Sexual assault can be hard for the person who experienced it to put into words. According to RAINN, every 98 seconds, someone is getting sexually assault which totals to 321,500 a year. One college student used yoga as a way to heal from the trauma she endured from her sexual assault and used her yoga therapy to help others.

Zabie Yamasaki, a senior at the University of California, Irvine was drugged and raped by a stranger at a Newport Beach bar just months before graduating. She was experiencing flashbacks, nightmares, and anxiety. Even though she tried talk therapy and medications, they were not helping her as she was having trouble putting into words what she was feeling. Yamasaki needed a therapy that physically connected her back to her body again where she could feel the power and control that was taken away from her. Yamasaki decided to give yoga a try which she found comfortable, safe, and confident. If it worked for her, Yamasaki felt like yoga would help other sexual assault survivors too.

After becoming a certified yoga instructor, Yamasaki created an eight week trauma informed healing program for sexual assault survivors called Transcending Sexual Trauma Through Yoga. The goal of this therapy is to move through your body in a way that feels safe and comfortable. It is also about expressing what you feel inside without using words to express your feelings. Each class has a different theme like boundaries, assertiveness, trust, strength, mindfulness, and safety. This program has been offered in more than fifteen colleges and centers in California and has helped thousands of sexual assault survivors of all races and genders. For the past four months, Yamasaki trained hundreds of yoga teachers in this form of yoga therapy and collaborated with five new colleges.

After taking this class, past students said they reported to the police what happened to them as they felt strong and stable in their bodies. They no longer needed control of their body in an unhealthy way such as their relationship with food. Others felt the strength to go to therapy, increased confidence, and were able to be intimate with a partner again. Yoga brings you back the connection with your body that was lost. Yamasaki said the most important part of this program is not being alone in the struggle of sexual assault and to help the community come together.

Located in downtown Midland, The Springboard Center’s mission is to offer programs and services to treat alcohol and drug addiction treatment using an evidence based curriculum, 12 step programs, diet, nutrition, exercise, emotional, mental and spiritual development for a long recovery. For more information, please call us at 432-620-0255 as we are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.