Empowered Communities – Sept 2019

What an exhausting, terrifying couple of weeks for so many people in the Scenic Rim and regional QLD and NSW. Weeks of bushfires on an unprecedented scale, threatening the lives and homes and futures of so many communities. As dreadful as this period has been for many of us, it has also revealed the true depth of community spirit, kindness, generosity, unflagging courage and acts of selflessness that often only big disasters unveil in a community. People offering homes and paddocks to those in need, rural firefighters risking everything to save someone’s home, strangers playing tag going back again and again to rescue horses, goats, chooks and pets for others, donations of money, food and time by anonymous donors and volunteers. An amazing community to be part of.

And these kind of disasters can leave us traumatized for many months, even years later. As a species, we survive the immediate trauma by drawing upon our fight or flight instincts. We might run, we might fight, or we can mobilize with others to save ourselves and those we love. And we shut down emotions, hysteria, and real panic just to get through the terrible event. And that’s perfect. But much later, in a really safe space, we also need the chance to process all what has happened: to share and talk with others, to weep, to be held and be comforted and to seek professional help perhaps. Because trauma is not just held in our memories it is also held in our tissues, our fascia, our muscles and our bodies. And if we can’t release this long held trauma we often end up with pain, and a lifetime of emotional and mental distress.

And yoga is a perfect therapy to help the student who has suffered any form of trauma or ongoing stress. Many traumatized people are disassociated from their physical bodies and their emotions.  Often students are numb physically and emotionally.  And this might have been useful when the student was surviving the traumatic event, but months or years of still holding that trauma deep inside results in a life half lived. If you can’t feel everything in life, you can’t appreciate all life has to offer.

In yoga class we use the breath and the yoga poses to connect to our physical bodies. We also use the mind and the intention to send love and healing to ourselves. It’s a slow, empowered process and the student dictates the pace. The yoga class is that safe space. Eventually we hope to reintegrate all parts of ourselves (good and bad) into our physical bodies. And on this journey of coming back to wholeness we can then release long held trauma and stress and start to heal. A fully embodied person who can love, and be loved by all of Life.

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