Breathwork and Trauma | Domesticate Calm Yoga


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Breathwork and Trauma | Cultivate Calm Yoga


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Breathwork is gaining reputation as a option to bio-hack our nervous system. However, not all breathwork is appropriate for individuals with trauma.

What's trauma?

Trauma is any occasion that overwhelmed our nervous system and our capability to manage. What distinguishes trauma from stress is that once we’re confronted with a tense state of affairs, we go into combat or flight mode of our nervous system, and we're capable of combat and defend ourselves or run, retreat and withdraw from the stressor. As soon as we’ve escaped the stress, our physique and nervous system return to steadiness.

However in trauma, we are able to’t combat or flee. Once we are overwhelmed by the state of affairs, we freeze, and the survival vitality of the nervous system stays caught in our physique, leaving us feeling hyper-vigilant and unable to chill out. This survival vitality can stay caught in our system for years.

Trauma isn’t what occurred to us; it’s how our nervous system was capable of course of what occurred to us. It may possibly go away our nervous system frozen. Trauma is greater than having unhealthy reminiscences, and when trauma is saved in our physique, it's a physiological response for survival.


There is no such thing as a fast repair in terms of trauma.

One of the best approaches to therapeutic trauma are gradual, delicate and create security in our nervous system. If we go too quick, too shortly, we danger being activated once more.

I all the time suggest purchasers search a therapist skilled in treating trauma. Each EMDR and Somatic Experiencing are sensible and efficient instruments that deal with trauma on the nervous system degree.

But many individuals with trauma of their physique don’t realise it and haven’t obtained a prognosis. All they know is that they really feel pressured, anxious or hypervigilant, they usually need to do one thing about it. Many of those individuals flip to yoga. And one of many essential options of yoga is pranayama, or breathwork.

The hyperlink between the breath and the nervous system

The breath is the interface to our nervous system as a result of the Vagus Nerve runs by way of our diaphragm. The best way we breathe impacts how we really feel and sends highly effective messages to our nervous system that we’re protected. The Vagus Nerve is the nerve liable for activating the parasympathetic nervous system (the relief response).

Many respiratory methods from yoga have a spread of well being advantages. However not all of them are appropriate for individuals with trauma. Issues that may make trauma worse embody:

  • Holding the breath mirrors the freeze response, which isn't supreme for releasing trauma.
  • Over respiratory and hyperventilating mimic the stress response, which prompts extra stress.

When trauma is saved within the physique, it's like trapped survival vitality. That vitality will solely be launched when the nervous system feels protected.

Aggressive breath work, round respiratory, holotropic respiratory and over-breathing may create an altered state of consciousness in individuals with out trauma. But when we've trapped survival vitality in our system, this sort of respiratory could make us really feel extra wound up, protecting the survival vitality trapped.

Delicate respiratory is finest. However it’s additionally gradual and regular.

Breathwork for individuals with trauma

My two favorite respiratory methods to chill out the nervous system for individuals with trapped survival vitality of their our bodies are:

  1. Prolonged exhales. Such a respiratory emphasises the exhale. We make the exhale twice so long as the inhale. The explanation for that is that each one the relief occurs in the course of the exhale. It’s the way in which we exhale (lengthy,  gradual and easy), that indicators to the nervous system that we're protected. Attempt inhaling for a rely of two and exhaling for 4, and repeat ten occasions. Observe: if that feels difficult, you possibly can inhale for one and exhale for a rely of two. So long as the exhale is longer than the inhale, it is going to calm the nervous system.

2. Spinal breath. Such a respiratory creates security within the nervous system and builds neuroception, which is the flexibility to be current with the delicate sensations within the physique.

3. Alternate nostril breath. This method brings steadiness to the 2 branches of our nervous system and creates security.

These are sufficient. It’s actually tempting to hunt an increasing number of and fall into the lure that extra difficult methods are higher. Easy is sweet. Secure is sweet. When coping with trauma, easy and protected are our greatest bets.

Watch this masterclass to Breathe Your Technique to Much less Stress.

Releasing trauma

Trauma is saved within the physique. It’s the clenching of the jaw, the strain within the neck and shoulders, the tightness within the chest and the ache within the decrease again. Trauma is the sleepless nights, the racing coronary heart, the sensation of panic and butterflies within the tummy. It’s the a part of us that’s simply startled by loud noise or sudden motion. It’s the sensation of all the time being on edge, ready for one thing horrible to occur. It may be the inside critic or the voice in our heads telling us that we’re shameful, pathetic, weak or not ok. Trauma is feeling disconnected from our physique, feeling caught in our head and feeling numb or misplaced in our personal world.

Most of all, trauma is vitality that received’t go away us alone, and it desires to come back out.

When the nervous system feels protected, the survival vitality will come up and out of our physique within the type of shaking, tremors and involuntary motion.

Yoga is a improbable device for transferring trauma by way of the physique, however it must be finished mindfully and with intention. A consequence of trauma is that we disconnect from our our bodies and shut down our skill to really feel. But paradoxically, connecting with our physique and studying to really feel is essential in therapeutic from trauma. Many yoga practitioners who've hidden trauma will search out robust or aggressive practices as a result of they battle to really feel the subtleties of their our bodies. Robust and aggressive stretching does nothing to create security within the physique and simply retains the trauma suppressed. That’s why individuals battle with the subtleties of being current with the physique and breath in yoga as a result of they'll’t really feel something; they assume nothing is going on.

Supported Bridge Pose is a traditional instance. This pose is the place we elevate our hips with a block or bolster to launch the psoas muscle. The psoas shops a lot of the trauma in our physique because it’s the first muscle concerned within the combat or flight response. Releasing the psoas is a gradual and delicate course of, but many get pissed off as a result of they'll’t really feel a stretch, so that they attempt to drive the stretch and sensation by lifting the hips greater.

Releasing trauma doesn’t work that method. It may possibly’t be pressured from the physique. Trauma will solely launch when the nervous system feels protected.

This can be a good factor.

Nervous system therapeutic is a bottom-up strategy. Somewhat than utilizing our minds and ideas, we join with the knowledge of our physique and nervous system. Our physique is aware of the right way to come again to steadiness. We simply have to create the fitting situations for it.


Go away a remark under for those who discovered this useful.



Monica based Domesticate Calm Yoga in 2013 – a sanctuary for individuals looking for greater than train yoga. She has created a hub for bodily, emotional and psychological wellbeing.

Monica has a Bachelor of Behavioural Science (psychology), is a Stage 2 Yoga and Meditation Trainer, an authorized Neuro-Linguistic Programming Coach and Timeline Remedy Practitioner.

This distinctive mixture of abilities weaves Yogic knowledge with trendy psychology and the clearing of unconscious programming that retains us caught.

Monica is an skilled at holding house for individuals to really feel protected to unravel the layers of previous damage and trauma. She’s supportive and compassionate, and since she’s finished the work herself, she’s extremely non-judgmental.




Work with Monica

  1. Brisbane Yoga lessons
  2. Unwind The Psoas
  3. Inside Circle
  4. Learn to Meditate
  5. Yoga Alchemy
  6. Non-public Teaching


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