Sunday, February 23, 2014

Survive. React. Repeat.

Why is this important?

People in crisis or people who have undergone severe trauma are often acting from the confines of their reptilian brain. They are reflexive. Impulsive. Automatic. They are conditioned to survive, react and repeat. Survive. React. Repeat. Until they are habituated to continue working within these same confines because, why not? After all, it seems to be keeping them out of danger.

Everything we do, we do in an attempt to self-regulate; but what happens when we are under-resourced and not properly taught how to cope, deal with and regulate our emotions? Well, we survive, react and repeat.

Our whole schooling system and the whole way we are raised teaches us how to look at and verify things in the external world; we are very rarely taught how to look at and verify within. And so there is this disconnect happening between ourselves and what we know about ourselves.

I believe that at the root of all violence you will find one thing in common: trauma. When someone acts in violence, it is a clear indicator they are carrying an unresolved trauma, which they may not have the resources or ability to process. Thus, they become aggressive and self-destructive.

What is aggression anyway? Aggression is an attempt to get unstuck. Aggression is our attempt to self-regulate. Aggression is the opposite of regression. After all, everyone shares the most basic thing in common: the need and desire to be happy. But sometimes we just don't know how.

Yoga is important because it teaches us how to pay attention; how to be present. It teaches us how to gather and process effectively. It gives purpose to our actions and order to our behavior. It moves us out of our impulsive brain and on to more rational processing.

By introducing our youth to yoga, we are giving them the proper resources to deal with anxiety, stress reduction, PTSD, overall well-being, etc. We are empowering them to relate to how they're feeling; to be able to self-regulate properly.

As teachers it is our duty to expand our ideas of what a true yoga experience and yoga class can be and should look like. Because, in essence, doing anything with an attention to how you feel is a true yoga experience. And having the ability to pay attention to how you feel is an invaluable gift.

To be continued...

1 comment:

  1. Kristen! So good to meet you!! The Hostel in the Forest is only a 50 mile detour on your way to Jacksonville, and well worth it. :-)