How yoga and meditation specifically helped me in my recovery from sociopath abuse

It’s been 32 months since I first stepped onto a yoga mat. I began my practice 8 months after I escaped the sociopath and a few months shy of my 40th birthday. These are just a few of the benefits I directly attribute to my regular, on-going yoga practice:

>>Within 3 days of beginning my yoga practice, I stopped taking my daily over-the-counter pain relief pill for a knee injuring I had sustained 10 years prior. I am able to walk, skip, climb stairs, and carry my son with ease.

>>Within 3 weeks, I stopped binging and purging. I had been suffering from bouts of bulimia for nearly 20 years following struggles overcoming teenage dating violence/abuse at 18.

>>Within 2 months, my blood pressure (BP) became normal and stable. During my pregnancy in 2005, I suffered from preeclampsia despite the fact my BP was historically low all of my life. For the 7 years that followed my son’s birth, I struggled to maintain consistent and healthy BP levels. Not anymore.

>>Within 4 months, I lost weight and no longer suffered from daily bloating and monthly menstrual cramps.

>>Within 4 months, I was able to successfully quit drinking, which was my number #1 self-soothing “solution” in the aftermath of sociopath abuse. I have been sober for over 2 years as of June 2014.

>>Within 6 months, I quit my antidepressants and my anxiety levels decreased. It’s been 2 years, and I remain my normal, moody self. 🙂

>>Within 12 months, I stopped using topical remedies or injections to control my psoriasis outbreaks. Psoriasis is an auto-immune condition that manifests on the skin as a result of internal inflammation (often due to anxiety). I was first diagnosed with psoriasis at age 11. I haven’t had a severe outbreak in over 18 months nor do I sense any onset of psoriatic arthritis, a common secondary condition for individuals who have experienced chronic psoriasis outbreaks over the course of several years.

>>Within 12 months I noticed a considerable reduction in my PTSD triggers. My self-assessment is that I became 90% trigger-free after 24 months of consistent practice.

You can surely see that with each consecutive “cure” and relief of one ailment above, a new door was opened to address another area of health concerns in my body, mind, and spirit. A true domino effect of healing at every level of consciousness and awareness from the first day I stepped on to my mat to the present.

More importantly, yoga gifted me with the tools to maintain my current healthy and mindful state of being with increased self-esteem, self-love, self-respect, and self-compassion.

How did yoga do all of these things for me where traditional medical and mental healthcare options and therapies failed me?

I believe yoga has been so effective for me, because yoga works from the inside out to re-wire, re-program, and undo all of the conditioning I have subjected my body and mind to over the years, the least of which was the conditioning of my body, mind and spirit in the aftermath of sociopath abuse.

Yoga and meditation may be a great fit for you, too, if you are open to alternative and integrative solutions to healing, recovery, and/or management of a number of other co-occurring conditions and ailments.

Regardless of how flexible your body is when you begin practicing yoga, the healing benefits begin with your first practice as long as you do two things:

1. Focus on your breathing by paying attention to your inhales, your exhales, and when and if you stop breathing.

2. Maintain proper alignment of each pose by following the teacher’s cues and only going as deep as your body permits you to go…today.

Restorative yoga, Kripalu, Iyangar, or viniyoga styles are great options for anyone suffering from fibromyalgia, trauma, cognitive dissonance, and/or addiction. Beginner classes of most styles are also good options. Ideally, find a teacher who understands trauma and/or has yoga as therapy training.

If you have more questions about the types of yoga to try, feel free to contact me directly.

Namaste!
~Paula

My book “Escaping the Boy: My Life with a Sociopath” featured in OM Yoga Magazine for July 2014

20140617-212142.jpg

My book, Escaping the Boy: My Life with a Sociopath, is featured in the July 2014 issue of the international OM Yoga & Lifestyle Magazine. My friend and fellow blogger, Andrea Clark is also featured for her work in the DV community.

This type of recognition and consideration is HUGE for victims and survivors. We’re real. What happened to us is real. And we are not broken.

Namaste! ~Paula

 

A little science behind why I recommend yoga to survivors of sociopath abuse

If you have been reading and following my blog or Facebook page, you know I love yoga and have a regular practice. As a reader of this blog and others like it, you also understand that the toxic love we experience as a result of sociopath and emotional abuse results in layers of imbalance within our body and our minds. These imbalances are a direct result of the two major players that keep us in the relationship long after the abuse begins: the betrayal/trauma bond and cognitive dissonance.

Unfortunately, these major players don’t magically disappear once we are physically outside the relationship. In many cases, these two players become stronger and more powerful (probably because we expect answers that we never receive), leaving many of us overwhelmed with feelings of hopelessness, depression, and despair.

How do we bring balance back to our lives? How do we align our logic with our hearts? How do we end the ruminations, the blaming, and the shaming and stop allowing the doubts to creep into our conscious thoughts?

