The experience of loss is always about change – struggling with and finally accepting change on many levels. Yoga, as a discipline and a philosophy, is also about acceptance of what is – of who we are, of the situation we are in, and of the circumstances that brought us to this point. Through the physical and mental practice that is yoga we can learn to apply principles of acceptance to all areas of life.
This five session series of gentle yoga will provide a safe space in which participants can begin to make peace with both the pain and the changes that loss contains. All levels of physical ability will be welcome in the group.
Thursdays, September 5-October 3, 2013, 2:00-3:30 pm
TMC: wellness through movement
2134 N. 2nd St.
Harrisburg, PA 17110
Facilitated by: Jennilu King, Grief Counselor Elizabeth Terry, Yoga Teacher
Cost: $35 for the course.
Participants will need to have a yoga mat.
Contact Elizabeth Terry at 717-645-0067 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or to register.
“Making peace with change is at the heart of every journey…” – Paula D’Arcy
In my Wednesday night Discovery Yoga class, one of my students told me about a program she had heard on NPR that talked about Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and the use of yoga as a therapy in treatment. It turns out that the program was Krista Tippett’s “On Being,” a wonderful show of interviews that can be heard locally on Sunday morning from 7-8 am.
Ms. Tippett was interviewing the psychiatrist Bessel van der Kolk on her July 11, 2013 program. Dr. van der Kolk is a professor of psychiatry at Boston University Medical School and Medical Director in a community-based trauma center in Brookline, Massachusetts. He has spent much of his life researching traumatic stress and treating people suffering from PTSD.
In his work and research, Dr. van der Kolk found that people suffering from traumatic stress live with the “images or sounds or physical sensations” of the experience – they don’t go away. As a result, something changes in the brain so that the body in a traumatized state experiences the world as unsafe, frightening, even terrifying, even long after the original trauma.
The person with PTSD experiences these fearful emotions in his body. It is not surprising then to hear that such a person often lives out of touch with what is going on in his body; the strategy becomes a coping mechanism to deal with the emotions he feels. That was exactly what Dr. van der Kolk and his colleagues observed in people coming for treatment for PTSD – they were largely disconnected from their bodies.
Dr. van der Kolk began to see it was critical to help people reconnect to their bodies, “to help people … to feel safe feeling the sensations in their bodies.” That led to yoga programs for people suffering traumatic stress. He found that yoga, which seeks to connect mind and body, was “an important component of an overall healing program.” He went on to say that other activities, such as qigong or martial arts, might have a similar effect. What is needed is “something that engages your body in a very mindful and purposeful way – with a lot of attention to breathing in particular…” This kind of practice seemed to have the effect of resetting “some critical brain areas that get very disturbed by trauma.”
Any of you who do yoga have most likely observed the calming, balancing effect of a good practice. This research documents the profound and transformational effects possible with the kind of engagement yoga demands. For the Western mind in the 21st century, this kind of research adds credibility to the insights of the ancients who always saw yoga as a tool for healing suffering.
This is just a short summary of this interview. If you would like to know more, the full transcript of this interview and the podcast can be found at OnBeing.org.
Please leave any comments, insights, or thoughts you have on this subject.