24-HOUR CRISIS HOTLINE: 540-981-9352

Yoga for Survivors

Yoga for Survivors is a free, trauma-informed, accessible-for-all yoga program designed specifically for those who have experienced the trauma of sexual violence. Yoga classes offer guided movement and mindfulness techniques taught in a safe and inclusive environment to support your healing and self-awareness journey. No prior experience is needed.

One-time registration is required for each available class or series and participants must complete the Yoga Intake & Consent form to participate in any YFS classes. Once registration and the intake are received, participants will receive further information and instruction for accessing classes via Zoom. Participants can also request an intake form via email by contacting Laura Guilliams at 540-345-7273 or email: lguilliams@sararoanoke.org.

Please note that Yoga for Survivors is one of many modalities for supporting healing and should not take the place of mental health or medical expertise and support. Counseling services and 24-hour crisis advocacy are available through SARA Roanoke. Click here for more information.

Yoga for Survivors
Tuesdays @ 6 pm – 7 pm (Begins Tuesday, June 22, 2021)
FREE (Registration required)

Yoga for Survivors is a free, trauma-informed, accessible-for-all yoga series designed specifically for those who have experienced the trauma of sexual violence. This series offers guided movement and mindfulness techniques taught in a safe and inclusive environment to support your healing and self-awareness journey. Each week, students will have the opportunity to nurture the connection to mind and body while exploring and releasing the impact of trauma through the movement (asana), breath work (pranayama), focus (dharana), and meditation (dhyana) that is both gentle and restorative.

Yoga Nidra for Survivors
Sundays @ 6 pm – 7 pm (Begins Sunday, July 11, 2021)
FREE (Registration required)

Yoga Nidra is a free, trauma-informed, accessible-for-all mindfulness program held weekly on Sundays from 6 pm – 7 pm via Zoom. This program offers guided meditation (dhyana) and community, in a safe and inclusive environment, to help us ground and prepare for the week ahead.

Yoga for Survivors: What to Expect & FAQs

What can I expect at a Yoga for Survivors class?

Yoga for Survivors is a free, trauma-informed, accessible-for-all yoga series designed specifically for those who have experienced the trauma of sexual violence. This series offers guided movement and mindfulness techniques taught in a safe and inclusive environment to support your healing and self-awareness journey. Each week, students will have the opportunity to nurture the connection to mind and body while exploring and releasing the impact of trauma through the movement (asana), breath work (pranayama), focus (dharana), and meditation (dhyana) that is both gentle and restorative.

No prior experience with yoga is required and each class will offer different variations and practices to accommodate the needs of each student. Each class is one (1) hour; however, students are encouraged and free to rest whenever needed. It is important to note that Yoga for Survivors is one of many modalities for supporting healing and should not take the place of mental health or medical expertise and support.

Students are encouraged to wear comfortable clothing that is easy to move in – if choosing to wear socks during the practice, be careful about slipping! This series also uses a number of props to provide support and care during the practice. Students may use a yoga mat, a chair (without arms if possible), a clean/empty wall, yoga blocks (or full rolls of toilet paper/paper towels), a yoga strap (or scarf, belt, neck tie), 1-2 blankets, bolster/cushion (or couch cushions/throw pillows), yoga sandbag (or Ziploc bag filled with dry beans, sugar, rice, or flour), and an eye pillow (or a wash rag/hand towel). Props are useful in making our practice more creative, fun, supportive, and interesting so use whatever you have on hand!

Yoga for Survivors is offered as a live series via Zoom on Tuesdays from 6 pm – 7 pm that is also recorded for any registered participants unable to attend the live session offered and for all participants to review. The recorded sessions will spotlight the teacher only and participants will not be recorded. The classroom will open 15 minutes before the beginning of class for students to interact as a community if they wish – this will not be part of the recording. The classroom will also remain open for 15 minutes after class for questions and additionally community sharing if needed – this will not be part of the recording. Participants are welcome to join the Zoom class with their video on or off and can utilize either the audio or chat feature before, during, and after class to share or ask questions.

For those who prefer to practice with music, a Spotify playlist will be shared with participants to play during the class if they so choose.

Registration is required and participants must complete the Yoga for Survivors Intake & Consent form if they are new to the yoga program at SARA Roanoke. Once registration is received and the intake is complete, students will receive further information and instructions for accessing the Zoom classroom. Students may also complete an intake via email or in person by contacting Laura Guilliams at 540-345-7273 or email: lguilliams@sararoanoke.

