August 2021 Newsletter
I hope this Newsletter finds you well wherever you are at in this moment.
Today I’d like to share two interesting articles I recently came across. They both speak about the importance of body awareness and how increased body awareness can lead to greater health and wellness. And as you might figure, the opposite might then cause tension, stress, anxiety, depression, just to mention some.
The first article is about why yoga and meditation isn’t the overall solution for everyone. It depends on your relationship to stillness. Who doesn’t like stillness you might wonder? Well, if you have experienced trauma where you for example were incapable of escaping an assault or an attack, the incomplete fight/flight response in your nervous system is still waiting to be completed. In other words, the automimic nervous system chooses in the moment the best solution to keep us alive; and if fighting back or escaping isn’t an option, the nervous system goes into a freeze response. Like other mammals, we are less prone to be killed if we are still. You might have seen that in documentaries about wild animals, who when attacked by for example a lion, goes into a freeze state (looking dead) and hopefully the lion then loses interest and leaves. The smaller animal will rise after a while, shake, and wonder off…
In humans, we seem to lack the ability to “shake off” this trapped energy, and without the right support we might stay in a freeze state.
Now to why yoga and meditation might be challenging for someone who has experienced trauma. In yoga and meditation, we are sometimes asked to “hold a pose” for a longer period of time, and for many people the stillness might trigger the feeling of being in danger/ being trapped and our stress/anxiety might even worsen.
Read the full article here; why-yoga-can-be-triggering-for-trauma-survivors-8c687140525d
The other article is about interoception. It explains why it’s so important to listen to and get familiar with the signals that our body is sending to our brain. Interoception is a “constant dialogue between the brain and the viscera” and includes the signals from all the internal organs like the cardiovascular system, the lungs, the gut, the bladder, and the kidneys.
“Researchers and clinicians are recognising interoception as a key mechanism to mental and physical health, where understanding our body’s signals helps us understand and regulate emotional and physical states,” says Dr Helen Weng at the University of California San Francisco.
I just love that recent research like this is being broadcasted to a bigger audience, because this explains my work as a Somatic Therapist from yet another angle. A big part of my work with clients is “nervous system education”. By becoming more aware of the different signals that shows up in the body, we get important information about stored or held back emotion, for example anger or sadness. Or sensations, like “when I’m close to that person I feel like I have a stone in my tummy”, or “every time I want to speak up, I feel my throat tightens…”
Maybe you got some inspiration and curiosity about your own nervous system and what the different signs are. You might just play with it a little by checking into your body when you meet different people; just notice what sensations are there. It might be like warmth in your chest and cheeks turning into a big smile when you see your grandchild coming towards you…or you might sense some tension in your tummy every time you meet a certain person… Play with it! And you’d be surprised how clear your nervous system differs between safety and a possible threat…
Wishing you a wonderful August 🌻