When we experience a traumatic event (or chronic traumas), our bodies go into a state of survival. Because our system is overwhelmed, our bodies function in a way that is not optimal to our mental and physical health. And what often happens in traumatic situations is that rather than the well known “fight or flight” system coming online, we experience what is known as “freeze” – another survival mode where our system involuntarily shuts down and suspends certain body mechanisms in order to minimize pain and suffering.
While inwardly, our bodies are attempting to protect us, outwardly, we literally freeze. We may not move, blink, or speak. We may breathe shallowly and minimize muscle movement, all in an attempt to simply make it through whatever we are experiencing.
What this does to the body can be devastating. Our body’s alarm system is now compromised and will sound when unnecessary. We may experience feelings of fear, panic, and other trauma responses to events that do not seem to fit the reaction. We find this often results in acute stress and PTSD.
Living in this state causes our own bodies to feel unsafe, uncomfortable, and unfamiliar. Through movement and yoga that is informed through this trauma lens, we can learn how to reengage with the body, be more present in it, and slowly regain relationship with our fleshly home.
This work can be slow moving, since we do not want to overwhelm the body system again but teach it to recognize safety and recalibrate the alarm system to sound when true danger presents itself. This work is gentle, soft, understanding, compassionate, and respectful. We utilize mindfulness techniques as well as yoga and other movement to become familiar with the body, its sensations, its feelings and emotions, and that you are worthy of the space you occupy.