“We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors,
we borrow it from our children.”
It seems like almost every person we talk to wishes that they had begun to practice yoga at a younger age. Once we realize all the benefits, we can imagine how much it would have helped us earlier on in life. For this reason, we decided to create Polliwog Kids Yoga.
Our philosophy is that children and teens deserve to learn the tools of yoga and mindfulness early on. They deserve to feel in control of their emotions and their bodies. They deserve to feel safe, welcomed and supported. They deserve to heal from any trauma they have experienced. And most importantly, they deserve to believe in themselves. We owe it to our children to teach them yoga and mindfulness.
Our yoga programs are trauma sensitive and inclusive of diverse experiences and abilities. We have worked diligently to create training programs that align with our values, and we are excited to share our trainings with other yoga instructors, educators, parents, mental health clinicians, doctors, and more. We know that there are many great yoga programs for children and teens already out there, but we had to follow our passion to share what we believe in. We had to answer our calling.
What is trauma sensitive yoga and mindfulness?
Trauma experts believe that almost every person on the planet has experienced some degree and form of trauma in their lives. Some trauma is acute and some is chronic. Some is life shattering and for others, the impact is mild. It has even been reported that we carry trauma in our DNA and it is passed on from generation to generation. The research on trauma proves that trauma effects not only the mind but also the body.
Trauma sensitive youth yoga and mindfulness create a safe space for every child, regardless of their experiences. Trauma sensitive yoga helps students develop a heightened sense of body awareness, choice and empowerment. We design our yoga and mindfulness classes with a “do no harm” mentality, purposefully choosing postures, activities and cues.
Our trauma sensitive trainings give future youth yoga and mindfulness instructors foundational information about trauma, specifically developmental trauma, its’ effects on the body and the importance of utilizing yoga and mindfulness to heal.
Why “trauma-sensitive” instead of “trauma-informed,” and what’s the difference?
According to SAMHSA, “trauma-informed” refers to the delivery of behavioral health services in a way that “includes an understanding of trauma and an awareness of the impact it can have across settings, services, and population.” The term “trauma-sensitive,” however, is used in reference to schools in which all students feel safe, welcomed, and supported, and where addressing trauma’s impact on learning on a school-wide basis is at the center of its educational mission. The focus is on creating a whole-school culture that serves as a foundation for all students to learn and experience success at school.
Although co-founded by a Clinical Social Worker, Polliwog Kids Yoga believes that it is extremely important for yoga and mindfulness instructors to recognize and remain within their scope of practice and therefore we have intentionally chosen to use the terms “trauma sensitive” rather than “trauma informed” when discussing our yoga programs. The term “trauma-sensitive” helps emphasize that yoga instructors are not expected to take on the role of behavioral health providers, doctors or other helping professionals (even if they are in other roles).