Published by : The Indian Express
International Day of Yoga 2022: Here’s how yoga can help manage post-traumatic stress disorder
“Yoga exercises the mind and the body, and it also assists to create a sense of peace and calm,” Dr Rajeev Rajesh
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a serious mental health condition that is usually triggered by an uncommon human incident, such as a fatal accident, a war, sexual assault or a natural disorder. According to Dr Rajeev Rajesh, Chief Yoga Officer, Jindal Naturecure Institute, it can result in “extreme anxiety, nightmares, and flashbacks”.
The expert highlighted that the “majority of PTSD patients continue to suffer some symptoms even after receiving counselling and medication, as these treatments force people to revisit their painful memories”.
As such, he says that yoga can prove to be instrumental in dealing with PTSD effectively “by regaining control of the nervous system through different practices”. Dr Rajesh said, “Yoga combines different physical postures, breathing and meditation. Studies have shown that yoga reduces physiological arousal, especially in PTSD patients and improves body awareness and somatic regulation.”
PTSD is characterised by symptoms such as difficulties expressing positive emotions like love and gratitude as well as enduring feelings of shame, guilt, rage, or fear. “Yoga exercises the mind and the body, and it also assists to create a sense of peace and calm from which PTSD-affected individuals can draw support and comfort,” he said, explaining the impact of yoga on PTSD patients.
The expert added that yoga works across physical, emotional and psychological dimensions to help people dealing with trauma. “When a distressing memory is evoked, yoga enables PTSD patients to quickly regain their physiological baseline. Daily yoga practise is believed to develop the autonomic nervous system to be dynamically adaptive, and mindfulness meditation, which is also a component of yoga, is thought to influence brain functioning for the better.”
Yoga works across physical, emotional and psychological dimensions to help people dealing with trauma
Yoga poses for PTSD patients
Here are several yoga positions that are particularly beneficial for those suffering from PTSD, as shared by Dr Deepak Mittal, yoga expert, founder, Divine Soul Yoga.
Tadasana (Mountain Pose)
While performing this pose, concentrating on the breath, body, and thoughts increases awareness of the present and promotes mental clarity, the expert explained. “Mountain posture is an effective way to increase mindfulness. Mindfulness improves one’s quality of life and increases the body’s melatonin levels, helping a person stay relaxed and reduce stress,” he said.
Baddha Konasana (Cobbler Pose)
This is a therapeutic yoga position that promotes greater body alignment and sleep. He added, “It can help PTSD patients to feel calm and relaxed. Practising the pose regularly can also be the key to getting a good night’s sleep.”
Kapal Bhati Pranayama (Skull Shining Breathing Technique)
The skull shining breathing technique, also known as Kapal Bhati Pranayama, “stimulates the nervous system and helps to increase internal blood circulation“. “Because it revitalises brain cells and stimulates the intellect, this breathing method is highly beneficial for those who have PTSD,” Dr Mittal said.
Shavasana (Corpse Pose)
This pose helps the body rebuild cells and tissues while reducing stress. It “also reduces anxiety and blood pressure and is helpful for people going through PTSD”.
– Dr Rajeev Rajesh, Chief Yoga Officer, Jindal Naturecure Institute
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