When have you felt completely free to be yourself?

Feeling safe is an important component in the healing process. - Stephen Porges

Safety is defined as feeling safe, not by the removal of the threat. It's dependent on three conditions:

  1. the nervous system is not in a state that supports defense (stress response is not activated)

  2. the social engagement system must be activated to down regulate sympathetic activation (safe social connection is intuitively felt)

  3. we must detect cues of safety (positive facial expressions, soothing voices)

Close your eyes for a minute. Take a deep breath. Think of a time or a place or a circumstance when you felt completely free to be yourself...Like there was nothing that you needed to do to be unconditionally loved and supported...Encouraged to be exactly who you are.

This practice of accessing an inner sanctuary of peace and well-being is a tool we use in Yoga Therapy to down regulate the stress response in the body. It's a tool that we all have, already within us. Once we've learned to activate it, it's like a secret weapon. We can call on it any time we need to feel safe. Even when our our brain is telling us that a circumstance isn't safe.

From a place of feeling safe, we can determine the most appropriate response to the situation and make a conscious choice to be who we're meant to be.

When I first explored this practice I kept trying to make this place something I thought it was supposed to be. When I let go of thinking and just allowed myself to feel a safe place, I was a little surprised. My inner sanctuary is an old memory of being on the couch with my best friend. Now it's a place I visit every night when I'm falling asleep. It doesn't have to be fancy, it just needs to feel safe. What came to mind for you? What is your inner sanctuary?