Support Displaced Yazidi Women in Groundbreaking Trauma Recovery Yoga Intervention

  • US$1,900.00
    raised of $1,900.00 goal goal
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Your support will make it possible for displaced Yazidi women & local Humanitarians to participate in a groundbreaking 8-week Trauma Recovery Yoga intervention in Iraqi-Kurdistan!

This official research study will not only support these women in healing unresolved traumas and strengthening their mind-body connection, but will prove the tangible impact of the TRY Method and help countless others!

The Research Study

The 8-week intervention will consist of a weekly 45-minute class, and will be approved and overseen by Ethos Global Review Institutional Review Board at IPSL Global Institute of the National University of Natural Medicine based in Portland, Oregon.

In collaboration with EMMA, a Kurdish organization committed to supporting women through holistic services, up to 15 Yazidi women and 10 female staff members will be recruited to participate. Each woman will complete a pre- and post-test that will gauge:

  • their mental health states
  • severity of mental and physical trauma symptoms
  • resilience levels using the Brief Resilience Scale (BRS)
  • Heart Rate Variability (HRV) measured using a small device that is placed on the finger for 2 minutes

The facilitator hypothesizes that 90% of participants will experience a decrease to some degree in both physical and mental trauma symptoms, and an increase in resilience level. As well, it is expected that their HRV’s will increase, indicating a longer-term calming of their body's fight/flight/freeze trauma response.

Throughout the intervention, the women will be:

  • regulating their nervous systems
  • re-associating with their bodies
  • learning new readily available tools to address unresolved traumas stored in the body
  • utilizing neuro-plasticity to create new thought patterns
  • practicing syncing the mind and body using breath
  • toning the vagus nerve, which benefits the autonomic nervous system and mental health, helping people feel calmer, more compassionate, and clearer
  • So. Much. More.

Pictured: Facilitator Brenda Hershey teaching Trauma Recovery Yoga at an orphanage for Yazidi children in Iraqi-Kurdistan.

Fully Sponsor 1 Woman for Only $75!

Some Background

In 2014, ISIS committed genocide against the Yazidi population here in Northern Iraq. Of the ~600,000 in the area, about 500,000 were displaced to the Duhok governorate of Iraqi-Kurdistan, many of whom still remain today. Mental health resources are vastly inaccessible and that along with the unresolved traumas and modern day stressors of poverty have led to a severe mental health crisis among the Yazidi population.

Pictured: Yazidis fleeing ISIS in Northern Iraq's Sinjar region in 2014. Photo Credit unknown.

What is Trauma Recovery Yoga?

Trauma Recovery Yoga (TRY) is a science-based somatic therapy that is designed to recalibrate the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems, helping to bring balance back into the mind and body. Practicing TRY not only relieves the body of the physiological effects that trauma can have on it in both the short and long-term, but it also builds resilience for future events.

The basis of the practice is Self-Regulation for Resilience (SRR). By actively practicing orienting, grounding, centering and breathing, participants will slowly but surely be more likely to naturally self-regulate when feeling overwhelmed by a past memory or when encountering a trauma, for example. This will, in turn, give them the CHOICE to process their trauma in a healthy way, whether it be past or present.

The TRY Method has been taught around the world to refugees, individuals experiencing homelessness, children, survivors of domestic violence, survivors of mass violence and many other vulnerable populations. It is specifically designed for non-traditional “yogis” – truly yoga for every body.

Learn more about the TRY Method at

Pictured: Facilitator Brenda Hershey teaching a TRY chair class to refugee women in Thessaloniki, Greece.

Why is this research SO important?

The benefits of this intervention are both immediate and long-lasting. The participants will experience an immediate calming and recalibration of the autonomic nervous system, bringing about an overall sense of well-being. When practiced over the 8-week period, along with the at-home educational and practice material, participants are expected to experience a long-term recalibration as well. Not only that, but they'll be actively practicing self-regulation for resilience (SRR) consistently, empowering them to single-handedly regulate themselves when experience trauma symptoms moving forward.

As well, scientifically proving the effects that the TRY method has on one's mind and body will further legitimize the method and allow it to become integrated in traditional therapies and humanitarian aid efforts. Providing this tangible evidence will help us reach way more people in need by making these simple yet profound SRR tools more accessible to those in the most need.

Pictured: Facilitator Brenda Hershey teaching a TRY class as part of the 20-hour TRY training in Iowa

Oh, but there's more!

