Yoga, tai chi, qigong, rhythmical drumming, Zumba and football: these pursuits (and many others) involve physical movement, breathing, rhythms and interacting with others. When we “play” together, we feel physically attuned and experience a sense of connection, pleasure and joy.
Yoga can positively affect wide-ranging medical problems such as high blood pressure, elevated stress hormone secretion, asthma, and low back pain. Yoga is about looking inward instead of outward and listening to your body: things that trauma survivors rarely do. If your body has things to say, yoga offers a way of listening to it and (re)gaining a caring, loving, relationship with your “self”. If you’re not aware of what your body needs, you can’t take care of it: if you don’t feel hunger, you can’t nourish yourself; if you mistake anxiety for hunger, you may eat too much; if you can’t feel when you’re full, you’ll keep eating. Sensory awareness is a critical aspect of trauma recovery.
In yoga, you focus your attention on your breathing and on your moment to moment sensations. You notice the connection between your emotions and your body, to experiment with changing the way you feel (will taking a deep breath to relieve that tension in your shoulder, or will focusing on your out breath produce a sense of calm?) Simply noticing what you feel helps you stop trying to ignore what is going on inside you. Once you start approaching your body with curiosity rather than fear, everything shifts. A yoga teacher will encourage you to just notice any tension while timing what you feel with the flow of your breath. This helps you anticipate the end of discomfort (“We’ll hold this pose for 10 breaths”) and strengthens your capacity to deal with physical and emotional distress. Awareness that all experience is temporary changes your perspective of yourself.
I offer a free initial telephone conversation, giving you as much time and space as you need to consider whether you’d like to come and meet me.