Since primeval times, people have tried to cope with the adversities of life. There have always been upsetting and traumatizing events, but the methods for confronting the consequences of these shocks have varied greatly. They range from shamanic rituals such as soul retrieval to physical forms of expression such as singing and dancing to cognitive and narrative forms. Many of our contemporary therapeutic approaches in the West are based on cognitive considerations. However, traumatization is not just shown in a change of convictions. Due to the lasting stress response, it is also displayed in the somatic effects that affect posture, physical reactions, and bodily sensations—phenomena that were the focus of treatment at other times and by other cultures. Feelings of numbness and being separated from one’s own body often alternate with strong, overwhelming reactions to triggers, and in many cases make an efficient therapeutic approach more difficult. Instead of introducing a new method, I see body-oriented work as a basis and supplement to the tried and tested techniques of trauma treatment.
WHY I WORK WITH YOGA IN TRAUMA THERAPY
The idea of integrating yoga asanas (postures), pranayama (breathing exercises), and mindfulness into trauma therapy arose while working with my clients. When I completed my training in Somatic Experiencing and received my Master’s degree in Psychotraumatology, I was convinced that exposure therapy combined with a body-oriented approach is expedient in treating complex post-traumatic stress disorders (PTSDs). I am still convinced of this, although it has become apparent to me that progress is not possible with every client when using this approach. For some people with complex trauma, the exposure of traumatic contents was simply not tolerable—relating to their own bodies was so disturbing to them that it triggered a response of panic and dissociation. Continue reading →
“Why does a medical system want yoga?” Dr. Ananda Balayogi Bhavanani asked me this in a conversation about yoga therapy and its intersection with healthcare. “Because modern medicine focuses on curing, but when yoga is added to the equation, it can help individuals heal and give them a sense of their own inner wellness.”
Dr. Ananda Balayogi Bhavanani is both a medical doctor and successor to an ancient yogic tradition and therefore has a foot firmly in each camp of mainstream medicine and traditional yoga. “Modern medicine is good at acute interventions. First, medicine was an art, then it became a science and now it’s more like a business. So is yoga, by the way,” he joked. His view is that medical treatment has changed over time; from treatment of the individual, then to treatment of the diagnosis and now to treatment to the lab report. “But the limitation of modern medicine is the strength of yoga. Yoga empowers the individual and it helps them to connect with their own inner resources. Hence when they come together, they help in the best possible way.” Continue reading →
At present, James operates a busy Yoga Therapy Practice, and has taught on numerous Yoga Therapy trainings and Yoga Teacher trainings. He conducts classes and workshops around the Washington DC Area, around the United States and internationally.
In this video James discusses yoga therapy and lifestyle medicine, touch, complex illness as well as using yoga therapy to support those who have been incarcerated.
Principles and Themes in Yoga Therapy An Introduction to Integrative Mind/Body Yoga Therapeutics
James Foulkes, Foreword by Mikhail Kogan, MD, illustrated by Simon Barkworth
Provides a brief history of yoga therapy before offering a new way to think about anatomy and the wholeness of the human being. Through case studies, the author explores different principles of practice with tips for yoga therapy practitioners to develop their working client relationship and their own conditioning. Read more
Ray Griffiths, author of Mitochondria in Health and Disease, is interviewed by Benjamin Brown, ND on this episode of the Positive Health Podcast. The interview discusses the functions and characteristics of the mitochondria, their relevance to health, and the role of nutrition and lifestyle medicine in improving mitochondrial function.
Fatigue can be a debilitating experience for many, and the impact on the physical and mental health of those affected can be immense.
Ray Griffiths, author of Mitochondria in Health and Disease, discusses fatigue in this extract, including an in depth exploration of the causes of fatigue and the mitochondrial nutrients that can assist with resolving cases of fatigue to improve the quality of life of your patients.
We are pleased to announce our new series, ‘Personalized Nutrition and Lifestyle Medicine for Healthcare Practitioners’. Written and edited by healthcare practitioners, this series aims to help practitioners and students of clinical nutrition facilitate new levels of success with individuals striving for optimal health and peak performance. Accessible and evidence-based, this innovative new series will provide essential guidance for professionals in this fast growing area of healthcare.
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