Rowan Silverberg began her study of yoga at an early age.
"I'm an incest survivor. I just discovered a book in my elementary school library that had pictures of yoga poses," she shared. "I think it really kept me sane and kept me alive."
Now, with a PhD in mind-body medicine, Silverberg focuses her research on trauma center, trauma-sensitive yoga (TCTSY).
"The practice is really about giving that person control back," explained Silverberg.
She offers her students choices, which empowers them to begin making choices in other areas of their lives. Kimberly Ghorai, Nina Minchow, and Drew Mikita are using trauma sensitive yoga to help them.
"I was in a bike accident," Minchow said. "I lost the ability to talk and work."
"My twin sister died in a car accident," Ghorai shared.
"I was just lost," Mikita said.
All three believe it helped them. The differences between traditional yoga and TCTSY? First, poses are not forced. Options are key.
"Would you prefer to sit with your legs crossed or would you prefer to stretch one leg out," Silverberg said is asked.
There's no touching.
"I don't correct anybody's alignment," stated Silverberg.
Research with PTSD patients is proving it works to decrease dissociation and flashbacks while improving self-regulation.
"Unless people are connected to their internal compass, they can't really heal," continued Silverberg.
"It's allowed me to process some of the things that I didn't think I would ever get over," Mikita shared.
Two other differences, in TCTSY are that you don't have to close your eyes or lay in traditional savasana, as the stillness may trigger flashbacks or anxiety.
There are 500 certified TCTSY instructors around the world. All have backgrounds as therapists, psychotherapists, and social workers.