Birth Trauma for Yoga Teachers & Therapists

Birth Trauma for Yoga Teachers & Therapists

Birth Trauma: Challenging & Traumatic Births

for yoga teachers & therapists

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Challenging & Traumatic Births

Date: Wed 19 May 2021

Time: 1200-1430 BST (UK Time)

Cost: £35

Miscarriage and Stillbirth

Date: Wed 26 May 2021

Time: 1200-1430 BST (UK Time)

Venue: Zoom

Cost: £35

Cost to attend both events: £60

Feedback from attendees of Tessa's Trainings:

"I really enjoyed this workshop.... I liked Tessa's examples ...Tessa guided some great visualisations ....I left feeling resourced and inspired with plenty of new material to explore in classes." Amba Cooper- The Pelvis in Pregnancy

"I did enjoy it, very much.  Many thanks for sharing your experiences and knowledge, and for providing a stimulating forum for discussion." Una Bentley - Biomechanics of Birth




Challenging & Traumatic Births 19th May 

Unfortunately, birth trauma in all its forms is common. As pregnancy and postnatal yoga teachers we have to be prepared that we will have women in our classes that will have experience of birth trauma, including miscarriage.
In this workshop you will discover:
  • Where to signpost your clients for support, if this wasn't done by the hospital or GP
  • How to recognise the signs of trauma and how someone may present in class if they have experienced trauma? (eg occasionally someone may appear calm and to be coping but may be 'going through the motions' and in a state of parasympathetic shut down)
  • How and when to teach your client with birth trauma how to self-regulate their nervous system, without overwhelming or re-traumatising
  • What to suggest if it's the birth partner that is experiencing flashbacks or other symptoms of trauma
  • How to get external support to help you avoid compassion fatigue or secondary trauma
  • You will be part of a safe space to explore your experience of birth trauma both from your classes and in your personal life, and how that affects your teaching.  When you can offer women in your classes or in 121s a safe space to be with their experience, acknowledge it and work gently with them, sharing practices in manageable steps, they will come to your classes long-term and recommend you to others.  You can create a very special community.
This is a challenging topic to learn about, but when we are ready, it is an incredible way to support women and lessen the taboo of talking about loss.

In this workshop, you will learn:

  • the prevalence of birth trauma, including for BAME groups, and whether this has increased during the pandemic
  • about the current services available for those who've experienced birth trauma
  • how the nervous system responds to trauma and triggers
  • why the freeze response is sometimes mistaken as consent
  • about an introduction to the foundations of trauma-sensitive yoga for this client group
  • why as yoga teachers we can offer valuable support for body-based healing and as an adjunct to talking therapies
  • to use choice and collaboration in the yoga practices used for anyone with experience of trauma
  • about further resources and what the next steps would be.

NB This workshop focuses on supporting the nervous system after trauma. For physical recovery from caesarean please see more about Amy's workshop "C-Section Recovery for Yoga Teachers"

Miscarriage & Stillbirth 26th May

In this workshop, you will learn:

  • the prevalence of miscarriage and stillbirth
  • about assessing the presentation of and signs of trauma
  • from polyvagal theory and how to break the cycle between activation of the sympathetic nervous system (flight/ fight) and freeze
  • to reflect on your ability to hold space for someone's emotion and create compassionate boundaries for you and your client
  • how to conduct a listening partnership - the importance of witnessing and acknowledging trauma (but knowing our boundaries - we are not offering a talking therapy as yoga teachers)
  • how to introduce embodied and needs-led practice
  • to consider the postnatal needs of someone who has experienced stillbirth and how to be sensitive to the impact of miscarriage in pregnancy classes
  • practices, including centring and utilising the senses
  • about further resources and what the next steps would be.

For those who experience a traumatic birth, miscarriage or stillbirth, trauma can have far reaching consequences for their quality of life.  There is still a strong narrative that mothers (and partners) should just get on with life because these things happen.  Whether someone is coming to a general class and you want to be aware of how to work in a trauma-informed way or you want to offer specific services around birth trauma, these workshops will provide an invaluable introduction.

We often think of trauma with a capital 'T'.  However, trauma can also be as a result of a violation of someone's integrity during the prenatal, labour and/or postnatal journey.  It might not be labelled as trauma in the usual way that we understand it but be something that didn't feel right and leaves an on-going feeling of not feel safe in your own skin.   It's also important to witness and acknowledge these experiences.

As a yoga teacher, you can offer body-based support for processing trauma, which complements talking therapies.  By sharing knowledge of how the nervous system functions, you can support someone to notice how their nervous system responds to a trigger, provide simple practices to ground, centre and find stability, and break the cycle that leads to overwhelm and burnout.

The two workshops will be complementary and cover different aspects of the nervous system in relation to birth trauma and how to utilise your existing yoga knowledge in a trauma-sensitive way to support these clients.

The workshops will also provide a space to regulate our own nervous systems in relation to the experiences our yoga clients have had and gain an understanding of vicarious or secondary trauma and compassionate boundaries. 

Individual workshop: investment £35; both workshops £60.

Tessa Sanderson

About the facilitator - Tessa Sanderson:

Tessa has taught Pregnancy Yoga for 15 years and has 12,000+ teaching hours under her belt, including Well Woman and Mother & Baby Yoga, Restorative and Birth Preparation workshops.  She has taught yoga in four diverse cities: London, Southampton, Bristol and Reading. She is the author of Pearls of Birth Wisdom: An Inner Journey with Stories, Insights and Practices.
Tessa is a member of her local Maternity Voices Forum at the Royal Berkshire Hospital and runs the Everything Baby Berkshire network for antenatal and postnatal professionals.  She has a PhD in Medical Sociology and loves using balloons as props in her pregnancy classes.  IG@tessa.venuti.sanderson and @birth_wisdom_pearls