Updated: May 22, 2021
When your brain detects a threat, it automatically triggers an involuntary stress response in your body. This happens before your executive brain, or conscious mind, even has time to decide if the threat is real or imagined or is maybe even just a memory of a threat.
Your body automatically goes into a state of fight (anger), flight (avoidance), or freeze (withdrawal).
The first awareness you have of this stress response is in the physical sensations in your body. When you can begin to recognize what you feel in your body, you can then begin to implement these tools in the moment, down regulate the stress response, and allow your executive brain to choose how to respond appropriately.
When we have experienced trauma, our brains begin to see danger in circumstances that simply remind us of our past wounds. Our body then begins to respond to this perceived danger the same way it responded to the original experience.
So what is trauma? How do we know if we’ve experienced it?
Trauma is less about the experience itself and more about an individual’s involuntary response to the circumstance. The same event may be traumatic to one person and not at all traumatic to another. Additionally, in the same circumstance, one individual may respond with fight, another with flight, and another with a freeze response.
Some examples of traumatic experiences can include: accidents, injury, medical diagnosis, physical or emotional abuse, loss of a loved one, chronic stress, isolation, divorce, caregiver fatigue, financial insecurity, difficult relationships, global pandemics - I think that pretty much covers everyone.
We’ve all experienced trauma in our lives. We all have old wounds, some deeper than others.
Through a regular yoga practice, we can begin to build resilience and heal these wounds. These tools can help you recognize the physical sensations you feel when triggered by an experience, allow you to become aware of how your body is responding to the stressor, restore balance in your nervous system so that you can cope with your body response, so that you can choose how to respond appropriately to any circumstance.
I am a trauma-informed yoga teacher. Every class that I teach is trauma sensitive. That means that we incorporate these tools into every practice. We begin to teach our bodies and teach our minds through practice and experience that right here and right now we have everything we need.
If you would like to feel a greater sense of peace, a feeling of control when things are out of your control, and a trust that you have the perfect response to every circumstance, I would love for you to join my private Facebook Community - Breathe.
This is a community for building resilience and healing through the tools and practices of yoga. It is a safe and held space to explore, to inquire and to grow. We’ll explore these tools and learn how to apply them in your daily life on and off the yoga mat. Join the Community Here.