Yoga & Mindfulness may enhance PTSD treatment


July 19, 2013

Mindfulness interventions are safe, inexpensive and effective adjuncts to posttraumatic stress disorder treatment, according to Marina Khusid, MD, ND, MSA, who recently published an article on the subject in the July issue of Psychiatric Annals. The article is the last of a seven-part series on the use of complementary and alternative medicine in the treatment of PTSD.

Mindfulness-based approaches rapidly grow in popularity and are increasingly employed to treat a number of mental health conditions,” said Khusid, a member of the clinical faculty at the department of family medicine, University of Illinois at Chicago.
Marina Khusid, MD, ND, MSA Marina Khusid

In her article, Khusid explores four types of mindfulness techniques that have the most supportive evidence for their use: mindfulness meditation, mantram repetition, yoga, and relaxation response training.

Although the evidence base is not robust enough to recommend either one as a first-line treatment for PTSD, these techniques can be integrated with more traditional, proven interventions, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy.

According to Khusid, mindfulness encourages veterans to self-manage their care, shifting treatment responsibility from the clinician to the patient. Recent data suggest that self-help strategies have been effective in treating patients with PTSD and anxiety disorders.

Khusid said mindfulness encourages treatment compliance and helps alleviate symptoms associated with the disorder.

“Mindfulness-based interventions decrease avoidance behaviors and negative ruminative thought patterns, improve emotion regulation and impulse control, and encourage self-compassion and successful re-integration into civilian life,” she said.

Khusid mentioned that there are currently three times as many clinical trials of mindfulness interventions for PTSD registered with the federal government compared with 2010, indicating a growing interest in the field.

“Mindfulness-based approaches are acceptable in veterans and service members, safe, easy to learn, portable and cost-effective, with encouraging preliminary results in clinical and neuroimaging studies,” she said. “Engaging patients in a patient-centered collaborative care model through use of mindfulness approaches to self-manage their chronic mental illness may lead to increased levels of functioning, improved health outcomes, and decreased health care costs.”

Disclosure: Khusid reports no relevant financial disclosures.

extra: Meditation helps dealing with PTSD for African refugees.



Vinyasa Krama-rama-rama

Settledown in your conscious sequence

Years go by, step by step, breath after breath… You once stepped from one train into another. From childhood into youth. From youth into adolescence and right hop, hop… into maturity. From high school into university into your job into another job and hop on another train. The Vinyasa is the element that sews together the various moments in a sequence of (life) changes. It is like the string on which beads are strung for a Mala. The linking may be of two types: the conscious one or the unconscious. Do you ever stop yourself? Change is always occurring – even when you’re not running. Usually a sequence of changes is linked by unconsciousness; or in other words, the conscious mind doesn’t seem to perceive this. The yogi is able to perceive the moment-to-moment sequence of changes past, present, and future. When one perceives clearly both the instigation and the outcome of moment-to-moment changes, one can choose to undertake a sequence of actions that has a conscious end point and will have a particular effect.

This will be the first post in 2012. The first one in a series of monthly focus. In this first post. Tale a minute to stand still.

Listen: Click to Listen

Are you a reflective person? Did you think of what you did last year? Are you satisfied? What could you have done different? Did you help others ? Did you do the good things for the good reasons? Do you have regrets? Do you like the train you’re in? Enjoying the ride? Is your sequence of changes conscious? It’s time to still the mind to reflect and change. What are your new year resolutions? Did you really be honest thinking of those? Are these really changes you want to make? ‘You are the change that you like to see in this world!’

Happy New You! Anneke

www.thehouseflove.nl twitter: @Yoga_Amsterdam

Happy Mukti Day!

It’s Mukti Day!

(Mukti in Sanskrit: मुक्ति, literally “release” -both from a root muc “to let loose, let go”- is the liberation from samsara)

Another sunny day in Amsterdam, Liberationday.
It’s celebrated each year on May 5th, to mark the end of the occupation by Nazi Germany during World War II. For many it means it’s time for yet another party, and for me it is not. Or well…. depends what you consider a party.

Since my washing machine start button broke a couple of weeks ago, I chose to add some stress in my life by complaining about this button to Stijn, my boyfriend, and piling up responsibility for it on his chest. (why?) I thought that was a good idea, it would fix the problem fast… but nothing was less true. I would bring my Dirty Laundry to cozy gatherings, cause others do have a working machine and free to use by me. Dragging my stuff from North to South and back. It does the job.

But, inspired by the powerful teachings yesterday night by Sogyal Rinpoche, a Tibetan Dzogchen Lama of the Nyingma tradition*, I liberated myself from some layers by being mindful.

My day started with The Yoga of Washing Laundry. Quarter past nine in the morning. After emptying a bucket I was opening the tap aware of the wrinkles on my forehead that I was letting go just a moment later. After adding some detergent I filled up the bucket in the kitchen, hearing the clatter of the water, feeling what the right temperature would be. Feeling the warm wooden floor under my feet while I walked this bucket to the bathroom and felt the change of sensation of the footpad when the wooden floor become cold tiles. I washed and I rinsed. Until the water stayed clear and clean. Never knew black socks and leggings became this dusty. What a sweet feeling of water on the feet, washing your own clothes by hand, feeling it’s pretty tough as well. Feeling particular muscles in my back that I am using during this activity. I am realizing how ‘lucky’ or a better word spoiled we are by having well working washing machines who do the job for us. Why? ‘Cause doing it by hand takes a lot of time.’ Hmm. Wasn’t really the case. I didn’t feel like I ‘lost’ time this morning. My clothes got clean and they smell absolutely fresh now.

I remember well, the ladies in Thailand, Cambodia or Laos who wash their clothes by hand daily. Also I remember Damescene very well. My friend and guard I met in Rwanda last summer. He washed mine and many many pieces by hand. Day after day. I know we live in this society where washing machines are ‘normal’ but it wouldn’t hurt nobody to just sometimes, wash your clothing by hand. As an exercise, of being mindful. And for fun!

Sogyal explained meditation yesterday. He said being not distracted, fully aware and present – whatever you then experience is meditation.

He added that distraction is the root of all problem. And the senses are a source of distraction, it’s hard to just let them ‘be’. So, especially in the beginning of meditation practice, it’s possible to use them: by hear well, smell the fullest and gaze in awareness…. Listen to a mantra, gaze at a Buddha statue for example. It’s taming your own (monkey) mind. His Buddhist words are so comparable to Yogic words. He was talking about space. Creating space, giving space! Space to your self, your ideas.. your mind. In Yoga we create space in the body, the mind. To breath and just be. He said:’ Never give up, give space’. ‘Be spacious, centered and open’. ‘Become friends with yourself, your mind’…. (And your Dirty Laundry and broken electronics ^^)

And after we danced…

Mukti, Mukti, Mukti!  Anneke

* He has been teaching for over 30 years and he is also the founder and spiritual director of ‘Rigpa‘ and the author of the best-selling book The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying.