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Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
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Son O'Gong



Joined: 12 Jun 2013
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Wed Jun 12, 2013 10:29 am    Post subject: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Reply with quote

New member wondering if anyone else practices Yin to manage PTSD?
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Son O'Gong



Joined: 12 Jun 2013
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Fri Jun 14, 2013 2:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you Ivers and good advice. Maybe I should elaborate, daily yin practice is part of my personal recovery for more than two years. Working closely with mental health professionals, integrating a couple other training modalities I am trying to look objectively at PTSD and recovery from the inside, from the perspective of a sufferer.

Currently I am in grad school, working on a Masters degree in Criminal Justice. My career in law enforcement was very violent. I am researching a yoga based training model for teaching officers the perishable skill sets they need on the job to survive. My agenda is to plant the seed of mindfulness in rookie officers before they encouter violent, traumatic use of force scenarios.

Too many young men and women I see are too damaged, in too much denial, and don't know they even need help. I see myself, but I studied yoga in college and knew where to turn. It is really fortunate I found yin. It would be good to hear from anyone on a similar journey.
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Bernie



Joined: 23 Sep 2006
Posts: 1016
Location: Vancouver

PostPosted: Tue Jun 18, 2013 6:08 am    Post subject: PTSD and Yin Yoga Reply with quote

[I had to delete the post from the person who responded to you earlier: he was a spammer. We get a lot of these subversive post - they pretend to offer some wisdom, but generally the post is full of platitudes. Then a few days later they come back to the post and add website links. This is done to try to fool Google into thinking that a lot of people are linking to their site. At that point, I delete their account and all their posts. Really, what does Yin Yoga have to do with auto parts in Germany? Anyway - this is why you no longer see that guy's post.]

I don't personally know of anyone practicing Yin Yoga to deal with PSTD but many students do Yin Yoga to help with more generic forms of anxiety and stress. Someone suffering from PSTD are at a different level of stress and most likely would require personal attention from a qualified teacher; one that is also trained in therapy would be ideal. During the practice, there is a lot of time to practice stress reduction techniques, such as alternate nostril breathing, ocean breathing, and mindfulness, such as the A.W.A.K.E.N. practice. You may want to add these while your students are in the postures.

As you develop your experience in this field, please let us know how it goes!
Cheers
Bernie
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Son O'Gong



Joined: 12 Jun 2013
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Wed Jun 19, 2013 8:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Bernie, my personal experience, working with therapy, teachers and a few other healing modalities really helped me recover from very severe, combat related PTSD. Yin yoga helped me connect physical work, postures, to my emotional issues much more effectively than all the other styles of yoga I tried. My teacher had a really good understanding of how to relate philosophy to the work. That really helped. I just wondered if anyone else might have any thing to add. I'm getting ready to write a research paper for my Masters in Criminal Justice proposing changes to academy standards of training to incorporate some of the disciplines that helped me recover and stay on the job.
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Son O'Gong



Joined: 12 Jun 2013
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Mon Aug 04, 2014 5:34 pm    Post subject: Update Reply with quote

Not given to posting obviously, let me beg the oards indulgence and express a little gratitude. It's been a long hard journey, but my PTSD is managable. It took a lot of Yin, dharma practice and more. It is my own recovery model and along with some young combat veterans who work with me we are trying to repeat the results. More signifigantly, my graduate research project is approved, "A new model for police use of force training; Can yoga and meditation improve perishable skill set training and mitigate for the effects of exposure to violence on the job?" The goal is prepare police officers to deal with PTSD before they develope symptoms. Mehta
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Bernie



Joined: 23 Sep 2006
Posts: 1016
Location: Vancouver

PostPosted: Mon Aug 04, 2014 11:22 pm    Post subject: Post Traumatic Growth Reply with quote

Congratulations on the progress you have made to date in dealing with your PTS and using yoga to help you. Maybe you are on your way to Post Traumatic Growth. The idea of PTG comes from the Positive Psychology field, where they believe it is possible (although rare) for some people to use the challenge of the crises they experience to foster personal growth.

Marcus Aurelius once said, "Fire feeds on obstacles." The Roman poet Ovid said, "Difficulty is what wakes up the genius." PTS is extreme stress which goes further than a person's edge, but in some cases this stress can trigger extraordinary growth.

