Program Feature: Crisis Stabilization Unit at Richmond Behavioral Health Authority

Project Yoga Richmond partners with a variety of communities and organizations to share the benefits of yoga. Every time you practice with us, you support our yoga and mindfulness programs. We want to share a bit more about them with you!

For our first ever Program Feature, we are highlighting our program partnership with Crisis Stabilization Unit at Richmond Behavioral Health Authority for adults receiving mental health services. Every Thursday at 10:45 am, PYR Ambassador Liz Creasman offers the opportunity for these students to practice yoga.

The students are diverse in age, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status, and many have survived adversity. Many have not had the opportunity to practice yoga in the past due to lack of resources, awareness, anxiety, and/or depression. Liz helps overcome these barriers by meeting students where they are (both physically and mentally). When barriers are removed and this group is able to practice yoga, benefits include: decrease anxiety, increased self-confidence and motivation, physical and emotional balance, increased body awareness and mood stability and emotional regulation. Yoga aids in alleviating physical symptoms and side effects such as muscle stiffness and tension, digestion, and headaches.

Here is a preview of what this class with Liz looks like:

“I begin the session with grounding and breathwork to decrease anxiety and increase self-confidence. We practice a three-part breath. I love the unity experienced in this moment of collective breathing. I also love when the students are supportive of each other and creating a sense of community among one another.  

Then, I instruct movements that repeat to continue to empower participants and acknowledge differences in repetitions. I focus on empowering postures and balance.  I encourage participants to honor their bodies. I often reinforce that everyone has a different yoga practice and the importance of eliminating judgment and comparison. I end the session with a guided meditation based on colors, compassion, or safe places.

Many of the students say that they are feeling muscles they haven’t felt in years. They often comment on how calm and grounded they feel after class. I encourage the students to utilize tools they have learned in our session when they feel emotionally in need. Many of them are receptive to this idea and identify that they could use the relaxation techniques.

This program allows the group members to relate to one another and acknowledge that we are all on a different path. The weekly sessions are a compliment to the other therapies offered by RBHA. We are providing tools that they are able to apply in their daily lives to maintain emotional safety.”

Every time you practice with PYR, you help support our programs, such as this one. Liz will be teaching and highlighting Trauma-Informed Yoga at 9am on August 18 during Saturday Salutations at the VMFA! Save your spot and pay-what-you-can in advance to support these programs!
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4 Ways Trauma Informed Yoga Supports Students

Yoga provides a supportive space to reconnect with the body, as a mind-body disconnect is often a result of traumatic experiences.  Yoga is grounding and allows practitioners a framework to practice making space from traumatic thoughts, all the while exposing folks to their present moment experience.

Trauma informed yoga empowers students with knowledge and choice. Here are 4 ways trauma-informed classes support students!

  1. Provides a lot of information about the function of each posture
  2. Language used during class is invitational and as inclusive as possible
  3. Many options are provided so that each practitioner can discover their edge appropriately, with the right amount of challenge and comfort
  4. Emphasizes the therapeutic aspects of asana
Everyone could benefit from a trauma-informed yoga class as it offers a welcoming and empowering space to explore the body, breath, mind, emotions!

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