In one translation, the word Yoga means “practice.” I think practicing is what it takes to retrain our brains after trauma. We have to have the patience to confront our problems head-on, and work through them slowly, piece by piece. Practice is how you heal. Patience is how you have the kindness to yourself to heal, and Yoga is just another tool to help with the healing process.
Five years ago, before confronting my childhood abuse and before my domestically violent relationship, I went to the doctor because I was having severe back problems. These problems weren’t because of an injury or an accident; my back just seemed to go crazy. I had knots, muscle spasms, and tension from emotional stress just seemed to lodge itself into the ridges of my spinal column, the dips below my shoulder blades, and the lining of my neck and spine.
After a few weeks of physical therapy, massages, exercises, etc., my doctor prescribed Yoga, as a way to continue my healing process after therapy. He didn’t write out a little paper and have me take it to the pharmacy, he simply encouraged me to try it. So I did. The first class of yoga I took, I absolutely hated. What is this “down-dog” thing and why do I have to be in it for so long? Do I really have to do this? I don’t know if I want to devote an hour of my week to an EXERCISE class. But that night, something amazing happened–something that hadn’t happened in a long time: I SLEPT. PEACEFULLY. And for the WHOLE NIGHT.
Well, I thought to myself, I wasn’t the biggest fan of yoga so far, but I guess I shouldn’t write off a whole field of exercise practices just because of one class from one teacher. So I went back the next week, and things got a little better. And the next week. Still better.
After one month of weekly yoga, I didn’t even recognize myself. Every knot in my back was gone, my posture was better, I was less stressed, and I could breathe easier. I felt like an entirely new person. I would go whole days without my back hurting, and I was sleeping better than ever before.
More than anything, Yoga helped me with my healing from abuse. It taught me to ground myself, to trust myself, to push through a few discomforts, to have patience with myself and recognize my boundaries and limitations. And it just plain made me happier and made me feel better.
For those of you who feel like you’ve tried it all and nothing’s helped. Try Yoga. It’s changed my life and helped me find peace and sanity amidst a world of hurt. As I’ve said in earlier blogs, our minds and bodies are so connected. If one hurts, the other hurts. If one feels better, then the other feels better as well.
WebMD cites that yoga helps improve:
Healing takes practice. Yoga is practice. It’s another way to get grounded within yourself and find a calm place to channel your emotional energy.