• Nelson Pahl

The Benefits of Yoga for Women with PTSD


Study: Yoga Benefits Women with Complex PTSD

By Nelson Pahl


Post-traumatic Stress Disorder. Otherwise known as “PTSD.”


We often associate it with male war veterans.


Yet, truth be told, there are probably more women than men these days walking around America with some form of PTSD.


In fact, in my humble opinion (that of a narrative counselor), I’d venture guess that no less than 50% of all women that walk through a yoga studio door today suffer from some degree of complex PTSD.


Even if they may not yet realize so.


Rape.


Sexual abuse.


Violence.


Abandonment.


Betrayal.


Death.


Divorce.


Miscarriage.


On and on and on goes the list of contributing factors. Just piling upon one another, making us a bit more defensive, a bit more leary of anyone and anything, and skyrocketing those anxiety levels.


This is the realm of “cPTSD.”


Which brings us to the point of this article.


Researchers from The Trauma Center at Justice Resource Institute set out to test a hypothesis that a regular yoga can benefit those with PTSD issues.


The study included 60 women. Each suffered from treatment-resistant PTSD, including the mental strain that often accompanies the experience of multiple traumas (cPTSD).


Each participant took part in10 one-hour yoga sessions. The sessions included breath work, asanas, and mindfulness exercises.


What did the researchers find?


After the 10 sessions, participants benefited in the following ways:


  • Significant decrease in PTSD symptoms

  • Greater likelihood of loss of PTSD diagnosis

  • Significant reduction in engagement of self-injury

  • And reductions in dissociative and depressive symptoms


Researchers concluded:


“Yoga appears to be a useful treatment modality; the greatest long-term benefits are derived from more frequent yoga practice.”

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