Yesterday, October 26th, was #blueknotday. A day to recognise and support the millions of people in Australia who have experienced complex trauma. The impacts of trauma on our human system is huge. In the yoga framework mind and body are not seen as separate. At a biochemical level of scale, the mind and body are not seperate. We are complex systems that are constantly doing what. is needed to maintain homeostasis. Stressors such as abuse and neglect, processes foods, toxin in our environment including chemicals and toxic relationships and lack of nature, all push the human systems out of balance. Over time this produces what is known as allostatic load which like a sunflower trying to grow without enough sunshine and little water leaves people unable to bloom. Psycho-social-biological conditions of dis-ease and dis-order in the human systems manifest in the weakest parts. See my post on the panca maya kosha model of the human systems for more on the yogic framework.
The heart breaking thing is, the impact of trauma is still under valued as a root cause of peoples suffering and illness which can lead people on a hamster wheel of medications and treatments which are often delivered in a non-trauma informed way and often cause more harm to people seeking help and less effective outcomes with treatments. Trauma specific treatments to help heal trauma are different to trauma-informed services and several key international bodies emphasise a three phase approached to healing trauma which is certainly my personal clinical experience and approach too. I also find, compassion and love is key to creating safety for these three phases to occur. The trauma-informed principles must be infused throughout the environment and it is more of a cyclical process where we will go around at a client led pace.
Three phases are recommended by Blue Knot Foundation and others :
Stabilisation, resourcing and self-regulation
Processing of traumatic memories
Consolidation of treatment gains "
Yoga therapy is a wonderful trauma specific treatment. The goal of yoga is to create and maintain stabilisation in the human systems, discover inner resources and learn how to self-regulate. In fact, yoga is a sate of mind-body that is steady, stable and at ease. The goal of yoga therapy is to empower people towards wellbeing and self-awareness.
The ancient sage Patanjali's states in the Yoga Sutras 1.2-1.3...
"Yoga is the still of the fluctuations of the mind, then one abides in ones true nature"
Yoga and yoga techniques such as breath-work (pranayama), physical postures (asana) relaxation, compassion and mindfulness have become popular due to the power of the practice to stabilise and process and consolidate gains in recovery.
May we live in a trauma-informed world. May all beings be free, happy and well.
Om shanti, shanti, shanti.
Trauma-informed services. Blue Knot Foundation. (2021, September 20). https://professionals.blueknot.org.au/resources/trauma-informed-services/ McInerney, M., & McKlindon, A. (2014). Unlocking the door to learning
Desikachar, T. K. V. (1999). The heart of yoga: Developing a personal practice. Inner Traditions International.