Most of us can probably recall a time when we nervously stood up to speak in front of an audience, had a minor fender-bender, or even a momentous event in which we were overwhelmed with excitement and anticipation. At times like these, we may have even noticed our body responding in all kinds of interesting and potentially uncomfortable ways. Increased heart rate, physical tension, nausea, sweating, and physical shaking in the hands, belly or knees are some common responses to a potential threat to the body’s safety. Logically, we know that standing up to give a speech is not a life or death situation, but our nervous system and body may actually perceive the experience as a potential threat and respond accordingly to help us survive.

Your Nervous System is in Charge

These involuntary survival mechanisms, which are the work of the reflexive part of the brain and the nervous system, are essential to our evolution as a species and our survival as individuals. They allow us to appropriately respond to potential threat, then work to help us release the charge of the experience in order to bring us back into balance or homeostasis. Yet, most of us have learned to very effectively shut down or hide these responses because they make us feel weak, unprepared, vulnerable or sick. We learn very early in life that being in control—or at least appearing as if we’re in control—is of the utmost importance.

Unfortunately, when we experience prolonged stress and/or a traumatic event and do not allow the body to naturally release the charge as it is designed, we can end up with symptoms like chronic pain, digestive issues, reproductive issues, sleeplessness, anxiety, depression, etc. This is what is meant when we say that stress can make us sick.

The good news is that these release mechanisms are so reflexive that we can readily rediscover and reinitiate them safely, even years after an event or stressful experience. This allows us to release long-held tension patterns in the body and return to a state of optimal health and wellness.

What We Can Do

Neurogenic Yoga is an integrative method that utilizes yoga postures (asanas) and breath (pranayama) to gently and safely initiate the body’s natural tension release mechanism through shaking. This non-volitional shaking or gentle vibration is called a “neurogenic tremor” which releases unconscious contraction patterns in the body in order to safely bring one back to wholeness.

Neurogenic Yoga is a sister method to Dr. David Berceli’s technique of Tension and Trauma Releasing Exercises (TRE). TRE was initially developed to help large groups of people living in war-torn parts of the world heal from trauma. Now, 30 years later, we recognize that these methods are not just for those who identify with having experienced trauma but everyone who is experiencing stress or simply living in our high paced culture.

Most people describe the Neurogenic Yoga experience as pleasant and relaxing and report improvements in their physical and emotional state. Reported benefits include:

• Release of chronic tension and increase in energy and stamina

• Discharge of buried emotional and physical trauma

• Freedom from symptoms of sciatica and fibromyalgia

• Decrease of aches and pains

• Improved sleep

• Improved circulation

• Improved mood

• Improved sense of feeling grounded and focused

• Improved flexibility

• Increased libido

Staisha Grosch is the co-founder of hōm–center for embodied awareness as well as an instructor. She is a licensed PTA in the states of Florida and California and has been a certified yoga teacher since 2003. Her passion is in helping people rediscover, reinhabit, and feel at home in their body.

Published in the December 2019 issue of Natural Awakenings, Fort Lauderdale/Broward edition