ROYO YOGA BLOG: Practicing Yoga with CPTSD
by Rose Moore
August 6, 2020
Hey there friends,
Today I want to talk about the anxiety I have, and how I am learning to manage. I’ll talk a little bit about toxic yogi online bullies as well.
I spend a lot of time online these days. With a blog, a video tarot reading service, administrating and modding several yoga Facebook groups and my Zoom classes I am online a lot more than I ever have been in my life.
Not what I expected when I started my yoga teacher training and absolutely terrifying at first. Id have to put my body on the internet?? So scary. Its not weird now because I’ve gotten used to it…. but listen..
I still am shook when I get unsolicited, unloving, nonconstructive, and unwanted criticism.
That’s the nicest way to put it, and it’s the only way i’m going to describe it here. I think you get the idea though.
Let me tell this to you straight: I am not a contortionist.
I am here to exercise my mind and then my body.
I started doing yoga to help with CPTSD. The acronym means complex post traumatic stress disorder. This term is a mystery to many people. Basically it means I grew up in an inconsistent household, . Paul walker writes in “CPTSD: From Surviving To Thriving” that this ailment comes from ‘not good enough parents’ who may have tried their best, but simply did not have the tools or desire to get the tools to teach their children emotional resilience during important developmental stages.¹ Add a few serious traumas too dark to fashion on a blog like this and..
I get scared
I have to learn the emotional regulation most learn as children. In a sense, I am like a child.
It got really bad when my father married a woman I barely knew who he had apparently been seeing since before he divorced my mom years earlier. Double life. It was wisdom I could not cope with as a married woman and daughter to a man I realized I did not know.
It felt like I was dying. In a sense, this was the death of my childhood naivete.
I went into treatment. I said I cannot be a child surviving anymore, and I want to thrive the way Paul Walker describes in his book. I went into a psychiatric hospital for a month and left with one certainty: I was going to parent myself and become a fully actualized woman. This is what led to yoga:
Yoga is one of the medicines I need to thrive.
It helps me so much I wanted to share this gift with the world. With those who are suffering, scared. Those are my people!
I started my teaching training with the hope to help those with anxiety; who want more self esteem. For those who want to be able to hold themselves and feel full of love for the first time the way I have.
I saw asana, the exercise routine you think of as yoga in the west, as a small part of this experience. One piece of a much larger puzzle which is my mental duress. For me, the other aspects of yoga were more important, because my wounds were emotional. Asana for me is a tool to get into those other 7 limbs. The eight limbs of yoga are yama (self care), niyama(morals), asana (yoga postures), pranayama (breathing techniques), pratyahara (single focusing), dharana (concentration), dhyana (meditation) and samadhi (the indescribable culmination of the last 7 limbs mentioned).”
We are not all the same however.
I wasn’t aware of this, living in a little bubble of solitude– Some people who practice yoga… Are not nice.
When i get confronted with the self proclaimed “real yogis” who are self proclaimed “advanced” who say my form is wrong and I don’t look great… It takes some time for me to shake it off. Did I mention it was hard for me to put my body online? It still is, and I do it to share my journey, not for unsolicited strangers to lecture me on my form in a body positivity forum.
People can scare me. I am not perfect.
This is why I practice yoga.
If being a real yogi means being skinny, contortionist, know it all… I may never be one.
But I practice, I try, and do so without distraction, consistently, looking forward to it. Just like Putanjali, the father of the sutras, describes in
Sutra 1.4: “Sah tu dirgha kala nairantarya satkara savita dridha bhumih.”²
The English translation is in my words:
steady self in Yoga practice comes once one continues to practice sincerely and with respect for a long period of time without interruption.”
I am not sure how sincere the yogis who take the time to scroll and talk down to others are in their practice. That’s just me though!
I may always be absolutely nuts as well, I have no idea what the future holds.
I hope this helps someone out there. As a yoga teacher my main goal is to help resolve these kinds of terrible wounds through all 8 limbs of yoga.
Walker, P. (2013). Complex PTSD: From surviving to thriving: A guide and map for recovering from childhood trauma. Lafayette, CA: Azure Coyote.
Saraswati, S. (2013). Four chapters on freedom: Commentary on yoga sutras of Sage Patanjali. Munger, Bihar: Yoga Publications Trust.