Bessel van der Kolk On Yoga And PTSD

Thanks to Cindy for this post.

Western psychotherapy has hardly paid any attention to the experience and interpretation of disturbed physical sensations and action patterns. Yoga is one of the Asian traditions that clearly help reintegrate body and mind. For someone to heal from PTSD [post-traumatic stress syndrome], one must learn how to control bodily reflexes. PTSD causes memory to be stored at a sensory level—in the body. Yoga offers a way to reprogram automatic physical responses. Mindfulness, learning to become a careful observer of the ebb and flow of internal experience, and noticing whatever thoughts, feelings, body sensations and impulses emerge are important components in healing PTSD….

What most people do not realize is that trauma is not the story of something awful that happened in the past, but the residue of imprints left behind in people’s sensory and hormonal systems. Traumatized people often are terrified of the sensations in their own bodies. Most trauma-sensitive people need some form of body oriented psychotherapy or bodywork to regain a sense of safety in their bodies.

These excerpt are from the interview “Yoga and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder” with Bessel van der Kolk, MD, Integral Yoga Magazine 2009 issue, pages 12-13, source http://www.traumacenter.org/clients/MagInside.Su09.p12-13.pdf.

Thanks to Cindy for introducing me to On Being and the podcast “Restoring the Body” which can be heard on  http://www.onbeing.org/program/restoring-the-body-bessel-van-der-kolk-on-yoga-emdr-and-treating-trauma/5801.

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