Those who survive a traumatic experience are subjected to a long and difficult journey through life and the process of recovery. Whether this trauma is related to an accident, a war-related injury, emotional or physical abuse, or multiple important losses in life, it can be difficult to overcome. Additionally, it requires time and effort to put one’s past in its place. Patients who have suffered from some form of physical or psychological trauma can benefit greatly from practicing yoga on a regular basis during their recovery process. Yoga has enormous healing benefits for both physical and psychological injuries, and many people find that they can effectively utilize the art of yoga to reclaim not only their body, but also their mind.
Whether the trauma suffered has been physical or psychological, there are profound effects on the body as a result. When a person has been subjected to trauma, their body is in a constant state of alert tension. The body is constantly strung, and the person who has suffered the trauma is barely able to calm down, let alone relax entirely. This has an unfortunate effect on their life; many people who have suffered a traumatic event no longer feel comfortable in their own body, mind, or life. It can truly alienate a person from himself or herself.
The process of overcoming a physical trauma is helped heavily by the healing properties of yoga. Physical damage is repaired through improved circulation and oxygen flow to tissues, better tissue growth and flexibility, and a more stable internal environment. These aspects of yoga promote healing of physical injuries. Practicing yoga regularly has been shown to help patients recover from trauma because it keeps them moving. The worst thing that someone who has suffered trauma can do is to remain in a painful place or position for too long. Depending on the exact cause of trauma motion may become an important part of the healing process. Below is an example of treating a student with physical tailbone trauma.
Yoga helps survivors of trauma to feel comfortable within their own body once more, and it also helps to provide them with coping mechanisms that can be employed outside of the yoga studio or doctor’s office to deal with the aftermath of the trauma. Many people who suffer from trauma find that it can be more difficult to deal with the triggers and upsetting times that follow than it is to deal with the trauma itself. Yoga teaches calm breathing methods and relaxing stretches, which students can then utilize in their own time when something difficult occurs.
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