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A recent comment in an authorized teachers' discussion group requested advice about

working with students suffering from PTSD.

"For sure you don�t need nothing extra special. Just teach tradition of Parampara"
Came one reply.

"Wow, that�s an irresponsible comment. I would think people suffering from PTSD
might need a little more than parampara...." came a response.

"If you finish 18 years of teaching yoga and more then 20 practice for sure you
will be able to understand what means Parampara and Yoga Therapy. I know what Im
saying, but what others will do with this knowledge its not my responsibility." -
the original respondent commented.

To follow parampara has become the mantram of newly minted yoga teachers from
KPJAYI that means something like: to follow tradition or the guru's teaching.

The comment is shocking both because it is completely tone deaf to the suffering
endured by the victims of KPJ's abuse and because of the inappropriateness of the
suggestion in context.

From the introduction by Dr B van der Kolk to Overcoming Trauma through Yoga - by D
Emerson and Dr E Hopper:

"Our bodies are programmed to automatically respond to physical threats by fighting


or fleeing. An experience becomes traumatic when the natural fight/flight defense
is aborted. When you are assaulted and realize that there is nothing you can do to
stave off the inevitable, this self protective system may break down, resulting in
the inappropriate activation of fight/flight reactions in response to minor
subsequent irritations, and an inability to regain a sense of safety and
relaxation.

While the mind usually shuts down during a traumatizing experience, the bodily
sensations associated with immobilization and helplessness carry the memories of
having absolutely no control over the outcome of your life...

The most profound legacy of trauma may be this timeless feeling of being battered
by unbearable physical sensations... accompanied by the conviction that you are
utterly helpless to do anything about it."

Does parampara prepare the teacher to work with those with deep trauma? Clearly
not. We need to expand and deepen our understanding of yoga, trauma and trauma
therapy before embarking on such a course. But the pressing need is there: we are
surrounded by victims of trauma.

The above mentioned comment is particularly troubling at a time when we should be


becoming sensitive to the needs of the many traumatized individuals amongst us and
is symptomatic of much that is wrong with the way Ashtanga is being presented by
KPJAYI.

Trauma Informed Yoga

Over the last few months I have been corresponding with Karen Rain. In light of the
unlikelihood of hearing a statement from KPJAYI about KPJ's sexual abuse, I asked
her what other outcomes she hoped to see. She replied:
"I�d love to hear them (Ashtanga teachers) say that they will seek trainings,
teachings and counseling from outside experts in institutional abuse, trauma
awareness and consent culture."