In Light of the 9/11

Overcoming Trauma

I always remember my mother telling me about her experience when JFK was shot. His assassination became one of the most monumental days in Western history, especially for me. As the world stood frozen in sadness, taken aback by the deceptive minds who made the reality of conspiracy a real-time event. The occurrence left a lasting impression worldwide, like the attack on Pearl Harbor before it, and the September 11 attacks on the US after. Moments after the news about JFK’s death made it to Canadian sound waves, my mother found herself heartbroken. The immediate loss triggered her current heartache for her then-boyfriend, my father. She had recently ended their long-term high school love affair. Forever, her future (and mine), changed when President Kennedy was assassinated.

In light of the recent anniversary of 9/11, I, too, will never forget where I was in life. I have often repeated this moment in my head and felt-sensed the heartache my mother must have known that horrific day in 1963. September 11th will forever be etched in my mind. That frightful day my brain became intoxicated with a new anxiety. Post 9/11, the driver’s seat of my car turned into a torture chamber for me. Every time I had to react to my brake, little daggers of sharp imaginary metal slivers would attack the back of my skull, making my face feel like it was as hot as the burning inferno from the gas and electrical fires that exploded into the twin towers.

Never forget: This day of strength and togetherness

Anxiety and post-traumatic behaviours easily and quickly grow in today’s society. The success of managing and finding balance with these feelings is regulating the endocrine glands. Here, hormones are passed straight into the bloodstream, communicating change or effect on a cellular level in the body. The best way I know to ignite these hormones is with a regular and focused yoga practice, stimulating the endocrine system with attention to how the poses are sequenced together. A yoga prescription, if you will.

The success of managing and finding balance with [anxiety and post-traumatic] feelings is regulating the endocrine glands…The best way I know to ignite these hormones is with a regular and focused yoga practice…

“Yoga is not about talking about your trauma,” says Dr. van der Kolk. “It’s about you and your relationship to your own body.” Van der Kolk, considered a pioneer in the field of Trauma and Psychology, concludes that when treating psychological trauma and anxiety, one needs to work with the body as well as the mind.

The Warrior II (Virabhadrasana II) pose is, in form and execution, one of strength and confidence

“The memory of the trauma is imprinted on the human organism,” he says. “I don’t think you can overcome it unless you learn to have a friendly relationship with your body.” (www.yogajournal.com/lifestyle/healing-lifes-traumas)

Yoga…is about you and your relationship with your own body…The  memory of the trauma is imprinted on the human organism. I don’t think you can overcome it unless you have a friendly relationship with your body.

It was a pivotal moment in my yoga journey and life plan. I was recently married, on a direct career path, with 1.2 dogs and children on the horizon. I knew I didn’t have much time and space for trauma or a downward spiral. When I recognised what became unwanted thoughts and consistent negative sensations every time I got into my car, I knew it was time to heal myself. This was one of the first times I turned to my yoga practice to help guide me to a healthier mind set. Perhaps up until that moment, I thought yoga was only for my body. Not realising how, if I supported my body, I could release more of the chemicals required to help make the transformation from anxiety back to ‘ground-zero.’ Namaste

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