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Yoga for Trauma Recovery Retreat

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Ahimsa has been teaching yoga to war veterans, refugees, war victims and others with PTSD since 2004. She tours internationally, presenting workshops and retreats on yoga for recovery from stress and trauma. Her award-winning film, Heroes of Peace, tells the story of the war veterans yoga group in Hobart she taught for twenty years. Ahimsa is the author of a unique book on the subject, Hope: How Yoga Heals the Scars of Trauma.

You will learn:

•Simple yoga postures to relieve physical tension.

•Yoga breathing techniques for calmness, anger management and sleep.

•Yoga nidra – systematic relaxation for stress and insomnia.

•New mental attitudes for letting go of past pain.

No prior yoga experience is needed.

Suitable for trauma survivors, yoga teachers, health practitioners – anyone with a sincere interest in this application of yoga. Whatever your background, you will gain an insight into the possibilities of using yoga for recovery from stress and trauma.


You will take away practical tools that bring immediate relief and you’ll know how to move forward using yoga to heal the scars of trauma.

Yoga for Trauma Recovery Retreat with Swami Ahimsadhara Saraswati (Helen Cushing)

Yoga offers a holistic system for healing the body and mind from stress and post-trauma suffering, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Learn how simple yoga practices can bring immediate and long-term relief from the symptoms of deep stress and PTSD.

Traumatic experiences and chronic stress can leave the nervous system ‘stuck’ in the stress response. A range of disturbing, uncontrollable symptoms can develop, making it difficult to function normally.

Yoga offers a practical way out of chronic stress and PTSD, and back to life. Regular practice of yoga heals the nervous system and gives tools for managing the mind, regulating emotion, and laying the past to rest so that life can be enjoyed to the full.

This retreat introduces the principles and practices of holistic yoga for trauma recovery. It blends theory and practice, merging understanding with experience.



Terrorism survivor: Emma, Hobart

After 10 years of counselling and increasing doses of medication I was finding little relief from my symptoms, so I was advised to try yoga and meditation. I did have some short-term relief but the fitness-oriented yoga triggered my anxiety and the meditation caused flashbacks. Thinking I was unfixable I discovered Ahimsa. She seemed to really understand that to find relief from PTSD it needed a different and individual approach. I have found peace and calm for the first time in decades! I am a living example that through this system of yoga there can be a full recovery from trauma and that power of recovery lives inside every one of us.


Family violence survivor:

I’ve had complex PTSD for around 30 years. This caused me to have a lot of psychosomatic problems such as frequent migraines and I had a heart attack when I was 35 which was attributed to the PTSD. I was also in chronic pain in my muscles and joints as well as having nightmares, flashbacks, hypervigilance, and insomnia. I had felt suicidal off and on for over 30 years.


I began doing yoga with Ahimsa in February 2016 in the hope of being ‘better’ as I was very unhealthy physically and was very flat and low from having an average of three migraines a week and taking lots of Codeine tablets for the pain. Conventional treatment had given some help but no cure and the prognosis wasn’t bright for me.


Within a couple of weeks of starting yoga my migraines had practically disappeared. The physical aches and pains went away and my quality of life improved 100% within weeks of daily practice – just from being pain free.


That is just the physical aspect which was considerable and freed me from chronic and severe pain, but the psychological and emotional benefits were even better. I process and handle stress completely differently now. I am a million miles away from suicidal thoughts and feel optimistic about my future and the things I am now able to do.


Yoga Nidra pulls me back into wholeness and stops me feeling shattered when stressful things happen.


Yoga has worked for me in a truly wholistic way as it has healed me on all levels from the physical pain and illness to the spiritual wounding of abuse. I now sleep through the night for months straight without any medication. I don’t get triggered anything like I used to because the ‘sore spots’ of trauma are becoming neutralised and resolved – sometimes consciously, sometimes I just realise it has gone away without me noticing.


Daily practice is essential. Staying committed to doing my routine every day has been good discipline and a daily commitment to myself, my health, and my future. I feel good when I’m doing it and has drastically improved my quality of life overall.


Ex-policeman with PTSD: Rob, London

In June 2016 I attended a one-day yoga workshop in London focusing on treating PTSD. It was run by Helen Cushing who works with a veterans’ group in Australia. I was worried about travelling to London to spend the day with a load of strangers from another world that I knew nothing about. I started to plan my usual excuses and nearly didn’t get on the train. I was anxious about going to a strange environment that I knew nothing about but in I walked, and I am glad I did.


The atmosphere was friendly and welcoming, and I felt relaxed. Helen clearly understands PTSD and apart from yoga I also learned a lot of stuff that I didn’t understand about PTSD. The yoga was clearly explained and gave me some strong practical coping. I picked up techniques to clear my head of intrusive thoughts and live in the moment focusing on the positive simple things around you. Simple breathing techniques are a valuable tool as well as meditation and simple, low impact yoga postures to help with breathing. Put the cynicism behind you and give it a go, it could well be a life saver.



Middle East War Veteran: Joshua, Hobart

The breathing is the biggest help. It stops the hypervigilance.


I found yoga nidra to be better than any medication. To maintain myself I need to practise daily. Yoga nidra has enabled me to have a helpful, non-medicated mind.


Vietnam War Veterans: Hobart

I decided that by using yoga I was going to get off all medication. I gradually reduced the amount of tablets I was taking. I don’t take medication at all now. That happened solely due to yoga.


Yoga is something you can take home with you and use it whenever the stress starts. Before yoga, stress was all I knew, it was the norm.


I have had much and varied counselling over the years, but yoga offers me the most benefits.


Yoga came along at the right time and saved my life, without any doubt.

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