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Healing Trauma From A Yoga Mat

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Researchers from the University of Northern Iowa and Mercy One are researching how Trauma-Sensitive Yoga can serve as a tool of relief for trauma survivors.

The impacts of trauma can be unexpected, affecting not only mental and emotional health but also physical well being. Through Trauma Sensitive Yoga, a modified yoga practice that prioritizes a healthy realtionship with one's body and similarly informed tai-chi programs, some survivors have found a new kind of relief.

On this episode of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talked with Matthew Vasquez, an assistant professor of social work at the University of Northern Iowa and Traci Ludwig, a social worker at MercyOne.

Vasquez and Ludwig have spent the last three years researching the effects of Trauma Sensitive Yoga and a style of Tai Chi called Chen Style Tai Chi Practical Method on individuals with a history of trauma.

The pair  have also developed their own approach called Trauma Responsive Yoga, which puts an emphasis on the clinical aspects of trauma to provide a more holisitic experience. 

Karen Mitchell, a participant in the research study, also joins the program to share her own experience with Trauma Sensitive Yoga following the unexpected death of her husband.

Guests Include:

  • Matthew Vasquez, Assistant Professor of Social Work at University of Northern Iowa
  • Traci Ludwig, social worker at MercyOne
  • Karen Mitchell, Trauma Sensitive yoga participant


Charity Nebbe is the host of IPR's Talk of Iowa
Katelyn Harrop is a producer for IPR's River to River and Talk of Iowa