Aug 012015

Trauma, PTSD, Stress, Mental Health and Yoga


Trauma literally means a physical injury, or a deeply distressing, disturbing emotional event. Emotional or psychological trauma is often the result of a physical injury, or an overwhelming amount of stress that exceeds one’s ability to cope or integrate the emotions involved with that experience; it is the result of a real or perceived threat to life, or sexual violence. A traumatic event involves one experience, or repeating events with the sense of being overwhelmed that can be delayed by weeks, years, or even decades as the person struggles to cope with the immediate circumstances, eventually leading to serious, long-term negative consequences. 

If the symptoms persist for more than one month, it is termed Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Most people having experienced a trauma event will not progress to PTSD. Assault-based trauma victims are more likely to develop PTSD.  People who experience non-assault based trauma such as witnessing trauma, accidents, and fire events, are less likely to develop PTSD. Children, especially those less than 10 years of age, are less likely to experience PTSD after trauma. War veterans are more at risk for PTSD.

Trauma is a very common occurrence; according to an estimate, at least 1 in every 4 adults has suffered trauma at one or the other time in life. It is also one of the top five most costly health problems. This post discusses emotional or psychological trauma.


Trauma is as old as humans, although the diagnosis of post traumatic stress disorder or PTSD only made it into the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSMV) in 1980. War, rape, natural disasters and abuse are as old as humans, and so is PTSD. Called soldier’s heart in the American Civil War, shell shock in the First World War, war neurosis in WWII, combat stress reaction in the Vietnam War, sometimes loosely labelled nervous breakdown, diagnosis that was gradually reformulated as PTSD.

There fell in this battle of Marathon, on the side of the barbarians, about six thousand and four hundred men; on that of the Athenians, one hundred and ninety-two. Such was the number of the slain on the one side and the other. A strange prodigy likewise happened at this fight. Epizelus, the son of Cuphagoras, an Athenian, was in the thick of the fray, and behaving himself as a brave man should, when suddenly he was stricken with blindness, without blow of sword or dart; and this blindness continued thenceforth during the whole of his after life. The following is the account which he himself, as I have heard, gave of the matter: he said that a gigantic warrior, with a huge beard, which shaded all his shield, stood over against him; but the ghostly semblance passed him by, and slew the man at his side. Such, as I understand, was the tale which Epizelus told.

– Herodotus (6.117 – Rawlinson translation)

The ancient Greek historian Herodotus describes that warrior Epizelus experiences hysterical blindness, possibly an extreme form of PTSD. The Greek playwright Sophocles has devoted Ajax and Philoctetes to devastating descriptions of the post-battle breakdowns. The hero Ajax kills hundreds of farm animals, believing them to be his commanding officers, and finally commits suicide by throwing himself on the point of his sword. “What should I do?” cries the despairing Ajax. “The gods hate me, the Trojans loathe me, the Greeks despise me!” The victims of PTSD are known to be at increased risk for homicide and suicide even today. Chaturanga (four limbs of the armed forces), or chatur, is an ancient two player Indian strategy game which is the common ancestor of the board games chess, shogi, makruk, xiangqi and janggi. Four player version was called chaturaji. It was described as shataranja by the Arab scholar Abu al-Hasan ‘Alī al-Mas’ūdī as a tool for military strategy, but also for reliving old battles, perhaps as a form of exposure therapy!

A brief recapitulation of history of PTSD is:

  • 3000 BC (? 8000 B.C., or still older) –  The horrendous combat events described in the Mahabharata and the demeanor and death of the main warrior characters such as Jayadratha graphically illustrate the trauma and symptoms now recognized as PTSD.
  • 1900 BC – Egyptian physicians report hysterical reaction.
  • 8 Century BC – Homer in The Odyssey describes flashbacks and survivor’s guilt.
  • 730 BC – Homer’s great epic, The Iliad narrates a series of harrowing episodes of battle stress that were experienced by the ancient Hellenic combatants. He clearly paints the picture of the horror of war and trauma of combat. Achilles, the archetypal warrior, cries out in anguish and rage at the death and mutilation of his friend Patroklos. 
  • 490 BC – Herodotus writes of a soldier going blind after witnessing the death of a comrade next to him.
  • 3 -5 BC – Jataka stories in Budhism
  • 1597 – Shakespeare vividly describes war sequel in King Henry IV
  • 1600 – Samuel Pepys describes symptoms in survivors of the great fire of London.
  • 1879 –  Rigler coins term Compensation Neurosis
  • 1880’s  – Pierre Janet studies and treats traumatic stress. He describes “hysterical and dissociative symptoms”, inability to integrate memories, by “phasic nature” of suppression and intrusion.
  • 1899 – Helmut Oppenheim coins term  Traumatic  Neurosis
  • WW-I :  –  “Shell Shock”
  • WW-II :   -“Battle fatigue”, “Combat exhaustion”, and, again, “Traumatic Neurosis”
  • 1952 – Carl Jung analyses the psychological component of story of Job in Bible
  • 1980 – PTSD becomes a diagnostic category  in DSM

Careful research and documentation of PTSD began in earnest after the Vietnam War. The National Vietnam Veterans Readjustment Study estimated in 1988 that the prevalence of PTSD in that group was 15.2% and that 30% had experienced the disorder at some point since returning from Vietnam.


Stress, trauma or tension can happen due to many causes — a difficult or failed relationship, a financial hardship, a car accident, violence, an abuse, to name just a few. There is frequently a violation of the person’s familiar ideas about the world and of their human rights, putting the person in a state of extreme confusion and insecurity. This is also seen when a person feels violated or betrayed or disillusioned by some institution in unforeseen ways. Upsetting emotions, frightening memories, or a sense of constant danger may be the result. For most people, these symptoms are short-lived. They may last for several days or even weeks, but they gradually disappear.

But in some cases, the symptoms don’t decrease – one does not improve with each passing day. In fact, one may start to feel worse. The trauma may reflect in the body through the central nervous system. It may manifest as both emotional/ psychological as well as physical symptoms, ranging from flashbacks and anxiety, sensori-motor reactions as intrusive images, sounds, smells, body sensations, physical pain, constriction, numbing and even deep muscle patterns. These persisting trauma symptoms have the ability to derange one’s mental, psychological, biological, and social health.

An event will most likely lead to trauma if:

  • it is unexpected,
  • one is not prepared for it,
  • feels unable to prevent it;
  • happens repeatedly,
  • someone is intentionally cruel, or,
  • if it happened in childhood. 

This can also be caused by one-time events, such as a horrible accident, a natural disaster, or a violent attack. 

In case of a perceived or real threat, the first thing that happens is ‘sympathetic stimulation’, preparing the body for ‘fight or flight response. When the situation worsens further, in addition to changes in CNS, the ‘primitive dorsal vagus‘ elicits immobilization or ‘freeze‘ behavior; ventral vagus is connected with empathy, social communication and self-soothing behavior. 

Neuroendocrinology of Trauma

PTSD symptoms may result when a traumatic event causes an over-reactive adrenaline response, which creates deep neurological patterns in the brain. These patterns can persist long after the event that triggered the fear, making an individual hyper-responsive to future fearful situations. During traumatic experiences the high levels of stress hormones secreted suppress hypothalamic activity that may be a major factor toward the development of PTSD.

The hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis is responsible for coordinating the hormonal response to stress. In PTSD, there is a maladaptive learning pathway to fear response through a hypersensitive, hyperreactive, and hyperresponsive HPA axis.

Low cortisol levels may predispose individuals to PTSD. People who suffer from PTSD have chronically low levels of serotonin, which contributes to the commonly associated behavioral symptoms such as anxiety, ruminations, irritability, aggression, suicidality and impulsivity. Serotonin also contributes to the stabilization of glucocorticoid production.

Low levels of dopamine can contribute to anhedonia, apathy, impaired attention, and motor deficits. Increased levels of dopamine can cause psychosis, agitation, and restlessness.

Hyperresponsiveness in the norepinephrine system can be caused by continued exposure to high stress. Overactivation of norepinephrine receptors in the prefrontal cortex can be connected to the flashbacks and nightmares. A decreased awareness of the current environment prevents the memory mechanisms in the brain from associating the flashback with the current environment.

Majority of reports indicate people with PTSD have elevated levels of corticotropin-releasing hormone, lower basal cortisol levels, and enhanced negative feedback suppression of the HPA axis by dexamethasone.

Neuro-anatomy of Trauma


Three areas of the brain in which function may be altered in PTSD have been identified:

  • prefrontal cortex,
  • amygdala, and
  • hippocampus.

PTSD is considered a syndrome of deficient extinction ability. The amygdala is a heterogeneous brain structure implicated in processing of emotions and storing the emotional aspects of memories. The amygdalocentric model of PTSD proposes that it is associated with hyperarousal of the amygdala and insufficient top-down control by the mPFC (medial prefrontal cortex) and the hippocampus in particular during extinction. Studies suggest that therapeutic strategies that enhance IGF2/IGFBP7 signalling and adult neurogenesis might be suitable to treat diseases linked to excessive fear memory such as PTSD.

Amygdala can also pre-empt neo-cortex through amygdala hijack; an amygdala hijack exhibits three signs: strong emotional reaction, sudden onset, and post-episode realization if the reaction was inappropriate.In human studies, the amygdala has been shown to be strongly involved in the formation of emotional memories, especially fear-related memories. During high stress times, the hippocampus, which is associated with the ability to place memories in the correct sequence and context of space and time, and with the ability to recall the memory, is suppressed. This suppression is hypothesized to be the cause of the flashbacks that often affect people with PTSD. When someone with PTSD undergoes stimuli similar to the traumatic event, the body perceives the event as occurring again because the memory was never properly recorded in the person’s memory. 

