Trauma-Informed Yoga vs. Wellness Yoga

Trauma-Informed Yoga vs. Wellness Yoga

There are different types of yoga?


YES! Yoga can be used for many different purposes, but there are important distinctions in how they are used. 


Wellness Yoga


Wellness yoga is probably the type you are most familiar with. The intent of this exercise is to create flexibility and relaxation. The four main purposes of wellness yoga are said to be postures, regulation of breathing, relaxation, and meditation. Some familiar poses include:

  • Downward-facing dog
  • Mountain pose
  • Warrior
  • Triangle 
  • Plank 
  • Tree
  • Dancer’s Pose


These poses and more help increase the body’s flexibility, strengthen the muscles, and create an overall relaxation both physically and mentally. Some other physical benefits of wellness yoga include: 

  • Increased muscle tone
  • Cardio
  • Circulatory health 
  • Protection from future injury 


Trauma-Informed Yoga 


This form of yoga is specifically targeted towards treating trauma. Trauma-informed yoga helps to regulate your body’s physical responses and emotions by working with the vagus nerve, breath, mindfulness, and posture. A simple yet broad definition of trauma is “a deeply distressing experience.” The aim of incorporating trauma-informed yoga is to work together with the body’s negative physical responses in regards to the experienced trauma while bringing awareness to the current moment and current sensations of the body. 


This is different from wellness yoga because of the desired outcome, and often, also by the execution. It is a more targeted approach because of what this type of movement therapy aims to achieve. 


Some of the routine poses often seen in wellness yoga have the potential to trigger a negative response in trauma victims. Because of this, trauma-informed yoga is less focused on the execution of the poses and more on the experience of the individual. 


Yoga therapist Javinia Heyman says “One of the most important concepts of trauma-informed yoga is that the student has a sense of control over their practice and their body.” This aspect creates an environment of safety. We call this concept Agency: the ability to make choices for the self throughout the current moment. Often, agency is part of what is lost after a traumatic event, and it can be restored through trauma-informed practices.


Trauma-informed yoga practice can also be used to aid in treatment for anxiety and depression. Again, this type of yoga encourages a continuous and non-judgemental relationship between the body and the mind by working with unwanted responses to everyday stressors. 


Trauma-informed yoga benefits those that have experienced:

  • abuse
  • addiction
  • anxiety
  • body dysmorphia
  • chronic illness and pain
  • depression
  • grief
  • intergenerational trauma
  • incarceration
  • mass violence or war
  • PTSD
  • sexual assault
  • suicidal ideation or attempts
  • racial traumas


No matter what you are facing, rest in the words written in Isaiah 41: 10 – “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” The Lord is present in every trial!


Both wellness yoga and trauma yoga have great benefits. If you have questions on which type of yoga would be best for you, reach out to 678-389-1195 and we will be happy to talk with you! 


At Mind & Body Christian Health Group, LLC we offer individual yoga sessions as well as group chair yoga for trauma, anxiety, and depression. 


Groups are capped at a maximum of 6 people and are designed to be accessible for all levels of fitness. The goal for group chair yoga is to practice from a trauma-informed perspective and aims to heal the body and mind through gentle movement, meditation and breathwork.


Individual sessions are completely private and tailored specifically to your goals and needs. This could be a mixture of wellness yoga and trauma-informed yoga.


You can also read more about Julia Townsend, our Trauma-Informed Yoga Practitioner, by clicking here.