Trauma Sensitive Yoga

Disparity around Harvard – Homeless signs

I will be living in Boston for the next several months to collaborate with the Director of Yoga Services, David Emmerson, at the Trauma Center.  I feel honoured to have an opportunity to learn with a person who has committed his life to supporting others heal through yoga.

My first week in the city has been a time of transition filled with moments of awe and wonder, as well humbling in nature.  An experience that struck me was being present to homeless people on the street outside of Harvard Yard, an epicenter of elite intellect where movers and shakers, change agents have walked for many years – a reminder of the stark disparity within a city’s milieu.

On one particular day I saw two different men using different sign tactics to coerce people into sparing some change.

One sign read:  Looking for human kindness

The other sign read: Help me get drunk and eat pussy

I imagine the signs evoke very different reactions from people – reactions grounded and informed by gender, culture, religion…

I also wondered about the spectrum present within honesty! Both signs were honest – one sign may even inform the other – looking for human connection.

I think about the love, connection, and relationships I have in my life – the tools that have supported my own healing and wonder if those tools are available for these men…I wonder if they would choose them?

I think about the circumstance that led these individuals to their present situation, the trauma and isolation that potentially predisposed them to a life on the street.  Sometimes a person chooses a life on the street and sometimes it is beyond their control.

I think about the tool of yoga and the experience of returning to one’s body and I wonder how painful that may be?

What does this story raise for you?


3 thoughts on “Trauma Sensitive Yoga

  1. Important observations, Mose. I think also that both signs speak to a need for these people to be seen as “human”, to invoke a smile, a tear, maybe a laugh, maybe a chortle even, from passers by. I feel like some of the potential trauma of homelessness is the dehumanization that accompanies being street-affiliated. With dehumanization often comes a loathing for one’s own body… Hrm. This is part of the heartbeat in Boston; looking forward to hearing more from your days.

    PS- Miss Sharpe says, check the possessive apostrophe accompanying the word “mover” in paragraph 2 🙂

    • Thanks for your thoughts Breezer! Yeah – Boston’s heartbeat is filled with diverse layers and rhythms…as are many cities!

      And thanks for your grammar correction 😉

  2. Pingback: Boston and Trauma | Irma Parhad Summer Research Program

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