Memory Re-Member Remembrance

I recall fondly my first Remembrance Day ceremony with my dad and all of the veterans looking sharp and commanding in their regalia. The cold November air stung my four year old lungs and made me feel older as I blew out clouds of smoke-like breath. My dad’s solid stature by my side, held my mittened hand while his booming voice recited Flanders Field for the crowd, It is a day for ‘remembering’ particularly those, who gave their lives for our freedom, for democracy.

Many of the brave soldiers we honour today, have ‘memories’ of war and the line of duty which they carried through their lives, some pleasant but many traumatic. At a time before the advances of neuro imaging, the now documented effects of the PTSD that many suffered went underground, undiagnosed and misunderstood. Years later addiction, abusive behaviour, body deterioration, Alzheimer’s and depression enslaved many veterans. Their memories of war are important for good reasons, the least of which to ensure we do not regress through a collective amnesia to any event similar.

How we physiologically remember is still under study, but we do know memories are processed in a small structure above the brain stem called the hippocampus. Embedded in this region is the Amygdala, where we store our emotions including trauma. Memory is a function and a composition of many brain parts, including the body. I know your thinking, the body is not the brain, but it is a nervous system network. That we also ‘physically’ remember is a complex theory gaining validity and further insight from neurobiology and neurophysiology work with trauma. If fact a significant tenant from manual physical therapists is: “the body doesn’t lie’.

The fact that I remember the armistice day celebration with my dad so clearly is because all of my sensory systems were taking in the information and processing it into memory. My felt sense created a ‘living memory’, easily retrievable due to the many ways of remembering. I remembering a time, not long ago when science finally acknowledged the brain-body relationship as more significant than ever imagined. Mindfulness, trauma informed yoga, stress management, somatic-psychology and biofeedback are a few examples of this understanding showing up in the modern lexicon. We are fortunate at this time too witness redemption of the body and particularity the body-mind relational interface.

This recent acceptance by science is a burgeoning field, with untold possibilities for medicine and healing. As we gather to honour soldiers, we can re-member the hard-won lessons: everything matters, from the micro-to-the macro we are one, everything has a vibration that is registered and possibly stored in the body and last, the-body-doesn’t lie. Our living memories captured in time physically have a lot to teach us, they are the doorways into understanding ourselves in a more complete and holistic way. As we heal ourselves using the ancient techniques of yoga, mindfulness, therapy and manual therapy, we will be synchronistically healing the whole. There could be no better use for Remembrance.

The explosion of trauma sensitive offerings for healing makes it easy to find support for what suits your needs. We at Trinity Yoga would love to help you function and feel better with the following opportunities:

Adaptive & Accessible Yoga Training – Vancouver. Jan 4 & 5 Register here

Nada Yoga – The Yoga of Sound & Vibration for Healing -Vancouver February 24

Adaptive & Accessible Yoga Training – Edmonton. April 6 & 7 Register here

Recovering from a Hysterectomy

Here are a few yoga recommendations for post-hysterectomy patients.The best thing to recommend would be Restorative yoga in the style of Judith Lasater.

I have a student who recently had a large cyst removed from her ovary in major abdominal surgery and is doing Restorative once weekly with fabulous results in comfort, energy level, peace and calming.

There is great value in these supportive postures for reducing swelling, edema, muscle strain or pain and generally supporting a return to balance after such a major assault such as abdominal surgery.

The book, Rest and Renew by Judith Lasater is a good bet for home practice or hopefully one can get out to a class regularly.

Throat issues/adenoid swelling

In response to a forum question here are some thoughts on swollen and painful adenoids, immune tissue in the deep throat region. These tissue clusters are often removed at the time of a tonsilectomy however in some people there is recurrent swelling and related throat pain.

The swelling indicates an infection which must be addressed. The body will be heavily taxed by trying to fight off the infection and many factors could be pre-empting this. Dietary factors could be considered crucial in this regard along with emotional stagnation in the expressive center.

For dietary factors one can use a clove of garlic held in the mouth to fight the common streptoccal bacteria that may be present. Ginger tea is very potent as well. Reduce or eradicate foods that are pre-packaged, over cooked, stale or other wise void of nutrients. Go with fresh, whole and vital foods. Avoid all sugars, especially refined. Drink plenty of purified water to flush the system. Avoid coffee, black tea or other stimulants.
Zinc lozenges can be very helpful as are propolis or grapefruit seed extract sprays for the throat area.

One may need to assess whether there is an underlying smoldering dental infection as well.
Using cold cloth neck wraps can also bring the heat and swelling down.

For yoga postures, work with the Restorative style practises for deep relaxation and stress reduction while gently opening the throat area. Go slowly and sensitively and you may be able to fully realize any underlying causes therein.