The maintenance of the fear involved with PTSD has been shown to include the HPA axis, the locus coeruleus-noradrenergic systems, and the connections between the limbic system and frontal cortex. The HPA axis that coordinates the hormonal response to stress, which activates the LC-noradrenergic system, is implicated in the over-consolidation of memories that occurs as a result of trauma. This over-consolidation increases the likelihood of one’s developing PTSD. The amygdala is responsible for threat detection and the conditioned and unconditioned fear responses that are carried out as a response to a threat.

The LC-noradrenergic system has been hypothesized to mediate the over-consolidation of fear memory in PTSD. High levels of cortisol reduce noradrenergic activity, and because people with PTSD tend to have reduced levels of cortisol, it is proposed that individuals with PTSD fail to regulate the increased noradrenergic response to traumatic stress. It is thought that the intrusive memories and conditioned fear responses to associated triggers is a result of this response. Neuropeptide-Y has been reported to reduce the release of norepinephrine and has been demonstrated to have anxiolytic properties in animal models. Studies have shown people with PTSD demonstrate reduced levels of NPY, possibly indicating their increased anxiety levels.


The basolateral nucleus (BLA) of the amygdala is responsible for the comparison and development of associations between unconditioned and conditioned responses to stimuli, which results in the fear conditioning present in PTSD.


The BLA activates the central nucleus (CeA) of the amygdala, which elaborates the fear response, (including behavioral response to threat and elevated startle response). Descending inhibitory inputs from the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) regulate the transmission from the BLA to the CeA, which is hypothesized to play a role in the extinction of conditioned fear responses.

The Vagus Nerve

The vagus nerve (X cranial nerve) is a primary component of the autonomic nervous system. The word vagus means “wandering” in Latin. The words vagabond, vague, and vagrant come from the same root. The vagus nerve is known as the wandering nerve because it has multiple branches. This is one of the major nerves that goes to the brain. By stimulating the nerves, you can cause upstream changes in the brain without having to go into the brain.

Visceral Supply

Polyvagal theory outlines the structure and function of the two distinct branches of the vagus, both of which originate in the medulla. Each branch is associated with a different adaptive behavioral strategy, both of which are inhibitory in nature via the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS). The sympathetic-adrenal system is involved in mobilization behavior; vagus nerve acts opposite to this. According to polyvagal theory, these opposing systems are phylogenetically arranged.

Trauma Release

Dorsal Vagal Complex (DVC)

The dorsal branch of the vagus originates in the dorsal motor nucleus and is considered the phylogenetically older branch. This branch is unmyelinated and exists in most vertebrates. Also known as the ‘vegetative vagus’, it is associated with primal survival strategies of primitive vertebrates, reptiles, and amphibians. Under great stress, these animals `freeze` when threatened, conserving their metabolic resources.


The dorsal vagal complex (DVC) provides primary control of sub-diaphragmatic visceral organs, such as the digestive tract. Under normal conditions, the DVC maintains regulation of these digestive processes. However, prolonged disinhibition can be lethal for mammals, as it results in apnea and bradycardia.

Ventral Vagal Complex (VVC)

A more sophisticated system with increased neural complexity evolved in mammals. This enriched behavioral and affective responses to an increasingly complex environment. The ventral branch of the vagus originates in the nucleus ambiguus and is myelinated to provide more control and speed in responding. It is also known as the “smart vagus” as it is associated with the regulation of sympathetic “fight or flight” behavior in the service of social affiliative behaviors. These behaviors include social communication and self-soothing and calming. In other words, this branch of the vagus can inhibit or disinhibit defensive limbic system, depending on the situation. The VVC provides primary control of supra-diaphragmatic visceral organs, such as the esophagus, bronchi, pharynx, larynx and heart. When vagal tone to the heart’s pacemaker is high, a baseline or resting heart rate is produced. In other words, the vagus acts as a restraint, or brake, limiting heart rate. However, when vagal tone is removed, there is little inhibition to the pacemaker, and so rapid mobilization (“fight/flight”) can be activated in times of stress, but without having to engage the sympathetic-adrenal system, as activation comes at a severe biological cost.

Vagal Tone

In order to maintain homeostasis, the central nervous system responds constantly, via neural feedback, to environmental cues. Stressful events disrupt the rhythmic structure of autonomic states, and subsequently, behaviors. Amplitude of respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA) is a good index of PNS activity via the cardiac vagus. That is, RSA is a measurable, noninvasive way to see how the vagus modulates heart rate activity in response to stress. This method is useful to measure individual differences in stress reactivity.

Research has shown that amplitude of RSA is an accurate indicator of the efferent influence of the vagus on the heart, and is widely used for this purpose. Since inhibitory effects of the VVC branch of the vagus allow for a wide range of adaptive, prosocial behaviors, it has been theorized that individuals with greater vagal tone are able to exhibit a greater range of such behaviors. On the other hand, decreased vagal tone is associated with illnesses and medical complications that compromise the CNS. These complications may reduce one’s capacity to respond to stress appropriately.

Chronic ‘freeze‘ reaction due to stress or unresolved trauma adversely impacts physical vitality and health:

  • chronic tension patterns cause pain commonly in the neck/shoulder and lower back regions
  • typical muscle patterns mainly in jaw, neck, throat, shoulders, diaphragm, pelvis and hamstrings
  • adrenal fatigue occurs which in turn inhibits the immune system
  • the ‘rest, digest and relax’ function of the Parasympathetic Nervous System never gets a chance to act
  • digestive system is impaired; endocrine system is disrupted causing imbalance of growth hormones and reproductive hormones
  • the body pH becomes acidic and promotes inflammation.

All of this leads to a variety of secondary illnesses including high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, gastrointestinal problems, respiratory illnesses, immune disorders, to name just a few.

Trigeminal Nerve

The trigeminal nerve (V Cranial Nerve) is the fifth paired cranial nerve. It is also the largest cranial nerve. It is responsible for sensation in the face and motor functions such as biting and chewing. Its name derives from the fact that each trigeminal nerve (one on each side of the pons) has three major branches: the ophthalmic nerve , the maxillary nerve , and the mandibular nerve. The ophthalmic and maxillary nerves are purely sensory, and the mandibular nerve has sensory (or “cutaneous”) and motor functions. The trigeminal nerve originates from three sensory nuclei (mesencephalic, principal sensory, spinal nuclei of trigeminal nerve) and one motor nucleus(motor nucleus of the trigeminal nerve) extending from the midbrain to the medulla.


The ophthalmic, maxillary and mandibular branches leave the skull through three separate foramina:

  • superior orbital fissure,
  • foramen rotundum and
  • foramen ovale.

The ophthalmic nerve carries sensory information from the scalp and forehead, the upper eyelid, the conjunctiva and cornea of the eye, the nose (including the tip of the nose, except alae nasi), the nasal mucosa, the frontal sinuses and parts of the meninges (the dura and blood vessels). The maxillary nerve carries sensory information from the lower eyelid and cheek, the nares and upper lip, the upper teeth and gums, the nasal mucosa, the palate and roof of the pharynx, the maxillary, ethmoid and sphenoid sinuses and parts of the meninges. The mandibular nerve carries sensory information from the lower lip, the lower teeth and gums, the chin and jaw (except the angle of the jaw, which is supplied by C2-C3), parts of the external ear and parts of the meninges. The mandibular nerve carries touch-position and pain-temperature sensations from the mouth. Although it does not carry taste sensation (the chorda tympani is responsible for taste), one of its branches—the lingual nerve—carries sensation from the tongue.

The two basic types of sensation are touch-position and pain-temperature. Touch-position input comes to attention immediately, but pain-temperature input reaches the level of consciousness after a delay. Touch-position information is generally carried by myelinated (fast-conducting) nerve fibers, and pain-temperature information by unmyelinated (slow-conducting) fibers. Touch-position and pain-temperature sensations are processed by different pathways in the central nervous system. This hard-wired distinction is maintained up to the cerebral cortex. Within the cerebral cortex, sensations are linked with other cortical areas.

The complex processing of pain-temperature information in the thalamus and cerebral cortex (as opposed to the relatively simple, straightforward processing of touch-position information) reflects a phylogenetically older, more primitive sensory system. The detailed information received from peripheral touch-position receptors is superimposed on a background of awareness, memory and emotions partially set by peripheral pain-temperature receptors.

As the trigeminal nerve has reciprocal projections to the nucleus tractus solitarius, the locus coeruleus, and the reticular formation, its role is implicated in mood regulation and anxiety disorders.

Pelvic Splanchnic Nerves

Pelvic splanchnic nerves or nervi erigentes are splanchnic nerves that arise from sacral spinal nerves S2, S3, S4 to provide parasympathetic innervation to the hindgut. The parasympathetic nervous system is referred to as the craniosacral outflow; the pelvic splanchnic nerves are the sacral component. They are in the same region as the sacral splanchnic nerves, which arise from the sympathetic trunk and provide sympathetic efferent fibers. They contribute to the innervation of the pelvic and genital organs. The nerves regulate the emptying of the urinary bladder, control opening and closing of the internal urethral sphincter, influence motility in the rectum as well as sexual functions like erection. They contain both preganglionic parasympathetic fibers as well as visceral afferent fibers. In the distal 1/3 of the transverse colon, and through the sigmoid and rectum, and the cervix in females, the pelvic splanchnic nerves supply parasympathetic function, including transmitting the sensation of pain. The proximal 2/3 of the transverse colon, and the rest of the proximal gastrointestinal tract is supplied its parasympathetic fibers by the vagus nerve.


