Trauma and PTSD are physiological experiences that require physiological tools to resolve. “Mindfulness based interventions reduce PTSD symptoms and improve functioning by increasing the capacity to recognize, tolerate, and utilize internal states and ease the physical co morbidities often associated with PTSD.” (Boden et al, 2012; Thompson, Arnkoff and Glass….traumacenter.org). Engaging physiological action, with mindfulness can access physical triggers. Through that access, we can reroute the neuropathways that define our response.
Yoga is a means to mindfulness that activates awareness in the physiological reactions to triggers. It works for some, not for others. Yoga can give people access to sensations deep in the body, that are unfamiliar and painful. Yoga provides a new conversation with the body where the body had become an enemy. The body holds multi sensory memories of experiences when people choose to forget, buried deep in the fascia of the body, in cells, slowly creating a toxic environment. Slowly the buried tension builds to emotionally charged eruption or is buried to manifest in sickness, disease, tumors....Yoga accesses blocked circulation, can increase blood flow, circulation and release sickness. Being willing to release the hold on pain is necessary. Inquisitiveness and investigative action replace judgment. Being sensitive, gentle and forgiving sets an environment of release.
The breath becomes the main tool to access blocked areas, engaging the parasympathetic nervous system, calming the body. Yoga develops the limbic system connections, the older emotional portion of the brain, that increases the ability to manage emotional reaction and negotiate responses; to ultimately be more connected to the people around us without compromising their well being.
The most daunting task I believe that we have is to develop deep compassion for ourselves and in that, take responsibility for our actions and commitments. In that, compassion doesn't allow for self criticism, self aggrandizementThe hardest task is to cultivate that. And through ourselves, we can give to others.
Pema Chodron has been an anchor of wisdom for me. Her speak is fluid and accessible. In her words: “The only reason we don’t open our hearts and minds to other people is that they trigger confusion in us that we don’t feel brave enough or sane enough to deal with. To the degree that we look clearly and compassionately at ourselves, we feel confident and fearless about looking into someone else’s eyes.”