There usually isn't time for a long, intensive yoga session when stress, anger, fear and anxiety strike. Heather Hagaman knows that, not just from her expertise in yoga therapy for trauma treatment but also from her 21 years in recovery. But an essential concept of yoga—tuning in to your body—can be practiced at any time, in any setting. Hagaman joined All Sober from her Beloved Yoga studio in Reston, Virginia, on the Sept. 28 episode of our Talk Sober interview and video series, to tell us more.
"Trauma-informed therapy is about learning how to pause when we are bombarded by unpleasant emotions, learning how to pause and befriend our body," Hagaman said. During the segment, which aired on Facebook Live, she guided us through two methods for dealing with flare-ups of these difficult, triggering emotions. The first, HALT, is an assessment tool: Am I hungry, angry, anxious, lonely or tired? The second, PAUSE, is a quick way to "self-regulate through breath and movement." You can do it alone, or discreetly, in the company of others; you don't even need to stand.
PAUSE stands for Pursed-lips exhale, Anchor into the body, Use an affirmation and Stabilize Emotions. It's a simple routine of deep breathing; touching, flexing and massaging the body; and talking through the moment in your head—combining sensations of physical presence with mental reassurances. PAUSE addresses a straightforward need for people in recovery, said Hagaman. "When I'm triggered, I start to do what I used to do. But how can I move away from the craving for the habit to using the PAUSE tool? How can I go to my body and reclaim my body in this healing process?"
Learn more about Hagaman's practice of trauma-informed yoga therapy, find out how to PAUSE, and grab a screenshot of Hagaman's tip sheet for next time you need to do it. Plus, follow All Sober on Facebook for more live segments coming up! In previous episodes, we've covered pharma crime in the opioid epidemic, recovery and music, and drug sentencing reform.