Good luck on continuing your healing and growth.
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yaelflusberg



Joined: 18 Dec 2015
Posts: 11
Location: Washington, DC

PostPosted: Tue Mar 28, 2017 2:23 am    Post subject: Yin and ptsd/trauma/post-traumatic growth/resiliency Reply with quote

Saw that this thread is a few years older, and wanted to see if there's been any shifting interest here. I have an abiding interest personally and as a yin teacher/yoga therapist in yin and resiliency. i go to a pt who is trained in mfr and an osteopathic methodology that involves the fascia and she wholeheartedly believes that yin is excellent for trauma. i do too -- just wandering if others have been investigating the connection. with thanks!
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Roju



Joined: 28 Mar 2017
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Tue Mar 28, 2017 11:21 am    Post subject: PTSD and Yin Yoga Reply with quote

Hi guys,
It's nice to read that people are using/looking at Yin to compliment their recovery from PTSD.

Just a little about my journey with Yin.

I am a ex-serving member of the Australian military (10 years), having served several years in Iraq and Afghanistan in a combat role. On my last deployment I had suffered moderate damage to both shoulders and ankle in a blast injury. Nothing severe, but the subsequent surgeries and chronic pain forced me to hang up the boots when I returned home.

Most of the methods of pain management was heavy opioid based medications and physiotherapy. Shut the book, case closed, next. These tools were helpful to mask the pain but doesn't solve the problem of how am I going to deal with the rest of my life.

I went from being a professional athlete, to a sound military career, in a heavily physically active lifestyle, to being told I wouldn't be able to do the vast majority of activities again. This was a pretty heavy blow to hear for anyone who's life surrounded by physical activity.

At the time I didn't realise all the mental stress I had been accumulating, primarily due to the fact I was constantly focused on leading my team and the task at hand. I remember one particular instance when I saw a younger soldier freeze and I told him; "If you don't move now, you will become a casualty yourself. You have time to think about this later." Well when I was recovering from my surgeries and I couldn't use my physical outlets of sport and recreation, I had time to think. A lot of time to think about everything. And it all caught up with me. At the time I wasn't willing to accept a diagnosis of PTSD and the other mental health issues that go hand in hand with this, anger, depression, anxiety, separation disorder etc.

I was a focused individual who executed my goals with precision and discipline. But here I was, dealing with these symptoms and once again, here is a stamp, you have your condition and see you later. It took me a long time to accept this, as I believe that most members who are put in these environments for extensive periods of time, will have some form of mental health as a cause and affect. Even though I had no romanticised view of the nature of serving overseas and what my job entailed (I signed up remember), but I didn't think it would consume my thoughts to that degree once I stopped. What's worse is that my whole personality was changing into someone I wasn't and didn't like the path I was on, so I did something about it.

Determined to get back into my old life and be functioning to an acceptable level, I started looking at alternatives to pain management to get the range of movement back in my shoulders. At this point I couldn't put a t-shirt on without agony. I read books, spoke to different trainers and specialists but most came back to opioid pain meds. To get through the day I was on roughly a box of Endone. You wouldn't know I was in agony as I just cracked on with my day. Last thing people want to hear is someone moaning around like a zombie all day.

I got to a point where I was getting frustrated as my options were getting smaller and I walked past a yoga studio and saw an intro deal, swallowed my pride and ego and went in. I signed up and the next day I was practicing Vinyassa Yoga. I hated it, I mean I was more angry going out then I was in, as my body could not physically do most of the poses. But I said to myself, just cause I can't do it today doesn't mean I can't do it tomorrow and went back. After a few weeks practice, I went to class and got the times mixed up and arrived at a Yin class by mistake. Looking around the room there was an odd mix of people in the room and I thought, I shouldn't be here this is for old people and the ego was very loud saying leave. But I decided to stay. I stayed and felt better then any Vinyassa class. I continued to go to the Yin classes and eventually stopped going to the Yang practices. This was an extremely hard time and even walked out of three classes. On the third the teacher confronted me and said "Do you know how rude you are for leaving? Why are you leaving?". I then told her I was suffering from Physical and mental trauma and you keep telling me to let go, relax, let go etc. I was like a little kid screaming, NO! I won't! I need to be this tight and I need to be the man in the uniform and I need to be this way as this is what men do! I still laugh at this to this day. But I went back.

My time practicing Yin was the most instrumental thing to my recovery and still is to this day. I was in a place where taking my own life was an option as dealing with my chronic pain was at a point so consuming that I didn't know what else to do. Looking at the quality of life etc. But Yin shifted my focus. I was waiting for a class and Bernie's book; "The complete guide to Yin Yoga" was on the seat next to me, open and highlighted. It had the three Tattvas of the practice on it. I asked the teacher, is this what this is about it can't be that easy? I'm never going to be able to do what I see everyone else doing, I just don't have that range of motion anymore. He told me to shut my eyes, take it inward and if you're feeling it your doing it. That was when the penny dropped. From that moment I stopped focusing on what it looked like and focused on what it felt like. I increased my practice to every day and eventually two times per day.

