Breath. The most POWERFUL thing our body does for us. Our body is amazing and trauma makes us feel the exact opposite. Why? Well, when we experience trauma our body goes in to survival mode.
Body: “STAY STILL and I’ll be safe, they won’t see me.”
Body: “CURL UP, protect yourself, YOU are sensitive.”
Body: “If you disassociate, you won’t feel ANYTHING.”
See what your body is doing? Protecting you the BEST way it knows how. We become immobilized. We are NOT weak because we are immobilized. We are STRONG. YOUR body is doing its job, its most instinctual response to keep YOU safe.
What we have learned, however, is immobilization is where we become traumatized [long story short, when we are immobilized trauma stays within; when we are mobilized, fight or flight, trauma is worked out of our body…Longer story to be continued in another blog post? hehe].
Anyway, later when you feel overwhelmed because you felt something in your body that felt similar to when you were experiencing trauma, you become scared, you feel out of control, you feel like you are going to die and you don’t know why! Your body is doing the best it can.
Repeat after me: I AM DOING THE BEST I CAN.
Ever get home and wonder, how’d I get here? Did I stop at that stop sign? I SURE HAVE. I have some MAJOR car trauma. I was in a head on collision and I was immobilized. My body started disassociating every time I was in the car so I didn’t have to feel that pain, that fear, that out of control anxiety. Has something like this ever happened to you at yoga? In yoga, we want to be present and mindful. But if we have experienced trauma, the last thing our body wants is to FEEL OUR BODY; OUR EMOTIONS.
Maybe you hold your breath, lose your balance, or not remember a single thing that happened in class. How do we tell our body we are okay? How do we start to use yoga to heal? We breath, intentionally. I start everyone one of my classes challenging my students to use their breath, intentionally. To notice when they are not present and to NOT judge themselves because YOUR BODY IS PROTECTING YOU. We need to tell our body WE ARE OKAY. When we intentionally breath, our nervous system understands we are okay. Our body moves and feels safe, our mind feels at peace. We begin to heal, we begin to feel our body, we begin to live.
So use your breath, baby. Use it. Move your body. You are capable of healing.