Signs Your Body Is Releasing Trauma

Yin Yoga: Releasing Stored Trauma and Tension

In the intricate tapestry of our lives, we carry the imprints of our unique experiences – both the joyous and the challenging. Sometimes, the weight of a traumatic event can linger within us, like an uninvited guest overstaying its welcome. However, a gentle and powerful practice offers solace and healing - Yin Yoga. On this journey, we'll explore the signs your body is releasing trauma and how Yin Yoga can help you regain your sense of peace and wholeness. 

Understanding Trauma

Trauma is a strongly distressing or disturbing experience that can profoundly impact our mental and physical health. It can be caused by a single event, such as a vehicle accident or a natural disaster, or by prolonged exposure to stress, such as abuse or neglect. 

Moreover, when we encounter a traumatic event, our nervous system enters "fight-or-flight" mode. This is a natural reaction that helps us to survive danger. However, if the nervous system remains in this state for too long, it can lead to a variety of physical problems and psychological and emotional trauma.

Trauma Symptoms

The symptoms of past trauma can be a haunting reminder of the pain and suffering that has been endured.

Physical Trauma Symptoms

Traumatic events can overwhelm the parasympathetic nervous system, leading to a constellation of physical symptoms, such as chronic pain, fatigue, and digestive problems. Trauma survivors may experience a range of physical symptoms, including:
  • Hyperarousal: This is a state of increased alertness and readiness to respond to danger. It can cause a racing heartbeat, rapid breathing, sweating, and also muscle tension.
  • Dissociation: Is a feeling of being detached from oneself or one's surroundings. It can cause symptoms such as feeling numb, feeling like one is outside of one's body, or having difficulty concentrating.
  • Avoidance: This is an attempt to avoid things that remind one of the traumas (people, places, activities, thoughts, feelings, or memories.
  • Re-experiencing: This is experiencing flashbacks or intrusive thoughts related to the trauma.
Physical ailments - Examples are pain, sleep disturbances, headaches, changes in appetite. Physical trauma can also be eased through talk therapy, physical therapy, and regular physical movements.

Emotional Trauma Symptoms

Experiencing trauma can lead to a range of mental health issues and emotional trauma symptoms, posing challenges in managing serious illness and the recuperation process. Trauma survivors may also experience a range of traumatic stress, emotional symptoms, or any negative, strong emotions, including anxiety, stressful event, feel anxious, fear, guilt, shame, anger, difficulty trusting others, and also withdrawal from social activities.
These symptoms can make it challenging to live a normal life. Trauma survivors may have difficulty working, maintaining relationships, and enjoying activities they used to enjoy. Emotional trauma can be eased through:
  • deep breathing
  • interpersonal relationships
  • feel calm
  • knowing your self worth
  • feel freer
  • find new friends
  • spend time with family and friends

This time, experience the transformative power of Yin Yoga in releasing stored trauma and tension.

Yin Yoga: Releasing Stored Trauma and Tension

Yin Yoga can help you to release trauma by creating a safe space for your body to process and heal at its own pace. Signs your body is releasing trauma through Yin Yoga include increased flexibility, emotional breakthroughs, and a sense of greater well-being.

Warm Up

Side Neck Stretch

Begin in an upright kneeling position with your knees and feet close together, maintaining good alignment with your head, shoulders, and hips. Shift your hips back to rest your seat on your feet and bring your hands together behind your back, pulling your joined hands to your left hip. Looking for a light stretch along the side of the neck, slowly drop one ear towards your shoulder. Hold this position for several deep belly breaths, in through your nose and then out through your mouth. Return to the starting position and repeat the movement on the opposite side.    

Side Neck Stretch
Side Neck Stretch
Side Neck Stretch

Routine

1. Child’s Pose

For this exercise, use a pillow, cushion, or yoga block for support if needed.

Begin in a 4-point position with your hands beneath your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Tighten your abdominal area and then widen your knees. Shift your hips back to your feet while extending both arms in front of your body. Lower your head to the floor, relaxing your midback area for a light stretch. Hold this position for several deep belly breaths in through your nose and then out through your mouth.

Child’s Pose
Child's Pose

2. Corpse Pose

Firstly, lie on your back on the floor with your knees bent and feet hip-width apart, maintaining good alignment with your head, shoulders, and hips. Secondly, bring your knees closer together and close your eyes. Place your right hand on your chest and your left hand on your belly. Lastly, hold this position for several deep belly breaths, in through your nose and out through your mouth.

