By Ari Liakeas

We come to yoga for various reasons; to increase flexibility, gain a deeper knowledge of meditation, or start the journey of revolutionising our health and daily lives. Personally, yoga, dance, movement, and stretching have been a part of my life from a young age.

Then I took the leap and did 200 hours of registered yoga teaching training at The Zen Den Yoga School. That’s when I actually really started my healing journey from my own trauma, including childhood trauma, that I didn’t even realise I was storing in the tissues of my body and especially my hips.

I’m sure any seasoned yogi has at some point experienced intense emotional release or even tears on the mat. The yoga mat is our safe place where we have the opportunity to release and let go!

Stretching My Emotions

My teaching course was a long weekend master class in Yin Yoga with the amazing Ginger Fawn Boden. Ginger works with people moving through trauma while rehabilitating from addictions and trains yoga teachers in these practices. It was my first real experience in Yin Yoga, and it was while in the Swan pose, I realised how effective yoga can be in healing the trauma stored in our tissues.

The Swan is a yin-based pose similar to the Pigeon pose, which is currently a popular trend on TikTok. It focuses on the hip joints and the fascia surrounding the muscle fibres of the hips. I started to feel some very powerful emotions of hurt, upset, abandonment, and fear stemming from abuse, so I allowed myself to explore and see where these emotions were coming from. 

I started having vivid memories of issues related to my parents that I had no idea I was suppressing. The flood gates opened, and I couldn’t stop crying for the whole yoga session. I did not feel ashamed or embarrassed for being so emotional on my mat, as I knew I was in the safest place for the release to happen.

After that particular session, I understood myself on a deeper level and felt so much lighter. 

It was the first but not the last time I have experienced similar outcomes while on the yoga mat. Now I welcome them with an open heart to continue the journey of healing. I have also been gifted beautiful tools to help, support and hold space for students who join my classes and have a transformation on the mat.

Do The Hippy Hippy Shake 

Why does the body hold trauma, and how can we release it?

Everyone’s response and experiences of trauma are unique. Even if we have dealt with the physiological implications of a traumatic experience, it doesn’t mean we haven’t taken it on physically somewhere within the body. 

You can see this in dogs; they will regularly shake their body, not just to get dry but to shake off stressful situations. There is a practice called Trauma Release Exercises (TRE) that can help us humans do the same thing.

Generally, stress goes into the shoulder area of the body, basically like we have the weight of the world on our shoulders. This causes our muscles and tissues to tighten, creating a limited range of motion, poor posture and pain. 

Anxiety and panic triggers generally will be felt in the solar plexus area of the body resulting in feeling fearful and sometimes causing stomach issues or irritation in the bowels. This area of the body is linked to our personal power and confidence.

Trauma in the hips is more common in women than men and is mostly related to sexual abuse. It is sometimes debilitating and causes issues in that area of our bodies.

Taking Responsibility For Your Own Healing

If you feel you are experiencing the effects of trauma or stress physically, mentally or emotionally, there is help. You can access many resources and therapies such as massage, yoga, dance, talk therapy and counselling, where you can be supported by professionals who have dedicated their lives to helping people come through these processes. Try out a few and see what resonates and works for you.

If you are interested in going deeper and starting a fundamental transformation in your healing process, I cannot express enough the impact going on a retreat can have. Book has a vast range of healing retreats worldwide involving yoga, detox & nutritional health, hiking, surfing, creative writing, dance and overall well-being, fitting various budgets. For more trauma-informed retreats, try The Retreat Company

So sure, start with the Pigeon or the Swan poses as TikTok suggests, but if you need more help, there is so much love and support for anyone experiencing trauma; we do not have to be alone in our healing. 

Nothing in the world is more valuable than you and your health!