New Online Classes with Esther on Monday Evenings (First Online Mixed Class)

Esther has started a new online class on Monday evenings, the very first online mixed class. At the moment the participants identify as female, however joining these mixed classes is open to every gender identity, race, and sexual orientation. This makes for an exciting exploration of the use of language, and how to make sure the language used is non-gendered as well as trauma-sensitive. I was able to speak to one of the participants about their experience attending the Monday night class, after having also attended the other online classes during holidays. They mentioned how their expectations for a mixed class were different and mentioned that the size of the group is much smaller than the other groups, which makes the Monday night class a very different class to attend. 

The participants journey started with talk-therapy, through referrals to the GGZ in the Netherlands, where, the participant mentions that there is mainly a focus on talk-therapy. Although there is an understanding that the body stays behind, there is no offer from the organisation to attend any bodily therapy. This is when the participant discovered trauma-sensitive yoga, and now they experience that talk-therapy and trauma-sensitive yoga complement one another perfectly. It is an anchor and a motivation to spend time with their body, every Monday. 

The participant also mentions how different trauma-sensitive yoga is from traditional yoga: “When you go to a traditional yoga class, you can expect to come out feeling better. With trauma-sensitive yoga, you know that things can get uncomfortable, challenging and that you might’ve disassociated, but these are all learning moments between you and your own body. You commit to working on- and to move with your trauma, choosing what movements to make, and having the option to not follow the instructor like you unconsciously do in traditional yoga. It makes that you have to put in effort to make a movement, or to choose not to make a movement, and that you’re actively engaging in your body, rather than follow what an instructor does with their body.”

Another participant started a year ago in the “Oranje Huis” with trauma-sensitive yoga classes and has found the classes to be incredibly and unbelievably helpful. Now, a year of practice down the line. The participant has expressed their gratitude towards the practice and its facilitators: “I’m slowly finding the pieces of my broken body. I can look at the pieces, engage with them, and then I try to find their place.” The participant explains that the first time practising trauma-sensitive yoga, to be a very new experience. Yes, you can recognise some movements from regular yoga classes, however, the effect is completely different. Learning to make a choice, to make a certain movement, is highly effective on- and also off the mat. The participant also notes that online classes are a necessity. Because we can’t come together, you’re missing out on a lot. The online classes make it possible to still practice with your body, rather than not at all.