Trauma Centre Trauma-Sensitive Yoga
with Katrina Perks

Bringing your body into treatment for trauma
A body-based practice for self-care and personal empowerment

What is Trauma Centre Trauma-Sensitive Yoga (TCTSY)

TCTSY is different from mainstream yoga. The methodology is based on central components of traditional yoga where participants engage in a series of physical forms and movement. But elements of traditional yoga are modified to help cultivate a positive relationship with your body and a sense of personal empowerment- which may have been compromised after a traumatic experience. Unlike many public yoga classes, TCTSY does not use hands-on adjustments to influence your physical form. Verbal suggestions are given while we practice yoga together. TCTSY offers an opportunity for you to be in charge of yourself in your practice based on a felt sense of your own body.

You are welcome to practice on a yoga mat or in a chair. TCTSY is adaptable for different physical abilities and injuries.

History of the TCTSY
Dave Emerson and Bessel van der Kolk “author of The Body Keeps the Score“ began a collaboration in 2002 that resulted in coining the term Trauma-Sensitive Yoga. The project was for Dave to begin teaching yoga at the Trauma Center, and for van der Kolk and colleagues to study it. After two pilot studies from 2003-2006, the Trauma Center received the first grant ever given to study yoga for trauma, for PTSD. The Trauma Centre is at the Justice Resource Institute in Massachusetts USA, founded by Bessel van der Kolk. TCTSY has foundations in trauma theory, attachment theory, and neuroscience.

TCTSY is an evidence-based complement to clinical therapy for those who are experiencing complex trauma or treatment resistant traumatic stress (PTSD).

"The goal of treatment of PTSD is to help people live in the present, without feeling or behaving according to irrelevant demands to the pastâ"
Bessel van der Kolk

The TCTSY Approach
Although TCTSY employs physical forms and movements, the emphasis is not on the external expression or appearance of your form (i.e. doing it right), or receiving the approval of your facilitator, an external authority. Rather, the focus is on your internal experience. This shift in orientation, from the external to the internal, is a key attribute of TCTSY as a complementary treatment for complex trauma. With this approach, the power resides within you, not your TCTSY facilitator. Further, by focusing on the felt sense of your own body to inform what choices you make in your practice, TCTSY enables you to restore the connection of your mind and body and cultivate a sense of agency, or empowerment, that is compromised as a result of trauma.

TCTSY is a shared authentic experience that is non judgemental or competitive.

Would you like to try Trauma-Sensitive Yoga?

What to expect from a private lesson
If feeling safe in an activity is a concern for you, maybe a one-one-one lesson would be more predictable and reliable. Meeting with me for a private lesson allows you the option of choosing the yoga forms you would like to experiment with. I can also suggest a practice for us to do together at your own pace. You are free to move as you wish, to stay in a yoga form and rest or to create a rhythm, moving in and out of a posture.

TCTSY lessons are generally 45 minutes long, or one hour. Children only need maybe a 15 minute practice to start.

It doesn't matter if you are experienced with yoga or not at all. Each student has different needs. You are welcome to go at your own pace and to make choices in your practice to suit your needs.

What to expect from a group lesson
Group lessons offer the opportunity to do yoga with others- to have a shared authentic experience in a respectful environment.

TCTSY is offered at separate times to male-identifying groups and female-identifying groups.

We ask that you keep the names of your group mates confidential. Thank you.
Group lessons have no more than 8 participants.
Stay tuned for a TCTSY class for veterans.

Common Questions:

What do I wear?

Wear clothing that is useful when bending and stretching. Depending on the time of year, you may want to wear layers or bring a sweater.

Do I need a yoga mat?
Breathe Mindfulness Centre provides yoga mats, blankets, cushions, and blocks for you to use. You are also welcome to bring your own personal items.

Will I sweat?
Depending on your choice of yoga forms you may- but most people do not.

Will I be wearing shoes, socks or be barefooted?
This is your choice. If you are comfortable removing your shoes and socks, you are free to do so.

Should I eat before yoga?
You are welcome to have a light snack before your lesson. Eating a big meal may cause a little discomfort in your practice.

What about water?
You are welcome to bring a bottle of water to your lesson. There is also water available in the lobby of Jacqueline Milner and Associates.

Any other questions?
Feel free to email me at or call (902) 404-5522.

To book a private Trauma-Sensitive Yoga lesson, or to consult on the group class that would be the most useful for you, please contact Katrina directly at or (902) 404-5522.

Katrina Perks, TCTSY-F
Trauma Center Trauma-Sensitive Yoga facilitator

Katrina teaches group yoga classes for self-care, as well as private/one-one-one Trauma Center Trauma-Sensitive Yoga (TCTSY). She is the 1st TCTSY Facilitator in Atlantic Canada.

Katrina is a 500 hour Hatha Yoga trained instructor, as well as a 300 hour Trauma Center Trauma-Sensitive Yoga Facilitator. She trained with David Emerson through the Trauma Centre at the Justice Resource Institute in Massachusetts USA, founded by Bessel van der Kolk- author of The Body Keeps the Score.
Katrina has been teaching yoga for 18 years, in Halifax and Dartmouth. Over the past decade, she has specialized in offering mixed-level yoga lessons for people in the workforce- focusing her skills on workplace injuries and stress related conditions. She owns and operates Yoga in the 

Katrina is also a trained yoga instructor in the yoga tradition of Krishnamacharya, and for the last decade has been studying the Alexander Technique iPAC. 

Currently, Katrina teaches TCTSY in various therapy clinics as an adjunct to therapy.

To book a private lesson, or to consult on the group class that would be the most useful for you, please contact