Using mindful movement to address areas of rigidity and tension in the body, yoga therapy is more than just a low impact approach to physical literacy. This practice is centered around compassion for the body, acknowledging limitations and finding ways to support the body to maintain and improve mobility in the joints, articulate the spine safely, and improve mental and emotional hygiene through complimentary meditation and pranayama practices.
Some may find that this slow, gentle approach is too much for their busy mind and as always, there are modifications and options for tailoring the practice to meet your needs.
Please note, Yoga is not a “No pain, no gain” kind of thing, so please, if you encounter pain in your practice, stop! There should be no pain. Challenge, yes. Discomfort, certainly. But if you find your practice or poses are more stressful and aggressive than relaxing and restorative, do get in touch. I’d be happy to recommend how to make your practice more bespoke for you.
Sound therapy has several strands.
Sound baths – immersing yourself in an experience of sound that soothes the nervous system, relaxes the musculoskeletal body and clears the mind. It is a meditative practice where the sound healer will curate sounds for your immersion and all you have to do is relax into the experience. Instruments can be used acoustically within a room, and also when placed onto the body, to different effect, for example, using quartz crystal bowls on the lower back to ease tension and pain.
Toning & Embodied Cognition – our bodies react to the environment around us, and sound plays a huge part in that. You will understand this if you have ever jumped when something loud happened close to you, and your whole physical self reacted before your mind understood what had occurred. How our body interprets sound and music, separate from an academic or analytical interpretation, is embodying sound, which is believed to inform our cognitive function (not the other way around as was previously believed). Similarly, when we practice toning, we are creating vibrations in the body, and moving the sound around the body to explore how it feels different in various cavities in the body. We can use this to influence how we think and feel, rather than selecting sounds which suit our mood or mindset, which is a much more passive experience.
Breathwork, known as pranayama in yogic practice, can be non-invasive and transformative, especially when working with trauma. Learning to control the breath and apply it appropriately to a variety of contexts is one of the most empowering and nourishing daily practices you could learn and it would undoubtedly improve your quality of life. Since it is so integral to our life, the more we practice, the more it improves our autonomic processes (e.g. how our nervous system responds to our environment), and moreover; it helps to reduce anxiety, improve quality of sleep,
However, in some cases, breathwork can also act as a trigger when working with certain types of traumatic incident, therefore it should always be handled sensitively, responsively, and cognizant of the fact that it could overwhelm or lead to re-traumatization.
Creative Expression & Vocalisation
Identity is such a fundamental aspect of our experience in life. And often, we tailor our identity to suit the environment we are in. Over time, we can lose sight of who we are, or forget parts of ourselves in a bid to be more civilized, more palatable, more accepted. The more we narrow our identity by blocking out parts of ourselves, the more disassociated we become from our life, body and basic needs. Learning to express yourself creatively is one way to nurture the parts of yourself which you had dulled or sacrificed in order to minimize the potential for rejection. And it can be quite catalytic, i.e. being creative in one part of your life can often spill over into other areas, enhancing your quality of life in a more broad and generalized way. It can be a great way to address trauma and repression, much like vocalization.
However, vocalization is in a league of its own in terms of self-regulation post-trauma, as it is rooted in our social engagement system. Learning to accurately interpret and influence your vagal tone, and mastering vocal articulation is proven to be highly effective in taking ownership over your trauma recovery, and empowers you to authentically show up in the world.