Symptoms of trauma

Following trauma, people react in different ways, experiencing a wide range of physical and emotional reactions. Traumatic event is an ABNORMAL event and all reactions to it are NORMAL reactions.

Common physical symptoms of trauma can be: insomnia or nightmares, easy startling, racing heart, aches and pains, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, edginess and agitation, muscle tensions. Common emotional and psychological symptoms of trauma can be: shock, denial, or disbelief, anger, irritability, mood swings, guilt, shame, self-blame, feeling sad or hopeless, confusion, difficulty concentrating, anxiety and fear, withdrawing from others, feeling disconnected or numb. People who have lost a loved one may go through a grieving process. These symptoms may last from a few days to a few months, gradually fading as you process the trauma. But even when you’re feeling better, you may be troubled from time to time by painful reminders.


Trauma, specifically Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), is diagnosed based on signs and symptoms, a physical examination and a thorough psychological evaluation. 

PTSD Mnemonic

E – Event/experience (threatening to life or physical integrity of self or others)

R – Re-experience (flashbacks, nightmares etc)

A – Arousal (anxiety, startling, hyper-vigilance, irritability)

A – Avoidance (of things, places, images etc. reminiscent of event)

D – Duration of more than one month

Criteria for PTSD are given in Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5).

DSM criteria for PTSD

Diagnosis of PTSD requires exposure to an event that involved or held the threat of death, violence or serious injury. Your exposure can happen in one or more of these ways:

  • You experienced the traumatic event.
  • You witnessed, in person, the traumatic event.
  • You learned someone close to you experienced or was threatened by the traumatic event.
  • You are repeatedly exposed to graphic details of traumatic events (for example, if you are a first responder to the scene of traumatic events).

You experience one or more of the following signs or symptoms after the traumatic event:

  • You relive experiences of the traumatic event, such as having distressing images and memories.
  • You have upsetting dreams about the traumatic event.
  • You experience flashbacks as if you were experiencing the traumatic event again.
  • You experience ongoing or severe emotional distress or physical symptoms if something reminds you of the traumatic event.

In addition, for more than one month after the traumatic event you may:

  • Try to avoid situations or things that remind you of the traumatic event
  • Not remember important parts of the traumatic event
  • View yourself, others and the world in a negative way
  • Lose interest in activities you used to enjoy and feel detached from family and friends
  • Feel a sense of emotional numbness, feel irritable or have angry or violent outbursts
  • Engage in dangerous or self-destructive behavior
  • Feel as if you’re constantly on guard or alert for signs of danger and startle easily
  • Have trouble sleeping or concentrating

Your symptoms cause significant distress in your life or interfere with your ability to go about your normal daily tasks.

For children younger than 6 years old, signs and symptoms may include:

  • Reenacting the traumatic event or aspects of the traumatic event through play
  • Frightening dreams that may or may not include aspects of the traumatic event

Seeking professional help

Everyone heals at his or her own pace and recovering from a traumatic event may take time. Professional help is indicated if even after months one is still experiencing symptoms. 

One should seek professional help if one is:

  • Suffering from great fear, anxiety, or depression
  • Unable to form close, satisfying relationships
  • Having trouble functioning normally at home or work
  • Experiencing disturbing memories, nightmares, or flashbacks
  • Trying to avoid more and more things that remind you of the trauma
  • Feels emotionally numb and disconnected from others
  • Using alcohol or drugs to feel better

Trauma treatment in Modern Medicine

Trauma freezes you in a state of fear and hyper-arousal and disrupts natural equilibrium. In PTSD, nervous system gets stuck in that traumatic state. Successful trauma treatment must re-establish your sense of safety and remove this imbalance.

Trauma treatment and healing entails:

  • Discharging ‘fight-or-flight’ or ‘freeze’ emotions
  • Processing trauma-related memories and feelings
  • Learning how to regulate strong emotions
  • Rebuilding the ability to trust other people

Different treatment options available in Modern Medicine are:


Several types of psychotherapy, also called talk therapy, may be used to treat children and adults with trauma. Some types of psychotherapy used in trauma treatment include:

Validation. Validation of the devastating impact of their initial trauma is the most healing thing. This relieves the burden of shame and guilt often associated with abuse.

Exposure therapy. This behavioral therapy helps you safely face what you find frightening so that you can learn to cope with it effectively. One approach to exposure therapy uses “virtual reality” programs that allow you to re-enter the setting in which you experienced trauma.

Somatic experiencing uses body’s unique ability to heal itself. This focuses on bodily sensations rather than thoughts and memories of the traumatic event; that gets you in touch with pent-up trauma-related energy and tension. Natural survival instincts take over from there, safely releasing this energy through various ways of expression like shaking, crying, and other forms of physical release.

EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is psychotherapy that emphasizes disturbing memories as the cause of psychopathology. This 8-phase therapy incorporates some elements of CBT with eye movements or other forms of rhythmic, left-right stimulation. These back-and-forth eye movements unfreeze traumatic memories, and resolve them.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) helps you process and evaluate your thoughts and feelings about a trauma. Cognitive-behavioral therapy doesn’t treat the physiological effects of trauma; however, it can be helpful when used in addition to a body-based therapy such as somatic experiencing or EMDR.

Expressive therapy. Expressive therapies, expressive arts therapy or creative arts therapy, is the use of tactile, visual or other creative arts like Art Therapy, Music Therapy, Dance/ Movement Therapy, Drama Therapy, Poetry Therapy, Play Therapy, Sandplay Therapy, Multimodal Therapy etc as a form of therapy. The process of creation is emphasized rather than the final product. Expressive therapy can heal through use of imagination and the various forms of creative expression.


 Medications. Most medications do not have enough evidence to support their use. Symptomatic medication – anti-anxiety, anti-depression, sedatives, may be prescribed for emotional trauma patients. Several types of medications can help improve symptoms of trauma:

  • Antidepressants. These medications can help symptoms of depression and anxiety. They can also help improve sleep problems and concentration. The selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) medications sertraline (Zoloft) and paroxetine (Paxil) are approved by FDA.
  • Anti-anxiety medications. These drugs also can improve feelings of anxiety and stress for a short time. Because these medications have the potential for abuse, they are not usually taken long term.
  • Prazosin. If symptoms include insomnia or recurrent nightmares prazosin (Minipress) may help. It may reduce or suppress nightmares in many people with trauma.

Nerve Stimulators

Vagal Nerve Stimulator (VNS). Scientists have discovered that artificial Vagus Nerve Stimulation (VNS), through electrical impulses via a surgically implanted pacemaker like device, shows promising results in reducing depression, anxieties and even conditions such as epilepsy, obesity, PSTD, OCD(obsessive-compulsive disorder) and PD (Panic Disorder). VNS has also shown positive effects in promoting weight-loss as the signals to the brain of ‘fullness’ are more easily transmitted. The VNS device is sometimes referred to as a ‘pacemaker for the brain’. It is placed under the skin on the chest wall and a wire runs from it to the vagus nerve in the neck. VNS Therapy is designed to prevent seizures by sending regular, mild pulses of electrical energy to the brain via the vagus nerve. These pulses are supplied by a device something like a pacemaker. This is approved by FDA.

Trigeminal Nerve Stimulator (TNS). TNS can be delivered via the non-invasive external trigeminal nerve stimulation (eTNS) system or the minimally-invasive subcutaneous trigeminal nerve stimulation (sTNS) system for problems including epilepsy, depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS), traumatic brain injury (TBI) and ADHD (attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder). It works by sending signals in through the trigeminal nerve into the brain stem. From there, the signals can influence the activity in the centers of the brain that produce serotonin and norephinephrine, and also send signals to the anterior cingulate, the amygdala, the areas of the brain that are very important for things like emotional regulation and anxiety. This is still an investigational method. 

Trauma self-help strategy

Break the cycle. When you feel anxious, take a brisk walk or jump into a hobby to re-focus.

Do not stay alone. Isolation makes things worse. Connecting to others will help you heal; so, make an effort to maintain your relationships and avoid spending too much time alone.

Support. Ask for the support if you need. Turn to a trusted family member, friend or a professional counselor.

Participate. Try to do normal things with other people that have nothing to do with the traumatic experience. Make the effort to reconnect.

Support group. Join a group of people with similar problems. Being with others who are facing the same problems can help reduce your sense of isolation, and hearing how others cope can help inspire you.

Volunteer. Volunteering can be a great way to challenge the sense of helplessness that often accompanies trauma. Remind yourself of your strengths and reclaim your sense of power by comforting or helping others.

Stay grounded. Have a structured schedule to follow. Stick to a daily routine, with regular times for waking, sleeping, eating, working, and exercise. Make sure to schedule time for relaxing and social activities, too. Break big tasks into smaller, manageable steps. Take pleasure from the accomplishment of achieving something, even it’s a small thing. 

Find activities that make you feel better and keep your mind occupied (reading, taking a class, cooking, playing with your kids or pets), so you’re not dedicating all your energy and attention to focusing on the traumatic experience.

