In yoga we are saying that we will not all the time management our exterior circumstances, however we will management our reactions to them. That is true—until you’re a survivor of sexual assault.
If you’re a yoga practitioner like I’m and a trauma survivor (like I’m), you’re nonetheless vulnerable to retraumatization in triggering conditions. Activities like watching the information—particularly this week, as allegations of sexual assault towards a Supreme Court nominee are dissected on a nationwide stage and shared on screens all over the place—can induce acquainted emotions of worry, panic, rage, insecurity, and nervousness.
It has introduced up all of that, and extra, for me.
During my senior yr of school, I used to be sexually assaulted. I used to be 21 years previous. The perpetrator was technically my boss, who was married with youngsters, and for years I blamed myself for it. I coped with the trauma via self-destructive conduct and did the whole lot I might to desert myself.
Now, almost 20 years later, I’m nonetheless within the means of therapeutic.
It is essential to know that the physique shops trauma. That’s why the sympathetic nervous system responds to triggering conditions as if the traumatic occasion is occurring another time. Physiologically, your coronary heart price hastens, cortisol rushes your physique, blood surges to your extremities, and your breath turns into brief and erratic.
You could also be feeling these fight-or-flight signs this week. It doesn’t imply there’s something flawed with you, or that you’re not a seasoned yogi. It means that you’ve fought the battle, and you’re surviving it. And you’re doing the work you might want to do to be able to present up absolutely on the planet.
Although there’s nonetheless a component of disgrace that comes with sharing my story, now I do know that I don’t should run away from it. I’ve gained a way of resilience from this expertise. Through my private yoga and meditation follow, I’ve discovered find out how to reside in, reply to, and honor the sensations of my physique. No matter what arises, I’ve the capability to carry area for it. It is in tolerance of our emotions that creates our potential to heal.
I return to my follow every single day alone mat, and I’m lucky sufficient to share the transformative instruments of the ISHTA Yoga lineage to assist others reclaim their sense of self, no matter whether or not they have skilled trauma.
In addition, my service on the board of Exhale to Inhale has additionally given me the power to assist different survivors of home violence and sexual assault entry the therapeutic energy of trauma-informed yoga. It has additionally empowered me with the language to place phrases to my expertise, and to work by way of and course of it as a part of a protected, supported group.
Finally, I’ve discovered that permitting your self time for self-care helps you create a protected area in your physique that brings you again to your true supply, which is infinite and untethered.
See additionally #TimesUp: Ending Sexual Abuse in the Yoga Community
A Self-Care Practice for Survivors of Sexual Assault
I created the next self-care sequence for survivors of trauma to assist get via this week’s difficult information cycle with ease, self-compassion, and peace of thoughts. Through standing postures, you’ll set up your connection to the Earth, which allows a way of steadiness and safety within the current second. The most essential factor is that you simply really feel protected and powerful in your physique.
As you progress by means of the sequence, do what feels proper for you in your physique. These are all steered postures, and you may modify them in any option to go well with you.
About the Author
Sarah Finger is the co-founder of ISHTA Yoga and the personal yoga instructor of Dr. Deepak Chopra. She teaches trainings, workshops, and retreats internationally together with her husband, yoga grasp Alan Finger, and is a featured professional on the wellness platform, Jiyo. Sarah’s values of self-empowerment led her to hitch the Board of Directors for Exhale to Inhale, a non-profit group that teaches yoga to survivors of home violence. Her daughter, Satya, evokes her to stay a life based mostly on love and unbound potential.