Coming Home to the Body: A Short Course on Trauma and Mind-Body Re-Connection
Your body is the best home your mind will every have. This is true for everyone, but not easy to put into practice, especially for survivors of trauma. Mind Body Solutions Founder Matthew Sanford draws upon his experience as a trauma and post-traumatic stress survivor, his 42 years of living with a spinal cord injury, and his 29 years of practicing yoga to lead 8 experiential sessions of mind-body insights and simple practices. Sanford writes, “It is the body that always stays faithful to living, not the mind. In so doing, its wisdom plays a crucial role in the process of healing from trauma.”
Week 1: Mind-Body Disconnection and Body-Presence as Sensation
This session introduces the mind-body relationship a safe, controllable ‘place’ to explore the sensations integral to healing. In particular, this session explores mind-body disconnection as a sensation in itself and offers some simple practices to enhance a sense of feeling ‘full-bodied.’
Week 2: Softening the Organs of Perception
Learning to soften the organs of perception – the eyes, the inner ears, the jaw, the tongue, and the inside of the mouth – is a door-opener to the calming effects of gentle, inward awareness. It also is a tool to managing stress throughout the day.
Week 3: The Sensation of Grounding
Perhaps the most important sensation to reclaim while healing from trauma is the sensation of grounding. This session distinguishes between passive and active grounding and how to recognize practical applications of each.
Week 4: The Sensation of Balance
The sensation of balance is more than physical and more than psychological. Balance is an inward and outward sensation that creates conditions of safety and is also integral to strength and resilience. This session distinguishes between side-to-side balance, balance between what is ‘inside’ and ‘out’ of the body, and balance that are integral to the sensation of fostering true connection.
Week 5: The Sensation of Expansion
The sensation of expansion, the ability to move awareness from the center-core out to the outer edges of the body, is an integral to a deepened sense of strength, confidence, and even joy. This session explores the intersection between the sensations of grounding, balance, and expansion.
Week 6: Developing a Sense of Direction
This session utilizes the body as a means to learn the basics of developing a well-grounded sense of direction. The idea is to learn within one’s own mind-body relationship and generalize to the rest of life.
Week 7: The Importance of Receiving
The ability to receive again is integral to finding the nourishment to survive and thrive in both mind and body. This session explores practical ways that one can practice receiving, both in mind-body practices and within everyday life.
Week 8: Living in More Spaces
Living gracefully and confidently in more spaces, both within one’s body and one’s life, is a key indicator of healing from trauma. This final session explores this idea in practical, everyday terms.