Participants will receive at-home practice yoga and meditation videos, as well as educational material on the method that they’re practicing. This includes information on:

  • Self-Regulation for Resilience (SRR)
  • The science of some of the yoga postures
  • The science of I AM affirmations
  • The benefits of yoga
  • Trauma & symptoms
  • Self-care

Each woman will also receive a unique I AM card at the beginning of each class (see below), meant to support them throughout their practice.

The Research's Main Objectives:

  • Create immediate and long-lasting physical and mental health benefits through holistic, alternative methods.
  • Gauge current mental health states of participants, identify gaps in psychological treatment services, and most common issues. Further investigate states of humanitarians verses beneficiaries and identify any patterns.
  • Investigate current interest in and willingness of conflict-affected populations to participate in alternative healing modalities like yoga.
  • Provide both qualitative and quantitative data on the relationship between mental and physical well-being as well as change in resilience levels with Trauma Recovery Yoga (The TRY Method).
  • Based on resulting evidence, recommend that the TRY Method be integrated into traditional psychological “talk” therapies in humanitarian efforts for conflict-affected populations.

About the Facilitator

Brenda Hershey is an international humanitarian, author and TRY global ambassador and instructor. She has extensive experience working with people who’ve experienced trauma, specifically refugees in the United States and abroad. She became a certified TRY instructor in 2019 and had been teaching the classes regularly when she experienced her very own “Big T” trauma. Because she had built up such a high level of resilience teaching TRY, she found herself equipped with the tools to self-regulate during those dark moments. She is passionate about sharing these simple yet profound tools with her fellow humans, as she knows firsthand that they are, in fact, life-changing. With a master’s degree in Community Development & Action and almost two years of experience working with Syrian refugees and displaced Yazidis in Iraqi-Kurdistan, Brenda is equipped to facilitate a safe and welcoming environment for this specific population.

Learn more about Brenda on her website.

Pictured: Facilitator Brenda Hershey in a Yazidi IDP Camp.

Aside from making a donation, spreading the word by sharing this campaign with your friends and on social media will be hugely helpful!

Every dollar and every "share" really does count. :)

The TRY Team is truly so grateful for your support in this exciting endeavor, as we continue our mission to help people reconnect mind and body.


Social Media Shoutout and Name in Project Video Credits

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$25 Off Coupon for Next Virtual TRY Teacher Training (for you or a friend)

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Personal Yoga Class w/ Brenda

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$50 Off Coupon for Next Virtual TRY Teacher Training (for you or a friend)

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Personal "Thank You" Video

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A Personal Strategic Planning Workbook Sent To Your Door

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Energy Healing Session w/ Brenda

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  • Brenda Hershey
  • Campaign Owner


  • Anonymous
  • Donated on Oct 09, 2021
Amount Hidden
  • Myers Jasmine
  • Donated on Oct 03, 2021
  • Guest
  • Donated on Oct 02, 2021
Apr 30

We've Got Movement, Folks!

Update posted by Brenda Hershey at 07:58 pm

Plans are being solidified here in Iraqi Kurdistan, funds are coming in, and people are EXCITED!!!We now have one displaced woman FULLY sponsored, plus $100! Halfway to sponsoring our second participant! We're so grateful for your support thus far, and know that we're just getting started! With gratitude,Brenda and the

See update
Oct 25

Yoga Mats Purchased!

Update posted by Brenda Hershey at 06:43 pm

We've purchased the yoga mats, and besides some last minute printing, everything is ready to go for us to begin the intervention TOMORROW! So excited!

See update
Oct 16


Update posted by Brenda Hershey at 12:14 pm

As you may have noticed (as this post is a bit delayed) -- WE'VE BEEN FULLY FUNDED!!! Because of the very generous donations of our backers, we're able to begin this research study with no concerns of anything coming out of pocket. What a relief! All focus is directed toward

See update
Oct 07

The I AM Cards are Here!

Update posted by Brenda Hershey at 11:34 am

...and they're beautiful! Our favorite printing shop in the Duhok bazaar printed and cut each card with care. One more week until we get to put them to good use! Thank you all for your support... more to come very soon! Check out the cards!

See update

Donors & Comments

5 donors
  • Anonymous
  • Donated on Oct 09, 2021
Amount Hidden
  • Myers Jasmine
  • Donated on Oct 03, 2021
  • Guest
  • Donated on Oct 02, 2021


Jessica Goldstein
Carole Carmona
Max Carter

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raised of $1,900.00 goal
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