What is dissociation?
The various mental health symptoms for trauma can affect an individual on different planes:
- the physical with heart palpitations, sweat, and panic attack;
- the emotional with low self-esteem, shame and guilt and,
- the psychological plane with dissociation.
The latter could be explained as the separation of mental processes, or disconnection of the mind from the body.
Trauma Sensitive Yoga.
I attended David Emerson’s Trauma sensitive yoga introduction 20h training in February 2018, only 5 months after my arrival in the country. I feel so lucky to have been able to experience it. I highly recommend his book Trauma-sensitive Yoga in Therapy as a resource for everyone. Should you be a practitioner or a yoga instructors, you will discover and learn something. I have mind on my Kindle, which makes it easy to keep resources everywhere I go.
From my personal story (you can read a short summary from the Home page of my website), you will know that I have lived through trauma myself. The path to recovery is my driving force, what is bringing me to share what I have discovered and learnt from this experience.
Below are a few exercises that should guide you to start noticing sensations. Find a space where you feel safe and where you will be undisturbed.
1. Feel the sole of your feet.
Stand in Mountain pose. Closing your eyes if that is comfortable or simply fix your gaze on a non-moving point. Gently lean forward and back a few times; repeat by leaning from side to side. Focus your attention on the sensations you may perceive in the sole of the feet. You may feel your body weight on your heels when you lean back and towards your toes when you lean forwards.
2. Feel your breathing.
Lie down flat on a mat as you would in Savasana. Place your right hand on your belly and your left one on your heart. If you can, close your eyes; alternatively keep them half closed and focused on an immobile area of the room. Bring your awareness in your hands and observe the belly movement when you breathe. Replicate with the chest, you may sense it lifting and lowering as you inhale and exhale.
3. Sense your body temperature.
Find a comfortable sitting position on a chair and aim at keeping a straight back. Rest your hands on your laps, and if doable close your eyes or fix a non-moving point on the floor. Concentrate on your hands. You may feel the heat of the palm of the hands warming the top of the thighs. If you continue, you may notice the back of the thighs in contact with the seat of the chair. If you can, scan down your legs all the way to the feet. You may observe sensations in the feet such as some heat or the contact with the shoe material or the fabric of the sock fabric.
These simple exercises may assist you to become aware of some sensations your own body. Continue practicing and get in touch in you have any questions.