by Suzanne Swan
Have you ever found yourself experiencing any of the following feelings; anxiety, restlessness, digestive problems, hyper-vigilance, sleeplessness, lethargy, disconnection, dissociation, emotional flooding, hostility or rage. These are all symptoms of undischarged traumatic stress.
Yoga means to unite mind and body. It is well understood that past traumatic experiences are held as memories in the mind/body and may have been stored away from view for survival. Practising mind/body centring approaches like yoga can help to unravel past trauma without having to talk it out. Being asked whilst in a yoga posture to direct your attention and breathe into an area of ‘tension or numbness’ is a gentle approach to healing. Emotions stored in the body may release slowly as it is given an opportunity to continue the healing process that was previously interrupted: you may find yourself close to tears, crying, sweating, shaking, trembling and even yawning may arise.
Here is Jan’s experience of participating in the Active Birth Yoga classes with me. “Almost as soon as we began doing movements focussed on the pelvis, in particular circular movements, I became aware of how different my two sides felt. I could move easily and freely through the right side, whilst the left side felt "out of bounds" somehow. There was no pain, just a subtle resistance to "go there". Since the aim of the movement was to free the pelvis, I persisted and breathed as I rolled into the left side. Almost immediately tears began to flow uncontrollably and I had flashbacks of my first birth, the feeling of having been assaulted by medical intervention. As we continued with the pelvis-focussed exercises, I began to get an image of the cellular memory as being almost like a sack of fluid that had been tucked away deep in my body. Once I had opened it, I knew I had to deal with it to enable me to have a different experience for my second birth. I had a very powerful healing during the active birth yoga class, which not only healed my first birth on a deep level, but prepared me to have a very different and empowering birth experience only a few weeks later.”
Yoga is one part of the healing process that may also include debriefing your experiences with a trusted and significant other.
Jan continued processing over the days that followed the yoga class “Over the following days I continued to breathe into the area and do the gentle rotations we had been taught in class and bit by bit, I felt an emotional weight lifting off my shoulders. On the recommendation of Suzanne I consulted my osteopath who worked with me to clear the very deepest layers of what I perceived as this "sack". My osteopath confirmed my perception of a ball or sack of fluid that was trapped and was now open and ready to be drained and again unexpectedly, on a physical level this fluid felt like the remnants of the epidural, the immediate after effects of which I had perceived as triggering a huge detox reaction in my body at the time, with night sweats etc. As my osteopath worked with me to shift the remnants of this "fluid", I felt again the (albeit much lesser) trauma of the chemical detox. Once this was cleared the yoga moves both in class and at home facilitated the rest of my healing on an emotional level.”
Learn more about our Active birth yoga classes