In the Beginning

In order to understand the nature and flowing references throughout my blog, I recommend reading my initial post The End of the Beginning first.


The Pursuit of In-Bodyness

For many years I have been drawn to a variety of modalities that would allow and even elicit the sense of being fully inside my body. My first great love was yoga.

I remember my very first yoga class and how it produced a feeling of being simultaneously energized and relaxed, an unlikely combination. This class was at a YMCA which, in typical Western style, was geared more toward physical fitness than true mind-body-spirit connection and philosophy. Still, it unlocked something in me that was deeply craved; it met a need so strong and yet so veiled that I was taken aback at the sheer power of its effect on me. As I ventured to and then began a regular practice in an actual yoga studio, my fascination with this pathway to in-bodyness blossomed. Though I did not recognize it at the time, yoga enabled me to feel fully embodied for the first time since the onset of my dissociative tendencies.

An added benefit of yoga for ASCAs is shavasana, the end of yoga practice where the instructor uses guided meditation to induce a sort of wakeful sleep known as yoga nidra. These 5-7 minute exercises would produce a feeling of safety the likes of which I had not experienced since before being abused. In fact, it was the only time I felt safe and protected while in the very vulnerable position of lying down with eyes closed. It was nothing short of blissful.

I went on to become a certified yoga instructor and keep this treasured activity as part of my wellness practice, although somewhat estranged from it during the deepest valleys of my healing journey. I did not fully understand my pursuit of this amazing technique of in-bodyness until after my Breakthrough Crisis. I am fully aware now.

There is an insightful program from On Being on the usefulness of EMDR and yoga by the renowned PTSD expert Bessel van der Kolk. Dr. Kolk asserts that these alternate healing modalities may be the only way to access and relieve repressed pain and trauma. I highly, highly recommend listening to his interview with Krista Tippett entitled Restoring the Body.


My second love is running. There is something precious and priceless about having the body in full motion, full engagement, focusing only on this step and this breath. It is impossible to be anywhere else - including outside your body - when running. It requires absolute concentration and proprioception, the ability to move through time and space with mind-body functioning as one.

Running is magical for me. Aside from the numerous physical and psychological benefits, it allows me to move alongside my demons - healing from them while not consciously focusing on them. Puzzle pieces come together, connections are made, all the while I am virtually unaware of this occurrence. I affectionately refer to this phenomenon as 'background processing.'

There have been times when I have overused running and in fact abused my body in the process. (I will elaborate on this more in a later post called A Bouquet of Me where I will introduce you to my anorexic self.) One year I ran 3 consecutive marathons which resulted in a host of injuries that took more than a year from which to heal. During that year of recovery I had to sit still with my problems which, at that time, was infinitely harder than running with (or away from) them. I have had to learn in many (all?) aspects of my life that moderation is the key to balance.

Currently I am in a phase of establishing balance by not running. In an effort to listen to my body more (which requires also being inside of it more often!) I am honoring a deep-seated desire for stillness. Thus all of this blogging. As the sun grows dimmer and the seasons grow colder, I suspect running and I will find our way back to each other. I will post more about the partnership of running and trauma recovery as it has played an absolutely integral part in my healing journey.

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