A Modern Āyurvedic View of Trauma in light of Bhūta Vidya

Āyurveda and yoga therapy (yoga chikitsa) have an integrated mind-body approach to health and healing which indicates that somatic therapies are generally more effective in treating trauma. Āyurveda has three types of psycho-physiological constitutions that influence the personality, each of which processes traumatic experiences differently. Then there is the prāṇic movement of body-mind which is the main root of healing from trauma. Then there are mental capacities which are part of the innate nature (svabhāva) and have qualities of their own, similar to the variation of body shapes and sizes in people. Trauma is rooted in the prāṇic movement within the person, which then creates imbalances in the physical body and the higher mental capacities.

In Āyurveda and yoga therapy there is a much broader concept of prāṇa than is normally translated into English. The mind (affect-emotion and thought process) is prāṇa. Breath (life force) is also prāṇa as there is mind in the body with breath and no mind without breath. Therefore, prāṇa is also physical, emotional and mental movement/change. The way prāṇa works with the affect-emotion-thought process is that when we feel love our heart area feels warm, as this is the location this type of emotion is generated from. When we take a moment and think about someone we really love fondly, we can feel the chest open up and grow warm. We can also take a moment to think about something that we are really worried about and feel our stomach (samāna prāṇa) get disturbed. If we think about a sexual image, the genital organs get filled with blood.

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