Furthermore, to deepen the relaxation, you have the option to either bring both arms at your sides, reach overhead, or place your hands under your head for support.

Corpse Pose
Corpse Pose

3. Knees to Chest

Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Engage your core and then bring both knees to your chest. Lift your upper body and wrap your arms around your knees. Hold the position for several deep belly breaths, in through your nose and then out through your mouth.

Knees to Chest
Knees to Chest

4. Happy Baby

From the Knees to Chest position, lower your back down to the floor. Lift your legs to bring your knees toward your shoulders and grab the outsides of your feet with your hands. Hold the position for several deep belly breaths, in through your nose and then out through your mouth. Relax and return to the starting position.

In addition, to intensify the exercise, you can either gently rock your lower spine from side to side, move your body to the side as you extend one leg out, or gently straighten your legs out to the sides.

Happy Baby
Happy Baby

5. Spinal Twist

From the Happy Baby position, firstly, lower both legs with your feet flat on the floor, relaxing your upper body. Engage your core and then close your eyes. Secondly, slowly twist through the lower back, pelvis, and spine to lower your bent knees toward the floor. Thirdly, turn your head in the opposite direction and extend one arm out, keeping both shoulders flat on the floor. Hold this position for several deep belly breaths, in through your nose and then out through your mouth. Lastly, return to the starting position and repeat the movement on the opposite side. Depending on your comfort level, progress the movement by gently rocking your lower body from side to side.

Moreover, to make the exercise easier, place a pillow or yoga block under your knees for support if needed. 

Spinal Twist
Spinal Twist

Depending on your comfort level, repeat Knees to Chest and  Happy Baby. 

6. Figure 4

Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Cross one ankle over your opposite knee and then raise your legs, holding your lower leg with both hands. Pull your knee closer to your chest to intensify the stretch. Hold this position for several deep belly breaths, in through your nose and then out through your mouth. Relax and repeat the movement on the opposite side.

In addition, to deepen the stretch,  curl your upper body up and wrap your legs with both arms, holding the position for a few seconds and to make the stretch easier, lower both legs and rest your hands at your sides.

Figure 4
Figure 4

7. Half Pigeon Pose

Firstly, begin in an upright sitting position on the floor with your feet flat on the floor, maintaining good alignment with your head, shoulders, and hips. Secondly, bend down your left leg, bringing your left foot to the outside of your right hip, and extend your right leg behind your back. Engage your core. Thirdly, hinge through your hips to move your upper body forward down onto your bent leg, and rest your forehead on your hands or bring your hands overhead. Lastly, hold this position for several deep belly breaths, in through your nose and out through your mouth. Return to the starting position and  then repeat the movement on the opposite side.

Signs Your Body Is Releasing Trauma
Half Pigeon Pose

Depending on your comfort level, repeat Figure 4 or Knees to Chest.

8. Figure 4 Spinal Twist

Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Cross one ankle over your opposite knee and bring your arms at your sides. Engage your core and then twist your lower body, dropping your top foot down to the floor as you turn your head in the opposite direction. Grab your ankle with one hand for support if needed. Hold this position for several deep belly breaths, in through your nose and then out through your mouth. Return to the starting position and repeat the movement on the opposite side.

Figure 4 Spinal Twist
Figure 4 Spinal Twist

9. Windshield Wipers

Lie on your back on the floor with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor, wider than hip-width apart. Engage your core. Slowly rotate your lower body to lower both knees to one side. Return to the middle position and then repeat the movement on the opposite side.

Signs Your Body Is Releasing Trauma
Signs Your Body Is Releasing Trauma
Windshield Wipers

10. Cobra

Firstly, lie on your stomach with your feet shoulder-width apart, maintaining good alignment with your head, shoulders, hips, and legs. Secondly, place your hands at your sides at chest level. Breathe in, and then press up and arch your back. Thirdly, activate your legs and core strength with minimal pressure from your hands as you bring your gaze toward the sky. Lastly, hold this position for several deep belly breaths, in through your nose and out through your mouth. Relax and then return to the starting position.

Signs Your Body Is Releasing Trauma
Cobra

11. Walk The Dog

Move into a 4-point position with your knees below your hips and your hands beneath your shoulders. Tighten your abdominal muscles and then push back with your arms, straightening your legs as you lift your hips. Bend one knee to lift your heel off the floor, keeping your other leg straight. Return to the starting position and then repeat the movement on the opposite leg, alternating sides. 

