Mandela, boxing, yoga, the tango and trauma

Trauma expert, Bessel van der Kolk, was also an advisor on the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission. On one occasion he met Mandela and asked him what he attributed his deep mindfulness to. Mandela answered: “boxing”. Mandela said you had to really watch the other person, know where your body was and anticipate. Van der Kolk added: “Traumatised people are always reacting to the wrong thing. He said boxing, martial arts, the tango are all outstanding treatment. The brain has to be retrained, attuned to what other people are doing…When you are traumatised you don’t want to feel.”

He said research done on yoga and its effect on trauma proved it was more effective than any medication that has been studied. “When you do yoga you feel your body and it brings up feelings. It helps give you the courage to face your sensations…It’s safe to experience yourself. It’s contained.”

Van der Kolk was one of the first to do controlled studies on Prozac and Zoloft.

Present day healing must always consider the whole person. “Body-mind dimorphism is over,” said Van Der Kolk. 

The modern psychology tool, eutaptics, is a comprehensive, holistic mind-body modality. Tapping also helps you feel deeply into your body and create mindfulness. To quote Dr Gabor Maté, we are bio-psycho-social-spiritual creatures. Everything is connected! We Tap on pain. We Tap on emotions. We Tap on sensations that come up in the body during a session. (This takes place after we capture critical information from the client) It’s a safe environment to allow emotions to bubble up. We have techniques to allow the surfacing and letting go of big traumas, safely. People that Tap regularly on themselves reduce their cortisol levels and become attuned to how they are feeling emotionally and physically. They become aware of triggers and their origins (always childhood). They have a tool to readjust negative emotions and reach for calm. 

Nelson Mandela, the late South African leader, enjoyed boxing and long-distance running in his youth. Even during the 27 years he spent in prison, he would exercise every morning.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s