Peter Levine’s work is about how trauma is primarily a biological phenomenon.
1) Bringing mindfulness to what we are experiencing in our bodies, and being able to identify where in our bodies we feel a sensation, can be a powerful first step to identifying trauma or in allowing our bodies to cycle through varying states of arousal.
2) “Trauma” can come from anywhere – a sudden action or a situation over time. It can be any circumstance in which we feel unsafe and our body responds accordingly. Many people hold trauma in the body from a fender-bender or a fall.
3) We’ve heard about the Fight or Flight response and The Relaxation Response. Did you know that there’s a third one? The immobility response is another bodily reaction we may do for survival – aimed at protecting us at times of extreme stress. I’ve heard this called “Fight, Flight, or Freeze” sometimes.
4) We respond the way animals do. This book is full of really cool visualizations where we imagine ourselves predator and prey. These practices may be empowering in addressing past trauma.
I listened to this as an audiobook – which is nice for the meditations. Very cool book – available on amazon in various formats of course — hopefully you can find a used copy or something tree-free altogether! Levine has a more recent and thorough book, In an Unspoken Voice.
Content from Levine’s work is part of the curriculum in training teachers for yoga outreach programs such as Y.O.G.A. for Youth.