Allow yourself to express your feelings . Acknowledge your feelings about the trauma as they arise and accept them. Accepting your feelings is part of the grieving process and is necessary for healing.

You may want to go outdoors and find a peaceful place. 

Take care of your health. A healthy body increases your ability to cope with stress from a trauma. Get plenty of sleep. After a traumatic experience, worry or fear may disturb your sleep patterns. A lack of sleep can make your trauma symptoms worse and make it harder to maintain your emotional balance. Go to sleep and get up at the same time each day and aim for 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night.

Avoid alcohol and drugs as their use can worsen your trauma symptoms and exacerbate feelings of depression, anxiety, and isolation.

Exercise regularly. Regular exercise boosts serotonin, endorphins, and other feel-good brain chemicals. It also boosts self-esteem and helps to improve sleep. For maximum results, aim for 30 to 60 minutes of activity on most days.

Eat a well-balanced diet. Eating small, well-balanced meals throughout the day will help you keep your energy up and minimize mood swings. While you may be drawn to sugary foods for the quick boost they provide, complex carbohydrates are a better choice. Foods rich in certain omega-3 fats—such as salmon, walnuts, soybeans, and flaxseeds—can give your mood a boost.

Reduce stress. Making time for rest and relaxation will help you bring your life back into balance. Try relaxation techniques such as meditation, yoga, or deep breathing exercises. Schedule time for activities that bring you joy—favorite hobbies or activities with friends, for example.

Helping someone in trauma

Helping a loved one who has suffered a traumatic or distressing experience may be tough, but your support can be a crucial factor in their recovery.  

  • Be patient and understanding. Healing from emotional or psychological trauma takes time. Don’t judge.
  • Offer support to get back into a normal routine. That may mean help with collecting groceries or housework, for example, or simply being available to talk or listen.
  • Don’t pressure your loved one into talking but be available when they want to talk. 
  • Help your loved one to socialize and relax. Encourage them to participate in physical exercise, seek out friends, and pursue hobbies and other activities that bring them pleasure. Take a fitness class together or set a regular lunch date with friends.
  • Don’t take the trauma symptoms personally. Your loved one may become angry, irritable, withdrawn, or emotionally distant. This may be a result of the trauma and may not have anything to do with you or your relationship.

Helping a child

Following trauma, a child may show regression, tendency to take the blame, disturbed sleep or helplessness.

Regression. Many children may regress to an earlier stage, when they felt safer and more cared for. Younger children may wet the bed or want a bottle; older children may fear being alone. It’s important to be patient and comforting if your child responds this way.

Take the blame. Younger children tend to think that it must be their fault. Be sure the child understands that he did not cause the event.

Sleep disturbance. Some children have difficulty falling asleep, or wake frequently, or have troubling dreams. You can give your child a stuffed animal, soft blanket, or flashlight to take to bed. Try spending extra time together in the evening, doing quiet activities or reading. Be patient. It may take a while before your child can sleep through the night again.

Helplessness. Let them know that it’s normal to feel scared or upset. Your child may also look to you for cues on how they should respond to traumatic events so let him or her see you dealing with symptoms of trauma in a positive way.

Alternative Medicine

Yoga, including Meditation, can be a lifesaving healing technique for trauma and PTSD patients. Yoga helps by addressing deeply ingrained stress in the body and mind. By releasing held tension through yoga postures, breathing exercises, meditation practices etc, physical and emotional trauma stored even at autonomic level can be released. A somatic approach helps ease the feelings of helplessness, fear, arousal, and disconnection that can arise for trauma patients. Meditation acts at CNS level.

Tai Chi. Also called Chinese Yoga, this has benefits similar to Yoga.

Marma Therapy. Marma Therapy has a great vata calming effect. Marma points act through changes in blood flow and levels of neurotransmitters in the brain and spinal cord. A good Marma Therapy plan can be very helpful.

Massage therapy. Yoga and Ayurvedic massages, based on Marma points, have wonderful relaxing and healing effect. Even western massages – deep tissue massage, or Swedish massage, can reduce your heart rate, relax your muscles, improve range of motion in your joints and increase production of your body’s natural painkillers. It often helps relieve stress and anxiety.

Homeopathy. Homeopaths claim amazing results in PTSD! In classical Homeopathy, treatment for chronic ailments is constitutional. For acute cases, especially in case of a holocaust or a natural disaster, using Genus Epidemicus may suffice. A few remedies will most likely be very frequently required for the majority of the population. In a case of a natural disaster, such as an earthquake or a hurricane, the majority of relatively healthy people are going to respond with the picture of a limited number of remedies, e.g., Arsenicum, Ignatia amara, Aconitum, Arnica, Stramonium etc. The response to the remedy is claimed to be very dramatic and satisfying to both the patient and the practitioner.


With proper therapy, prognosis for PTSD is good. It depends upon the severity and length of time a person has suffered from the disorder. Psychotherapy can change brain chemistry. There are significant risks to a person with PTSD if they do not receive treatment – they may stay in a hyper-aroused state, further damaging their brain. Irritability, anxiety, or numbness may interfere with their ability to love and to work. Suicide is also a risk with untreated PTSD.

Yoga and Ayurveda in Trauma, PTSD, Stress and Mental Health

PTSD fits the Ayurvedic understanding of vata invading majja dhatu and manovahasrotas (mind channels). After witnessing or experiencing the trauma, the individual develops a set of vata symptoms that include repeatedly re-experiencing the trauma. Hyperarousal is an important vata condition leading to disproportionate responses to stimuli, e.g., startling. 

Watch for symptoms of vata ojo vyapat (invasion of vata into ojas), such as extreme fatigue, memory issues and reversal of the diurnal cycle (awake at night and sleeping during day). However, because the amygdala is involved with anger as well as fear, there may well be a strong pitta component or even pitta ojo vyapat. Appropriate diet and lifestyle suggestions should thus be individually tailored within the prakriti-vikriti paradigm. The usual triad of diet, lifestyle and herbal therapies form the mainstay of chikitsa; other treatment interventions include oil therapies and Vedic stress reduction techniques like yoga and meditation.

Less is more, this applies especially to PTSD clients. So, move slowly.

Panchakarma Therapy


Pre-purification Measures namely ‘snehan‘ and ‘swedan‘ are very useful to balance ‘Vata‘ and to loosen the toxins. Snehan is the herbalized oil massage. This oil is applied to the entire body with a particular type of massage. Swedan is sweating and is given immediately following the snehan. A herbal decoction may be added to the steam to further enhance effect. This also provides a deeply soothing and balancing  effect to the entire nervous system. The motion of massage creates heat  and friction which enhances circulation and helps cleanse.

Diet and Nutrition

Sattwik food is preferable. Rajasik food leads to more activity and tamasik food leads to an increase in greed, anger, etc. Most of vegetarian food is sattwik; you can start with decreasing the percentage of non-vegetarian food in your diet. Concept of xenohormesis also favors vegetarian diet.

PTSD patients should have:

  • Vegetable juice and soup
  • Carrot, cucumber, beetroot juice
  • Cooked vegetables like squash, zucchini and pumpkin
  • Spices like cumin, coriander, ginger, asafoetida, garlic, fennel and turmeric.
  • Green salad with a dressing of lemon juice and a little salt
  • Khichadi (recipe made by cooking rice and mung dal)
  • Desi Ghee (clarified butter) or Olive Oil.

The following should be avoided:

  • Eating hot, spicy and fried foods, sweets, foods like brinjal, cabbage, cauliflower, spinach, broccoli, okra and potatoes.
  • Too much tea, coffee, alcohol, white sugar, chocolate, cocoa.
  • Sleeping during the day and staying up late at night 
  • Too much worry, anxiety, fear, stress and grief.

Ayurvedic Herbs

ayurved med

Ashwagandha is always useful where there is vata in majja dhatu and is known to increase dopamine levels, mitigating the over-activation of the amygdala. Bacopa or Brahmi can be used to help regulate serotonin production and can be combined with other nervine and adaptogenic herbs. These should be taken under the guidance of an expert Ayurvedic physician. Some bhasmas, which are prepared on the principle of potentization, can also be used to strengthen ‘nerves’.

Marma Therapy and Yoga/ Ayurvedic Massages

Therapeutic Massages

Therapeutic Massages

Vata soothing oil therapies that are valuable in PTSD include abhyanga with dosha specific massage oil such as Vata Massage Oil and shirodhara using Shirodhara Oil which contains nervine herbs such as brahmi, Bhringaraj, Ashwagandha and skullcap. Shirodhara has been shown to help normalize serotonin and noradrenaline levels and reduce anxiety and is traditionally said to remove vata from majja dhatu. Sarvangadhara or pizhichil with sesame oil can also be used to calm vata and normalize majja dhatu. Also, specific Marma points can be used for achieving specific results.

Therapeutic Yoga in Trauma

Yoga has always had a lot to offer. I’ve always called it a science beyond nano-science! Yoga and Yoga-based practices (YBP’s) have sparked new activity in new scientific research and one sees evidence of so much new research coming out of study of YBP’s – newer theories, newer bodily mechanisms, newer approaches to therapy, newer explanations! Yoga-based interventions have been associated with measureable changes in physiological parameters, perceived emotional states, and cognitive functioning. The scientific community should be careful and diligent in placing the credit of all these newer finds where it actually belongs.

