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Author of the book Lifting Heavy Things: Healing Trauma One Rep at a Time. Learn more at laurakhoudari.com

Your relationship to stillness affects your experience on the mat

Photo: Ginny Rose Stewart/Unsplash

I’ve had a yoga practice for nearly 20 years. While there’s no readily apparent novelty in a middle-aged, white, female wellness practitioner doing some yoga, if you knew the story of my work, you might find it surprising.

I’m a trauma-informed personal trainer who lifts weights as a healing practice. Trauma-informed strength training is an embodied approach to resistance training that focuses on increasing your capacity for stress and nervous system resiliency. …


Strength training can help you combat their symptoms

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Over the past decade, trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have increasingly become part of our national conversation, so much so that we’ve grown accustomed to headlines like “The Psychological Trauma of Covid-19” and cast members of shows like Bravo’s West Coast reality series, The Real Housewives of Orange County, talk openly about having PTSD. Surviving war, rape, natural disasters, and other obvious threats to life have become widely accepted as diagnosably traumatizing events.

But it’s less widely recognized that racism, homophobia, and other bigotries are ongoing, traumatic stressors for far too many. While the world is dealing with Covid-19…


How I regulated my emotions in a tough moment through engaging with wordplay and my senses

Photo: Negative Space / Pexels

I locked myself out of my new-to-me house this morning and that is when I learned through firsthand experience how writing haiku can help with emotional self-regulation. Maybe this could work for you, too.

I want to be very clear here, I know very little about haiku or writing poetry in general. I am an essayist and it generally takes me 1200 words to get my point across which is a far cry from the seventeen syllables you are granted in the basic haiku form I (and the kid next door) know about. …


With a trauma-informed perspective, you’ll write better programs, coach more effectively, and stay within your scope of practice

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If you’re reading this, chances are you’re a fitness professional interested in the ways in which psychology intersects with your work. Perhaps you want to help clients with behavioral change, or maybe you’re looking to balance your own self-care with caring for your clients. In either case, you understand that wellness requires a holistic approach, incorporating both the mind and body.

My work is at the intersection of mental and physical health. I’m a trauma-informed personal trainer. You know how sometimes a friend, loved one, or client struggles in the aftermath of an overwhelming experience? Maybe they develop insomnia, aches…


6 steps to help you feel safe

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Figuring out how to initiate (or return) to exercise in a way that feels emotionally and physically safe after experiencing illness, accidents, or acts of violence can be challenging, triggering, and overwhelming. The same could be said for those trying to increase their capacity for life’s stressors or processing their experiences in talk therapy.

If any of these scenarios resonate with you, a trauma-sensitive approach to fitness can help.

Trauma-Sensitive Workouts

At its heart, a trauma-sensitive approach to fitness accounts for the psychological, emotional, and physiological changes and symptoms of trauma or chronic stress. …


Image from United Nations COVID-19 Response via Unsplash

Are you feeling not quite right, and you don’t know why? It could be what’s known as an “anniversary reaction” to COVID-19. Research has found that around an anniversary of a traumatic event, individuals and entire communities may experience an increase in feelings of distress. This might include a surge of intrusive memories, thoughts, and feelings; a negative shift in your mood; or a marked increase in arousal, which wreaks havoc on your sleep and leaves you feeling ill at ease.

In the first week of March, my sleep radically shifted. I began to struggle to stay asleep, having one…


Image from Fotorech on Pixabay

We have made it through the 252,000 months of 2020 and are well into December! While I am looking forward to a lowkey holiday season, for today, I want to focus on what will inevitably come at the month’s end: New Year’s and its resolutions. I have no doubt that coming off a year that has been more about surviving than thriving, there will be plenty of people looking to 2021 for a fresh start and a chance to return to a fuller life, somehow or another. …


Last year I posted the Holiday Self-Care Anti-Challenge on Instagram. The idea behind my anti-challenge was to encourage people to actually tend to their own needs during a time of year that we are usually rushing around, wearing ourselves out, and emptying our wallets in the spirit of giving.


While it is always important to practice self-care, I want to encourage you to take intentional steps to practice it this week. We are nine months into the uncertainty of pandemic times and the forthcoming election is fraught for many folks this year. Both the pandemic and the election were the focus for the American Psychological Association’s 2020 report, Stress in America.

For some people the election is touching on old feelings stirred up in 2016. For many people the feelings of uncertainty around how the election will unfold during an already uncertain time is overwhelming. …


Although gyms are opening back up in New York City and other places, many folks are still preparing to invest in a home practice. I have elected to do so because I don’t feel comfortable being around lots of people yelling and exhaling hard even in masks; nor do I feel good about my own grunting and sharp breaths out that send whatever cooties I might be carrying out into the air. Other people who have elected to get set up to workout at home have their own reasons. I suspect some have realized during this period that at-home workouts…

Laura Khoudari

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