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Exhale to Inhale's Approach to Trauma-Informed Yoga

Updated: Jul 11, 2020

By Allison Ray Jeraci

Photo by Andrea Killam

Yoga International

Over the course of five years, I had the pleasure of getting to know Jessica Lillian—first as her yoga teacher, and then as a friend. I watched her fall in love with her practice and then go on to become a teacher herself. Now, she works in the field of trauma-informed yoga, teaching yoga to survivors of domestic violence and abuse.

Jessica volunteers for Exhale to Inhale, an organization founded in 2013 that offers yoga classes in domestic violence shelters, taught by teachers who have been trained in a trauma-sensitive approach, with an aim to help empower survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault.

I have felt compelled to share her work, especially considering the recent mass revelation of sexual misconduct in the entertainment industry—and, sadly, in the yoga world—with thousands of women having shared their #metoo stories. As we begin to recognize the prevalence of sexual assault and bring it to light, we are also seeing clearly just how many people have been directly affected by it. Creating trauma-sensitive yoga spaces, then, is a necessity.

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