Movingness and traumaNov 04, 2023
Movingness is not a trauma therapy – or is it? Well, the answer is mostly no, but in special circumstances, it can also be a yes.
In this interview with Aneta Idczak, we’re looking at both options. In the text below, you can also read about the healing journey of one of my Movingness students.
So to be clear from the start: In itself, Movingness is not a designed method for trauma therapy. But during the Movingness program, we’re slowing down and consciously connecting with the body. During this process, we’re activating our fascia, vagal nerves, and tactile C-fibres. All of them with a major impact on our parasympathetic nervous system.
So we’re touching areas where trauma might reside in the body. And in this process, there’s a risk of becoming overwhelmed by previous experiences, or in other words re-traumatized.
That’s why I don’t recommend Movingness for people who are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or complex post-traumatic stress disorder (C-PTSD). If that’s your case, my suggestion is that you first work with an experienced trauma therapist. Preferably one that is also including the body in the therapy work. So generally this means that an interoceptive or somatic practice might not be right for you if you don’t feel safe in your body.
However, there’s an important addition:
During your healing journey, you might arrive at a place where you start to feel more safety and comfort in your body. Now you also might be able to stay with and accept the sensations and memories that are rising and fading in your body-mind. At this point, Movingness can be an excellent tool for you to deepen your recovery, working from the body to the mind, or bottom-up as it is sometimes called.
As one of my students wrote to me (published with permission):
Several years ago, I was physically and sexually assaulted. I went through a phase of denial, followed by depression, I went to therapy... At the same time, I started to read about resilience and trauma, took my first yoga teacher training ten years ago (that by the way felt like going through therapy again but with a more compassionate approach), and truth be told, from an intellectual point of view, I believed that I had managed to overcome the traumas.
When I started the journey with MOVINGNESS I mentioned that I was feeling a disconnection with my body and I thought it was linked to leaving Hong Kong and moving back to France (It felt like my mind was still in Hong Kong whilst my body was in France). Slowly but surely, I started to “feel”, I allowed myself to move from “thinking” to “feeling” (I’ve mentioned after our Thursday practices that it was taking me time to “get out of my head and into my body” mostly because I was afraid of “feeling”).
The practice made me realize that all the emotions linked to the assaults were actually stuck in my body. At first, it really crushed me: I felt like I was back to square one, that everything I had done “intellectually” was for nothing. But then I realized that I had done what I could at the time, to protect myself from an overload of emotions I wasn’t ready to feel and deal with.
Since I arrived in Sweden 4 weeks ago, I have been on the mat every day, I have been on daily walks on the beach and in the countryside, and I have made time and space to feel and welcome my emotions. When we talked about the 9-month process during our online graduation, it was a great opportunity to reflect on where I started in September (totally disconnected) and where I am now. I have managed to reconnect with my emotions, but I know I need to continue the practice as it’s not natural yet. I feel much better in my body, more in tune, more accepting.
Peter, I feel like I am getting my life back. And I can't think of strong enough words to express what it means.
So in my experience, when the time is right, a somatic practice can be beneficial on your healing journey. However, I think it’s important to not be pushed or to push oneself to do it. Recovery is a step-by-step process and we need to carefully listen to ourselves to know when to take the next one.
This interview about Movingness and trauma was done by Aneta Idczak for her podcast. If you prefer to listen to the interview, you can find it here!
Aneta Idczak is an experienced Yoga and Somatics Teacher, Trainer and Mentor, Trauma-informed Somatic Teacher and Coach, and Business Mentor. She is a Founder of Golden Mandala Yoga-Soma Institute providing accredited trauma-informed and somatic training to yoga teachers/therapists, coaches, and holistic wellness practitioners. Aneta is also a Movingness teacher.
Aneta works with a needs-led integrative approach drawing on close to three decades of studying various psychological, therapeutic, and body-focused modalities. Her approach is further influenced by over two decades of working in Social Care and in the community with Trauma, Mental Health, Addiction, DV, and child protection issues, and later training, mentoring, and supervising front-line workers.
You can find more information about her offerings at www.anetai.co.uk.
Take care of your fascia – in a totally new way!
Movingness is a new method for body-mind integration. At the core is an unique understanding of fascia – what it is, what it does, and what it needs. In fact, a dynamic fascia is the foundation for effortless movement. And for our well-being in general. Curious how Movingness works? Try this short sequence and feel for yourself!