In the Tantric form of Yoga, the body is seen as the highest instrument to express spiritual awareness and consciousness. For thousands of years, yogis have understood how to use the physical to connect to the spiritual. They apply movement, chakra energy and sound. The deeper the engagement with body, the deeper the union with Spirit.
In my work with women, the disconnect between body and soul is heart breaking. This detachment, more often than not, starts because of trauma. It then manifests into eating disorders, dissociation, self-harm, and negative body image which continues the cycle. Even traumas that aren’t as overt as rape or molestation have a huge affect on a human being. The signals that a woman’s body doesn’t meet expected standards wears on the psyche and cultivates shame. These messages come from culture, but they also come from home – which is a more profound influence. Family members who struggle with their own denied issues slap their burdens on their children and carry it forward for generations.
Too many women consider their bodies an albatross they’re forced to bear. They see only fractured body pieces and rate them based on how they compare to other women’s parts. Who can blame them? It’s human to want acceptance. We survive through groups. When we’re young and scared, we’ll do anything to belong.
Young women who don’t see themselves as mature enough to set boundaries with older men are easy prey. They’re made to doubt their discomfort level when men leer, make suggestive comments or violate their space. They’re told this is a compliment, not a threat. Drugging women to use their bodies to get off has become, as one twenty-year-old put it, “part of what my generation has to deal with.” When they’ve been knocked out by a roofie and wake up hours later, they usually fear the social repercussions so much that they don’t report the assault. Eventually, this trauma manifests into PTSD and incapacitates them.
The cruel ways people have treated others over sex is part of the dark shadow of human history. It doesn’t only apply to women, however, statistically and traditionally women (and young girls) have experienced a higher percentage of sexual trauma. As long as cultures continue seeing through the lens of a dominant/submissive gender, this abusive entitlement will continue. These scars run deep and leave a shadow not just on a person but on a whole society.
In healing emotional and physical traumas, it’s important to consider how our etheric body energy has also been affected. Trauma does not just affect memory. Our chakras have also been altered. With sexual trauma, our first two chakras, the root and sacral chakras, have suffered the biggest blows. The root chakra manages the energy of physical-care, grounding and survival. The sacral chakra energy reflects issues of self-worth, how we see ourselves in relationships and how we engage sexually. When someone has suffered physical and sexual violations that affect our first chakra, they’ve also been emotionally molested which alters flow of the second chakra.
Chakra flow damage comes from either restricted flow or tears that create excessive flow. Root chakras that are torn open tend to cause problems in the area of excess such as binging, hoarding, or over-spending. If the first chakra has been restricted, those behaviors show up as restriction of food, money, possessions, high anxiety. Both affect the way we’re able to care physically for our Self. Sacral chakra excess shows itself in codependency, no emotional or sexual boundaries. Sacral chakra restriction shows itself as fear of intimacy, rigid boundaries, sexual anorexia or asexuality.
Many times, when one chakra has been damaged, another chakra will overcompensate. It’s not uncommon for survivors of childhood sexual abuse to develop psychic abilities because – when the orange chakra is torn – the third eye tends to open wider. When the root chakra is closed, our solar plexus or crown chakra can go into overdrive.
Reiki and re-connective work are some ways to help the etheric healing process. Yoga with an experienced practitioner can release the emotional pain that our bodies absorb. Regular sessions with a licensed therapist who understands trauma releases emotional pain. It’s a real benefit if a therapist also does some of the physical processing. If a therapist is trained in modalities such as EMDR that facilitates neuroplasticity in the brain, trauma can be release. Some grounding techniques used to prepare a client for trauma processing also assist in the healing of disrupted body energy. The deeper a person goes into the physical healing process as they heal emotionally, the deeper they’ll be able to reconnect to who they are and find the balance between their physical and spiritual Self.