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Here's what yogis are saying about Empower Tucson Yoga! "Tiffany is a terrific yoga teacher. Her passion for yoga is obvious and her enthusiasm is inspiring. She really connects with her students on an individual level. She incorporates much insight about the spiritual and physical benefits of yoga practice, while making the class a fun experience." Danielle L.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Overcoming Trauma through Yoga: Reclaiming Your Body

When our bodies are feeling uneasy, they give us messages. The purpose of these messages is to inform us that something inside doesn't feel right and it needs our attention. If these messages go unanswered, over time, they evolve into the symptoms of trauma. 

The first symptoms that are likely to develop immediately after an overwhelming event include hyperarousal, constriction, dissociation and denial, as well as feelings of helplessness, immobility, or freezing. 

Hyperarousal may take the form of physical symptoms such as an increase in heart rate, sweating, difficulty breathing, tingling or muscular tension. It can also manifest as a mental process in the form of increased repetition of thoughts, racing mind, and worry. If we allow ourselves to acknowledge these thoughts and sensations, in other words let them have their natural flow, they will peak, then begin to diminish and resolve. 

When we respond to a life-threatening situation, hyperarousal is initially accompanied by constriction in our bodies and narrowing of perceptions. Our nervous system acts to ensure that all our efforts can be maximally focused on the threat in an optimum way. Constriction alters our breathing, muscle tone, and posture in order to promote efficiency and strength. Blood vessels in the skin, extremities, and internal organs constrict so that more blood is available to the muscles, which are tensed and prepared to take defensive action. At the same time, the digestive system is inhibited. We may also feel numb or shut down. 

Dissociation protects us from being overwhelmed by escalating arousal, fear, and pain. It "softens" the pain of severe injury by secreting nature's internal opium, the endorphins. In trauma, dissociation seems to be a favored means of enabling a person to endure experiences that are at the moment beyond endurance. 

Denial is probably a lower level energy form of dissociation. The disconnection may occur between the person and the memory or feelings about a particular event (or series of events). We may deny that an event occurred, or we may act as though it was unimportant. For instance, when someone we love dies, or when we are injured or violated, we may act as though nothing has happened, because the emotions that come with truly acknowledging the situation are too painful. In addition, dissociation may be experienced as part of the body being disconnected or almost absent. Frequently chronic pain represents a part of the body that has been dissociated. 

If hyperarousal is the nervous system's accelerator, a sense of overwhelming helplessness is its brake. The helplessness that is experienced at such times is not the ordinary sense of helplessness that can affect anyone from time to time. It is the sense of being collapsed, immobilized, and utterly helpless. It is not a perception, belief, or a trick of the imagination. It is real. 

Many other symptoms can begin to show up at the same time or shortly after those just discussed. The symptoms of trauma can be stable, that is, ever-present. They can also be unstable, meaning that they can come and go and be triggered by stress. Or they can remain hidden for decades and suddenly surface. Usually, symptoms do not occur individually, but come in groups. They often grow increasingly complex over time, becoming less and less connected with the original trauma experience.

Come, join me for this upcoming therapeutic Women's Yoga Love offering that will encourage you to let these symptoms have their natural flow so they can then begin to diminish and resolve. In this practice you will experience trembling, shaking, vibrations, waves of warmth, fullness of breath, slowed heart rate, relaxation of the muscles, and an overall feeling of relief, comfort, and safety. 

.::Women's Yoga for Healing Trauma::.
Fall 3-Week Series - 10/16, 10/23, 10/30
Sundays, 12-2:00pm
148 S 4th Avenue - Tucson Yoga
$75 Full Series
*$35 drop-in*If Space is Available*