Yoga Poses To Release Emotional Pain
When we hear the term Trauma, we think it is caused due to extreme mishaps like wars, accidents or abuse. But Trauma can be caused by any event that threatens our sense of security or well being,overwhelms our capacity to cope or respond and leaves us feeling fearful, hopeless or rudderless.
Dr. Bessel Van Der Kolk,Boston based psychiatrist and expert on PTSD,defines Trauma as ,”We have learned that Trauma is not just an event that took place sometime in the past;it is also the imprint left by that experience on mind,brain and body.”
Trauma can cause emotional tension to get stored in various parts of our body and can cause energetic blockages in our chakras affecting our overall physical,mental and emotional well being.
If these emotions are not processed or healed, they can manifest physically as shallow breathing, headaches, clenched shoulders and jaw muscles, heart palpitations, sweaty palms, gastro intestinal or heart conditions.
Yoga through a combination of asanas (exercises), pranayama (proper breathing), and relaxation and meditation techniques helps to release these emotions and clears our energetic blockages.
It also encourages the “rest and repair” functions of the parasympathetic nervous system and prevents the over stimulation of “fight and flight” response of the sympathetic nervous system.
Yoga Poses to Heal Trauma
1). Lion Pose
Why it works?
Teeth grinding, tense facial muscles, tightness in the jaw are some of the symptoms that manifest due to constant panic or anxiety.
We generally do not include any facial exercises in our exercise regime and therefore the tension stored in our facial muscles doesn’t get released.
Lion pose is an excellent pose that helps to release the tension stored in facial muscles and jaw area.
1). Sit in a cross legged position or sit on your heels .
2). Inhale deeply through the nose and exhale through the mouth by opening it wide and stretch your tongue out.
3). Open your eyes wide or gaze at the third eye.
4). Make a loud roar or a “ha” sound, release and come out of the pose. Repeat the pose as many times as comfortable.
Hold the posture for as long as comfortable.
Do not attempt the pose if you have any injury in face, jaws or neck.
2). Upward Facing Dog
Why it works?
The throat centre or the fifth chakra deals with self expression. If we suppress our inner voice for way too long or are unable to say what we need to say to protect ourselves , the traumatic energy gets stuck in our throat region.
Upward facing dog is a beautiful opening stretch for the upper body that stimulates the Throat chakra and clears any energetic blockages present there.
1). Start by lying face down on your mat.Spread your feet few inches apart and place your hand close to your lower ribs.
2).Bring your legs slightly off the floor by pressing the top of feet on the mat.
3). Inhale, press your palms firmly on the mat and straighten your arms,open your chest ,draw your shoulder blades away from the ear and lift your torso up.
4). Pull your chin up and look towards the ceiling.
Hold for anywhere between 15 to 30 seconds and release the pose.
Back, neck or spine injury.
3). Pyramid Pose
Why it works?
Hamstrings are the main group of muscles that aid in movement and therefore get activated every time our body gets into a fight or flight mode. But the problem arises when our sympathetic nervous system gets into overdrive and our parasympathetic nervous system is unable to calm us down even after the event is over.This leads to residual emotional energy getting stored in our hamstrings.
This is why a lot of us experience tight hamstrings.
Pyramid pose is an excellent pose that provides an intense stretch to the hamstrings to release the stuck emotions.
1). Start in mountain pose. Separate your feet about 3.5 to 4 feet apart by taking your left feet back.
2). Inhale, press your feet firmly on the ground, draw your navel in, lengthen your tail bone, square your hips and interlace your fingers behind the back.
3). Exhale, bend forward towards your knees, and rest your forehead on the knees or the shin depending on your flexibility.
4). To release the posture, press your back heel firmly into the ground and come up slowly.Repeat on the other side.
Hold anywhere between 15 seconds to 1 minute on each side (left and right).
Avoid this pose if you are suffering from back injury or high blood pressure and do Ardha Parvottanasana instead (beginner version of Pyramid pose).
Why it works?
Human head is a pretty heavy organ weighing approximately 8 pounds. We put a lot of strain on our neck muscles by dropping our heads while working on phones and laptops.
Trauma can seriously affect our breathing pattern.Due to constant panic and anxiety , we do a lot of shallow breathing by raising our collar bones and shoulders instead of breathing deeply from the abdomen, putting additional strain on the neck muscles.
This generally leads to tightness in our neck and shoulder area.
Headstand is an excellent pose to relieve tension from the neck and shoulder muscles.
It also improves the body’s alignment by getting head and rest of the body in a straight line.
Due to the inverted posture, it leads to an increased supply of blood to the brain to regulate the autonomic nervous system.
1). Begin in the child’s pose.
2). From the child’s pose, sit upon the heels. Bring your arms together and make a tripod on the ground.
3). Place the head on the ground with the back of the head against the hands. Raise the hips and walk your feet towards the head.Keep the hips up and knees straight.
4). Bend the knees in towards your chest and bring the heels upto the buttocks.
5). Straighten the back and knees.
6). To come out of the posture, bend the knees bringing them to the chest and slowly bring your feet back to the floor.
Start with 15 seconds and gradually deepen the practice to hold upto one minute.
Do not attempt the pose if you are suffering from back pain, neck problems, heart condition, high blood pressure, glaucoma.
Women should not do this posture during menstruation or pregnancy.
5). Pond Pose
Why it works?
Solar plexus or the third chakra located in the stomach area governs self empowerment and will power. When we face a traumatic situation and our sense of self or safety is threatened, it can manifest as energetic imbalance in solar plexus.
It can physically manifest as shallow breathing or gastrointestinal problems.
Pond pose is an excellent stretching pose that relaxes the abdominal muscles and enables us to do deep abdominal breathing.
1). Lie flat on the back.
2). Stretch your arms overhead and lengthen your spine.
3).Inhale deeply and allow your belly to rise up.
4). Exhale completely and contract your abdomen to return to its original position.
It is a stretching pose to elongate the spine. Hold it for as long as it is comfortable.
None unless mentioned specifically by your physician.
6). Bound Angle Pose
Why it works?
The hips are located near the second chakra or the sacral chakra which governs our creativity, sensuality and emotional body.
The hips are usually referred to as emotional junk drawers because they store a lot of uncomfortable emotions. Bound Angle pose is an excellent hip opening pose that helps to open the hips and release these emotions.