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“My Grandmother’s Hands” | Review by Mary Gavin: CO Yoga + Life Magazine

"My Grandmother’s Hands by Resmaa Menakem is a body-centered pathway to healing the effects of trauma and our interactions with one another. Menakem highlights experiences throughout the course of history to offer a deeper understanding of how inherited trauma affects the nervous system. While focusing specifically on Black, brown, white and police bodies, he gives tangible tools that inspire inquiry and cultivate a sense of safety and connection. As we heal our own nervous systems, we are more able to harmonize with one another. But, harmony with one another must begin within each of our bodies first.

As a trauma specialist, Menakem begins by specifying that trauma is alive in the body as subconscious impulses and reactions. These impulses and reactions are controlled by the limbic system or “lizard brain,” which serves as a survival impulse.

“Our bodies have a form of knowledge that is different from our cognitive brains. This knowledge is typically experienced as a felt sense of constriction or expansion, pain or ease, energy or numbness. Often, this knowledge is stored in our bodies as wordless stories about what is safe and what is dangerous,” he explains.

We may not consciously think that a person or situation is a threat to our survival, but our bodies may react that way even when there is no real threat. If the body feels unsafe or agitated, cognitive thinking alone may not be enough to settle the nervous system. In short, we cannot think our way into feeling safe in our own bodies, let alone feeling safe and settled around one another."...

Full Article: Winter + Spring 2021-22 CO Yoga + Life Magazine

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