Building Resilience Through Yoga

Flickr_aniket_thakur-300x223When we experience a traumatic event, the language part of our brains turn off, which is why we so often have a hard time putting words to what happened. We store the memory regardless of the availability of language. More often than not, those chronic pains we experience may be trauma stored in the body. Yoga is one way to access these memories and process them without having to rely on language.

One very basic definition of yoga is linking breath with movement while paying attention. Yoga is a mindful practice and has a lot in common with meditation. It could be said that yoga is meditation in motion. Meditation is the art of paying attention without judgement. It can be done while you’re still or moving about. Many people find a quiet walk in the woods beneficial, and some people prefer to sit on a cushion. Whatever your physical stance, it is the state of your mind that determines whether you are meditating.

Yoga and meditation can assist in building a more resilient nervous system and developing tools to access during stressful times.

Books of interest
Waking the Tiger, by Dr. Peter Levine
The Body Keeps the Score, by Dr. Bessel van der Kolk
Overcoming Trauma Through Yoga: Reclaiming Your Body, by David Emerson and Elizabeth Hopper
Trauma Sensitive Yoga in Therapy, by David Emerson
Radical Acceptance, Tara Brach
Rising Strong, by Dr. Brené Brown
When the Body Says No, by Dr. Gabor Maté

Websites
Do Yoga With Me (free yoga)
Dharma Seed (free guided meditations)
DIY Dharma (free talks and guided meditations)

Apps (iOS & Android)
Daily Yoga (several choices)
Simply Yoga
Prana Breath (several choices)
Insight Timer
Headspace
Calm

This piece originally appeared in our May-August 2016 issue of The Positive Side. If you’d  like to get on our email list for upcoming issues, contact us.

Image: Aniket Thakur, Flickr (Creative Commons)