268: Yoga for Survivors of Sexual Assault with Nikki Adams

Content Warning: This episode contains mentions of sexual violence and may be upsetting for some listeners.

Sexual abuse is a huge crisis around the world, directly impacting a significant portion of the global population, and more broadly speaking, affecting everyone. Nikki Adams is on the podcast to share with us more about this topic and how yoga, particularly trauma-informed yoga, can be an option and entry point for healing for survivors.

Nikki is a trauma-informed yoga teacher, and owner of Beauty for Ashes Wellness Cultivation. She helps survivors of childhood sexual abuse empower themselves to trust love and heal their bodies. Through wellness and yoga, Nikki creates an inspirational, safe space for survivors to naturally breakthrough the stigma of childhood sexual abuse. She draws on her own personal experiences and the healing techniques that have helped her in her healing journey to help others.

Nikki shares how yoga helped her as a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, and explains why all yoga teachers (and humans) need to be trauma-informed. She also offers advice on what poses help and what ones may be triggering, how to hold space with compassion for everyone, why giving choices and the language we use is so important, and how we can re-assessing our yoga spaces from a trauma-informed lens.

If you have ever taught a yoga class for humans, this episode is for you, because we have all experienced some form of trauma in our lives.

Key Takeaways:

[4:31] Content Warning: This episode contains mentions of sexual violence and may be upsetting for some listeners.

[5:04] Shannon introduces her guest for this episode – Nikki Adams.

[7:30] Shannon gives thanks to OfferingTree for sponsoring the podcast and shares about a new article they posted!

[11:24] What does Nikki do and who does she do it for?

[11:44] How did Nikki realize that yoga fits really well in helping survivors of childhood sexual abuse?

“Being able to not have to speak about what happened to me and being able to process through my body – It was very important, a very important part of my healing journey and I wanted to share that with other survivors.” ~ Nikki Adams

[14:20] Nikki firmly believes that every yoga teacher should be trauma-informed.  What is the importance of that?

[16:00] How can yoga teachers respond if a student tells them that they are a survivor of childhood sexual abuse? What should they know in that moment?

[18:28] How does yoga help survivors of sexual abuse or trauma?

“Healing and starting the healing journey through yoga is possible.” ~ Nikki Adams

[20:35] What has Nikki learned through her work with survivors and using yoga as a way to heal?

[22:21] How did Nikki decide that she wanted to focus on serving survivors?

[25:50] How can survivors start to find healing through yoga?

[28:34] What does Nikki wish all yoga teachers understood?

“Start with yourselves. We’ve all been through something and maybe starting to use more gentle cues and think about how you want to be treated… Show yourself grace, show yourself compassion so that it can come out into your class.”
~ Nikki Adams

[30:56] How can we hold space for the people coming into our yoga classes?

[32:07] How does Nikki work with groups of survivors and what does that look like?

[36:58] Find out more about Nikki and her work on Instagram and via her website.

[38:32] Shannon reflects on her conversation with Nikki.


Gratitude to our Sponsor, OfferingTree and Pelvic Health Professionals.

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