Have you met...
Jemma, the woman leading a new approach to applying yoga practices for social change? Having worked in adult education for almost a decade, combined with a background in yoga and extensive experience in social work across the world, Jemma looks to create programmes that are strength-based and trauma-informed.
Jemma's trauma sensitive yoga (officially called Trauma Centre Trauma Sensitive Yoga) is an example of a trauma-informed service, which means that it is aware and responsive to the impacts of trauma on individuals and communities with an emphasis on ensuring participants are safe physically, emotionally and psychologically during the programme.
Her trauma sensitive yoga is based on central components of hatha yoga, where participants practice a series of physical forms and movements, without the need to "get it right". Instead, elements of traditional hatha yoga are modified to build trauma survivors’ experiences of empowerment and cultivate a more positive relationship to one’s body. Unlike many teachings, this practice does not use physical, hands-on adjustments to influence a participant’s physical form and instead allows participants to be in charge of themselves based on a felt sense of their own body. She offers workshops and training for anxiety, mindfulness and trauma as well as running psychosocial programs for refugee populations.
Jemma believes in healing and growth through relationships and connections with an emphasis on developing our social networks - building a community around us to offer support and provide a sense of belonging. As humans, we thrive on and need healthy and positive relationships not only with others but as importantly with ourselves, our mind and our body. It is with this focus of self-care and connections, that Jemma approaches her work. She hosts women’s circles as well as yoga classes, workshops and training for anxiety, mindfulness and trauma.
Jemma is currently working with refugee populations in a range of settings with a focus on mental health and healing from trauma.
Feature first published August 2018, updated May 2019.