trauma-sensitive approaches to embodied living
Mindfulness is paying attention to what is unfolding in our experience as it happens with a spirit of curiosity.
Mindfulness practice can bring benefits such as improving well-being, increasing resilience, reducing stress and anxiety, lowering blood pressure, managing chronic pain, and more.
I offer weekly drop-in mindfulness sessions as well as the intensive 8-Week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) course developed by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn.
Learn more about upcoming classes here.
Embodiment is the felt sense of inhabiting the body. When we are mindful of the sensations continually arising and changing in the body, we are better able to respond skilfully to our internal and external circumstances.
I offer a variety of approaches to embodiment, including yoga, mindful movement, and Somatic Experiencing techniques.
Life is complicated. Many of us have experienced overwhelmingly intense unpleasant events or periods which can leave lingering fingerprints on our mind/body system. Developed by my mentor, Dr David Treleaven, Trauma-Sensitive Mindfulness is an approach to practice that puts the meditator's nervous system in charge, with the aim of safely cultivating presence and embodiment.
Somatic Experiencing is the gentle approach to trauma healing and nervous system regulation developed by Dr Peter Levine. In individual sessions, I help clients find areas of relative ease and build capacity for being with more challenging elements of experience. This allows the body/mind to release habitual reaction patterns, opening the door to greater freedom, ease, and authenticity in life.
Many of us think more about how our bodies look than how they feel. We might be able to quickly identify several physical attributes about our bodies or name some thoughts and judgments about them. But our awareness of bodily sensations can be a little more complicated. Perhaps we only think about how our bodies feel when they hurt, need something (food, water, bathroom break, sleep, etc.), or are not performing to our expectations.
It’s common for people to mainly inhabit the realm of thoughts and to view the body as a servant of the all-important mind; the body is supposed to carry the mind around and do its bidding. In this way, our relationships with our bodies can be strained, distant, transactional, and adversarial. We might feel confused, frustrated, and betrayed as our bodies change, get injured, fall ill, and age.
Through mindfulness, we can unlearn our over-identification with thoughts and open ourselves up to embodiment, the felt sense of the body. Embodiment provides a vast reservoir of information about our well-being, our needs, our past, and our deepest desires for how we want to live. Our body can become a resource for peace and healing when we stop trying to feel (or not feel) a certain way and start showing up for how we are actually feeling.
Like many things worth doing, this shift is easier to describe than accomplish.
But for those of us with a history of trauma, the road to greater intimacy with the felt experience can be filled with extra challenges: overwhelming thoughts, sensations, feelings, and memories that can arise with the sustained attention cultivated in mindfulness practice. A trauma-sensitive approach puts your nervous system in charge of the depth and pace of increased embodiment to support you in safely benefiting from mindfulness.
This is a path I am walking, guided by the wisdom of others who have come before me. I'm humbled and grateful to be able to hold the light for others on this journey.
If you would like support in deepening your connection to your body and establishing or tailoring your mindfulness practice, I invite you to explore my upcoming classes or to reach out for an individual session.
Mindfulness practice has transformed my relationship with myself, others, and the world around me. But it hasn't always been easy; I struggled with chronic pain and the mental, physical, and emotional fallout from trauma. I have deep gratitude for the teachers who helped me safely befriend the feelings and sensations in my body that I spent so long avoiding.
If you would like to deepen your connection with your body, your life, and your world, I offer a blend of somatic and contemplative approaches to help you feel at home in the ever-unfolding present.
Read more here.
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