Yoga teaches us to cure what need not be endured and endure what cannot be cured.
The Impact of Trauma and Anxiety On The Mind, Body, and Spirit
During a traumatic experience, your brain kicks into action and your body’s stress response is activated. This causes your breathing and heart rate to increase, muscles to contract, and many other physiological responses that prepare you to fight, flee, freeze up, or even just shut down (fold) to avoid danger. Some people, though they have not experienced a particularly horrific or traumatic event, just live in a chronically high state of anxiety, with their stress response being very easily activated.
These amazing stress responses are there to help protect you from harm! Sometimes, however, a bit of a programming error occurs. It’s as if your brain gets “stuck” in that stress response and has a hard time shutting off! You can experience hypervigilance, which is a revved up, on-edge feeling all the time, like you are waiting for the next bad thing to happen. Since you often don’t know how to release all that nervous energy, it can actually begin to manifest as pain and illness in your body. Chronic muscle aches and pains, headaches, intestinal discomfort, autoimmune disorders, and much more can occur as a result. Other times, you can feel disconnected from your body and numb to sensations or emotions.
All of this, of course, also begins to have an impact on your spirit. Since your brain thinks you are in danger and keeps you in high alert, it can be very difficult to ever be still and quiet. Therefore, accessing a state of peace – that blissful place where your true, authentic self lies – can seem impossible.
Help is here via Therapeutic Yoga, EMDR, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)!
Until you can calm these physiological responses, it is virtually impossible to process your trauma experience/anxiety. You cannot use the rational part of your brain when you are in survival mode! Again, these responses are there to protect you, but your brain is just a little confused. The good news is, you can “reprogram” your brain and learn to help your parasympathetic nervous system activate to calm and relax you. Yogic practices such as pranayama (breathing exercises), meditation, asana (yoga poses) can help calm and reset your nervous system.
Through these practices you can regain a feeling of safety and control in your body. Then, the true work of talk therapy can begin. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) can assist you in finding the “stuck points” – the underlying thoughts, feelings, and beliefs that are preventing you from living a joyful life. Some clients may also benefit from EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) to help your brain reprocess particularly distressing memories so they no longer feel as intense. EMDR also helps you discover more adaptive beliefs about the event to help you move forward. The combination of these methods can be a powerful healing tool!
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