Did you know that the mind is capable of creating 50% more stress than the body can handle?
According to WebMD:
  • Forty-three percent of all adults suffer adverse health effects from stress.
  • Seventy-five percent to 90% of all doctor’s office visits are for stress-related ailments and complaints.
  • Stress can play a part in problems such as headaches, high blood pressure, heart problems, diabetes, skin conditions, asthma, arthritis, depression, and anxiety.
  • The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) declared stress a hazard of the workplace. Stress costs American industry more than $300 billion annually.
  • The lifetime prevalence of an emotional disorder is more than 50%, often due to chronic, untreated stress reactions.
Posttraumatic stress particularly fatigues muscles and causes pain. Yoga can be a gentle process for relieving that physical stress. The added bonus: it also calms and focuses the mind! This episode of ‘Your Life After Trauma’ features Dave Emerson and Dr. Elizabeth Hopper of the The Trauma Center at Justice Resource Institute. Together alongside Teresa B. Pasquale, PTSD survivor and now a local Palm Beach County post-trauma yoga practitioner, they all talk about ‘PTSD and Yoga: Ideas for Success’.


David Emerson is the director of yoga services at theTrauma Center. In 2003 he codesigned the Trauma Center Yoga Program that includes classes and teacher training programs. Dave was a social worker for 10 years and went to the Smith School for Social Work in order to become a clinician. Dave soon found that the modality of talk therapy just wasn’t for him but he did read Bessel van der Kolk’s book, Traumatic Stress as part of his time at Smith. This book referenced the body as of critical importance to the process of healing PTSD. This impressed Dave as a yoga practitioner and led him to seek out Dr. van der Kolk as a partner in creating and studying a yoga program specifically for people suffering from PTSD. Dave believes, based on his experience over the past 8 years, that yoga can be a very effective adjunct treatment for PTSD and complex trauma. He lives in Cambridge, MA.

Elizabeth Hopper, PhD, is a licensed clinical psychologist specializing in traumatic stress and works as the associate director of training at the The Trauma Center at Justice Resource Institute, one of the nation’s leading agencies in the study and treatment of the psychological impact of exposure to trauma. She is also the Director of Project REACH, a program that serves victims of human trafficking throughout the United States, providing mobile crisis mental health services to trafficking survivors and offering training and consultation to providers. She became interested in body-oriented therapies as an alternative to talk therapy alone through her cross-cultural work and her work with individuals with complex trauma at the Trauma Center. Dr. Hopper has conducted trainings nationwide in the areas of trauma, cultural adaptations to treatment, and body-oriented interventions. She is also currently a Staff Psychologist and Supervisor at the Trauma Center. She lives in Somerville, MA.

David and Elizabeth are the co-authors of OVERCOMING TRAUMA THROUGH YOGA: Reclaiming Your Body.

Teresa B. Pasquale is a graduate of New York University’s School of Social Work and a Licensed Clinical Social Worker.  She specializes in PTSD and has worked with a variety of populations: combat veterans, survivors of military sexual trauma, international survivors of torture, and domestic violence issues in international populations.  She focuses her practice on a variety of experiential and somatic practices including yoga for trauma survivors, nature-based therapies, creative arts therapies, and animal-assisted therapies.  She has studied the correlation between physiology, psychology, neurobiology, spirituality and existentialist theories around trauma healing, and the interpersonal relationships in trauma populations and their recovery.  In 2009 she was awarded NYU’s “Outstanding Recent Alumna Award” for her creation of innovative programming for combat veterans which included multimedia therapies and yoga therapies. She is a practitioner of Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy (EFP) for trauma survivors (including an EFP Horses for Heroes Program) and utilizes somatic and yoga approaches in her equine programming; she is a member of the NARHA Task Force for Equine Facilitated Learning & Psychotherapy. She has presented locally (where she lives in South Florida) and nationally on issues of trauma, mind/body practices for trauma, equine facilitated psychotherapy for PTSD, and creative arts therapies for trauma.  She wrote an e-booklet on complementary therapies called “Beyond Talk” and another “Prana Equus” on the integration of yoga elements into equine work (specifically with trauma populations) in 2010.  She also enjoys writing creative non-fiction as another avenue for her own exploration of the human experience.