Functional Yoga Therapy Homework
Neurogenic Yoga / Trauma Release Yoga

Tremors or shaking are universal across ethnicity, religion and culture.  Tremoring dates back to ancient cultures where shamans or spiritual leaders performed the shaking or led the community as a way of healing.  Some of the cultures that currently use shaking for healing or spiritual purposes are the San community (in Namibia and Botswana), the Diné (Navajo) people, Pentecostal communities when speaking in tongues, the practice of Japanese Seiki Jutsu and Qi Gong has a standing pose call the “tremoring horse”.  Since the early 1900’s to present day, the use of vibration for the improvement of healing, muscle strength and athletic performance and physical therapy has been used and studied.

 

There is a growing body of research showing that incorporating the body to heal trauma, a somatic experience, rather than the traditional model of solely working with the mind and memory can expedite the process with better, more integrated outcomes.

 

For the purposes of Neurogenic Yoga™/Trauma Release Yoga and TRE™ the use of Self-Induced Therapeutic Tremors is used to down regulate an over excited nervous system.  Many people live in a state of hyper arousal due to the accumulation of everyday stress, tension, living in pain, or from physical or psycho-emotional trauma.  When this stress or trauma, whether real or perceived, is not resolved, symptoms of chronic stress, sleep disturbances, fatigue, pain and illness can arise.  It is important to note that high arousal can happen during happy occasions as well.  Humans are very adept at moving into a state of high arousal but not good and coming down from this state.

If the body is capable of producing states of high arousal resulting in contraction it stands to reason it is also capable of producing its own state of relaxation.  Tremoring in many fields is regarded as pathological and something to be fixed; with Trauma Release Yoga, tremoring is a response of the parasympathetic nervous system to reduce arousal, resetting the body and returning it to homeostasis.  As contraction is released, tissues are better able to hydrate, receive nutrients and move with more awareness and ease.  This will affect the whole structure and its shape bringing the body into balance.  Many people report a feeling of physical “lightness”, relaxation, and relief from pain, especially back pain, after tremoring.

Neurogenic Yoga™/Trauma Release Yoga is a revolutionary technique in trauma healing and stress reduction.

 

Every time we have a stress response our body experiences muscle contraction.  This contraction begins with the psoas, the only muscle connecting the spine directly to the legs.  It is the “first responder” muscle preparing for action in the fight/flight/freeze response.  

 

In addition to muscle contraction during a stress response, there is the instinctual shaking that occurs in all mammals after a stressful event.  This is the nervous system’s natural reflex mechanism to release muscular tension, long-held contraction patterns and trauma; calming the nervous system down.  We’ve all experienced this shaking, perhaps after a car accident or speaking in front of an audience; and we’ve seen this shaking in animals, such as a dog when is it hears fireworks.  All mammals shake but humans learn that shaking is not socially acceptable or is a sign of weakness and we condition ourselves to suppress it at an early age.

 

In Trauma Release Yoga, an asana practice is used to fatigue and stretch the legs and the psoas, thereby activating Self-Induced Therapeutic Tremors (that instinctual shaking response).  In a safe, controlled environment the body is encouraged to unwind, release old contraction patterns and return to a state of balance.  Often the shaking or vibration starts in the legs but can spread throughout the entire body as it is ready to release.    

Unlike traditional therapy where talking about traumatic or stressful events can sometimes be re-traumatizing, in Trauma Release Yoga, “the story” is not needed to achieve the “release”.   Another wonderful and comforting aspect is that the participant is in control the entire time and can stop the shaking at any moment.  If a feeling of discomfort, overwhelm or just tiredness arises; one will make the shaking stop immediately…. ending the session or returning to the tremoring when ready.  Our society tends to promote the “more is better” and “no pain no gain” philosophies and that we should push through, this is not the case in Trauma Release Yoga.  This is a process of gently peeling away the layers as our system is ready so that each session can be easily and comfortably integrated.  For most people, especially those new to Tremoring, it is purely a physical experience, however, as old tension patterns are released, a memory or emotion may bubble up.  This is fine as long as it is comfortable, if not, come out of the Tremoring and rest.

 

Reported benefits include: 

  • Release of chronic tension, increase of energy & stamina

  • Discharge of buried emotional and physical trauma

  • Freedom from symptoms of sciatica and fibromyalgia

  • Decrease of aches and pains

  • Improved sleep

  • Improved circulation

  • Improved mood

  • Improved sense of feeling grounded and focused

  • Improved flexibility

  • Improved relationships

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Extra Resources

Websites for Further Investigation:

Books:

  • The Revolutionary Trauma Release Process - David Berceli, PhD

  • Shake It Off Naturally - David Berceli, PhD

  • The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind and Body in the Healing of Trauma - Bessel van der Kolk, M.D.

  • Waking the Tiger: Healing Trauma - Peter A. Levine

Research / Articles:

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