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This Year Let’s Heal! Yoga for Trauma Healing

Repost from The St. Louis Argus:

As we enter into the new year it's important to keep the past into the past and to not have old wounds resurface. New Years represent new ways, new beginnings, and new doors opening, but for that to happen old doors must be closed.

Yoga has a long-standing history of healing the mind, body, and spirit. Yoga practices help us destress, and relieve anxiety and Yoga allows us to be fit and present in our daily lives. But, another powerful aspect of Yoga is that certain yoga poses (asanas) open the way to emotional healing.

Negative emotions or repressed emotions can become locked and stagnant within the body creating dis-ease, discomfort, and emotional imbalance. Yoga allows the gentle release of emotions and trauma healing.

Here's an example: Have you ever experienced that "butterfly feeling" in your stomach when you are nervous or fearful? Or a lump in your throat because of something that you needed to say but couldn't? When these physical symptoms happen, it is just our body's way of processing our feelings. But, if those feelings are not properly addressed they can turn into health issues, such as digestive problems, ulcers, laryngitis, cold, or flu, for example. The body's immune system can become over-taxed and therefore weaken.

Yoga helps us become more aware of our bodies and take better care of ourselves. By doing gentle movements and deep breathing, it can help us become more aware of our physical and mental well-being. This increased self-awareness is very helpful when trying to heal from trauma.

Here are 5 beneficial yoga poses that help release trauma:

  1. Child’s Pose

To perform the Child's Pose in yoga, follow these steps:

  1. Start on your hands and knees, then bring your big toes to touch and separate your knees to the width of your yoga mat.

  2. Sit your hips back toward your heels as you reach your arms forward and place your forehead on the mat.

  3. Inhale deeply, expanding the space between your ribs and lower back. Exhale and allow your belly and chest to release closer to the mat with each breath.

  4. Hold this pose for several breaths, focusing on relaxation and deep breathing.

Child's Pose is a restful and grounding posture that can help release tension in the back, shoulders, and chest.

2. Reclined Knee to Chest Pose

  1. Lie on your back with your legs extended.

  2. As you exhale, draw your right knee towards your chest.

  3. Clasp your hands around the shin or behind the thigh, whichever is more comfortable.

  4. Keep your left leg extended on the floor.

  5. Relax your shoulders and lengthen your spine.

  6. Hold the position for a few breaths, then release and repeat with the other leg, or grab both legs and bring them to your chest, and give yourself a nice hug.

This asana helps with digestion, relieves lower back tension, and gently stretches the hips and lower back.

*This pose can also be done seated in a chair or standing, bending one knee at a time into the chest.

3. Bound Angle Pose or Cobbler's Pose

  1. Begin seated with your legs extended in front of you, spine straight, and arms to your sides (Staff Pose)

  2. Bring the soles of your feet together, bending the knees out to your sides, interlock your hands around your toes, and pull close

  3. Press the outer edges of the feet together and engage the hips

*This pose is a great way to loosen tension within the pelvis.

4. Pond Pose

  1. Lie flat on your back.

  2. Extend your arms overhead

  3. Straighten your arms

  4. Reach strongly until you feel a suction, or a “pond,” in your belly

Pond Pose lengthens the abdominal cavity and opens the chest which helps the diaphragm move easily. When the breath is free and doesn't feel tight it allows the nervous system to calm down.

5. Arm Swings

For a quick release and to unlock tension in the shoulders.

  1. Stand up with your knees slightly bent and arms at your sides

  2. Raise both arms to around shoulder height

  3. Let them swing back past your hips and forward again with momentum

*Arm Swings quickly unlock tension in the shoulders, open up the muscles of the back, and promote energy in the body by heating the joints and tendons.

Happy Healing!


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