Yoga Therapy for PTSD

8 week protocol of Kundalini Yoga, as taught by Yogi Bhajan, for healing trauma using the healing current of the NAAD to reconstitute the cellular structure of the body and reinvigorate the nervous system.

Yoga Therapy

Yoga therapy for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)


The 8-week protocol for PTSD follows the same general format as all yoga therapy courses taught by the Guru Ram Das Institute for Medicine and Humanology (GRD). All new concepts are introduced slowly, ensuring a thorough integration of skills and understanding before any new concepts or skills are introduced. Teaching Kundalini Yoga to populations of people who identify with having symptoms of PTSD is vastly different to teaching healthy populations, and there is a profound recognition within this protocol for PTSD of the needs of this particular population. Yoga therapy is particularly successful in addressing hyperarousal and elevated heart rate, according to international research studies. These particular symptoms of PTSD link to a deregulated autonomic nervous system resulting in an overactivated sympathetic and underactivated parasympathetic system.  There is also an overlap between the symptoms of Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) and PTSD, according to evidence based research. The PTSD protocol teaches yogic tools and techniques to deal with the broad spectrum of PTSD symptoms.

Kundalini Yoga therapy focuses on all illness as being a condition of low prana (life force/healing energy) and the concept of using prana as medicine is integral to this form of therapy. The use of the Naad, or the sound current, permeates throughout this system of healing and awakens a deeper connection to the breath. The typical breath pattern which is connected with hyperarousal is replaced with an experience of deep and regular breathing, which becomes integrated into a new state of being. The accompanying state of mind is also a new experience for this population and brings with it thoughts that are calmer and more spacious, a consistently lower resting heart rate, and a de-activated nervous system i.e. sympathetic action is decreased and parasympathetic action is increased, and the fight-flight-freeze cluster of symptoms in PTSD are shifted.

This 8-week protocol is based on extensive research conducted by the Guru Ram Das (GRD) Institute of Medicine and Humanology. The Institute has spent thirty years researching the effectiveness of Kundalini Yoga, as taught by Yogi Bhajan, as a healing form for serious illness, and has recently been certified as a member of IAYT (International Alliance of Yoga Therapists) with all the courses that are conducted by the GRD Faculty receiving international recognition. Ravi Kaur teaches on the GRD faculty, training yoga therapists internationally, and has a strong interest in bringing the training to South Africa.


Anyone who has suffered a traumatic experience, or a series of traumatic experiences in their lives will benefit from this course. If you identify with more than five of the statements below, your nervous system is charged and your body is unable to discharge on its own. The tools and techniques taught in the protocol would be highly beneficial for you.

  • I constantly have disturbing memories, thoughts, dreams or images of a stressful experience/s from the past.
  • Sometimes it feels as if that experience/s is happening again and my body reacts exactly as if it is.
  • Sometimes I get very upset when something reminds me of that experience/s.
  • When I’m reminded of that experience/s my heart pounds, I can’t breathe and/or I start sweating.
  • I avoid thinking or talking about that experience/s or even any feelings, activities or situations related to it.
  • I’m not interested in things I used to enjoy.
  • I feel distant and/or cut off from other people.
  • I feel emotionally numb and unable to feel loving feelings anymore even for those close to me.
  • I can’t see any future for myself.
  • I have trouble falling or staying asleep.
  • I get irritable and have angry outbursts.
  • I find it difficult to concentrate.
  • I’m always on my guard.
  • I’m easily startled and always feel jumpy.

73.8% of South Africans experience at least one potentially traumatic life event, according to research material, with evidence showing that the majority experience multiple potentially traumatic events. The PTSD protocol is for anyone who has experienced such an event, witnessed it, or had it happen to someone close to them.

The 8 week protocol costs R4000 and must be done as a whole. There are 8 segments with in-depth information on the Yogic perspective on PTSD, with the tools and techniques to deal with the symptoms, and home practices to assist in the integration of the learning. The course can be repeated many times in order to fully integrate all the healing processes, and many people who have symptoms of PTSD find it useful to do this. The research from the PTSD protocol has shown great improvements in the spectrum of symptoms that belongs to PTSD.


For thousands of years yoga has been taught as a method to tranquilise the mind and enliven the body. In recent times evidence-based research shows that the practices included in yoga like postures of the body, relaxation, visualisation, and controlled breathing and meditation, can normalise an activated autonomic sympathetic nervous system, calm tension in the muscles, lower blood pressure, enhance endocrine system activity, reduce physical and emotional discomfort, and improve general wellbeing (Emerson et al, 2009). The conclusion of a large meta-study analysing the results of many research studies highlights yoga and meditation as a very effective complementary treatment for severe mental illness, particularly for reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression (Cabral et al, 2011).  The difference between yoga therapy and a yoga class lies in the intention. In yoga therapy sessions for either individuals or groups, the intention is to focus on the specific condition that is being experienced by the client/group, while in yoga classes the intention has a more general focus on strength building, stretching and breath and visualisation exercises. Kundalini yoga, as taught by Yogi Bhajan, was taught to healthy people, while Kundalini yoga therapy has a very specific focus on how to treat illness. After an appropriate intake, and assessment, therapists will focus on the specific symptoms that are troubling their clients and identify methods to help them manage those symptoms. The therapist’s job is less about teaching yogic techniques and more about helping clients to overcome their challenges and gain independence.


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