Inhabit Your Body

Inhabit Your Body
The Legacy of Inescapable Shock
Annie's "smoke detector" (amygdala) alerts her
survival brain
fight
flight
flee
Excitement about seeing someone triggers the
terror of being molested
This response comes from children's ability to
compartmentalize
love for her father vs. dread of assault are in
separate states of consciousness
Annie felt she was at fault (limbic
programming) vs. her rational thoughts
Case Study: Annie
Annie arrives terrified
Annie unable to deal with confrontation
makes her "mind disappear"
cutting/sefdestructive behaviour
years of theapy,medication, psychiatric
hospitalization were unhelpful
Van der Kolk focuses on breathing and
awareness
Focus on out breath (activates the
parasympathetic nervous system)
Tapping of accupressure points
Learning to Communicate
When people feel safe in their bodies they can
translate formerly overwhelming feelings into
language
Annie after 1 year of yoga
able to talk more freely about what happened
to her
After a trigger she was able to contain herself
she was able to explain/verbalize the meaning
of the trigger
Annie learned to "just have" her feelings
without being "hijacked by them"
The Numbing Within
Memory of helplessness stored as:
muscle tension
feelings of disintegration in affected body areas
Trauma survivors brace against and neutralize
their unwanted sensations
Half turn to alcohol & drugs
Others turn to sensation seeking
cutting to stop numbness
high risk behaviours
Chronic anger & fear creates chronic muscle
tension
Multiple sypmtoms
muscle spasms/back pain
migraines
chronic pain
fibromyalgia
Diagnoses seldom seen as their way to cope
with their trauma symptoms
Annie's treatment involved helping her to:
regulate arousal
control her physiology
Exploring Yoga
Yoga compared to DBT for PTSD
Volunteers had not responded to therapy
Yoga improved arousal levels
Yoga improved volunteers' relationship to their
bodies
Yoga programs are effective for PTSD and
include:
Breath practices
Stretches or postures
Meditation
Focus on the rhythm between tension &
relaxation
HRV measured at end of session during
shavasana
Trauma survivors have high levels of muscle
activity relative to nontraumatized
Challenge for survivors is to attain complete
relaxation and quiet surrender
Learning SelfRegulation
Annie attends Yoga
Annie's responses
Terror from a corrective touch by an instructor
recognition of the healing value a of yoga
recognition of her disconnection from her
body
Letting her body tell her the story it wants to
The "Happy Baby" pose is very challenging for
traumatized as creates extreme panic
4