Body Politic

I am here with regard to Kavanaugh and to his-entire-story, history:


For years I have taught that the body never lies. That’s why yoga is such a valuable practice. We give the mind a rest while strengthening and toning the body, which makes it stronger and more elastic. We have to keep the musculature strong throughout in order to protect the organs, which keep the body alive. If it the musculature collapses or becomes too tight, the organs have to do extra work and can’t digest, to regulate TH hormones, to produce waste, etc.

This book by Harvard psychiatrist Bessel Van Der Kolk describes the ways in which both body and mind internalize trauma and can let it go.

Self-care practices such as yoga or other mindful wellness practices create a safe environment in the actual body to greet the trauma as you relive it, in the body, so that you can choose to let it go.

You can actually watch it go. When you do, your body is either observing this happening or it’s performing an action when it’s happening. Or it’s doing both. When either phenomenon happens, you are able to refill the synaptic space with a new thought and/or action, which then leads to a new memory taking place of the released trauma. In meditation, this new memory comes, perhaps, in the form of a voice, saying, “I’m OK.” In yoga, it’s usually the shape of the pose, or a sensation in the pose (my hips feel soft and warm now, my back just released and got lighter, for example).

Repetitive practice is the only solution for releasing trauma because the body has to keep sending messages of release and change back to the brain, which continues to release the stress hormones in the form of specific details, such as, “his hands fumbled because I was wearing a one piece.” In this way, while the brain never extinguishes the trauma memory, the volume and energy it takes to sustain the memory gets smaller and smaller, and become therefore less frequently expressed in the mind-body complex. The memories are replaced by other good, and safe, thoughts.

Commitment to a schedule of practicing anything strengthening is the best bet for coping and for moving forward, but yoga is unique in that it also trains you to let go (in savasana, or corpse pose, especially). We must do this, we must do something, for ourselves and our intimates, and for our community.


Kim Weeks