Healing Trauma with Yoga
How can yoga assist in the healing trauma? What makes it effective and appropriate? These are good questions and they are being addressed formerly in research by Bessel van der Kolk and his associate, Dave Emerson, at the Trauma Center in Boston, as well as by other professionals on a national scale. I participated in the trauma-sensitive yoga teacher training program led by Dave Emerson and associates in May of 2009 and have been offering a local, 8-week series since September of 2010. I am very much looking forward to leading the next one that begins on September 15th at 6:30-7:45 P.M.
Trauma, depending upon the scale and impact, affects individuals’ nervous systems leaving them with varying levels of agitation or disregulation including: hyper-arousal, hyper-vigilance, intrusions and flashbacks, nightmares and/or insomnia, often accompanied by varying levels of anxiety and depression. At times, individuals can feel “flooded” or overwhelmed by traumatic symptoms which can greatly impact their daily functioning. Because individuals can become “triggered” in unexpected ways and times, a sense of personal control can feel diminished. Related feelings of shame are common.
Yoga and mindfulness practices, such as working with the breath, can help heal trauma by soothing the nervous system and introducing a counter-active experience of calm and relaxation. Various poses are utilized to explore sensations of stability, strength and shifting energy patterns. Working with gentle poses, breathing patterns and developing a capacity to observe and allow one’s experience without judgment can all assist in the healing process. Finally, being in community with others whom understand is also markedly healing. While individuals do not need to share specific details about their experience, and/or anything but their first name, most previous participants have commented on how helpful it has been to connect with others with similar experiences.
The hardest thing about this class is signing up and walking through the door the first time! The class structure can accommodate varying physical challenges and/or limitations, although a physician’s approval for participation may be required in some circumstances. If anyone has more questions regarding the series and whether it would be appropriate for them, please feel free to call Deb Sherrer at 999-2703, between 9 and 2:30 P.M. If this time frame is not convenient, please feel free to leave a confidential voice mail with your name, number, and the best time you can be reached and I will get in touch.
To fly we must dance
With our longest shadows in
The brightest sunlight.