This five-year research project brought trauma-informed yoga to women, children, and youth who have experienced violence and were using transition or second stage housing services in BC, as well as to those who support them. Yoga teachers from the community were trained in trauma-informed yoga in order to support these classes. The project explored how this style of yoga impacts the health and wellbeing of women and children who have experienced violence, as well as anti-violence workers.

This was a collaborative project between Yoga Outreach and the BC Society of Transition Houses a a member-based, provincial umbrella organization that, through leadership, support and collaboration, enhances the continuum of services and strategies to respond to, prevent and end violence against women, children and youth.

This project launched in 2015 and will ran through 2021 and was made possible through funding from the Public Health Agency of Canada.

We created this video series so that women and youth who have experienced violence could continue to access trauma-informed practices on their own and when the in-person classes are not available to them.

Gentle yoga practice with Yoga Outreach volunteer Angie Datt (available with English or Tagalog subtitles)

Active yoga practice with Yoga Outreach volunteer Joss Frank (available with English or Punjabi subtitles)

Yoga practice for Youth (or anyone) with Yoga Outreach volunteer Erica Huston

Short Chair Practice with Nicole Marcia

Gentle yoga practice in Arabic led by Yoga Outreach volunteer Sherien Hossny

Gentle Yoga Practice in Mandarin led by Yoga Outreach Volunteer Fanny Feng

Gentle Yoga class with Yoga Outreach Volunteer Kari Gundersen

Gentle Yoga Practice with Yoga Outreach Volunteer Michelle Clausius

Active Yoga Practice with Nicole Marcia

Short Grounding Practice with Yoga Outreach Volunteer Michelle Clausius

Gentle Yoga Practice with Yoga Outreach Volunteer Joss Frank

Gentle Yoga Practice with Yoga Outreach Volunteer Fanny Feng

Gentle Yoga Practice with Yoga Outreach Volunteer Sherien Hossny

Short Grounding Practice with Nicole Marcia

Yoga Practice for Youth (or anyone) with Yoga Outreach Volunteer Erica Huston

Flowing with Creation with Jessica Barudin

What we learned

Participant feedback

56 women did interviews where we asked about their experiences, benefits and drawbacks, ways they were using the techniques, etc. These are the most common themes that emerged.

“I got happiness becoming aware of how agile and strong my body still is.”

“It just provided me with a little respite from the unrelenting anxiety that’s so hard to overcome.”

“I was amazed that I could touch my toes, we were like “oh my god I can touch my toes!” It’s silly but it increased my flexibility amazingly”

“I had less tension and pain…I’m recovering from a surgery and have had a lot of pain in my back and this class really helped me release that. I felt much less pain physically since taking the class.”

“I find that with what I’m going through, it’s really nice to get out of the house and to have different activities, especially with other people…we’ve developed friendships, so there’s some social aspect to that as well and I think that’s very helpful because you meet other people who are going through similar circumstances, and we’re all growing and learning and healing”

“She [the teacher] doesn’t tell us what to do, she invited us to try and see what works for us”

“Our teacher was very aware of everybody’s needs and what suited our class and so we weren’t asked or shown to do things that we weren’t capable of doing.”

“They just helped me, they just helped to remind me about sort of that mind-body connection and how important it was and, you know it was like, it was I felt cared for, it was like I felt like a lot of people went to the trouble of making these classes happen and I was like ‘I feel kind of special’, yeah so it was nice.”

Agency partners for this project included:

  • Victoria Women’s Transition House
  • Dixon Transition Society
  • Helping Spirit Lodge Society
  • Burnaby Family Life
  • Vancouver and Lower Mainland Multicultural Family Support Services
  • Nelson Community Services
  • Kamloops YMCA YWCA
  • Cariboo Friendship Society
  • Castlegar & District Community Services
  • Cowichan Women Against Violence Society
  • Kootenai Community Centre Society
  • North Coast Transition Society
  • SAFE Society
  • South Okanagan Women in Need Society (SOWINS)
  • Westcoast Community Resources Society
  • Revelstoke Women’s Shelter
  • PEACE Program Kamloops YMCA YWCA
  • PEACE Program Howe Sound Women’s Centre
  • PEACE Program Cariboo Friendship Society
  • PEACE Program Robson Valley Support Society

Project funded by Public Health Agency of Canada