Yoga Addresses Secondary Trauma

The volunteers at the Sexual Assault Response Network of Central Ohio (SARNCO) have an often-times thankless job.  This group, made up almost exclusively of women, deals with emotionally charged traumatic situations – the after effects of sexual violence –hours, days and weeks after its occurrence.  Volunteers provide emotional support, crisis intervention and referral information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to survivors of sexual violence.

After attending a mandatory 40-hour training program, the volunteers work as Emergency Room advocates; staff a 24 hour helpline; help with long term support to survivors; and educate the public through sexual assault prevention and outreach programs.  There is high burnout and high potential for incidences of secondary trauma (defined as "the stress resulting from helping or wanting to help a traumatized or suffering person."  Vicarious trauma is the term used to describe the "cumulative transformative effect of working with survivors of traumatic life events.")

The focus of our classes will be to teach stress management and self-care techniques through gentle vinyasa yoga, restorative yoga poses, breathing techniques (pranayama), iRest Yoga Nidra and aromatherapy.  We hope to both thank the volunteers for the work they do, and also give them a calm and nurturing space in which to process the demands of their high stress work.

About SARNCO: http://www.ohiohealth.com/sexualassaultresponsenetwork

Quotes from students:  "Thank you again for offering this class. I enjoyed it so much. It has truly helped me in many ways. I've noticed a positive difference in my mood since starting, which has helped me manage stress better. Not only were the practices relaxing and stress-relieving, but the things we learned have begun to seep into my everyday life. I have heard about things like the inner resource before, but something about iRest just made it stick. I think the most helpful thing I will take away is welcoming my thoughts and feelings. I have been able to incorporate this into my thinking process everyday and it has been very helpful."

"Thank you so much for this class. I completely, thoroughly enjoy it. I forget what being truly relaxed is sometimes and the spiritual connection is wonderful!"

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