The value of mindful movements in changing your relationship to trauma
Updated: Aug 20, 2020
Life is energy in motion and the more free flowing this lifeforce energy is then the more vitality and wholeness we may have. When energy is suppressed, or ‘held’ in an area of the body for long periods, then it can become a block, creating resistance to the free flow of energy. For some, this might mean decreased vitality and overall wellbeing. It may even lead to dis-ease and illness in the body.
These suppressed energies are created in your unconscious as a result of uncertainty, fear, stress, and trauma. The positive news is that these energy blocks can be moved, shifted, and released. This new found space allows for new energy which may bring vitality and wellness of your body, mind, and spirit.
How does trauma get stored in the body?
Our bodies and brains can only safely handle a limited amount of intense and overwhelming emotions, which are often caused by stress and trauma. Whenever an experience exceeds our abilities to handle and cope with its consequences, the body stores these memories as energy. The energy of the trauma is stored in our bodies' tissues (mainly muscles and fascia) until it can be released through different types of movement, or for some people, meditation. This cellular memory shows that it’s not just our brain, but our body’s cells that hold an imprint of past traumatic events.
How can mindful movement release these imprints or “blockages”?
While yoga and other forms of movement do not cure trauma or the conditions it may cause, it can help make a substantial shift towards balance and health once again. We see people overcoming illness, dis-ease, trauma-related conditions, and so much more every day. Mindful movements can help individuals re-inhabit their body once again and possibly find safety there. This happens by the reintegration of the trauma story in a new and supportive way rather than being stuck in the state the nervous system froze in when the trauma happened. This is what it means to reembody one's physical body and tell a new story of safety while moving forward in a healthier and more resilient way. Yoga can often be the safe space for people to rediscover and reconnect to their body and mind.
Yin Yoga as a basis for understanding trauma
Yin Yoga is not often regarded as a practice that is trauma-informed or safe for people healing from trauma. I have found the opposite. When yin yoga is facilitated in an informed, safe, and supportive way it can offer a transformational space for healing. With that said, if it’s facilitated in an uninformed way, it can cause more harm than good. In yin yoga we come to a certain level of physical comfort in a shape and then are asked to remain there for a length of time while becoming still. This can be confronting, dangerous, and overwhelming for many people, especially those dealing with chronic stress, overwhelming thoughts and emotions, and trauma. A facilitator who is informed and educated can hold a safe space and use language and other tools to offer a supportive, reflective, and powerful space for people to reconnect with the idea that they may actually be able to find safety in their body. We use this practice to build resilience and strength so that over time people are able to hold space for their thoughts, trauma stories, and emotions and possibly one day move forward and live a more embodied and healthy life. This is working in a solution-based, forward-thinking way so people do not have to remain stuck and can find ways to promote their own healing and well-being.
The Self Agency Academy has partnered with Legacy Motion to cocreate this 20Hr Trauma-Informed Training. Legacy Motion is a non-profit organization that promotes resilience, empowerment, trauma resolution, psychosocial coexistence, peace and community building through restorative, movement-based practices.
If you feel this course would benefit yourself, your workplace, and/or your community – we would love to have you join us for our online training ,September 11-13, live and interactive with both Kirsten and myself.
What is a Trauma-Informed Training?
Trauma-informed training allows us to raise awareness among all staff about the wide impact of trauma and how we can prevent the re-traumatization of clients in settings that are meant to support and assist healing. It acknowledges past trauma and the resulting coping mechanisms when attempting to understand the behaviours of those we are working alongside. It means bringing empathy and compassion to every interaction and creating a safe and accessible space for all.