Post traumatic stress disorder or PTSD was once thought to occur only in people who had suffered from the effects of war. Fortunately, as people began to recognize that overwhelming stress on the body and mind can occur as the result of any situation, increased exploration into the causes, effects, and solutions to PTSD began. Principal among this exploration was how a person’s childhood had affected their ability to develop mentally. That is, what effect did a situation or grouping of situations do to a person’s growth and ability to cope.
Peter Levine in his groundbreaking book, Waking The Tiger, explores how traumatic events which occur early in a person’s life can have long lasting energetic effects. Helpful in releasing a person from stagnant energetic residue are meditation techniques and physical exercises, such as yoga, that help a person reconnect to their body.
In this Beacon Post, Matt Brennan covers how a new yoga program called Pathways to Empowerment is being used to help individual’s with PTSD. According to Brennan, the approach developed by Pam O’Brien is much gentler than traditional yoga classes.
“Sometimes someone with severe trauma has lost the connection between mind and body. Something simple such as a command to lift your left leg may not compute in the mind of a trauma victim…”
“It helps people come back to awareness and learning how to self regulate…”
Yoga for trauma patients is different than traditional yoga in how it is taught. It involves a more sensitive approach.
“The intention is different,” she said. “With this, you never force and you never push. You’re just inviting the student to explore.”
Read more about this program developed by meditation and yoga instructor Pam O’Brien here.