Signs Your Body Is Releasing Trauma
Signs Your Body Is Releasing Trauma
Walk The Dog

12. Deer Pose

Firstly, begin in an upright sitting position with your legs bent and feet on the floor, maintaining good alignment with your upper body. Engage your core and then bring your right foot to the outsides of your right hip. Secondly, bend your other leg, rotating your knee outward and resting your left foot alongside your right knee. Hold this position for several deep belly breaths, in through your nose and then out through your mouth. Lastly, return to the starting position and repeat the movement on the opposite side.

Furthermore, to intensify the stretch, place your hands on the floor behind you and lean your head further back to bring your gaze toward the sky and to make the exercise more challenging, proceed with the Variation Exercise.

Signs Your Body Is Releasing Trauma
Deer Pose

Variation Exercise

Begin in an upright sitting position with your legs bent and feet on the floor, maintaining good alignment with your upper body. Engage your core and then bring your right foot to the outsides of your right hip. Bend your other leg, rotating your knee outward and resting your left foot alongside your right knee. Lower your elbows on the floor behind you and hold your right foot with your right hand. Hold this position for several deep belly breaths, in through your nose and then out through your mouth. Relax and then return to an upright sitting position. Repeat the movement on the opposite side. `

In addition, to intensify the exercise, slowly lower your upper body to the floor and extend your arms out to the sides or bring one arm overhead. 

Signs Your Body Is Releasing Trauma
Variation Exercise

Repeat Windshield Wipers for the Cool Down.

Other Factors to Heal Trauma

Healing from trauma takes time and effort. In addition to Yin Yoga, several things that trauma survivors can do to promote healing, including:

1. Seeking professional help

A therapist can help trauma survivors to understand their symptoms, develop coping skills, and process their trauma.

2. Joining a support group

This can also provide a secure and supportive environment for trauma survivors to share their experiences and learn from others.

3. Engaging in self-care activities

This includes getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, and exercising regularly. Self-care activities can assist to reduce stress and also promote overall well-being.

4. Somatic experiencing

This type of therapy focuses on helping people become more aware of their bodily sensations. This can also help trauma survivors to identify the signs your body is releasing trauma.

The Mind-Body Connection

The mind and body are deeply interconnected. When we experience trauma, it can have a significant impact on our physical health. Conversely, our physical health can also affect our mental health.

For example, if we are experiencing physical symptoms of trauma, such as muscle tension or headaches, this can make it difficult to feel relaxed and calm. Conversely, if we are feeling anxious or depressed can lead to physical symptoms like fatigue or stomach problems.

This is why addressing the physical and emotional aspects of trauma healing is important. By engaging in activities that encourage physical and mental well-being, trauma survivors can also create a more fertile environment for healing.

Tips for Promoting Mind-Body Healing from Trauma

Here are some specific tips for promoting mind-body healing from trauma:

  • Mindful breathing: This is a simple but powerful technique that can help to calm the nervous system and reduce stress. To practice mindful breathing, focus on how you breathe. Pay attention to the rise and fall of your chest as you inhale and exhale. If your mind strays, gently bring it back to your breath. 
  • Body movements: Certain body movements, such as yoga, specifically yin yoga, tai chi, and qigong, can be helpful for healing trauma. These movements can also help to know the signs your body is releasing trauma or  stored tension and promote relaxation.
  • Physical exercise: Regular physical exercise is another great way to promote mind-body healing. Exercise releases endorphins, which have mood-boosting effects. Exercise also helps to ease stress and improve sleep quality.
  • Spending time in nature: This has been shown to have several advantages for mental and physical health. It can also help to lessen stress, improve mood, and boost creativity.

Conclusion

Yin Yoga is a powerful tool to know the signs your body is releasing trauma and tension. It can also help to process traumatic memories, release physical sensations associated with traumatic experiences, and clear negative emotions.

Suppose you are considering using Yin Yoga to help you to know the signs your body is releasing trauma, or to release a traumatic experience or disturbing event, finding a trauma-informed Yin Yoga instructor who can help you adjust poses and provide support throughout the practice is important. It is also extremely beneficial to have a trauma expert, a counselor, perhaps experienced in working with trauma survivors, or who can help you process your emotions and experiences. If you notice signs your body is releasing trauma, be kind to yourself and seek professional help.

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