Whenever we talk about the mind body connection, people often say to me what does that
even mean? I like to say your mind is connected to your body and your body is connected to
your mind. One cannot function without the other; its only when we truly understand that is
when the healing can begin. I grew up with a lot of childhood trauma. That trauma was not
only in my mind all of the time but in my body. I was always angry, I was always what we call
“hypervigilant”, I was always on guard. I never understood why. Trauma is an overwhelming
deeply distressing or disturbing event that overwhelms an individual’s ability to cope, causing
feelings of helplessness. It’s a loss of connection with ourselves and in our environment.
Trauma isn’t just stored in feelings and sensations, often times are body remembers the trauma without us realizing it long after the trauma is over. Scents, sounds, feelings and thoughts can all trigger a response. Trauma can put us in a perpetual state of flight, fight or freeze. There is a part of the brain called the amygdala that is the part of the brain that processes our emotions, it’s also where our fear center and response is stored. It’s the brains emotional computer alarm system. It’s also responsible for turning on the stress response. When you have experienced trauma cortisone secretion is released from this area sounding off the alarm that we are in danger when we actually are not. It gives us a false alarm. We then want to fight, flight (run away) or freeze (going completely numb) This is the state I was constantly in; the world didn’t feel safe to me. I was hyper charged, on the outside I was angry, and nervous all of the time, I was all over the place with my feelings, but on the inside, I was hurt, and in pain. As long as the mind is defending itself with things that is not really happening you cannot engage in your life, I was not fully engaged in life. Once I had my son and I knew it was time for me to heal. I went to therapy to process and heal from my trauma. I learned a lot about my trauma and how and why it made me move in the world. But I was still not fully healed, I continue to be on hyperalert, and was triggered often. It wasn’t until I included yoga into my healing work is when I really was able to see how much my trauma was stored in my body and was able to release and heal fully. True relaxation happens when the relaxation response is stimulated. Yoga allows you to not only learn how to breathe and release, but you are able to release the tension out of your body. Which slows down the nervous system and heart rate, it’s the opposite of fight flight or freeze and activates the relax and reset response.
Katiuscia Gray is the owner of Mind Meets Movement Counseling Services, PLLC in Valley
Stream, NY. She is a LCSW-R (licensed clinical social worker) and CYT-200hr (certified yoga
teacher) and a certified anxiety specialist (CCATP) She specializes in working with children,
adolescents, young adults and adults.
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