How does yoga help us move through deep rooted trauma?
Trauma comes in all shapes and sizes. Many of us don't even realize we have experienced trauma at some point in our lives whether it is big or little.
It wasn't until several years ago that I finally realized I had been experiencing repeated trauma for most of my life and even tried to minimize the significance of it. I remember saying, "But it wasn't that bad..." Except it really was.
Now I look at everything with new clarity and I have been expanding my tools to address the trauma that is deep rooted in my body.
Soma refers to the body. Somatic Experiencing is a form of therapy aimed at relieving symptoms of PTSD and other forms of mental & physical health issues associated with trauma. It was developed by trauma therapist Peter Levine.
He explains, "Yoga has been shown extensively to be very effective with trauma, and, I believe, because it helps to move emotion out of the body,” Dr. Levine said. “The Latin root of emotion is e-motif—to move through. Yoga is most Westerners’ first access into the felt sense of the body, and staying with strong sensation.”
We see trauma show up in many different ways - panic attacks, chronic pain, inflammation, disease, and other physical symptoms of suffering.
Yoga is an amazing practice because it moves the body and it activates our parasympathetic nervous system - rest and digest or also known as tend and befriend.
When we learn to regulate the nervous system with intention in a yoga practice, we are able to tap into the power of our breath and learn how to self-regulate the mind and body.
Our amygdala, the brain's fear control center, decreases in size when we meditate and practice yoga. The hippocampus also increases in size where learning and memory takes place.
Yoga allows us a window to process emotion and past experiences so that we may tap into our true self. We can better regulate our emotional responses to triggering situations.
Stay gentle and compassionate with yourself when working through difficult situations and previous life experiences.
Yoga, meditation, and mindfulness is a great way to move past the thinking mind to fully experience the joy of this moment.