Effective treatment for PSTD is possible through Yoga Therapy and we offer world-class Yoga Therapy services at SAVY under Dr Jitender K Sahdev. The real route to PSTD recovery lies in non-drug approaches that act on nerves, brain through asana, pranayama, meditation etc. And that points to the real solution. Lifestyle, and mind-body approaches that help with PSTD have something in common – they all help restore a balance of neurotransmitters in the brain and central nervous system. They are not just as effective as medication, but almost always safer and much less expensive. Efforts should be made to increase the Sattvic quality of mind.

Research indicates that a healthy vagus nerve is vital in experiencing empathy and fostering social bonding, and it is crucial to our ability to observe, perceive, and make complex decisions. Areas of distribution of trigeminal nerve and pelvic splanchnic nerves may also be utilized to achieve the same purpose. Tests have revealed that people with impaired vagal activity have also been diagnosed with depression, panic disorders, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), irritable bowel syndrome, anxiety, panic disorders, violent mood swings, fibromyalgia, early Alzheimer’s and obesity. 

Through its array of asanas, drishti, pranayama, hasta, kaya, netra, adhaar mudras, bandhas, kriyas – neti, dhauti, nauli, basti, kapal bhati, and tratak, dhyana and more, with stimulation and healing effect on Vagus Nerve, Trigeminal Nerve, Pelvic Splanchnic Nerves, LHPA Axis, and even Neo-cortex, Yoga offers much less intrusive, non-invasive and natural way to maintain and regain health!


Deep stretching is known to have a positive effect on PSTD. Some helpful poses are:

  • Tadasana,
  • Utkatasana
  • Sarvangsamasana
  • Halasana
  • Viparitakarni,
  • Bhujangasana,
  • Virbhadrasana,
  • Badha Konasana
  • Setubandhasana
  • Shavasana or Yoga Nidra

More of Vata reducing routines will be helpful. Regular practice of different postures should be done. Progressive deep relaxation, i.e., shavasana (corpse pose) brings about relaxation. At SAVY, we offer specialized TRY (SAVY Trauma Release Yoga) program specifically designed for PSTD.


According to Vedic scriptures, there is no disease which cannot be conquered through breath. Pranayama also creates a state of restful alertness in mind and body. Pranayama exercises like:

  • Deergha Pranayama
  • Visham Vritti Pranayama
  • Mahat Pranayama
  • Ujjayi,
  • Bhastrika,
  • Kapaal Bhaati,
  • Anulom Vilom

are some of the exercises which can help in PSTD. All this must be undertaken strictly under proper guidance. Some clinical studies done in India have shown very positive results. Dr Sahdev’s Breathe and Heal Therapy, is one of the most effective and the safest breathing and mindfulness Yoga program specifically designed by a doctor for therapy.



Hasta mudras attack the very root of problem; they address the issue of imbalance of five elements. Done for a minimum 45 minutes a day, they can be very effective.

yoga mudra

These are some of the representative mudras:

  • Gyan Mudra
  • Vata-nashak Mudra
  • Anjali Mudra
  • Apana Mudra
  • Apana-Vayu Mudra
  • Prana Mudra

Shambhavi mudra, one kind of drishti, is very effective vagal stimulant. It should be learnt under an expert.

You should be able to notice the difference within a week. Mudras of the body, base, tongue, eyes etc form an integral part of our Yoga Therapy program. You can also join a specialized course on Hasta Mudras.


Meditational therapies help the prefrontal cortex send calming messages to the amygdala. Both relative and absolute practices are important. Relative level practices may be more useful initially; relative practices include visualizations, affirmations, aspirations and relaxation practices. Visualizations work directly on the limbic brain and practices using words work on the prefrontal cortex. Visualization can include creating an image of a safe space and picturing oneself being there and relaxing. This sends messages of safety and relaxation to the limbic system. Affirmations can include positive phrases which help reprogram the prefrontal cortex to send healthy messages to the amygdala. Similarly, an aspiration practice can be used and combined with the breath. This practice helps the prefrontal cortex and limbic system to function normally. Once the mind is calmed by the use of relative practices, absolute practices such as vipashyana (mindfulness meditation) can be introduced. These practices help us see beyond the trauma by deepening our understanding of the impermanence of all phenomena. They have also been found to regulate prefrontal activity in favour of positive emotions.


The six detoxifying procedures of Yoga:

  • Neti,
  • Dhauti,
  • Nauli,
  • Basti,
  • Kapaal Bhaati, and
  • Traatak

if done with proper technique, can be very helpful. Learn these under expert guidance at SAVY.

Lifestyle and Daily Routine

One of the most important factors is to have a lifestyle that does not disturb the natural body rhythm. When we eat, sleep and exercise in fluctuating and disturbing patterns, the body loses its natural cycle. Regularity in daily life can be extremely effective in reducing Vata imbalance. Expert Yoga Nutrition guidance is available at SAVY and should be availed. 

TRY (SAVY Trauma Release Yoga) 

SAVY Trauma Release Yoga


SAVY offers this very effective and systematic approach for trauma, PTSD, stress and mental health. It teaches how to release deep chronic tension and stress, has immediate impact for most people, and can be integrated into a simple daily routine to help restore a sense of inner peace and emotional resilience. It is easy to learn and easy to practice. Benefits includes:

  • Stress/Anxiety/Trauma/ Depression Relief
  • Better emotional resilience
  • Easing of neck/ shoulder/ low back pain or tension

These techniques induce healing at the deepest levels of body and mind. 

Visit us at SAVY Studio for your individualized Therapeutic Yoga guidance and overall well-being.

You can book your appointment here.



If you have genuine interest in helping and empowering people with health issues, this program is especially for you! 

Click on the image below to know details:

DBE logo2



Note : DSBH Therapy ®, MBH Therapy® or TRY® has not been evaluated by Health Canada, US Food & Drug Administration or the American Medical Association. This technology does not claim to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Medical advice must only be obtained from a physician or qualified health practitioner. Results may vary between individuals. There are no guarantees, expressed, or implied.

You should check with your health care professional before starting this or any new therapy or exercise program or breathing routine. This is especially important if you have any pre-existing health conditions, such as high blood pressure, migraines or heart or lung ailments. Women who are pregnant or think they might be pregnant should consult their physician before performing any of the breathing or physical exercises or undertaking any therapy program.

The information contained in the program is not intended to serve as a replacement for professional medical advice. Any use of the information in these programs/ workshops is at the reader’s discretion, risk and responsibility. The studio, author and the publisher specifically disclaim any and all liability arising directly or indirectly from the use or application of any information contained herein. A health care professional should be consulted regarding your specific situation. 


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p style=”text-align: justify;”>‪#‎holistic ‪#‎complementary ‪#‎alternative #brain #naturally #breathingexercises #mindfulness #meditation #yoga #fibromyalgia

Jul 302015
Trauma Release Yoga

SAVY Trauma Release Yoga – Learn 7 Exercises

Trauma Release Yoga  

Have you ever had stress?

Have you ever faced anxiety issues?

Have you ever been through any trauma?

Have you ever had a significant physical injury?

Have you ever been through a tense phase in your life?

Have you ever experienced trauma that is still troubling you?

Have the ‘short-term fixes’ added to your disappointments so far?

If your answer is “Yes“, then TRAUMA



is for YOU!

Choose a Safe Approach to Stabilization!

& Liberate Yourself!

TRY© is a very effective and systematic approach for trauma, PTSD, eating disorders, addictions, psychoses including schizophrenia and other mental health issues. Using effectiveness of predominantly interoceptive, proprioceptive and kinesthetic interpretation of Yoga as a therapeutic tool, and the science of breath, it teaches how to release deep chronic tension and stress. It shows immediate impact for most people, and can be integrated into a simple daily routine to help restore a sense of inner peace and emotional resilience. It is easy to learn and easy to practice.

TRY© acts through and on Vagus nerve, Pre-Frontal cortex, Amygdala, Hippocampus, and other parts of brain, and releases effects of trauma from the deepest levels of brain, body and mind!

This program is designed by Dr Sahdev, based on his almost three decades of clinical experience in main-stream Medicine, Surgical Oncology, Neurosurgery and other Super Specialities at premier medical institutes in India, his study and work in other Alternative modalities and Yoga, and an input of thousands of hours of educated and qualified clinical research and its deep analysis in India. These techniques actually deliver!

What better way to regain health than through yoga?

Benefits include:

  • Scientific approach based on the Neuroscience of trauma, stress and psychoses
  • Awaken inherent healing capacity through Nervous System 
  • Relief in Stress/Anxiety/Trauma/ Depression/ Other Mental Health issues 
  • Minimize the risk of triggering resurfacing of trauma response
  • Better management of emotional instability
  • Build better emotional resilience
  • Expand your ‘window of tolerance’ naturally
  • Easing of neck/ shoulder/ low back pain or tension
  • Integrate scientific skills and approach with your existing practice
  • Safe approach to greater stabilization of body and mind

TRY© induces healing at the deepest levels of body and mind. Designed by a physician, expect the best from this program!


SAVY Healing Yoga Studios

Proudly introduce

Trauma Release Yoga©– Level 1

An effective routine consisting of

7 exercises

which specifically target stress, tension, trauma, PTSD and other mental health issues


Individualized care also available


Join SAVY Yoga Classes and save precious time, money and lives!

Confront time and become the author of your health.

Join these specialized classes NOW!

This could truly be a LIFE TRANSFORMING experience for you.

