I am an advocate for Mindful Yoga Therapy. Maybe a little more of an advocate as I am on the team. MYT has a guiding principle of; "Support Precedes Action!" In other words, with little to no support, you will not be able to take action. That action could be anything from making progress in your relationship, yoga practice, therapy, self-care...the list could go on. Support comes in several different forms as well. Gravity is a pretty good support! Friends, encouragement, and even self are all forms of support.
Taking the support to an energetic level, the first chakra (Muladhara) is key. It is often called the Root Chakra, or Earth Chakra. It makes sense that MYT would highlight the need of support, which often comes from feeling "grounded" when working with Veterans with PTSD. You see, the first chakra is the foundation of emotional and mental health. The first chakra also deals with family, or Tribe and the need to be a part of a family/tribe. Research has suggested that previous trauma (family/tribe) is associated with a greater risk of PTSD. (Department of Psychiatry, Henry Ford Health System, Detroit, MI, USA.) Energetic-Public Math would then suggest, that when the first chakra is healthy, so too is the person, and if there are any family/tribal issues, then it is the first chakra we need to address.
I suffer from the gripes of PTSD. Coincidentally, I have family/tribal issues. I have also just finished a 16-week Cognitive Behavioral Therapy course with my local VA. I have been in and out of therapy for the better part of the past 10 years. I've been practicing yoga since 1999, and meditating on a consistent basis for the past three years. (See Save A Warrior) This last session was pretty amazing. I was really able to identify that most of the crap I've been dealing with were really just illusions. Additionally, I was able to boil down my concerns into manageable concepts. One of which belongs right here...in the first chakra. As a Veteran, I know what it means to live by a code. We all do actually, like it or not, our parents or who ever raised us instilled a since of values in us. (Tribal code) However, in the military, the code...that honor code is taken to a whole other level.
Personally, I have been struggling with this honor code. The effects of PTSD can do this to you. Safety, support, loyalty, bonding, and an identity (beyond the military) were all playing games with my mind. Energetically speaking, they were taking my energy away. This caused me to feel alone, not a member of my tribe and eventually, serious bouts of depression. Over time, this energy struggle has effected other parts of my life and other chakras. Luckily for me, and I do consider myself lucky, I have an amazing wife and a solid yoga/meditation practice. Additionally, I have always had a thirsty desire to continually evaluate my spiritual and biological needs. Albeit sometimes, I had no motivation to actually take action on my findings. Which leads right back to 'Support Precedes Action,' and the first chakra.
Rolf Gates often says during his classes that you have to root down to reach even higher. In the moment of the class you might just think he is talking about the position of your foot or other body part. The MYT practice encourages you to feel grounded and to yield. If you take a moment to dive a little deeper into both of these you might come to see that by rooting down you are becoming grounded...you are connecting to the first power you learned, the Tribal Power, a sense of safety and connection. These conditions are in fact very supportive. Maybe even you can connect yielding to a desire to explore your own cognitive powers, creative abilities, and even authority. (to change actions)
I've been playing around with a saying in my mind the past week: Is there truth in symbolism and is there symbolism in truth? That my friends is a DEEP question. One that I am sure would take a lifetime or longer to answer. However, I believe it is important at the very least to contemplate. This healing...this journey that you, your friend, loved one, and I are all on...is very painful. It is not easy to evaluate our spiritual/personal beliefs. TRUST ME! The past 16 weeks have been extremely taxing. Chance or coincidence I have been very sick these past 16 weeks. It takes dedication and a desire to be well again. Caroline Myss calls it a feeling of "ALL IS ONE!" There is a number again. ONE! FIRST! OR...BOTTOM, ROOT. Coincidence? WHO CARES!
In order for you, me, us to find healing, we must start somewhere. Why not the first chakra. I contest that it will aid in developing or re-focusing your Honor Code, your sense of tribe and your sense of self. (esteem) By doing so, you are rooting down to reach even higher...you in fact will feel more supportive so that you can take action. Maybe even move into another chakra.