Jenn Armstrong-Solomon was somebody who at all times had the “large job.” For 20 years she managed a number of eating places and was at all times busy. Throughout a interval of reflection, although, Armstrong-Solomon got here to understand her have to at all times be busy was a coping mechanism, a response to trauma from her early childhood and adolescence.
“On a suggestion from my therapist I went to a yoga class and was hooked fairly instantly,” she mentioned. “Yoga opened an area for me to be curious, pause, mindfully transfer and see physique sensations stripped from the narrative of storytelling thoughts chatter.”
Yoga grew to become a significant a part of Armstrong-Solomon’s life, as she observed enhancements she mentioned she knew had been from yoga however didn’t perceive why. She dove into learning the apply and in doing so found trauma-sensitive yoga about 10 years in the past.
“From there I knew immediately that my path of yoga was endlessly modified,” she mentioned. “Since then I’ve centered virtually solely on training, learning and instructing this particular fashion.”
What’s trauma-sensitive yoga
Now in its third 12 months, Armstrong-Solomon’s trauma-sensitive yoga nonprofit, Tall Mountain Wellness, is concentrated on utilizing all of the limbs of yoga to minimize the struggling related to trauma problems like post-traumatic stress dysfunction and sophisticated trauma. It’s totally different from what one would expertise in a daily group yoga class, she mentioned.
“Primarily, trauma is the lack of the physique to return to homeostasis after an occasion,” she mentioned. “Trauma is subjective. One thing that causes long-term and post-traumatic occasion problems in a single individual could not for one more.
The extra we study in regards to the mind/physique connection the extra we see the devastating long-term results of trauma on our well being.”
It’s an advanced factor to clarify, however Armstrong-Solomon factors to a quote by Viktor Frankl, the logotherapy founder and Holocaust survivor, as capturing it greatest.
“I’m paraphrasing, however it goes, ‘between stimulus and response there’s a pause and in that pause is freedom,’” she mentioned. “That’s basically what we do. We discover the pause. We strive to hang around there. We work in direction of response as a substitute of response.”
The consequences of long-term trauma on the physique have been linked to a litany of points, akin to sure sorts of most cancers, fibromyalgia, migraines, blood stress points, coronary heart illness, “in addition to a lot greater charges of habit, drug abuse and incarceration.”
“Then the subsequent large query grew to become, how can we get this apply to the populations that want it most,” she mentioned.
Bringing it to those that want it
It’s that final half that led Armstrong-Solomon to partnerships with a number of organizations round Summit County. It started with a dialog between her and Roy Parker, director of the Summit County Restoration Basis, a nonprofit created in 2013 to supply assist to members within the county’s Drug Courtroom program. Parker launched Armstrong-Solomon to Lt. Kacey Bates on the Summit County Sheriff’s Workplace, after which to Christie Frey on the Drug Courtroom, and each agreed to implement her program.
“From there it actually took off,” Armstrong-Solomon mentioned. “At present I train round 15 courses per week by the nonprofit, each small group and particular person yoga remedy.”
The partnerships have continued to kind, too. Tall Mountain Wellness now works with Peace Home, the Nationwide Potential Heart, the Kids’s Justice Heart, Encircle and the Park Metropolis Group Basis. And the entire courses are provided freed from cost to the members.
“We wish to make sure that as many individuals who would profit from this program have the chance,” she mentioned. “Even by the challenges of the final 12 months providers had been supplied to over 1,000 individuals.”
Partnering with the Restoration Basis made sense to Armstrong-Solomon, she mentioned, as a result of many individuals who find yourself within the authorized system actually simply want care and help, not punishment.
“We all know due to fantastic analysis from the Heart for Trauma and Embodiment and the Jail Yoga Mission that participation on this fashion of yoga not solely lessens the results of trauma on the physique, it additionally reduces recidivism charges amongst individuals experiencing habit and incarceration,” Armstrong-Solomon mentioned.
Parker mentioned he met Armstrong-Solomon when she was pitching her apply to the individuals who oversee the Summit County Jail and sat in on the assembly.
“We listened to her aspirations and the jail directors permitted her program on the spot,” he mentioned. “Jenn then started trauma-informed yoga courses in separate males’s and ladies’s courses. The scholar-inmates, lots of whom endure and had been arrested resulting from habit, grew to become enamored with this system, the category and Jenn. Her presence and information are inspiring, calming and magical. Scholar-inmates had been enthralled by the category.”
Parker mentioned Drug Courtroom members have been simply as enthusiastic, whilst COVID protocols have pressured the courses to happen over video convention.
“Once more, Jenn is so inspiring, calming and nurturing,” Parker mentioned. “When COVID hit … Jenn continued each jail and Drug Courtroom yoga courses, making one of the best of the circumstances imposed. In some ways, that’s the allegory and metaphor of trauma-informed yoga, Jenn’s experience.”
Whereas Tall Mountain Wellness works with organizations just like the Drug Courtroom and the county jail, Armstrong-Solomon careworn that anybody and everybody can profit from trauma-sensitive yoga.
“All of us have junk. All of us have stress,” she mentioned. “At present roughly 80% of the inhabitants attest to having skilled a minimum of one traumatic occasion of their life, and about 14% of People might be recognized with PTSD this 12 months. Who is aware of if that quantity can be greater with much less stigma and total higher entry to psychological well being providers?”