- Restorative yoga poses (poses in which your body is supported with props like blankets and bolsters and held for a long time) and breathing can calm the nervous system and soothe an agitated mind.
- Checking in with your body and learning how to tune in to your thoughts, physical sensations, current emotional landscape, and energy level is a valuable -- if sometimes difficult -- practice. Doing this provides an opportunity notice how we are doing in the moment, a way to measure changes, and a chance for self-compassion.
- These mindfulness practices also assist us to stay in the moment, rather than mulling over the past or worrying about the future, hallmarks of depression and anxiety.
These ideas fit with my frameworks for depression, anxiety, trauma, and the nervous systems. And they seem relatively accessible to share with the women, men, and adolescents with whom I work. Certainly any practice that encourages people to inhabit their body with conscious and compassionate attention is beneficial - especially when I think about women who've experienced birth traumas or losses, clients with chronic pain, or adolescents with body image struggles.
Other aspects of the training elicited more bewildering discomfort. But to paraphrase Forbes: awkward is good; awkward is where the learning happens. So, I'm still mulling over interoception (briefly, this means the sense of the physiological condition of the body), the enteric nervous system in the gut, and how shifting visceral (or, body-based) resilience to change through slow, deliberate movement actually affects emotional resilience.
I'm excited to integrate some of these concepts in my learning and practice. I think that there are also some valuable connections to make with new research about the role of inflammation, depression, and the consequences for perinatal mental health. And I'm feeling quite grateful for the opportunities that I have to go and take workshops outside my comfort zone and learn from other communities!
I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments, particularly if you're a clinician incorporating more body-based interventions in your practice.