“You know that you should not feel this way, but your body keeps getting hijacked into feeling intolerable sensations and emotions.” ― David Emerson, Overcoming Trauma through Yoga: Reclaiming Your Body
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, a 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, gastrointestinal or heart conditions.
Yoga through a combination of asanas (exercises), pranayama (proper breathing), and relaxation and meditation techniques helps to release these difficult emotions and clears our energetic blockages. It also encourages the “rest and repair” functions of the parasympathetic nervous system and prevents the overstimulation of the “fight and flight” response of the sympathetic nervous system.
6 Yoga Poses To Release Difficult Emotions
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 the face, jaws, or neck.
2. Upward Facing Dog
Why it works?
The throat center 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.
The 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 a 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 the 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.