When stuff comes up…

If you’ve ever broken into tears, been swept into a current of strong emotions, or been pummelled by haunting memories during your yoga or meditation practice, this is for you.

Doing personal healing work is part of the spiritual process as it allows us to become freer and more integrated as we walk down the path. Any experience–emotional or physical–that is too overwhelming for us to deal with all at once has the potential to become stored in the body.

It’s these remnants of experiences that are stored in the muscles, tissues, and energy bodies that are referred to as ‘trauma’ and the truth is that we all have it.  Trauma can come in the form of unkind words from parents or caretakers, emotional or physical abuse, neglect, loneliness, isolation, or social conditioning. It’s our life’s work to alchemize these difficult experiences into sources of healing and strength.

Once we understand how trauma works we can start to see that when challenging stuff comes up during our yoga practice, it’s actually a good thing. Our body and our nervous system have decided that in this moment we are safe and well resourced enough to process some old experience that we weren’t able to deal with before. This stuff is coming up so that it can be healed.

And how do we heal?

There are just two essential steps to remember…

Connect to the Present Moment.

Stay present to your moment to moment experience.

It’s important to recognize that this is something old, it’s from the past, and it’s already happened so it can’t hurt you anymore.

Tell yourself: “I am having an experience from the past, but I am here now.”

Stay connected to the sensations in your body, be aware of the parts of you that are supported by the earth, or open your eyes and take in the space and place that you are occupying in the here and now.


Cultivate Love

See if you can generate the empathy, care, love, and goodwill that you would offer to a small child who was going through a similar experience. Try not to judge what you are experiencing.

By cultivating self-love and compassion for ourselves no matter what we are feeling, remembering, or experiencing, we create a safe container that can support our body and psyche to begin to process.

Most importantly, stay gentle.

There is no rush. Trust that your body will heal you at a pace that you can handle.

When you start to feel lost or overwhelmed, simply remember: there is nothing that can’t be healed through the power of love and awareness.


Sarah Trivett

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