we are all in this together

cassandra-flowerDespite our individual differences and the varied details of our “unique” lives,  we all struggle — and the ways in which we do so are more similar than one might imagine.

As my clients reveal each in their own way,  the motivation to seek help ultimately surrounds issues of “how can I be more happy, or less stressed, or more healthy, or a better mother, father, partner, daughter”, etc.  We may have different stressors in our lives– sometimes financial, sometimes spiritual, sometimes health issues, work-related challenges, relationship/ family dramas— but for the most part, we want to live in more balance, with more peace.   We are ultimately looking to reestablish or reconnect to the natural order of things.

It seems to me that we are more or less hard-wired in the same way….  meaning,  we only have a few options in our biochemical arsenal of how to deal with what we deem as a threat to our innate state of equanimity.     There is the flight/fight response of which we all are pretty well aware and then perhaps less aware– an almost freeze- like response…… where we don’t actually take action, where we might retreat, withdraw, become isolated and ultimately hold the experience of  stress, suffering or trauma in our bodies. The body, a reservoir of one’s entire life history, can definitely tell a story.   The term “body memory” or  “cellular memory”  has become part of our recent lexicon, referring to the belief that in the deep layers of connective tissue and/or our cells, we hold emotions and store memories from our past, which can eventually lead to a state of (dis)ease.

As part of my counseling approach, I work with my clients, exploring the story of their lives and addressing issues and feelings that may be difficult to confront and  seemingly easier to deny.    More traditional modes of psychotherapy can and often do accomplish much of this internal work.   I am observing more and more, however, the importance of not getting lost in the story— mine or anyone else’s.   This is where yoga truly becomes a therapeutic tool, an integral part of the healing process.  Conscious movement with continuous attention and intention, yoga cultivates mindfulness, nourishing our brains, minds, and bodies—  getting us in our bodies in a way which can actively challenge and eventually dismantle the holding patterns in the body and the mind.  Through the practice of yoga,  we can learn to tune into our bodies, hearing, listening, and trusting in its natural intelligence .  Through opening and creating space within,  yoga can allow for stored experiences to rise to the surface, unravel, and eventually clear and  release.   In time, we can work through, or, more accurately, move through past experiences, creating new pathways to experience the world in the present moment.  Integrating yoga into a truly holistic approach to wellness,  we  begin to soften our edges, our muscles, our inner voices and  restore our trust in the body’s natural wisdom, beginning to let go of what it (and we) no longer need(s).  We gain insight and the abilitly to ride the ebb and flow of life.  This is the work of true healing, reconnecting to our natural state of balance and equanimity through the direct route of our bodies.