Episode 3:
Trauma Training For Every Yoga Teacher

Margaret Howard is a licensed clinical social worker in the state of Missouri. She practices social work and psychotherapy, specializing in trauma and is an advocate for survivors of human trafficking. Margaret has a Master in Fine Arts, a degree in poetry, she is an organic gardener, yogi, mother and grandmother.

Margaret advocates for being aware that we’ve all experienced trauma in one form or another should be a “basic human sensitivity”. Shannon and Margaret discuss how being aware of trauma sensitivities through trauma training is a crucial aspect of teaching yoga, how to recognize it and how to help your students.


Trauma Training For Every Yoga Teacher Podcast Episode

[3:00] Why trauma training should be part of yoga teacher training

[3:28] Margaret’s personal story of being triggered in yoga class

[9:00] Do no harm in yoga class: “Let go of the idea that traumatized people are some kind of special population.”

[11:00] What to do when a student is modifying a pose- never call someone out in class

[12:35] No touch policy until you have more trauma safety training

[13:00] Why asking a student if they don’t mind being touched may not be enough- discussion of disassociation

[15:25] Yoga class is intimate- give your students the capacity to say no, space to leave no questions asked

[16:28] Are yes/no to touch flip cards helpful?

[18:10] David Emmerson’s Trauma-Sensitive Yoga Training

[19:25] Do we include trauma on student intake forms?

[22:30]: Examine expectation for students to “…have their hearts open at all times.” Leave it up to the student as it may be an act of self-preservation to shut down. Come into class with no agenda

[23:20] What trauma trigger looks like in yoga class- sympathetic arousal, disassociation

[29:20] Have a referral list of trauma informed therapists that are trusted, websites, book resources ready to provide backup support to your students

[32:30] The benefits of yoga for healing trauma

Connect with Margaret:

Website: http://www.thewildtherapist.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/margarethowardLCSW/
Twitter: @aWildTherapist
Instagram: @theWildTherapist
Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/margarethowardtherapist/


Margaret Howard’s articles Trauma Training Should Be Mandatory for Yoga Teachers:

Part I: Trauma Training Should Be Mandatory for Yoga Teacher

Part II:Trauma Training Should Be Mandatory for Yoga Teacher

Part III:Trauma Training Should Be Mandatory for Yoga Teacher

Study Referenced In Margaret’s Article:

Effectiveness of an Extended Yoga Treatment for Women with Chronic Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

David Emmerson’s Trauma Sensitive Yoga Training

Somatic Experience Training

Overcoming Trauma Through Yoga by David Emerson and Elizabeth Hopper

Shannon’s student waiver form (printable and editable versions available).


After the show Margaret wrote to me to clarify that while she was in the Army from age 19 to 21 and worked in electronics there (but not writing pilot manuals), she did get a pilot’s license as soon as she got out of the military, while continuing to work in electronics. She then raised her children while slowly completing her undergraduate and graduate degrees (eventually getting the MFA in poetry) and working as a writer and editor, then as a college writing instructor for many years. Finally, tiring of the adjunct professor grind she moved to writing technical manuals for aircraft before returning to graduate school to become a clinical social worker, advocate, and trauma therapist.


Summary of this episode was written by Laura Cameron, writer and yoga student