Healing from the Inside Out
**This is the third guest blog in a series of posts by the 2018 JuST Faith Summit speakers. Check back for new posts highlighting the critical topics that will be featured at this year’s Faith Summit. 2018 was held at Bethel University in St. Paul, Minnesota, for this exciting Summit. Visit this link to see the full agenda and lineup of speakers.
By Michelle Thielen, R-CYAMT, Founder, YogaFaith International, Complex Trauma Specialist
During the second session with a new therapist, she told me to close my eyes and “just breathe”. I remember thinking okay, today might be the day that I could actually do either of these things in the presence of someone else. I was terrified to try. If I could only do one of these things it would be incredible, and I know she was only trying to help me, but she was asking me to the two things I dread the most.
I have been unable to close my eyes unless I’m alone, exhausted and going to sleep.
Every time I hear the word ‘breathe’ I cringe.
My abusers would always tell me to “just close my eyes and breathe”. I heard this everyday for I don’t even know how many years. I don’t want to close my eyes. I don’t want to breathe.
Today the word breath or breathe remind me of the days I was immobile and being sexually assaulted day after day, night after night. The smell of alcohol and the breath in my ears.
I don’t want to close my eyes.
I don’t want to breathe.
Many survivors can identify with feelings and experiences like this survivor’s story. This is why many of our trauma students have found the unity of breath with body movement, along with the focus on Scripture meditations and Christ, very therapeutic and healing.
At YogaFaith we want to help survivors as well as equip others to aid in the healing efforts on a local and global scale. So often the attempts to help are innocent and good, but the truth is that we must handle all types of trauma with loving care so as to not cause triggers or create more trauma.
So often the attempts to help are innocent and good, but the truth is that we must handle all types of trauma with loving care so as to not cause triggers or create more trauma.
Every person and every trauma is unique. Connecting breath with body, as you see in this person’s story, requires that we must take a different approach to interoception (the sense that helps you understand and feel what’s going on inside your body). We used other words for breath with this student such as; inhale, airflow, exhale and air. At YogaFaith we have the freedom to talk about Holy Spirit, because Spirit means breath and inspiration, we can say things such as; “Bring in His Spirit, inhale inspiration, inhale Spirit.”
YogaFaith has had the incredible opportunity to help hundreds of trafficked and abused survivors all around the world. Because poverty breeds human trafficking, we have traveled to many third world countries to visit and assist with trafficked survivors as young as five years old. In many cases, the mothers are the ones to sell their daughters to attempt to find a way to survive. Though these facts are difficult to understand and heartbreaking, they happen every single day. One needs not have to go to a third world country; these things are happening in our own backyards in America
When we combine healing and somatic experiences with Jesus at the center of all we do, survivors of trafficking and other types of trauma can find true healing through the blood of Christ.
In Acts 17:28 scripture declares that we live, breathe, move and have our being in and through Christ. Matthew 22:37 Jesus says, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind”.
This whole body worship is what we have the privilege and honor to introduce to survivors of various types of trauma of all ages, shapes, gender, color, and religions.
Survivors are introduced to a man named Jesus for the very first time, or they reconnect with Him. Our prayer is that through the postures of prayer, breath work and time together, they find true healing, peace and joy. We have observed this so many times and there is nothing quite like it. We see smiles and hear laughter. We hear the word “Hallelujah” sung with songs playing in what is usually a foreign language to who we are working with.
God is so great and He is the Master Physician.
Nothing is impossible with Him.
Healing from the Inside Out session at JuST Faith Summit will provide simple, real and practical methods to connect broken fragments of the self that happen with trauma. We will explore interoception, connection internally with self and God, and externally with others.
3 Things You Can Do in Response:
- Pray for all the abused and their abusers. [Even the abusers are made in the image of God]
- Ask God to show how He wants to use you specifically.
- Donate to any organization on the Front Lines.
- Attend the JuST Faith Summit Enjoy a night of incredible worship, amazing day sessions and experience Trauma Sensitive YogaFaith with Founder Michelle Thielen (next one is in 2021)
- Attend any of YogaFaith’s Trauma Sensitive Teacher Training programs
- Attend a YogaFaith mission trip to work with traffick survivors in third-world countries.
- Be introduced to YogaFaith and Michelle’s work by listening to Michelle’s Presentation from Shared Hope’s JuST Summit 2018, Healing From the Inside Out and receive a continued education hour