Let’s get started!

You can do it!

Natural, Safe, Drug-free, Effective

The program consists of a group-based practice led by a knowledgeable and experienced instructor.

Highlights of the Program 

  • Designed and researched by a well-trained, well-qualified doctor in Modern Medicine, equally qualified and well-conversant with Yoga and other alternative systems, who has studied as well as taught this all for almost three decades
  • A unique fusion of modern scientific enquiry and ancient sciences and wisdom
  • Three decades of diligent, systematic and painstaking study and clinical research
  • Based on asanas, mindfulness and breathing-based exercises which have been proven to heal, and some very specific postures, and more
  • One of the most effective routines for stress, anxiety, trauma, PTSD and other mental health issues.
  • A very well-designed, well-managed program, easy to comprehend and follow
  • Under supervision of one of the most qualified Yoga faculty in the world
  • Proper follow up program

Please check the schedule of workshop below:

Note: Please confirm the exact schedule with the Studio. Here are the details:

  • Location: 163 Concord Road London ON N6G 3H9
  • Formats: 3-Class Series
  • Days & Time:
    • Group Sessions: Tuesdays, from 7 to 8 pm, or
    • Private Sessions: By appointment
  • Cost:
    • Group Sessions: $150 for all 3 group sessions (+HST), or
    • Private Sessions: $499 for all 3 private sessions (+HST) 
  • Components of Class:
    • TRY© – Level 1 routine includes:
  • Simple Asanas (Yoga Postures)
  • Effective use of breath
  • Healing Mudras, and more…
  • Commitment:
    • A firm commitment to complete the program without missing any class (except in an emergency). Missed  classes will not be compensated.
    • In addition to the classes at studio, you should also follow the routine at home.
    • At the end of the one month program, continue the same practice at home or sign-up for further training. Continue this practice for better results.
  • Monitoring : To monitor improvement, you may get the following parameters checked before and after sessions:
    • Blood Pressure in mm Hg
    • Pulse rate/ minute
    • Respiratory Rate
    • Weight
    • Quality of Life form

Please wear comfortable clothing and bring a mat, a pen and journal. You may bring a blanket for cushioning as we will be lying on the floor during part of the class. Class is limited, so register early. Class not appropriate for pregnant women and heart patients (we have separate programs for them).


For registration and payment, please call 519-701-2609 or email


  • Your spot will be confirmed after receiving full payment on phone, online or in person at the studio.
  • Valid only for the sessions it is purchased for
  • Once booked, dates of workshop cannot be changed
  • Non-refundable, non-transferable
  • No cash-back or credit
  • No surrender value. 
  • Valid only if authorized by the studio

Redemption Instructions

  • To confirm your spot, please call or email, or come to the Studio.
  • Print and present this voucher.
  • Contact Studio for confirmation and for further instructions
  • Call at 519-701-2609 or email at

  Please contact us to book your spot. Please book your spot at the Studio (WE PREFER CASH AT THE STUDIO); your spot will be confirmed only after receiving full payment. We would love to hear any suggestions or comments that you might have. Space is limited and participation will be on a first-come-first-served basis. So respond early to participate in this exciting, life-transforming experience.   


Do you want to share all of the great benefits of a Trauma Release Yoga© classes to those who need it?

Help us bring Trauma Release Yoga©, a powerful healing tool, to more people. Connect within your OWN communities, on our behalf, to share this program with those who really need it.

You can help us!

Become a Trauma Release Yoga© Ambassador!

Trauma Release Yoga© Ambassadors are our team members who want more community agencies and organizations, and the individuals they serve, involved in our effective trauma healing yoga practice.

Are you interested in becoming an Ambassador?

To become an Ambassador, please send your current resume, work history, and brief outline of why and how you want to be involved. Please let us know any ideas you have on promoting our outreach programs. RYT 200 will be an asset.*

Once a team member, we’ll work together to bring this program to our communities, to those who really need it.

Please send an email to



Do I need my TRYP© Certification to be a Trauma Release Yoga©Ambassador? Do I need it to be a Teacher?

Ambassadors ARE NOT required to have their TRYP© Certification. If you would like to begin sharing information about our TRY© Program at clinics, hospitals, facilities and organizations, you can do so RIGHT NOW!

Teachers ARE required to have completed their TRYP© Certification. We’ll prefer Trauma Release Yoga©Ambassador to promote our programs.


What are the required components for my TRYP© Certification? Is Level 1A required?

Please check the details of TRYP© Certification here.


Will there be more of the required TRYP© Certification training classes available soon?

We are thrilled that so many of you have expressed interest in our TRYP© Certification!

Workshops will be offered periodically.

Please look for more detailed information in the coming weeks and months to register for these events.


Be compensated generously for building this initiative!

Be a team member and be useful to your community!

Thanks for this awesomeness!


Help us deliver Trauma Release Yoga© to our communities and the people who are most in need!  


Dr Jitender K Sahdev

Dr Jitender K Sahdev, 

President and Director of Teaching

Your Yoga Teacher Trainer – Dr Jitender K Sahdev E-RYT 500, RCYT, RPYT, D.Sc., Ph.D.,MD, MBBS, Fellow in Surgery and Surgical Oncology, is a Yoga Therapist /Yoga Teacher in London with over 51,000 hours of Traditional Yoga teaching experience. A Surgeon by profession from India, he utilizes Yoga as a complementary therapy, as well as stand-alone therapy. He trained under doyens of Yoga in India for almost four decades. He is a Yoga Therapist in Canada.


To learn more about Trauma, PTSD, Stress, Mental Health and Yoga, please click on the image below:


Looking at taking SAVY TRY© even further, and becoming a qualified Practitioner?

Join our SAVY TRY© Practitioner Training programme.

Click below to know more:

Trauma Release Yoga Practitioner


Note : DSBH Therapy ®, MBH Therapy® or TRY® has not been evaluated by Health Canada, US Food & Drug Administration or the American Medical Association. This technology does not claim to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Medical advice must only be obtained from a physician or qualified health practitioner. Results may vary between individuals. There are no guarantees, expressed, or implied.

You should check with your health care professional before starting this or any new therapy or exercise program or breathing routine. This is especially important if you have any pre-existing health conditions, such as high blood pressure, migraines or heart or lung ailments. Women who are pregnant or think they might be pregnant should consult their physician before performing any of the breathing or physical exercises or undertaking any therapy program.

< p style=”text-align: justify;”>The information contained in the program is not intended to serve as a replacement for professional medical advice. Any use of the information in these programs/ workshops is at the reader’s discretion, risk and responsibility. The studio, author and the publisher specifically disclaim any and all liability arising directly or indirectly from the use or application of any information contained herein. A health care professional should be consulted regarding your specific situation.    ‪#‎holistic ‪#‎complementary ‪#‎alternative #brain #naturally #breathingexercises #mindfulness #meditation #yoga #fibromyalgia #trauma #PTSD #Stress #Anxiety #mentalhealth

  • Dr Jitender K Sahdev holds the copyright for this program. Conditions apply.

HST applicable with all payments.

Jan 162015
Vipashyana or Vipassana

Vipashyana or Vipassana or Breath Awareness Meditation

A part of Dr Sahdev’s ‘Breathe and Heal’ Therapy (DSBH Therapy)

Vipashyana or Vipassana

Vipashyana, or Vipassana, or Breath Awareness Meditation, comes from the source of Yoga, the Vedas – the books of knowledge.

Rig Veda, handed over for thousands of years from generation to generation through shruti, and written in (?)1700 BC, mentions the technique of Vipashyana and is full of praise for Vipashyana in Mandala 10, Sukta 187, Rik 4 :

यो विश्वा॒भि वि॒पश्य॑ति॒ भुव॑ना॒ सं च॒ पश्य॑ति ।

स नः॑ पर्ष॒दति॒ द्विषः॑ ॥

yaḥ ǀ viśvā ǀ abhi ǀ vi-paśyati ǀ bhuvanā ǀ sam ǀ ca ǀ paśyati ǀ

saḥ ǀ naḥ ǀ parṣat ǀ ati ǀ dviṣaḥ ǁ

Yo vishvabhih vipashyati bhuvanah sam cha pashyati

sa nah parshadati dvishah.

One who practices Vipashyana in a perfect way, comes out of all aversion and anger – the mind becomes pure.

Vipashyana is a Sanskrit word. ‘Vi’ in Sanskrit is equivalent to the Latin ‘dis’.” ‘Pashya’ in Sanskrit means ‘to see’. The ‘vi’ in vipashyana may then mean to look into, look through or to see in a special way.’ The ‘vi’ can also function as an intensive, and thus vipashyana may mean ‘seeing deeply’. 

In Budhism, a synonym for ‘Vipassana’ is paccakkha (Pāli); this is a deformed sound of ‘pratyakṣha’ in Sanskrit,  which means ‘right in front of your eyes’, or, ‘what is very obvious’, refers to direct experiential perception. Thus, the type of seeing denoted by vipashyana is that of direct perception, as opposed to the knowledge derived from reasoning or argument. Its nature is a clarity of mind.

