Volunteer Teaches Women Trauma-Informed Yoga at Reentry Facility

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For Reentry Week we wanted to share another great story on how community members donate their time and volunteer their skills to help individuals make a successful transition back into our communities after incarceration.

Pioneer’s Helen B. Ratcliff House (HBR) in Seattle is now offering residents trauma-informed yoga! HBR is a work release serving women released from state prison or King County jail. Over the years, several programs have been offered at the work release including: Thinking for a Change group therapy, Home Free, bible studies, Alcoholics and Debtors Anonymous meetings, poetry and art classes given in the community. The yoga classes will be a great addition to the mix.

Sarah Hay, a University of Washington intern who is studying for her masters in social work in the mental health track, will be giving the yoga classes every Tuesday and Thursday evening from 6pm – 7pm. She is a certified instructor trained in trauma-informed yoga.

Many female residents at HBR have experienced physical and mental abuse either before they were incarcerated or when they were in prison. Anxiety, depression, behavioral issues, relationship stress, and health issues are often the result of unresolved trauma. The goal of a trauma-informed yoga practice is to build resiliency and establish greater self-regulation. It is about helping a person to feel safe and at-home in her body so that she can feel stable, have good self-esteem, and healthy relationships. A trauma-informed yoga practice is sensitive to the needs of a participant with trauma symptoms and offers them tools to feel safe, empowered, and self-regulated.

Sarah’s goal for teaching yoga at HBR is to provide residents with a method of relaxation, to help them manage difficult emotional responses and most importantly to support them in developing a positive relationship with their body on their own terms. Yoga poses, breathing techniques and meditation will be covered in the class to help women relieve stress. The yoga practice will also offer possible coping skills for real life challenges and provide another tool to assist in the women’s successful reentry back into our communities.

Pioneer is very grateful for Sarah’s time and skill that she is donating to our residents at HBR to help them succeed in life.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016