About Giuma

Giuma.org is a not for profit association that aims towards an integral approach in trauma care, as much as in trauma prevention. At its core, yoga is a tool for self-regulation. When we are self-regulated we are present, grounded, and centered. When we are self-regulated we are able to make good choices and be in healthy, satisfying relationships.

Giuma strives towards:

  • Multi-disciplinary interventions: We believe in the integration of yoga as part of traditional therapies addressing trauma, and that integration and collaboration of diverse disciplines is likely to generate the most effective results.
  • Linking services with research: Giuma insists that its work be based on the best evidence available and that all that we do must be thoroughly evaluated and disseminated.
  • Inter-sectoral collaboration: Giuma is aware that existing community resources provide the most sustainable setting for delivering interventions. We therefore believe in a collaborative framework, involving key partnerships with local realities, government organizations, health services, department of education, schools, and other NGOs.
  • Participatory methods: We strive to engage with beneficiaries and involve them actively in our work.
  • Sensitization & Prevention: Educate – Empower – Engage – Encourage We believe that change is driven through our children, and see the integration of yoga as a powerful tool for self-discovery & balanced expression.

Addressing trauma through Yoga: ‘If I had somebody who had involved me in something like this earlier, in my own pace, in my own way, I am sure I could have been able to reconnect to life and start feeling again much earlier.’ says one of the survivors we know. “Based on my experience, I believe that the benefits of working to integrate mind, body and spirit after sexual trauma remain unparalleled. Incorporating the practice of yoga to address the impact of sexual trauma on one’s body, mind, and spirit allows regaining a deep sense of wholeness that enhances inner resilience. It allows to re-establish a sense of comfort within one’s own physical shape, to non-verbally process feelings and sensations that transcend language (as words alone cannot quantify the magnitude of such an experience), and promote one’s innate capacity to heal. Sexual violence is an event that takes many victims out of their body. The practice of yoga can reveal and return the gift of embodiment, which serves as an anchor for self-preservation and transformation.”
Hanna Drechsel – Founder Director of GIUMA

Chronic interpersonal trauma exposure, particularly during early development, often results in a more profound and wider-ranging impact. Individuals who have survived chronic or repeated traumas, especially those who were exposed to trauma during critical developmental periods, are affected holistically: mind, body and spirit. Survivors of chronic or repeated abuse often experience extreme difficulty managing their own emotions and negotiating healthy and rewarding friendships and intimate relationships. They characteristically harbor persistent feelings of worthlessness and shame and grapple with intense personal scrutiny and self-blame. This negative self-appraisal tends to derive initially from survivors perceived responsibility for the traumatic events they endured, but often it is ultimately generalized to consume the majority of their life experiences, decisions and actions’.
Bessel A. Van der Kolk – Founder and Medical Director of the Trauma Center at Justice Resource Institute & Judith Herman – Cofounder of the Victims of Violence Program at the Cambridge Health Alliance and author of ‘Trauma and Recovery’

Traditional trauma therapy as seen in general is talk-based and focuses on the mind, the story while tending to neglect the physical, visceral, and body-based dimension of trauma. Yoga, when skillfully employed, can uniquely address the physical & spiritual needs of a trauma survivor, and provide a way for a trauma survivor to cultivate a friendly relationship to the body & mind through gentle breath and movement practices. ‘Yoga based approaches use a series of postures and breathing techniques to build a sense of connection to the self. Yoga practitioners are able to cultivate the ability to remain present, to notice and tolerate inner experience, and to develop a new relationship with their body. This body-based practice then has a ripple effect on emotional and mental health, on relationships, and on one’s experience of living in the world.’
Overcoming Trauma through Yoga – Reclaiming Your Body – David Emerson & Elizabeth Hopper, PhD

“Yoga’s ability to touch us on every level of our being— physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual—makes it a powerful and effective means for trauma victims to re-inhabit their bodies safely, calm their minds, experience emotions directly, and begin to feel a sense of strength and control.”
Transcending Trauma – Linda Sparrowe / 2011 Yoga International Copyright.

“Most experts agree that trauma’s effects live in the body—and that’s why yoga works. Evidence suggests that people respond best to body-based therapies, coupled with psychotherapy, because traditional “talk” therapy alone can dredge up old memories and reignite the pain all over again. And, while the mind may spend countless hours reliving the event and retelling the tale, it cannot undo the effects of what happened—the terror, rage, helplessness, and depression that then manifest in the body. “
Transcending Trauma – Linda Sparrrowe / 2011 Yoga International Copyright

“The memory of trauma is imprinted on the human organism. I don’t think you can overcome it unless you learn to have friendly relationship with your body.”
Dr. Bessel van der Kolk – Leading authority of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

“Yoga offers a way to reprogram automatic physical responses. Mindfulness, learning to become a careful observer of the ebb and flow of internal experience, and noticing whatever thoughts, feelings, body sensations and impulses emerge are important components in healing PTSD.”
Dr. Bessel van der Kolk – Leading authority of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.