trauma recovery – yogahealer quick guide

trauma recovery – yogahealer quick guide

With so many people experiencing traumatic events like the hurricanes, earthquakes and devastating losses, I created a little quick guide for when you have a chance to direct energy out of survival and get back on track. Below I give a short description of what trauma does to the doshas. Please forward the quick guide cheat sheet to anyone you love going through trauma.


  1. A deeply distressing or disturbing experience
  2. Emotional shock following a stressful event or a physical injury, which may be associated with physical shock and sometimes leads to long-term neurosis
  3. Physical injury

Disruption to “normality” is shocking to our systems. Trauma may come from the weather… an accident… a disaster… loss. No matter how it comes or when it comes or why it comes… it's deeply disturbs the nature of our reality, and our physiology.

From trauma to recovery

When disaster strikes we get pared down to the basics. I've created a simple “quick guide” which will help you direct energy into recovery.

From an Ayurvedic perspective trauma can create a dramatic imbalance in vata. When things go really wrong and our experience of reality shifts… the subtle body and physical body can unravel. Space is created between the sheaths of ourself, named koshas. This space, or ether element creates unease, irregularity and overall disconnect in our system.

To alleviate this excess space we need to re-syncronize the koshas  (body, prana, emotions, mind, intuition, spirit).

Rock yourself into rhythm.

If you've ever noticed someone beginning to recover from trauma, they rock. You see this with a mother and a baby, or a father and a young child whose taken a digger.

Rocking is the name of the game. Breathing with rocking breath, back and forth will begin t reregulate your pranic body. Essential.

Creating very simple rhythms is your daily routine is essential.

Trauma Recovery Quick Guide

Recover in rhythm.
When things go wrong the subtle body and physical body unravel. Bring them back together… by rocking yourself into rhythm. Eating simply and getting on schedule is the name of the game.

Early to bed, early to rise.
The rising sun awakes your spirit. When life is overwhelming, simple rituals are essential. Staying up later than 9-10 pm disrupts deep recovery energy from building. You can’t afford that. Go to bed and greet the rising sun.

Oil is your friend.
In your ears… all over your skin… at the very least do foot massage before bed. Put cotton balls and sesame or sunflower oil before you turn out the light. Dip one side in oil and put in your ears to create more nourishing sleep.

Simplify digestion.
Give body and spirit extra energy by simplifying digestion. Eat breakfast by 8, lunch around noon, and dinner around 5 pm. Eat simple, one pot meals. If possible make your food for the day in the morning.

Carry a bottle.
Sip every 20 minutes. The connection between the subtle and the physical happens in the pranic body, which is dependent on your channels being hydrated. Use hot water during the cold months.

Take a walk each day. 20 minutes is fine. Stroll or gallop as desired.  Receive Earth’s rhythm.

Nourishment for trauma recovery

For your food, you want to get the 3 tastes that sooth body and relax the nerves:  salty, sour and sweet. One of the easiest ways to get all three is through stirring miso paste into almost hot water. Sour is fermented (miso, sauerkraut – anything small batch fermented will help your digestion and elimination.) Sweet from fresh fruits or cooked roots will help. Salty from seaweed or salt will calm your nerves, but not in excess.

One pot meals.
Your food Mantra for recovering thrive is: moist, warm, and oily. This is easiest to accomplish with one pot meals – like a vegetable stew. You can add lentils or chicken for more gusto. Make sure to include excellent oils & spices to help the nutrients slide into your cells.  * Streamline what you are eating for the day by making your food in the morning. This is big… people.

Mushy food is hydrating.
Recovery is not the time to grab a bag of pretzels or a cold turkey sandwich. Eat mushy, freshly prepared foods. Cooked apples in water is a great way to start your day.

Milky warm stuff before bed.
Hemp milk, rice milk, almond milk, stuff from the cow down the road – you choose. Warm it up. Spice it up nutmeg for sleep, cinnamon for comfort, cloves if there is congestion. Have before bed for deeper rest.

Quick ideas:
Roast root vegetables in batches to have as mushy quick foods on the go.  * For a quick soup…add miso paste to warm water; cut a few strips of nori seaweed & stir. Add thai curry paste if you feel cold. Or add veggie bouillon cubes (I like Rapunzel) to hot water & add roasted roots, strips of nori, and handfuls of fresh spinach and chunks of avocado. You can make a quick warm spicy oily soup in minutes.

Cate Stillman
[email protected]

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