Trauma-Sensitive Yoga (TCTSY)


Bringing the body into treatment

1st in Atlantic Canada: Trauma Center Trauma-Sensitive Yoga with Katrina Crowson.

Trauma Centre Trauma-Sensitive Yoga (TCTSY) is Hatha Yoga with an emphasis on a body-based experience. I do not prescribe yoga forms but suggest a practice that we can do together.

TCTSY is empirically validated and was developed to be an adjunct to therapy for those who are experiencing complex trauma or treatment resistant traumatic stress (PTSD).

History of the TCTSY

Dave Emerson and Bessel van der Kolk – author of The Body Keeps the Score – began a collaboration in 2002 that resulted in coining the term Trauma-Sensitive Yoga. The project was for Dave to begin teaching yoga at the Trauma Center, and for van der Kolk and colleagues to study it. After two pilot studies from 2003-2006, the Trauma Center received the first grant ever given to study yoga for trauma, for PTSD. The Trauma Centre is at the Justice Resource Institute in Massachusetts USA, founded by Bessel van der Kolk. TCTSY has foundations in trauma theory, attachment theory, and neuroscience.

“The goal of treatment of PTSD is to help people live in the present, without feeling or behaving according to irrelevant demands to the past”
Bessel van der Kolk

How does TCTSY differ from traditional yoga?

We use yoga forms to practice making choices, to notice how we feel in our body, and to learn that we are in charge of our body.

Would you like to try it?

TCTSY is not about the yoga forms, but about having a present moment experience with your body, movement and muscle dynamics like stretching and strengthening. You are invited to notice sensation in your body and make choices in your practice.

  • no imagery. T he language used in a TCTSY lesson is concrete.
  • no hands-on assistance. You are in charge of your body.
  • lots of repetition.
  • no commands. The language used is invitational.

Throughout a Trauma-Sensitive Yoga lesson, you are welcome to follow Katrina, at your own pace, or choose a yoga form that would be useful for you in the moment.

What to expect from a private lesson

If feeling safe in your activities is a concern for you, maybe a one-one-one lesson would be more predictable and reliable. Meeting with me for a private lesson allows you the option of choosing the yoga forms you would like to experiment with, or perhaps having me suggest a practice for you to follow at your own pace. Feel free to stay in a yoga form or create a rhythm, moving in and out of a posture.

TCTSY lessons are generally 45 minutes long, or one hour. Children only need maybe a 15 minute practice to start.

It doesn’t matter if you are experienced with yoga or not at all. Each student has different needs. You are welcome to go at your own pace and to make choices in your practice to suit your needs.

Your investment: $80

What to expect from a group lesson

Group lessons offer the opportunity to do yoga with others in a respectful environment. TCTSY is offered at separate times to male-identifying groups and female-identifying groups.

We ask that you keep the names of your group mates confidential. Thank you. Group lessons have no more than 8 participants.

Stay tuned for a TCTSY class for veterans.

You are welcome to consult with me, Katrina, on the group lesson that would be the most useful for you.

Your Investment: depends on the length of the session
Drop-in: $15

Common Questions:

What do I wear?
Wear clothing that is useful when bending and stretching. Depending on the time of year, you may want to wear layers or bring a sweater.

Do I need a yoga mat?
Breathe Mindfulness Centre provides yoga mats, blankets, cushions, and blocks for you to use. You are also welcome to bring your own personal items.

Will I sweat?
Depending on your choice of yoga forms you may, but most people do not.

Will I be wearing shoes, socks or be bare-footed?
This is your choice. If you are comfortable removing your shoes and socks, you are free to do so.

Should I eat before yoga?
You are welcome to have a light snack before your lesson. Eating a big meal may cause a little discomfort.

What about water?
You are welcome to bring a bottle of water to your lesson. There is also water available in the lobby of Jacqueline Milner and Associates.

Any other questions?
Feel free to email me at or call (902) 404-5522.

To book a private Trauma-Sensitive Yoga lesson, or to consult on the group class that would be the most useful for you, please contact Katrina directly at or (902) 404-5522.