I went into yoga with the goal of physical pain management, but what I got was the mental release and that was and is the biggest contributor to my recovery. I have been practicing for approximately four and a half years now and there is rarely a day when I don't practice, regardless of where I am in the world.

From not being able to put on a shirt without pain, to being told I will never swim freestyle again, I have overcome this through a combination of practices and aids, from physical training to psychology, physiotherapy and Chiro. But the most effective tool that I have is my Yin practice. I now can swim 5kms freestyle in one sitting, and I am competing and training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Something a few years ago I would have never have thought possible. Don't get me wrong the chronic pain is still there and I feel like I've been hit by a truck most days, but my quality of life has improved to gargantuan proportions. I'm still flexible as a bag of concrete, but am grateful of what I can do and the release that comes with that.

In no way am I saying it is the complete solution to the problem, however it has worked for me. I am now well over 200 days clean from pain medications and plan to stay that way. I hear a lot of teachers say to me that I am doing too much Yin and should incorporate more Yang styles. Well that may be so, but my life and mind are Yang, with getting plenty of weight training and physical activity, I use the Yin to counter the physical and psychological aspects of my life.

My plan is to take Yin to the Veteran community in Australia, to show people that there is an alternative to physical and mental pain management and also a general compliment to their lives. Everyone can benefit from the practice of Yin Yoga, especially people with PTSD. But like any treatment or activity, the person needs to be at a point where they are willing to try it and to do it regularly.

I have travelled to different parts of the globe to explore options that will help me add to tools to my kit. I have been incorporating different techniques and styles to compliment my practice and recovery as I grow, from; Yoga Nidra, Meditation, Trigger point massage, Mindfulness, being in the water, Acupuncture, psychology support, physiotherapy and Chiropractic treatment. But the top of the pyramid for me has been Yin Yoga.

My apologies for the length of this saga of a tale. But I am extremely passionate about this topic and how much of a difference it has made on my life.

Tristan R.
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yaelflusberg



Joined: 18 Dec 2015
Posts: 11
Location: Washington, DC

PostPosted: Wed Mar 29, 2017 9:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tristan, thanks so much for sharing your story. I love that you found what worked for you -- and that you continue to know what is right for you. I have no doubt that you will be a force for healing and inspiring others to find their own solutions.

I found yin when I was having excruciating back pain -- I had several accidents, a car accident, falling off a hammock onto a concrete floor when I was 21, slipping off a chair i was standing on -- and when I found yin yoga, I immediately fell in love with it. I was teaching vinayasa at the time, but couldn't lift my leg to put on pants for the first hour of the morning. Coincidentally, I learned of a 100 hour training with two people I had never heard of before -- Paul Grilley and Sarah Powers -- and immediately signed up. After the training, I did yin daily for about 5 or 6 months -- and it healed my back enough that I found I wanted the stronger, more athletic practices, and started doing those more often, adding in a few yin poses to my yang sessions, or doing a more complete yin practice a couple times/week. That was in 2007-8. I still have chronic back issues, but I manage it well, and have love teaching yin.

My parents were Holocaust survivors, and refugees to the US, and both died suddenly when I was young, so I also have had cultural/familial/personal experience with trauma. And even before I knew what trauma or PTSD was, I've always been drawn to communities and work situations and lovers who've gone through similar challenges. Years before my encounter with yin, I started a regular yoga practice when I was doing organizing with Central American refugees. One of my first yoga teaching gigs was at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, DC working with both returning soldiers who had amputations, as well as their physical and occupational therapists. Like you, I sought yin for the physical, but found over the years that it has changed me at deeper levels. And I see this with my students -- they come for one reason, but when they keep coming, they're able to confront things within themselves and eventually, find a greater sense of ease.

So these connections -- between yin and pain and trauma -- are things I've circled around with, for years, in my own head.

There is so much richness in your story and experience. And I'm grateful that you took the time to write it -- and that you have found your path healing. It confirms my own experience.

Wishing you all the best Tristan! And curious to see if others will share their experiences/observations/resources Smile


Yael
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Leonie



Joined: 12 Nov 2014
Posts: 2
Location: Melbourne Australia

PostPosted: Thu Mar 30, 2017 7:27 am    Post subject: Yin yoga and PTSD Reply with quote

Hi Tristan, thank you so much for sharing your journey with Yin yoga and how beneficial it has been for you as a recovery tool for PTSD.

