Dr. Bessel A. van der Kolk, MD, and a team from the Trauma Center at the Justice Resource Institute has led a three year study looking at how yoga can reduce post traumatic symptoms in women. From 2008 to 2011, they randomly assigned 64 women who were suffering from trauma-induced PTSD, half to a weekly women’s health support class (the control group), and half to a weekly trauma-informed yoga class.Each treatment condition lasted 10 weeks.
What they found was that patients who attended the weekly yoga group, with its guided meditation and breathing exercises, were much better able to focus on the present moment and control their impulses – and their PTSD symptoms reduced by 50%.
That’s why I strongly recommend yoga to my clients who are struggling with post traumatic stress symptoms.
Yoga has three principle components:
Anyone can learn. There is yoga for everybody. Every age. There is no such thing as being too stiff or too anything for yoga. A good yoga instructor will meet you where you are and help you modify poses to work for your body.
You will learn to focus on internal sensory experiences, which helps to isolate emotions and physiological reactions to triggers such as fear. Instead of avoiding unpleasant memories, you will be better able to isolate memories and address them in a non-threatening way.