As we go through life, every life experiences we have shapes us to the person we are today. Once in our lives, at least, we all have experienced a thing called trauma whether we realised it or not. One thing that most people aren’t aware of is how even the smallest occurence in our lives can really stick with us and may impact us in later on in life.
No matter how life altering or even insignificant those life events may be, it may be recorded in our mind and body as a traumatic experience. Like a death of someone, divorce, physical injury, rape and abuse, and the list goes on. Even natural disasters, or as simple as moving to a new location can cause trauma. Surely, most of us have been in either one of those circumstances. The question is, how much are we affected by those life events?
Let’s Talk About Trauma. What is Trauma, Really?
There’s a broad definition of trauma based on a certain criteria. However, in general, trauma is a psychological as well as emotional response to a distressing event or experience. With that said, the main source of trauma varies from physically violent in nature to the psychological one.
Trauma, often is a result of an overwhelming amount of stress that exceeds the ability to integrate the emotions involved with that experience. As a reaction to the inability to cope, some of the signs that shows up may be emotional (anger, sadness, emotional outbursts) and physical (fatigue, racing heartbeat, headaches) symptoms.
Yoga and Trauma
Being viewed and linked to mental health problem, trauma often treated psychologically through therapy and even medication. However, nowadays a lot of people has taken the approach to heal trauma by doing yoga. While most yoga is meditative, some professional therapist believe that yoga can be beneficial for people with trauma.
Trauma lives in body memory, and yoga offers a nurturing & compassionate approach to healing
In a sense, trauma can show up as tension, anxiety, or illness. And, yoga can be a great tool to really check in with yourself, not just physically, but through meditation as well. It allows you to really engage with relaxation response. This leads to the state of fight or flight response, which is so common to trauma survivors, to run its course.
So, How Can Yoga Help with Trauma?
According to Colleen Saidman Yee, an acclaimed yoga teacher and former fashion model, yoga can help release anxiety and trauma from body parts. Some of those common body parts with binding tension are the pelvis, the diaphragm, the throat, the jaw, the hamstrings, and the shoulders and neck.
In her memoir Yoga for Life: A Journey to Inner Peace and Freedom (Attria Books, June 2, 2015), she shares 7 body parts that hold trauma as well as the yoga poses that relieves it. Those yoga poses are as follows.
- Bound Angle Pose (Baddha Konasana), for the pelvis
- Pond Pose (Tadagasana), for the diaphragm
- Upward-Facing Dog Pose (Urdhwa Mukha Svanasana), for the throat
- Lion Pose (Simhasana), for the jaw
- Pyramid Pose (Intense Side Stretch Pose), for the hamstrings
- Arm Swings, for the shoulders
- Headstands (Salamba Sirsasana), for the neck
Image source for yoga poses: yogajournal.com