I am passionate about the benefits of Yin yoga and have completed extensive training in Yin yoga with both Paul Grilley and Sarah Powers and would be interested in chatting with you further about your project to bring yin to the veteran community to see if I am able to assist in some way. I'm not sure where you are based in Australia, but I am in Melbourne.

Yin as a form of yoga has been a saviour for me also. Whilst not having the war experiences you have had, I spent a long time working on the front line of homelessness, dealing with a variety of distressing situations, which left me burnt out, depressed, anxious and bordering on alcoholism. I turned back to a yoga practice of vinyasa and hatha, which helped enormously but finding Yin around 7 years ago, has been a life saviour for the freeing of the contractions of the body, but also the mind.

If you would like to know more about me, please check out my website www.flowinglife.com.au and I can be contacted on 0419 133 948.

Regards, Leonie
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David W



Joined: 30 Mar 2017
Posts: 3
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Thu Mar 30, 2017 8:52 am    Post subject: Yin Yoga and PTSD Reply with quote

Hello Son O'Gong:

I have found yin yoga to be a very effective way to deal with PTSD?

My Background: I am an IT manager for a living. Over the years, I have studied tai chi and many forms of yoga. I even received my yoga teacher certification from Sivananda in Kerala, India.

I've learned that emotional trauma that I have experienced was retained in my body. Both historic and on-going feelings of stress, anxiety, fear, loneliness, isolation, shame, humiliation, frustration, depression all manifested in accumulated physical tension. My flexibility was very limited.

Regular Hatha Yoga, although helpful, made no lasting correction to the problem. Thankfully, I had very knowledgeable instructors who cautioned me that when yoga stretches an area that has been solidified by tension, it is likely to release intense emotions. Some people feel giddy. My experience was not pleasant. These dark emotions at times seemed overwhelming.

At first, my daily yin yoga practice was both an emotional and physical ordeal. Physically, I would feel shortness of breath, dizziness, nausea to the point where I felt I was going to hurl. Severe feelings of panic would hit me in waves.

The continued reassurance of the instructors that this would eventually lead to a positive result and guidance to go very slowly were critical to being able to progress.

The results have been beyond my wildest expectations. My physical flexibility and positive mental outlook have both drastically improved as a result of my practice of yin yoga.

All the best, David
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shelley stratton



Joined: 23 Jan 2017
Posts: 3
Location: Sequim WA

PostPosted: Thu Mar 30, 2017 9:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think that yoga has can help and has helped with trauma in people's lives. We are working with the mind and body which are holding the memories, as we used talk therapy for so many years finding that it was not the only answer and sometimes was of no help at all. There are many workshops available now to learn how to work with trauma/PTSD clients but every teacher has the responsibility to keep the student and class safe and continue with their own education if they wish to do this type of work. The medical field has been opening up to having yoga available now in hospitals. It is always good to keep updated on all of this progress. Recently one of my students who is a nurse brought in a book in from Dr. Bessel van der Kolk who has written books on the this topic and back in 2009 had an interview about yoga and PTSD.
Many blessings,
Shelley, RN, E-RYT
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Bernie



Joined: 23 Sep 2006
Posts: 1016
Location: Vancouver

PostPosted: Thu Mar 30, 2017 9:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Shelley....for those interested, here is a link to Dr Bessel van der Kolk's article: Yoga and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
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David W



Joined: 30 Mar 2017
Posts: 3
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Thu Apr 13, 2017 10:00 am    Post subject: Trauma-Sensitive Yoga: Principles, Practice, and Research Reply with quote

The Prison Yoga Project has several downloadable articles. One is, "Trauma-Sensitive Yoga: Principles, Practice, and Research," by David Emerson, E-RYT, Ritu Sharma, PhD, Serena Chaudhry, Jenn Turner.

https://prisonyoga.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/TraumaIJYTArticle.pdf

David Emerson is the Director of Yoga Services at the Trauma Center at Justice Resource Center, Brookline, MA. He was interviewed:

https://www.elephantjournal.com/2012/05/overcoming-trauma-through-yoga-an-interview-with-david-emerson/
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David W



Joined: 30 Mar 2017
Posts: 3
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Sat Apr 15, 2017 4:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Exhale to Inhale was founded in 2013 bring the healing power of yoga to survivors of intimate partner violence, especially those who would most benefit from the practice, yet might not otherwise have access to it.

Exhale to Inhale brings yoga to survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault in New York, Connecticut, and Los Angeles through free weekly classes at shelters and community-based organizations.

http://exhaletoinhale.org/about/
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