Yoga for Survivors Optional Playlists

We do not play music during Yoga for Survivors since it can be a bit of a challenge over Zoom sometimes, but we totally understand background music can be comforting to some. So, here are a few Spotify playlists you are welcome to play during our class offerings. If you do not have a paid account, though, please be prepared for an occasional ad to chime in during the playlist. You can, of course, play your own music or not play music at all – whatever supports your practice best!

What can I expect at a Yoga Nidra for Survivors class?

Yoga Nidra for Survivors is a free, trauma-informed, accessible-for-all mindfulness program held weekly on Sundays from 6 pm – 7 pm via Zoom. This program offers guided meditation (dhyana) and community, in a safe and inclusive environment, to help us ground and prepare for the week ahead.

No prior experience with meditation is required. Each class is one (1) hour and includes a short reading (e.g. a poem, a sutra, an affirmation, etc.), extremely gentle movement and breath, and guided meditation and rest (yoga nidra). Students are encouraged and free to rest whenever needed. Please note that Yoga Nidra is one of many modalities to support healing and should not take the place of mental health or medical expertise and support.

Students are encouraged to wear comfortable clothing that is easy to move in as well as have a blanket, shawl, sweater, and/or socks nearby to keep the body comfortable and warm throughout the practice. Participants may practice in whatever position is most comfortable to them: seated in a chair, seated on the floor against the wall, seated on a cushion/folded blanket on the floor, lying down on the floor, etc.

Yoga Nidra is offered as a live series via Zoom on Sundays from 6 pm – 7 pm The classroom will open 15 minutes before the beginning of class for students to interact as a community if they wish. Participants are welcome to join the Zoom class with their video on or off and can utilize either the audio or chat feature before, during, and after class to share or ask questions. All participants will be muted during the yoga nidra/guided meditation in an effort to minimize disturbances.

Registration is required and participants must complete the Yoga for Survivors Intake & Consent form if they are new to the yoga program at SARA Roanoke. Once registration is received and the intake is complete, students will receive further information and instructions for accessing the Zoom classroom. Students may also complete an intake via email or in person by contacting Laura Guilliams at 540-345-7273 or email: lguilliams@sararoanoke.

What should I wear?

Students are encouraged to wear comfortable clothing that is easy to move in! During stillness and meditation, students may want to have a blanket, shawl, sweater, and/or socks nearby to keep the body comfortable and warm throughout the practice. Just rememember – if choosing to wear socks during asana (movement) practice, be careful about slipping! 

What if I've never done yoga before?

No prior experience with yoga or meditation is required! Each class will offer different variations and practices to accommodate the needs of each student no matter their ability or experience.

What if I feel triggered during or after class?

You are in complete control of your practice in our yoga program. We strive to create a safe and trauma-informed environment and recognize that sometimes triggers, emotions, and sensations come up. These classes are designed to hold space for all experiences and empower students to navigate those experiences with care, sensitvity, and support.  Students are encouraged and free to rest whenever needed as well as leave at any time if they wish.

Our 24-hour crisis hotline is always available as well by calling 540-981-9352 to talk with a trained advocate if you need to work through any feelings that come up during class.

Please note that Yoga Nidra is one of many modalities to support healing and should not take the place of mental health or medical expertise and support.

Do I have to complete an intake for each class?

You just need to complete the intake form once and you’re covered to attend any yoga classes offered by SARA Roanoke. If your needs change, especially regarding health and medication, please let Laura know as soon as you can!

Do I need any special equipment?

Not necessarily! Our programs typically use a number of props to provide support and care during the practice. Students may use a yoga mat, a chair (without arms if possible), a clean/empty wall, yoga blocks (or full rolls of toilet paper/paper towels), a yoga strap (or scarf, belt, neck tie), 1-2 blankets, bolster/cushion (or couch cushions/throw pillows), yoga sandbag (or Ziploc bag filled with dry beans, sugar, rice, or flour), and an eye pillow (or a wash rag/hand towel). Props are useful in making our practice more creative, fun, supportive, and interesting so use whatever you have on hand!

Who teaches these classes?

Laura Guilliams (she/her pronouns), MA, RYT-500 has served SARA Roanoke as the Director of Crisis Services since October 2016. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Communication at Radford University, a Master of Arts in Educational Leadership at University of Central Florida, and a 500-hour Yoga Teacher Certification from the Breathing Space in Blacksburg, VA. She is registered with Yoga Alliance, certified in CPR & FIrst Aid, and is a Certified Accessible Yoga Teacher and an Ambassador for Accessible Yoga, a 501(c)3 nonprofit dedicated to sharing the teachings and benefits of yoga to marginalized communities through education and advocacy. Laura seeks to provide students with a safe, compassionate, and inclusive space to navigate their own healing through the teachings and practices of yoga.