Facebook icon.Twitter icon.Youtube icon.instagram icon.

Main Menu

New Project! Trauma-informed Yoga for Youth in Conflict with the Law

You are here

trauma-informed yoga for youth in conflict with the law

July 19, 2016.

We are absolutely thrilled to announce that we have received initial funding from the Department of Justice Canada to explore whether trauma-informed yoga could enhance health outcomes for drug treatment with justice involved youth. The first phase of this project is to conduct a literature review of existing research into the use of trauma-informed yoga as part of drug treatment for youth with a particular focus on those involved in the justice system. We will also be performing an environmental scan of existing drug treatment programs for youth within BC.

This project is essentially a fact finding mission to determine if there is evidence to support using trauma-informed yoga as part of a larger drug treatment strategy for youth and identify potential program partners to explore implementation.

If you have any contacts or information that could help us with this please email us!

More Information

Yoga Outreach ("YO") has observed that many of the youth we serve embody the multiple risk factors for mental health challenges, addictions, and trauma related obstacles. 

We believe a trauma-informed intervention combined with other drug treatment programs has the potential to enhance drug treatment health outcomes for youth in conflict with the law. Research supports the benefit of these techniques as complementary therapies for youth living with a wide variety of mental health and addiction issues, for stress reduction and for increasing overall well-being (Kabat-Zinn, 1990; Ernst, 2006; Tullis, 2007). By supporting and enhancing the efficacy of other therapeutic interventions, trauma-informed yoga techniques can contribute to the long-term stability of clients. 

This initial assessment phase would allow YO to conduct a literature scan of existing research to answer the question “Does trauma-informed yoga enhance drug treatment outcomes for youth?” This research would help us to assess what type of programming may work best in complement with existing drug treatment programs for justice system involved youth. In addition, YO would perform an environmental scan of existing drug treatment options for youth in British Columbia as well as what treatment programs exist within the justice system. This exploration would help us to identify potential program partners for a pilot project to design, implement, and test the success of incorporating trauma-informed yoga into drug treatment programs for justice system involved youth. Additionally, this environmental scan will help us to identify aspects of cultural relevancy that may need to be adjusted in order to make yoga based programming accessible to youth in conflict with the law. 

Yoga Outreach has been working with young offenders providing yoga programming for 18 years. Our program at Burnaby Youth Custody Centre is one of our most successful. This project will allow us to take what we have learned from working in this environment with these youth and adapt our approach to trauma-informed yoga specifically for drug treatment programs involving these youth. If successful this project could provide a model for a nation wide trauma-informed yoga component to be included in drug treatment programs for youth both in custody and those at-risk of conflict with the law.


Burnaby Youth Custody Centre
For as little as $15 a month, less than a drop in yoga class, you can ensure that youth and adults in mental health facilities, prison or youth custody, alcohol and drug treatment centers, women and children who have experienced violence, or adults suffering from early onset dementia, have access to the powerful and healing practices of yoga and meditation, providing a method to reclaim their minds and bodies, to self regulate, and to connect with people in their community.