How yoga heals psychological trauma

how yoga heals psychological

As the world marks the International Day of Yoga on Tuesday, here’s how the ancient wellness technique can help us heal from previous pain that has become stuck in our bodies.

Some of us believe that trauma caused our experiences. What occurred to us, on the other hand, was horrific. Trauma is how we use our prior traumatic experiences to deploy our defenses in response to events in the present. We react disproportionately because present triggers, no matter how tiny, act as a spark that ignites our mostly forgotten explosive baggage, resulting in fireworks. Let’s look at some ordinary examples to better grasp this phenomenon. If you’ve ever felt rejected or abandoned, a workplace group heading out to a party without you can set you off. A minor reprimand from your manager can have the same effect. You don’t apply for a promotion or a pay raise since you already assume you won’t get either. You forego well-deserved professional and personal development. For the longest time, when we thought of trauma, we just considered our minds. However, a new study indicates that our bodies do not forget even when our minds do (forgetting difficult memories is part of our minds’ primary role of safeguarding us).

 According to Bessel van der Kolk,

“Trauma is the residue from the past as it settles into your body,” psychiatrist Bessel van der Kolk, author of the best-selling book The Body Keeps the Score, says. It’s within your skin.” Trauma is also a physical problem. It entails taking a naturalistic and neurobiological approach to trauma healing. When we are provoked, our physiological changes: heartbeat patterns, breathing patterns, muscular tightening—depending on whether we want to fight, flee, freeze, or fawn—show up. If we were traumatised by gunshots or family violence that includes tossing down utensils, our bodies, including our brains, respond disproportionately to comparable sounds with defences available to us. We truly respond to incomplete tasks. That’s what we get from perceived threats. Trauma causes us to become hyper-vigilant, hypersensitive, and difficult to connect with.

Talking about what happened and being able to explain it (psychotherapy and other such treatments) is a vital element of treatment, but getting us back in our bodies is even more critical. In this setting, a mind-body approach can aid in trauma healing.

How Yoga helps us heal,

Yoga is one of the greatest tools for the job. Triggers make us tense and concerned about how we feel on the inside. Easing your breathing while doing yoga can help you improve your heart rate variability and reduce stress. Because yoga emphasizes the importance of embracing one’s body, it’s a great fit in this setting. Reconnecting with one’s body is a safe and compassionate way for people to reclaim their memories of the past. According to Bessel van der Kolk, studies have revealed that with frequent yoga, the portions of the brain involving self-awareness become active, and these are the areas of the brain that are closed out by trauma and require healing. He claims that orthodox medicine and psychiatry are unaware of yoga’s true therapeutic potential.

Yoga in a group setting may strengthen the brain’s traumatised mirror neuron system. People may feel more connected to one other when they practise yoga and meditation in groups. Trauma, according to Peter Levine, the father of the notion of somatic experience, is an overload of our normal defensive reflexes that injures our autonomic nerve system and impairs our ability to self-regulate.


Yoga has been demonstrated to be extremely useful in the treatment of trauma because it helps to get emotions out of the body. Yoga is a gateway into the body’s felt sense, and staying with the profound sensations it evokes is critical to releasing old trauma imprints and moving toward recovery.

-Akhil Nair

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