How Yoga Helped Me Heal After Trauma
Imagine feeling completely numb to your surroundings and being lost in your own body. Imagine waking up in a fog of emptiness and uncertainty of what the day will bring. This was me a few years ago after I experienced the worst period of my life. I had just exited an abusive relationship with an individual who was living a life of secrets and lies.
Before this, I would describe myself as a happy, passionate, and fun-loving person. After I made the decision to take my power back, the journey was not an easy one. I had numbed myself so much to the pain that I suddenly morphed into a ball of stress and anxiety. I withdrew and isolated myself from those I could not trust. I ended up being diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder because of some of the events that happened during my toughest years. I did not know what to do and I started to feel hopeless.
Thankfully, I decided to fight for myself. I knew she was hiding somewhere. I also needed to find powerful coping strategies to rebuild my life. One major part of my healing was yoga.
I had started my practice years ago and I loved the mindfulness yoga provided. I wanted to feel myself in my body and feel safe again. Moving through the poses gave me a sense of freedom and rejuvenation. I never felt like I had to prove myself in my movements; I felt accepted in my own being.
The affirmations in my yoga classes also helped me tremendously. My confidence had been severely eroded and I needed to build it back up. This was me reclaiming my positive self-talk, pushing away the negativity I had been exposed to, and showing myself love again. I describe it as a way of rewiring my brain. This strategy definitely lessened the anxiety I was feeling.
Lastly, the meditation was the hardest for me but the most rewarding. I was afraid of the silence because dark memories would crop up in my mind. I remember one yoga class where the instructor started off our meditation by telling us to forgive ourselves for something in our past and to let it go. I ended up tearing up because that was the greatest gift I could give myself at that moment: forgiveness. I was allowing myself to move on and continue living my life, but now in peace.
I am not claiming that yoga is the only way to heal from trauma. What I am saying is that it was an effective way for me to live a better life. Sometimes you have to adopt several healthy practices to heal and that could include yoga, dance, meditation, reading, writing, or simply spending time with your loved ones or pets. Do not be afraid to try something new that is good for you. Find your yoga!
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