trauma-sensitive yoga & transformation: interview with nicole emily marcia

This is the second in a series of interviews with faculty at the 2015 Victoria Yoga Conference, Jan 30 – Feb 1 in Victoria, BC, Canada. For the full line-up and schedule of the conference, visit

Originally posted on It’s All Yoga, Baby, a Victoria-based blog about yoga and culture.

We all have our stories. Nicole Emily Marcia chose to specialize in trauma-sensitive yoga because of her own story. The yoga teacher and therapist credits yoga with transforming her life. Living with the aftereffects of a traumatic experience, her health suffered and she was stressed out. When she discovered yoga and its healthy coping strategies, her health improved, her attitude towards life changed and she felt more liberated.

Not only did Marcia dedicate herself to her practice, but she went on to teach yoga and train students. She lives in Vancouver and currently works as a yoga therapist for Vancouver Coastal Health, teaches courses at Langara College and is a faculty member at Ajna Yoga in Victoria.

Tell us about what you’ll be offering at the Victoria Yoga Conference.

I’m going to be offering a lecture and leading a discussion about the benefits of yoga for individuals struggling in the aftermath of traumatic events. We’ll be exploring the impact of trauma on the nervous system, Reclaiming the Body (the yoga protocol for trauma survivors created at the Trauma Center) and how yoga-based techniques can be used for symptoms associated with trauma. Afterwards we will go into a trauma sensitive yoga class so that participants can have an embodied experience of this way of being in the practice.

What drives your teaching practice?

I teach therapeutic yoga classes and offer individual sessions to trauma survivors struggling with addiction, depression and anxiety, teaching them healthy self-regulation strategies to empower them to live connected and embodied lives. I also train yoga teachers and clinicians in the trauma-informed yoga theory and techniques required to support trauma survivors in their healing, long-term stability and recovery.

How do you live your yoga?

By being as connected as deeply as I can, in every moment, to everyone around me. Through making a difference on the planet by being committed to being of service to humanity.

VYC is a heart-centred community event – why do you think it’s important for yoga practitioners and teachers to come together to practice and learn from one another?

Yoga teachers generally work in isolation, without much direct contact or feedback from colleagues, bosses or managers. The VYC is an opportunity for us to gather as a community not just to learn and teach but also to have the experience of being supported in what we are doing with our lives and our work. This event is so inspiring and I always come away with it having formed new friendships, having reconnected with people I love and walk away feeling inspired to go into the future and continue with the work I love.