Yoga for PTSD is a new development in helping a person heal from this debilitating disorder. You might think that PTSD is strictly for those who have been in battle. It’s actually much more general than you may realize. We are all different and will cope with life’s trauma in different ways. This is why post-traumatic stress disorder is so common. Trauma is trauma. The root cause of PTSD comes from a situation where you had no control. A moment of terror that made you feel small and powerless. Maybe your life was at risk or at least you perceived it was at the moment.
No matter what kind of healing you choose if you’ve experienced trauma, it needs to be managed. To ignore it will only exasperate the situation. If you look to soldiers who came back from Vietnam in the 70’s, many of them were misunderstood and never received help for the trauma they experienced.
We know more now of course and the soldiers that returned home from Afghanistan and Iran were greeted with pills to make it all go away. While modern medicine did make strides in understanding what trauma does to the brain, they sorely mismanaged treating soldiers.
Medications like Valium and Xanax were given out like candy to those who suffered trauma from recent wars. With 1 out of 10 military members being diagnosed with PTSD, this added to the epidemic of drugs in North America.
The Army Surgeon General said that meds like benzodiazepines were less helpful and more risky. Drugs can make PTSD effects worsen. The best method really is to seek out holistic help and invest in the long haul of overall wellness.
We all suffer from some form of past pain but PTSD is something that will control your daily life if you allow it to linger. It is a disorder that needs to be treated. There are certain levels of trauma of course so not all forms of PTSD are going to require years of therapy and prescription drugs for mood disorders. Yoga for PTSD along with meditation is proving to be a powerful method of helping people overcome trauma.
Life gets busy and most of us would rather pretend bad situations never happened. When you do experience true trauma though, it really isn’t possible to play the ostrich with your head in the sand. Strong triggers will arise from time to time. The truth about how you feel will rear it’s ugly head and you’ll be stuck in the middle of a situation where you need to respond.
Like veterans, many who don’t receive the help they need will likely turn to a way of numbing themselves. You might do this too. Some will self-medicate with prescription drugs, illicit drugs, or alcohol. Some may turn to food or obsessive behavior like shopping, gambling, or irresponsible sex. You may abandon meaningful relationships, hobbies. You may hide yourself inside and stop living.
Here are some of the signs that you could experience if you’re suffering from PTSD:
Doesn’t it just seem easier to deal with the problem head on than go through self-destructive problems that make things worse? It may be easier said than done but is there really an option?
It’s important to talk to your doctor about what options you have to help you recover from PTSD. Group therapy and one-on-one therapy will probably be the first things recommended to you. It’s important to get out your thoughts about what happened to you. It’s also important to listen to others and get a support system for yourself. You may have a loving family but they may not understand how you’re feeling. Most people don’t have the tools or knowledge to understand how to help you deal with PTSD.
Diet is really important. I personally incorporate many nutrients into my food through oil, herbs, and seeds. Foods to lift your mood include:
Exercise is also going to be key because you’re likely suffering even more due to a lack of endorphin’s being produced. Post traumatic stress disorder is usually so debilitating that people will self-destruct and stop taking care of themselves. Exercise may feel like the last thing you want to do but it’s probably the most important step to helping yourself.
There are all sorts of yoga for PTSD that can help you heal emotional wounds. Yoga may not seem like a candidate to help with severe mood disorders but Science agrees that it is. The military is already using yoga and meditation as a means of rehabilitating soldiers with trauma.
Yoga and mindfulness meditation for heroin addiction is showing to be effective. Symptoms of general anxiety and clinical depression are also being reduced through a daily practice of yoga and meditation.
Therapists understand that to treat psychological trauma, they need to also work through the trauma in the body. This is because the memory of trauma implants itself on the body. Tension is felt in the shoulders when something triggers your memories of the past. Maybe your stomach starts to turn around in knots or you suffer from headaches. Whatever your physical manifestations are, you can attest to the fact that your body suffers in some way because of the memories associated to trauma.
So healing the body does help heal the mind and of course vice versa. Confronting what’s happening inside of you can be done in a gentle way through certain kinds of yoga for PTSD. When you stretch through certain poses, you can create a feeling of safety and break ground with your healing through opening up energy centers.
Yoga for PTSD helps in one way because of the relaxation and breathing techniques that will help you cope when memories are triggered. When you can begin to gain control of your own mind through challenging times, you can get a hold of the trauma that’s like a noose around your neck.
There are different practices for different emotions. Yoga for PTSD can range from slow classes to very intense flow classes for varying effects. A powerful flow class is good for anxiety because there is always something to “do” to keep the mind busy. It also causes the heart rate to elevate, the body to sweat and releases endorphin’s, the happy chemicals.
Restorative yoga has been utilized in the army in 12 week programs to help soldiers with PTSD specifically. Studies have found that yoga is efficient therapy for improving hyperarousal symptoms of PTSD which includes sleep quality. For mood disorders involving depression or anxiety, I always emphasize really feeling whatever comes up during a class. Slower classes allow students the time they need to be fully aware of what’s happening in their body.
With PTSD peoples’ experiences are so deeply embedded into their physical bodies that it is essential for them to stay very connected to how they’re feeling. Some people who have the condition tend to disassociate with what’s happening in the body.
It will take daily work, make no mistake. Healing yoga for PTSD is a journey that is worthwhile however. You will likely meet a community of caring yogis and find out things about yourself you weren’t aware of. You create a new beginning for yourself and take a journey into peaceful healing.