Holistic therapeutic treatments

Trauma sensitive yoga

With Esther van der Sande

Esther van der Sande is Trauma Center Trauma-Sensitive Yoga Facilitator (TCTSY-F), Yoga Teacher (therapy), and Somatic Psychotherapist.
Esther is also a Faculty member of the Trauma Center at Justice Resource Institute (JRI Boston), TCTSY-Trainer and TCTSY-Supervisor.  

What is Trauma Sensitive Yoga?

As the name implies, Trauma-Sensitive Yoga focuses on trauma awareness instead of purely on yoga. So we barely concern ourselves with the physical postures, known as asanas, or complex sequences, but with simple postures by which you learn to listen to your body, one step at a time.

Listening to your body is a key feature of all good yoga practice. In trauma-sensitive yoga, we focus in particular on the signals your body gives. So as a yoga teacher, I will take into account any hypersensitivity to stimuli and the altered awareness of your body as a result of traumatic experiences suffered at a tender age or over a longer period of time within the family or in a relationship (chronic and complex trauma). 

Trauma-sensitive yoga was developed by David Emerson, yoga teacher at the Trauma Center at the Justice Resource Institute (JRI) in Massachusetts under the guidance of trauma specialist Dr. Bessel Van Der Kolk.
The methodology is founded on three important pillars:

  • Interoception: this means regaining a self-awareness of your body in a very concrete way. That awareness allows you to gradually process internal signals and to reconnect with your body without feeling overwhelmed or dissociated.  We do not focus on past memories of the trauma, but on becoming aware, step by step, of the physical sensations that you are experiencing in the present. These sensations may be uncomfortable, which is why it is important that this process is done gradually and that you work on your terms, with the abilities you have at that time.
  • Empowerment: in a trauma-sensitive yoga session, I will invite you to become aware of each yoga posture, or asana, and to listen to the information your body is giving you based on the posture. That will help you learn to make more conscious choices for you.
  • Safety: trauma grows rampant in unsafe relationships and heals in safe ones. As a Trauma-Sensitive Yoga teacher and therapist, I provide a safe environment in which we can work towards trust. If an unpleasant sensation is triggered, we will look at what works best for you to soften that trigger. In a respectful and authentic way, I will work with you through this process of becoming aware, of learning to trust in yourself.

Trauma survivors are sometimes unaware of their trauma history. That’s why we will discuss in a first interview whether trauma-sensitive yoga is a suitable method for you to start to heal trauma and the issues arising from trauma.

Trauma can result in:

  • psychosomatic complaints (headache, abdominal pain, digestive problems, etc.)
  • chronic fatigue (CFS), fibromyalgia
  • extreme stress sensitivity and its consequences, burn-out, 'adrenal fatigue'
  • hypersensitivity to stimuli (sound, light, environment, people)
  • dissociation ('lost time' or 'being away')
  • reckless behaviour
  • addictions, e.g. eating addiction
  • depression, anxiety, sleeping problems
  • recurrent unsafe relationships

No matter how broken you may feel or how confused your life may appear right now, it is possible to reclaim your body and your life. Where trauma can be heard and listened to in a safe place, trauma can heal. Trauma-sensitive yoga does this, asana by asana. The most important thing to remember is that the gradual healing of trauma eventually restores your birthright of feeling good in your body.
Trauma-sensitive yoga can exist alongside other forms of therapy, such as counselling. I have a wide repertoire of methodologies and together we can see which is most suitable for you. If you are unsure of what is the best option for you, I can take a look at what you think would be most appropriate at that point.

Practical matters

1.    You do not have to bring your own yoga mat unless you prefer to work with your own mat.
2.    You do not need to have any yoga experience.


Available for bookings on Wednesdays between 10.30am and 6.00pm
Location: Nieuwe Achtergracht 11, upstairs rooms


  • Private class trauma-sensitive yoga: €100 for 60 minutes
  • Package of 5 private classes trauma-sensitive yoga: €450 for 60 minutes each


Book a healing today

Click the button below to schedule an appointment and use the form to indicate your preferences. We will be in touch shortly to confirm your appointment based on your requests.
A booking request needs to be sent to us at least 24 hours before the preferred appointment time. This allows us to find and contact the right teacher, healer or therapist.

Cancellation policy

Canceling your appointment can be done without charge up to 24 hours before the start of the appointment. You will be charged in full if canceled within 24 hours. Please be on time, we have to cancel the appointment if you are more than 10 minutes late since we can't guarantee the quality and benefits of the treatments anymore.

About Teacher

Esther van der Sande

I’m a professional counsellor, somatic psychotherapist, EMDR clinician and a qualified yoga (500+ hrs), mindfulness teacher and practitioner. I draw upon over 10+ years of experience in guiding clients from all age groups and professions.