When we think of therapy for trauma and PTSD, many of us may imagine someone sitting in a room with a therapist, talking about the event. And there is a place for this. But what if I told you there’s a treatment you can do in your own home?
You might be surprised to find that yoga is a proven treatment for trauma and PTSD. In fact, Dr. Bessel Van Der Kolk, a trauma expert and author of The Body Keeps the Score, states that yoga is more effective for treating PTSD than any medication ever studied to date!
Before I go any further, I want to emphasize that if you do have a background of unresolved or untreated trauma, please do not try to do yoga on your own. Please do yoga in conjunction with seeing a therapist. You might be unprepared for and unpleasantly surprised by emotions and memories which arise from the yoga and a therapist can help you deal with them in a productive way.
So why does yoga help? In many cases, people who have trauma or PTSD have a disconnect between body and mind. For example, a child who is sexually abused may learn to “check out” during the abuse so that the mind is not registering what the body is experiencing. Many trauma survivors are unable to identify feelings within their bodies. Yoga is a safe and gentle way to begin to tune in to the body and what it is feeling. You might think that mindfulness meditation would also be good for this, but it turns out that this is not always the case. For many people, it is too overwhelming to sit quietly and focus on and experience bodily feelings. Yoga gives people other things to focus on, such as posture or positioning, while still leaving room for feeling the body and registering the body’s feelings. It’s less overwhelming than mindfulness. That said, please note some yoga positions can cause a person to feel very exposed and vulnerable and may require a lot of time and practice before a person begins to feel safe enough to try them. If you have a traumatic event in your background and are considering trying yoga, please give yourself permission to take it slowly.
I don’t know about you, but I love that yoga can help heal trauma because it can be done multiple times per week in addition to traditional trauma therapies. And it’s something that the trauma survivor has control over, which is also important.
If you are struggling with feelings or an issue, I would be honored to walk with you on your healing journey. I invite you to contact me in whatever way feels best to you:
By phone or text at (816) 226-4678
By email firstname.lastname@example.org (remember not to put anything in the email that you wouldn’t mind seeing on the front page of a newspaper)
By secure, HIPAA-compliant messaging through my client portal.