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Notes From The Trauma-Sensitive Yoga 10 Week Course. Week Two: Interoception

(Facilitator notes from the 10-week course)





Interception is one of the most important concepts in TCTSY


Interoception: Awareness of what is going on within the boundaries of our skin.

“The material me and relates to how we perceive feelings from our body that determine our mood, sense of well-being, and emotions” Fowler 2002, in the journal Brain.


Different from-

a. Exteroception: Awareness of the outside world

b. Proprioception- awareness of our bodies in relationship to external objects


Interoceptive awareness serves a purpose, namely provides information for us to act upon. Often his works in tandem with mental activity to move us towards a course of action.


In TCTSY we practice being aware of interoceptive cues. But, in the practice we don’t necessarily link them to an outcome or cognitive activity (i.e., thoughts). This may happen anyway because we are intellectual beings- we think about things.


It’s not unusual to think more than we feel about things. But that thinking (e.g., rationalising) can take our attention away from important physical information. When this occurs repeatedly, we can create a disconnect between emotions and thoughts.


Interoceptive information about our experience can play a role in emotional healing, day-to-day experience, and wellbeing.


Therefore, in the TCTSY we have space to practice feeling and staying with sensations that we cultivate through the body-based practice. Therefore, cultivating an embodied experience.


This makes TCTSY distinct from other therapies that may offer more space for connecting emotional body-based feelings to thought processes. As a result, TCTSY could work well alongside other therapies. However, that’s not to say that it’s not an effective therapy in its own right.


Research has shown that TCTSY is comparable to cognitive reprocessing therapies in its effectiveness to reduce symptoms of PTSD (Kelly et al. 2021).


TCTSY can be thought of as another therapeutic angle for trauma recovery and wellbeing that has interoception at its core.


Today, more interoceptive cues will be included in our sessions. As mentioned last week, they will be introduced as a choice. Its also not uncommon to 1) have areas of one’s body were there isn’t a lot of feeling, perhaps numbness. 2) There might be areas that feel hypersensitive. Both are normal.


References

Kelly, U., Haywood, T., Segal, E., Higgans, M. (2021) Trauma-Sensitive Yoga for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in Women Veterans who Experienced Military Sexual Trauma: Interim Results from a Randamized Control Study. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 27, pp. S45-S59


Emerson, D., (2015). Chapter 2: Interoception: Sensing the body. In Trauma-Sensitive Yoga in Therapy: Bringing the Body into Treatment. New York. W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.

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