Integrating Polyvagal Theory with Trauma informed Yoga

Online workshop series with Dr. Shirley Telles

Learn the importance of Polyvagal Theory for Yoga teachers and Yoga therapists and learn Yoga practices that assist with Healing Trauma in this workshop with Dr. Shirley Telles.

Integrating Polyvagal Theory with Yoga is of special importance to Yoga therapists and Yoga teachers. Polyvagal Theory (PVT) was introduced by Stephen Porges PhD in 1994. The PVT puts forth new ideas about how shifts in the involuntary or autonomic nervous system balance can lead to lead three distinctly different states (viz., fight-or-flight, freeze and social engagement). These states influence our physical and psychological/intellectual functions very differently. The differences between these states are the differences between coping with stress in a healthy way and stress management strategies which are unhealthy and lead to serious mental and physical health consequences. The differences between these states also show up in a wide spectrum of possibilities in social engagement and interpersonal interactions.

What is most interesting for Yoga professionals is that there are possible ways one can strive to achieve the most desirable of these three states (i.e., social engagement), while consciously using specific strategies to avoid undesirable ‘fight-or-flight’ and ‘freeze’ states. Certain Yoga practices are considered especially likely to allow one to move into the physiological state associated with ‘social engagement’.

  • Basics about the Autonomic Nervous System, especially the vagus nerve, of relevance to the PVT.
  • The three states described in the PVT, viz., fight-or-flight, freeze and social engagement and the characteristics of each.
  • Easy techniques to access the state conducive to social engagement, including Yoga practices

When faced with an overwhelming threat the human body has certain protective responses. When the threat is no longer present, our physiology should be able to return to the resting and balanced state. However sometimes the threat is so damaging to physical and psychological functioning that this expected restoration cannot and does not take place. This often occurs post-trauma.

There are different stages in the process of healing from trauma. Four typical stages include:  acknowledgment, safety, processing with rationalizing and restoration of balance. Acknowledgment that trauma occurred requires preparation as the person moves beyond denial of trauma. Denial is the unconscious response to create emotional distance between the traumatic event and oneself and the person needs to go beyond this stage into acknowledging that trauma occurred. This is essential for healing. 

During the other stages in the healing process, understanding of the polyvagal theory can help – that is, ‘vagus nerve activity – which type, when and how’. This knowledge can help the person be active, empowered and self-efficacious in their healing. The knowledge can also help the process of healing to be at the pace and level of focus suited to each person’s mental and physical status.

  • Stages of trauma
  • The Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) and trauma responses
  • Healing trauma through understanding the ANS trauma responses and how to go beyond them
  • Adding principles from Yoga
  • Yoga techniques to enhance ventral vagus nerve activity
  • Yoga practices for different stages of trauma healing

Each module of this workshop includes two 30 minute presentations, Q&A and Yoga practice.

  • Yoga therapists, Yoga teachers and Yoga teacher trainees
  • Therapists, health professionals and complementary therapists. Medical doctors, mental health professionals and complementary therapists
  • Learn from Dr. Shirley Telles, world leading Yoga researcher, scientist and presenter
  • Learn practical tools and techniques that you can apply immediately with your students and clients
  • Educate yourself about the safest and most effective way to assist yourself, your clients and students experiencing trauma
  • Deepen your knowledge of Yoga as a therapeutic practice
  • Yoga therapists/teachers are eligible for 3 Continuing Professional Development point
  • A Certificate of Attendance is available on completion
  • The recordings will be available to you for 12 months so you can review the material

You will need: a computer and stable internet connection.
If you can’t attend live, you will be able to watch the recordings.

Module 1Friday 12 April 20242.00pm – 3.30pm AEST
Module 2Tuesday 16 April 20242.00pm – 3.30pm AEST

Delivery: Online via Zoom in real time
Duration: Two 90 minute workshops.
Cost: $247. Prices include GST.

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Shirley Telles (Dr.)

Dr Shirley Telles has a PhD in Neurophysiology and a conventional medical degree, with over 250 articles on Yoga in indexed journals and published books.

She is one of the most highly sought after Yoga presenters in the world and she was invited to speak to the Dalai Lama on Yoga. Shirley is an engaging, knowledgeable and interesting presenter.

Shirley is co-editor of numerous books. She co-edited The Principles and Practice of Yoga in Health Care, with Sat Bir Khalsa PhD, (Harvard Medical School), Dr Timothy McCall MD, (Yoga as medicine) and Prof. Lorenzo Cohen, (MD Anderson Cancer Center)

Shirley is a Research Advisor and directs yoga research for Patanjali Research Foundation in Hardwar, India, while consulting globally in areas related to Yoga and wellness.

She has a wonderful capacity to bring together Yoga philosophy and science and to teach complex concepts so that you can easily understand and practically apply the knowledge.

Shirley is an active Yoga practitioner and believes that Yoga practice positively impacts all dimensions of life. Her knowledge is vast and yet she is incredibly humble and easy to connect with.

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