I've been journaling since I was a kid to work through thoughts and feelings. And later on, whether it was with a life coach or a therapist, I've gained a lot of meaningful insights from talking things out, as well. But it wasn't until this year, that I found that talking things through could only get me so far. That our bodies carry intelligence too, often subconsciously, holding onto the history of feelings we've felt. I reflected on different traumas I'd experienced, big and small, and realized that maybe in my mind I'd "moved on" from that past abusive relationship to where I wasn't thinking about it anymore, but had I really healed from it? On every level?

The following practices have been key in helping me with that deep, get to the root, mind-body-energy cleansing and healing. Shout out to Shirley Kali Johnson of Soulistic Wellness (pictured below) for introducing me to reiki and TRE!

Yoga. I've done yoga off and over the last 9 years or so for exercise, but this year it became the road map back to being in my body. At the top of the year, I was 10 pounds underweight, in a dark place mentally and struggling with my appetite but I mustered the energy to sign up for one of the new year specials at a yoga studio. I went every day that first week, and then gave myself the challenge to do yoga every single day for a year (even if it's just holding downward dog for a few minutes) to see how I would look and feel by the end of it. Just over a month shy from that year anniversary, I feel really good and really strong. I feel clear. If you're still meditating on giving yourself a new year's challenge, this could be a good one.

Another practice I got into was reiki. Reiki is an ancient Japanese hands-on-healing technique. It's based on qi (universal life force energy), and a reiki practitioner facilitates the transfer and movement of that energy through/from your body to promote healing. The practitioner's hands can either hover just above or be laid lightly on the body, depending on your comfort level, or a session can even be done remotely. I hold a lot of stress in my body and anxiety in my gut, and reiki has helped me clear out some of that unnecessary "stuff" I hang onto mentally and emotionally. 

The most recent technique I experimented with in my body-healing exploration is Trauma Release Exercises, also known as TRE. They're a sequence of simple movements that induce a therapeutic tremor in the body that releases stress. The method was developed by David Perceli, PhD after years of working in areas affected by war and natural disasters, and witnessing trauma on large scales. But we all experience stress and trauma, no matter where we are, on small and big scales, so the method can be effective anywhere. I learned a lot about my body's natural instincts to heal itself that get suppressed in adulthood.

Simply put, trauma is the experience of being overwhelmed, with a sense that our safety, security, and survival are under threat. Our brains react with alarm, initiating lightning fast changes in virtually every body system. Many of these changes are similar to what happens during the stress response, but the magnitude is dramatically increased because the stakes are higher. We are ready to fight or flee whatever is threatening us, but if there is no way out, our bodies will freeze, fold, and collapse. Once the danger is past, our bodies will shake or tremor to discharge all of that survival energy and reset to baseline.

However, in cases where trauma is ongoing, there is no opportunity to allow the natural completion of the trauma cycle. Plus, we often suppress normal shaking because we view tremors as a problem instead of a welcome return to safety.
— TRE Los Angeles