Yoga is a common complementary treatment for PTSD. Physical activity is a major element in yoga and psychical activity alone seems to improve PTSD. Yoga can directly reduce the amygdala's hyper-activation thereby reducing symptoms. (Cramer, Anheyer, Saha, & Dobos, 2018). When someone has been traumatized, there is a distortion in the relationship of the body. Trauma is a somatic issue. Yoga has a great connection because it goes directly to sensing and connecting to the body. There are neuro-imaging studies of the brain before and after regular yoga practice that show areas of the brain involving self-awareness became activated by doing yoga, and those are the areas that get locked out by trauma and that are needed to heal it. (Kolk, 2014) Kolk quotes (2014) that, “ten weeks of yoga practice markedly reduced the PTSD symptoms of a patient who had failed to respond to any medication or any other treatment.” (Kolk, 2014, p. 207) However, it is important to find trauma-informed yoga practitioners or classes to get the appropriate approach for trauma.
“Psyche” means mind and “soma” means body in the Greek language. Therefore, Somatic Psychotherapy is the study of the mind-body. Somatic psychotherapy is an integrative approach to treating the whole person. The somatic psychotherapist views the body and mind and “investigates how the person expresses themselves in posture, gesture, muscular patterns, emotional patterns, and physiological arousal; and then helps facilitate self-regulation processes when the body-mind has become imbalanced.”(Mischke-Reeds, 2018, p. 14) This is highly effective for those who have PTSD because the past trauma may become trapped within the body and show through these gestures. Somatic psychotherapy uses “mindfulness, body awareness, breath awareness and body-oriented tools to guide the client towards their inner and outer resources to stabilize any dysregulated symptoms. Clients can then mindfully explore options for resolving emotional and physiological patterns.” (Mischke-Reeds, 2018, p. 16)
For upcoming yoga events, please refer to Events or see Yoga Community for more connection.