for Trauma 101

Fri     9-10am      Yoga Fascia 201

Sun  10-11am     Yoga Cranial Visceral 201



Additional Resources


Effects of Sensory-Enhanced Yoga on Symptoms of Combat Stress in Deployed Military Personnel

The effects of sensory-enhanced hatha yoga on symptoms of combat stress in deployed military personnel were examined to compare their anxiety and sensory processing with that of civilians.  Seventy military personnel who were deployed to Iraq participated, with thirty-five receiving thrice-weekly sensory-enhance hatha yoga classes, and 35 not receiving any form of yoga. Sensory-enhanced hatha yoga for proactive combat stress management showed a significant improvement in mental health and quality-of-life factors.


Yoga Effective at Reducing Symptoms of Depression

Yoga-based interventions have promise for depressed mood and are feasible for patients with chronic, treatment-resistant depression

Reduced symptoms of depression and improved other secondary measures including quality of life, optimism, and cognitive and physical functioning. Sarah Shallit, MA, of Alliant University in San Francisco a group of 52 women age 25-45, one-half participated in a twice-weekly Bikram yoga class for eight weeks.  The rest were wait-listed as a control group. All participants were tested for depression levels before the study, and again at three, six and nine weeks. Findings showed significantly reduced symptoms of depression compared with the control group. 

From a pilot study of 29 adults, Maren Nyer, PhD, and Maya Nauphal, BA, of Massachusetts General Hospital presented data showing that eight weeks of at twice-weekly Bikram yoga significantly reduced symptoms of depression and improved secondary measures of quality of life, optimism, and cognitive and physical function.


Stress, Inflammation, and Yoga Practice

Yoga may dampen or minimize stress-related inflammatory and endocrine responses.

Inflammatory and endocrine responses of novice and expert yoga practitioners were compared before, during, and after a restorative hatha yoga session, as well as in two control conditions. 

Interested in free treatments sponsored by Warriors Live On? 

Veterans, to find out how to apply for free treatment for up to two years, go to Sign Up Now. A WLO Advisor will be your guide.  Begin with Introductory Sessions to find what works for you. If at any time you have questions contact Eva Belanger at: or call Eight Elements at: 858.459.0899. Eight Elements and Warriors Live On proudly thank you for your service.

For Veterans interested treatment without applying to WLO, services are offered at a discount:  

Single Class . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $ 10 (reg. $18)
Series of 4 
(exp 2 months)  . . . . . . $ 30 (reg. $62)

Yoga Sessions are led by Gloria Gonzalez, CMT SEP, is CCO/Founder of Eight Elements West, an Institute for Somatic Education and Integrative Wellness, and COO for Warriors Live On.  Her private practice includes working with nutrition, accumulated stress and trauma through:  PULSE 21-Day Detox, Somatic Experiencing, Visceral Manipulation, and Craniosacral Therapy.