Mahatma Budha, a well-known exponent of this Yogic technique of Vipashyana, popularized this technique through his teachings. Bhante Henepola Gunaratana, a Sri Lankan Theravada Buddhist monk defined Vipassanā as:

Looking into something with clarity and precision, seeing each component as distinct and separate, and piercing all the way through so as to perceive the most fundamental reality of that thing”

Pranapanasmriti, or prAnapanasmriti (Sanskrit) , or Anapanasati (Pali) is mindfulness of breath. This is a core meditation practice which is simpler than, and a stepping stone to, Vipashyana. Pranapanasmriti or Anapanasmriti comes from Sanskrit word roots Prana (upward breath) + Apana (downward breath) + Smriti (memory, or to remember, or to be mindful of). So, this reminds one to focus on, and remember, or be mindful of, the breath! This is a part of most mindfulness programs based on breath awareness. But one has to practice these to derive the benefits; mere knowledge of the techniques is not enough!

More references to breath awareness meditation in Vedic literature and the importance of breath can be found here.

The Practice of Vipashyana or Vipassana or Breath Awareness Meditation

We humans are subject to innumerable limitations. We are imprisoned in the body and the stratosphere of the earth itself. We are slaves to the inevitability of sickness, age, and death – we have to face it at one or the other time. There is no-one who really controls his life fully, attains all his goals, and knows no setbacks of any kind! Meditation shows the way to self-awakening, the way to freedom from suffering and limitation.

We have lost awareness of our true Self through awareness of external objects, and become habituated, even addicted, to objective consciousness. Meditation shows us the way to remembrance and restoration. Meditation is the process of re-centering our awareness in the principle of pure consciousness which is our essential being. By focusing on breath – the meeting place of body, mind, and spirit, we can reverse our consciousness.

The breath is connected with body, emotions and mind – breath is calm when the body, emotions and mind are calm, and agitated or labored when these are agitated or labored. That is why we exhale heavily when we feel exhausted and inhale enthusiastically when feeling energized or exhilarated.

Breath exists on all planes of manifestation. Breath is external manifestation of Prana, the vital force. Breath is gross Prana. Breath is Sthula (gross), Prana is Sukshma (subtle). By exercising control over this breathing you can control the subtle Prana inside. Control of Prana means control of mind. Mind cannot operate without the help of Prana. The vibrations of Prana produce thoughts in the mind. Mind works because of Prana – it is Prana that sets the mind in motion. It is the Sukshma Prana that is intimately connected with the mind. Prana is the connecting link between annamaya kosha on one hand and manomaya kosha, vigyanamaya kosha and anandamaya kosha on the other hand, or, matter and energy on the one hand and consciousness and super consciousness on the other.


By sitting with closed eyes and letting the mind become easily absorbed in observing and experiencing the movements of the breath, we expand our consciousness to meet the eternal Super Consciousness. We start with awareness of the ordinary physical breath, but that awareness, cultivated correctly, leads us into higher awareness which enables us to perceive the subtle movement behind the breath. Perception moves from subtle to subtler, to the subtlest.

From Consciousness to Super Consciousness

According to Yoga philosophy, all that is manifest came into being consequent to imbalance in sattwa, rajas and tamas, and Prana is the essence of all that is manifest. Prana is present all over the universe both in macrocosm and microcosm. Prana is the sum total of all energy that is manifest in the universe, the sum total of all the forces in nature, the sum total of all latent forces and powers which are hidden in men and which lie everywhere around us. Proper flow of Prana in our bodies assures their healthy state.

Prana is a subtle energy arising from rajo guna. It works as an interface between gross and subtle body, enabling all the psychophysical functions. This sometimes leads to confusion of prana with jiva. Though closely connected, prana is witnessed by the jiva which is floating in prana in the heart cavity. Prana’s movement leads to jiva’s identification with the gross body. Mundaka Upanishad says (3.1.9):

esho anur atma cetasa veditavya yasmin pranah pancadha samvivesha
pranais cittamsattvam otam prajanam yasmin vishuddhe vibhavatyesha atma

“The atomic soul can be perceived by perfect intelligence as floating in the five kinds of life airs (prana, apana, vyana, samana and udana). When the consciousness (that pervades from the soul through the entire body) is purified from the contamination of the five kinds of material airs, its spiritual influence is exhibited.”

The breath is the evolutionary force which causes us to enter into relative existence and manifest therein until we evolve to the point where we are ready to return to our original status, purified. To turn back from the multiplicity of relativity and return to our original unity we must center our awareness in that primal impulse to duality which is manifesting most objectively as the process of our physical inhaling and exhaling. These seemingly two movements are in reality one, inseparable from one another, and together are capable of leading us back to the Super Consciousness. Through our full attention focused on the entire process of inhalation and exhalation, we become immersed in the subtler levels of that alternating cycle, moving into deeper and deeper levels until we reach the originating point.

Mindfulness and Breathing-Based Healing – Vipashyana, or Vipasana, or Breath Awareness Meditation (BAM)

MBH breath awareness from Jitender K Sahdev

Simple and easy

Breath Awareness Meditation is simple and easy because it goes directly to the root – loss of awareness. The root cause of suffering lies in the memories of the past, or the plans of the future. Awareness of breath brings us back to the moment. Also, Breath Awareness Meditation is so natural and spontaneous that it teaches us about itself–the actual practice, its meaning, purpose and effect. The more we practice, the more our spiritual intuition comes to the fore and becomes our instructor. Breath is your teacher!

Stages of Development

  1. Bring your awareness to the upper lip or below the nostrils. 
  2. Observe the breathing in and breathing out in the fixed area of the upper lip or below the nostrils. 
  3. Maintain your attention in this area and gently bring your awareness back to this area if you are distracted. 
  4. Be a neutral observer.  Notice the temperature of the breaths, sensations below the nostrils or upper lip, and the rhythm while simply observing them.
  5. If you are not able to maintain your awareness in the fixed area, then:
    1. In the first stage, you can use counting to stay focused on the breath. After the exhale you count one, then you breathe in and out and count two, and so on up to ten, and then you start again at one.
    2. In the second stage, you subtly shift where you breathe, counting before the inhale, anticipating the breath that is coming, but still counting from one to ten, and then starting again at one.
    3. In the third stage you drop the counting and just watch the breath as it comes in and goes out.
    4. In the final stage the focus of concentration narrows and sharpens, so you pay attention to the subtle sensation on the tip of the nose where the breath first enters and last leaves the body.

The practice of Breath Meditation

  1. Sit comfortably, relaxed, with back and neck straight. 
  2. If you wear glasses, take them off.
  3. Place your left hand with palm facing up on your lap and place your right hand (palm up) on top of your left palm. Or, place your hands on your knees or thighs, palms up or down, or resting, one on the other, in your lap. 
  4. No background music – silence is the utmost important.
  5. Turn your eyes slightly downward and close them gently. Just closing your eyes reduces your brain-wave activity by about 75%, thus helping to calm the mind.
  6. Your mouth should be closed so all breathing is done through the nose. This, too, aids in quieting the mind. Mouth closed, jaw relaxed, so the upper and lower teeth are not clenched or touching one another, but parted a little.
  7. Inhale and exhale slowly and deeply three or four times, feeling the inhaling and exhaling breath moving in and out through your nostrils.
  8. Now breathe naturally and easy, keeping your awareness at the fixed spot, or on counting, as the case may be, feeling the breath as it flows in and out of your nostrils. Do not follow the breath in and out of your body, but just be aware of the breath movement sensation at the fixed spot.
  9. Keeping your awareness at the one spot, breathe naturally and calmly, observing the sensation of the breath moving there throughout all your inhalations and exhalations. This enables you to enter effortlessly into witnessing your breath.
  10. Do this for the rest of the meditation, letting your awareness rest gently on the breath at the chosen spot, and feeling the sensations of the breath moving there. After a while it may feel as though the breath is flowing in and out the spot more than the actual nostrils, or you may not feel the spot at all – just the breath moving at the location of the point. That is perfectly alright, but the focus of your attention should be only at that point–not somewhere else either outside or inside the body.
  11. Let the breath be. If the breath is naturally long, let it be so. If it is short, let it be so. If the inhalations and exhalations are of unequal length, that is just fine. Let the breath be natural and unforced, and just observe and experience it. In time, your breath will become more subtle and refined, and slow down. Sometimes your breath can become so light that it almost seems as though you are not breathing at all. At such times you may perceive that your inhaling and exhaling are more like a magnetic pull or flow in and out instead of actual breath movements. This occurs as the subtle life force (prana) that produces the breath switches back and forth in polarity from positive to negative. It is also normal for your breath awareness to move back and forth from more objective to more subtle and back to more objective.
  12. Sometimes the subtle breath is silent, but at other times you will inwardly “hear” the breath making sounds as it moves in and out. These will not be actual physical sounds, but very subtle mental sounds. They may be like the sounds made by forceful or heavy inhalation and exhalation; whatever they may be, just be calmly aware of them while staying centered on the breath.
  13. The breath is a kind of barometer of the subtle energies of body and mind. Sometimes it is very smooth, light and easy, and at other times it feels heavy, even constricted, or clogged, sticky, ragged, uneven, and generally uncomfortable and somehow feels ‘not right’. When this occurs, do not try to interfere with it or ‘make it better’. Rather, just relax and be calmly aware and let it be as it is. If you do this, the problem in the subtle energy levels which the breath is reflecting will correct itself and the breath will become easy and pleasant.
  14. In Breath Meditation we only focus our awareness on the breath at fixed spot, and not on any other point of the body. However, as you meditate you may become aware of one or more areas of your body at different times. Stay centered on your breath.
  15. Thoughts, impressions, memories, inner sensations, and the like may arise during meditation. Be calmly aware of all these things in a detached and objective manner. Let them come and go as they will, but keep your attention centered on the tip of the nose and your breath moving there. Be indifferent to any inner or outer phenomena. Breath Meditation produces peace, awareness and quiet joy in your mind as well as soothing radiations of energy in the physical and subtle bodies. Be calmly aware of all these things in a detached and objective manner–they are part of the transforming effect of meditation, and are perfectly alright, but keep your attention centered on your breath. Even though something feels very right or good when it occurs, it should not be forced or hung on to. It is not the experience we are after, but the effect.
  16. If you find yourself getting restless, distracted, fuzzy, anxious or tense, just inhale and exhale slowly and deeply a few times, feeling the inhaling and exhaling breath moving in and out through your nostrils, at the same time feeling that you are releasing and breathing out all tensions. Then resume meditation as before. Relaxation is the key to successful meditation practice.
  17. Keep in mind that Breath Meditation basically consists of being aware in a relaxed and easy manner of your breath as it moves in and out at the fixed spot.

