In May of 2013 I attended a specialty course in Los Angeles called “Supporting People with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder through Kundalini Yoga.” It was a four day training put together by The Guru Ram Das Center for Medicine and Humanology with the intention of training teachers to implement a specific eight week curriculum in various populations with PTSD. The kriyas were chosen to restore internal rhythmic balance, increase vitality, and work with the psoas muscle where trauma is believed to be held in the body. These kriyas and meditations work for trauma survivors regardless of the source of trauma.
I wasn’t planning on taking the training (actually I was saving money to buy a gong) but I felt very called to take it, and I followed that feeling. It wasn’t until I was about to board the plane that I realized why- to heal from my own traumatic miscarriage at 13 weeks (in 2007) and to help the women that I work with- I have always seemed to be a magnet for women healing from pregnancy loss.
Therefore, my first eight week course will be dedicated to my chosen community of practice- women who have experienced trauma during the childbearing year. This course is for women who have had a traumatic birth experience (as a baby or birthing mother) or postpartum experience, traumatic miscarriage, stillbirth, or pregnancy loss, a regretted or traumatic abortion, etc. A clinical diagnosis of PTSD is not necessary to benefit from the course.
The eight week course will be held on Tuesday evenings in September and October (no class October 15) at Birth Place, from 6-7:30 pm.
Week One introduces students to the basic elements of meditation, relaxation, and the process of self-observation. We will practice a yoga set to balance the brain stem which in turn supports the student’s capacity to regulate emotions and change habits. Regular practice may help students overcome nightmares, memory loss, and numbness while releasing shame, guilt, and fear. The yoga we practice in week one is also known for bringing emotions into balance, bringing the autonomic nervous system into balance, restoring rhythmic strength, and engaging and toning the psoas muscle where trauma is stored in the body. Students will be assigned “homework,” to practice the nine minute “Elementary Adjustment of the Brain” every day at home for 40 days.
Week Two reviews the two yoga sets learned in Week One and adds a meditation to support restful sleep by synchronizing the nervous system and restoring healthy sleep cycles.
Week Three reviews material learned in Week Two, continues the work of restoring rhythmic balance, strengthen lungs, boosts lymphatic circulation, conditions the heart, and stimulates kidneys and adrenals. A meditation for dealing with “flash anger” often experienced by trauma survivors is introduced that helps students regain control of the mind, and strengthens capacity for self-regulation.
Week Four reviews material learned in Week Three and adds a meditation for dissolving past traumas and restoring nervous system.
Week Five reviews material learned in prior weeks and adds a meditation to increase self-confidence and self-efficacy.
Week Six reviews material learned in the earlier weeks and adds a yoga set to help students experience their physical center and energetic center, while also improving circulation and releasing muscular tension. A sense of experiencing their “domain” and having a sense of command over their own self is essential to trauma survivors and is a focus of the yoga set we will practice. Another set in this class works to adjust and strengthen the auric and pranic bodies.
Week Seven reviews materials learned in Week Six and introduces a meditation to experience the polarity of the finite and the infinite while expanding awareness.
Week Eight reviews materials learned during the course and focuses on maintaining new behaviors and avenues of support. Students celebrate the success of their experience.
I’m also planning on offering a separate course in the near future for survivors of domestic violence. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to register for the birth trauma course or be added to the list for the upcoming domestic violence course.