At the end of your meditation, keep on being calmly aware of your breath moving in and out of your nose as you go about your various routine activities. In this way you can continue in the calm and clear state of meditation.

In between, in your meditation, it is good to check three things:

  1. Am I aware of the chosen spot?
  2. Am I continuously experiencing the movement or energy-flow of the breath at or in the chosen spot?
  3. Am I aware of the breath movement throughout the entire duration of each inhalation and exhalation?

These are the essential points of Breath Meditation.

Recommended Frequency and Duration:

  • Week 1: 10 minute meditation – 2 times a day (morning and evening)
  • Week 2: 20 minute meditation -2 times a day (morning and evening)
  • Week 3: 30 minute meditation – 2 times a day (morning and evening)


Certification Test:

For Certificate (for CEU’s or DBE), you can apply for online Certification Test. Please contact office for the Certification Test Request Form. Completed form is to be submitted along with,

  • Certification Test Fee ($120, plus HST), and,
  • Log sheets with one week practice record.

Please download Log sheets by clicking at the links:


Please click here to go to Free Mindfulness and Breathing – Based Healing E-Course (A part of DSBH Therapy) Post


Primordial Sound Meditation

Please click here to visit Primordial Sound Meditation post.

Got a problem? – Just GROW*!

Click here to check this program.


To learn more about mindfulness and breathing based free e-course and the science behind it, and to attend live workshop, please contact us.


Note : You should check with your health care professional before starting this or any new exercise program or breathing routine. This is especially important if you have any pre-existing health conditions, such as high blood pressure, migraines or heart or lung ailments. Women who are pregnant or think they might be pregnant should consult their physician before performing any of the breathing or physical exercises.

The information contained in the program is not intended to serve as a replacement for professional medical advice. Any use of the information in these programs/ workshops is at the reader’s discretion, risk and responsibility. The studio, author and the publisher specifically disclaim any and all liability arising directly or indirectly from the use or application of any information contained herein. A health care professional should be consulted regarding your specific situation.

Dec 272014
Mindfulness and Breathing Based Healing


(Mindfulness and Breathing E-Course based on Dr Sahdev’s ‘Breathe and Heal’ Therapy)

Mindfulness and Healing 

We are so excited to present this Mindfulness and Breathing E-Course to you!

What is this Mindfulness and Breathing course about?

What do Mindfulness and Breathing do? As science has shown, the function of frontal cortex (FC) involves intuition, long term memory, the ability to recognize future consequences resulting from current actions, the choice between good and bad, the override and suppression of socially unacceptable responses, and the determination of similarities and differences between things or events. The frontal lobes play an important role in retaining memories associated with emotions derived from input from the brain’s limbic system and modify those emotions to generally fit socially acceptable norms.

Executive functions of optimal intelligence, functionality and wellness have been specifically linked to a highly active and energized DLPFC (dorso-lateral pre-frontal cortex, a part of frontal cortex). DLPFC, together with other connected areas of the brain, is assumed to be important in working memory and executive function, including the regulation of thinking and action: the dorsal pathway, which is primarily supported by the parietal cortex, attempts to ascertain which responses should be executed, called the how system. The ventral pathway, which is significantly supported by the temporal cortex, attempts to characterize the features and attributes of the stimuli in the environment, sometimes called the what system.

Mindfulness and Breathing-based Healing (MBH)

Practiced and perfected by Yogis in India for thousands of years, the techniques of yoga asanas (yoga postures), pranayama (breathing exercises), dhyana (meditation) and other techniques were handed down from generation to generation. These techniques have a profound positive effect on health. Several scientific studies have already corroborated their significance and more studies are pouring in with each passing day! A recent study on effect of meditation in breast cancer patients has confirmed the effect of meditation on chromosomes.

There is a scientific, time-proven and natural way to activate, awaken, energize and sustain high cerebral as well as DLPFC functioning: this method of meditation and contemplation based on mindfulness, breathing exercises, and more, involves systematic awareness of all levels of our being, including actions/senses, body, breath, mind, finally resting in the awareness of the Self, which becomes one with the universal consciousness. This mindfulness and breathing based  ‘Breathe and Heal’ Therapy has been developed on the basis of ancient yogic wisdom combined with modern methodology of scientific research and clinical investigation. Based on proven techniques, more work is on and is being scientifically verified; it is in complete agreement with both, yoga and medical wisdom.

Based on effective mindfulness and breathing techniques, validated by the stringent test of time and the millions who tried them, and backed and refined by my almost three decades of clinical experience in main-stream Medicine, Surgical Oncology, Neurosurgery and other Super Specialities at premier medical institutes in India, study and work in other Alternative Medicine and Yoga, and an input of thousands of hours of educated and qualified clinical research and its deep analysis in India, these breathing and other techniques have been proved to actually deliver! It is a true breakthrough course based on yoga as a neuro-endo-physiological science for integral/holistic personal transformation. Professionals experienced and well-versed in yoga resonate the same, and recognize its potential for consciousness and transformation work.


Practiced diligently, Mindfulness and Breathing-Based Healing e-course will take you towards complete balance in body, mind and spirit. Helping you overcome physical, psychological and mental ailments is one of the main objectives of the course; more awareness and awakened living, increased intuitive creativity and enhanced higher brain functioning can be some of the advanced benefits of this course. Eventually, this method of meditation and contemplation leads to expansion of consciousness and awakening to the ever peaceful, joyous center of your being. This can help with relationship issues, conflict, anger, PTSD, communication, addiction etc. It can help you find your voice and identify, understand and work through barriers that keep you stuck. The benefits are unlimited….

This introductory  free e-course course on Mindfulness and Breathing-Based Healing is designed to be the beginning of that journey, and to the fact that yoga really is the way towards greater, expanded consciousness. Some of the benefits are:

  • Anxiety Reduction
  • Stress Management
  • Better Focus, Concentration & Memory
  • Better Creativity
  • Speed Learning
  • Positive Attitude
  • Confidence Building
  • Management of Depression, other Mood Disorders
  • Energy Boosting
  • Physical Health
  • Psychic Development
  • Sleep Improvement

As a physician with almost three decades of experience in Medicine and more than that in Yoga and Yoga Therapy, I have been really impressed with the results I could get with these techniques. It’s my mission to share my experience and knowledge with one and all, especially students and also my colleagues in Health, Yoga, Holistic Health, Alternative Medicine, Mental Health, Addictions Recovery, Life Coaching and Leadership fields.

Who is this course for?

This free e-course is for everyone!

This  free e-course is designed for professionals as well as layman.

  • Yoga Teachers
  • Yoga Teacher Trainees
  • Those who are planning to opt for Yoga teaching as a career
  • Serious as well as non-serious students of Yoga
  • Health Professionals and all those related with Health field
  • Medics and Paramedics
  • Executives/ Office-goers/ Administrators
  • Students
  • Anybody interested in maintaining/ regaining good health


  • This five-hour course will be credited towards non-contact hours in DSBH Breathing Educator-MBH Program (DBE-MBH).
  • Yoga professionals can apply for a certificate for non-contact CEU’s at a non-refundable fee of $120 (+HST). For this, along with the fee, you can submit the practice sheet and a one page description of what you learned and how you will be incorporating what you learned into your life.
  • Professionals from other fields should check with their regulatory bodies first. To get a certificate they can follow the same procedure as Yoga professionals.

Joint Ventures

In the coming times, we are going to train more and more people in these Mindfulness and Breathing –based Healing techniques, set up joint ventures with yoga clinics, hospitals, studios, schools, organizations etc. If you are interested, we would love to hear from you.

Go to Free Mindfulness and Breathing – Based Healing E-Course (A part of DSBH Therapy) Page

If you would like to learn more about this healing course and the science behind it, and would consider certification, please go to the page and register.

 To participate in an In-Studio or Online Workshop of MBH/ DSBH-I, please click here

Or Contact Us

Note : You should check with your health care professional before starting this or any new exercise program or breathing routine. This is especially important if you have any pre-existing health conditions, such as high blood pressure, migraines or heart or lung ailments. Women who are pregnant or think they might be pregnant should consult their physician before performing any of the breathing or physical exercises.

The information contained in the program is not intended to serve as a replacement for professional medical advice. Any use of the information in these programs/ workshops is at the reader’s discretion, risk and responsibility. The studio, author and the publisher specifically disclaim any and all liability arising directly or indirectly from the use or application of any information contained herein. A health care professional should be consulted regarding your specific situation.

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