I believe yoga and meditation offer the most natural and holistic approach to bringing ourselves back into the balance we desperately need and deserve.

Yoga helps to align our conscious proprioception (body alignment and awareness of our physical bodies within our surroundings) and our unconscious proprioception (those conditioned patterns of thinking that we’re often too busy to observe also called “samskaras” in yoga philosophy).

When we practice yoga, the skeletal/muscular/neuro proprioceptors (sensory nerve endings throughout our bodies that naturally ignite when imbalance is sensed) are activated and nurtured. This concurrent activation of proprioceptors in our body and mind silently work to bring us back into balance.

Poses like tree pose and warrior 3 and twists and lunges…really all of the postures/asanas, because they all require us to pay attention to our body balance and alignment…work to balance both our conscious and unconscious proprioceptions.

Do you find that as amazing as I find it?

So committing to a regular yoga practice can naturally cure our addiction and our cognitive dissonance. Other ways yoga tackles imbalances and disease:

>>Internal organs are massaged

>>Nerves are toned

>>Respiration, energy, and vitality are restored

>>Mind relaxes and anxieties are released

>>Self-acceptance is encouraged

>>Body is purified from the inside

But you worry. You have fears. You’ve never tried yoga. You aren’t flexible. You think you’re too fat or too short or too uncoordinated to do yoga. Many believe yoga is just about moving our bodies and being flexible in our joints and in our limbs.

I’m here to tell you that none of those things matter once you’re on the mat.

First, yoga isn’t a sport or a competition of any kind. If you fear doing yoga because you think you won’t be good at it, ask yourself this:

“Can I breathe and move at the same time?”

If you answered “Yes” to this questions, then you will be fantastic at yoga.

At the heart of yoga is breath awareness. Yoga requires that we come into total and complete awareness of how we breathe, when we breathe, and when and if we stop breathing. Combine this mental and thoughtful awareness of our breath with movement of our limbs and core and one is doing yoga.

It’s that easy.

Regardless of how flexible your body is when you begin practicing yoga, the healing benefits begin with your first practice as long as you do two things:

1. Focus on your breathing by paying attention to your inhales, your exhales, and when and if you stop breathing.

2. Maintain proper alignment of each pose by following the teacher’s cues and only going as deep as your body permits you to go…today.

Restorative yoga, Kripalu, Iyangar, or viniyoga styles are great options for anyone suffering from fibromyalgia, trauma, cognitive dissonance, and/or addiction. Beginner classes of most styles are also good options. Ideally, find a teacher who understands trauma and/or has yoga as therapy training.

For me, yoga is not a passing fad. I become certified as a yoga teacher later this summer. I love all of the gifts yoga has given to me and have a deep desire to bring those gifts to others.

To learn more about proprioception, read this!

Namaste!
~Paula

Stick it out; don’t give up #healing #recovery #patience #sociopathabuse

The day I stepped onto a yoga mat for the first time I was a few months shy of my 40th birthday, suffering from depression, a lot of knee and joint pain, unknown post traumatic stress, and alcohol dependency.

Was I scared? Yes. I was scared shitless!

I didn’t know if I was going to hurt myself or help myself. I didn’t know if I was going to laugh or cry. I didn’t know if others were going to laugh at me or cry for me.

Nearly three years later, I am no longer depressed, I’ve been sober for 2 years, I laugh WITH myself, and I cry because sometimes it’s what I need. I’m no longer ashamed of my past mistakes or the abuse inflicted upon me. I’m no longer afraid to fail OR to succeed. The nightmares have stopped, and room was made to start my life over again from scratch–for me and for my family who never doubted me.

I realize now that the first step toward my current freedom was completely in my hands. The power to transform, grow, and heal was within me. Stepping onto that yoga mat back in October 2011 began my awakening.

But my awakening wasn’t instant. Nothing transformational is ever instant. We must work hard for it. With each practice, I learned to be more patient and more gentle with myself and to remain hopeful.

Despite occasional set backs and struggles, I stuck it out. I kept going back to the mat. I kept learning something new about myself and my abilities, both mental and physical.

I’m glad I stuck it out. I surely wouldn’t be in a place to write today if I had given up many yesterday’s ago.

If you’ve started on your transformational journey through yoga or some other practice that fits your needs, I want you to stick it out, too. Even when you don’t think there are changes happening, stick it out!! You rarely have the capacity to realize or appreciate the changes and transformations in the exact moments they occur. Life informs you days, weeks, or months later. So be patient. Stick it out.

And if you haven’t started, start today by telling yourself that you’re worth it and you deserve joy, peace, and a chance at an awakening and new beginning.

Namaste!
~Paula

“What the heck does she mean by MINDFUL, anyhow?”

I am in the middle of writing “Embracing Your Light: Mindful Healing and Recovery from Sociopath Abuse” and am defining the idea of mindfulness in hopes of dispelling any misinformation, prejudices, or negative connotations, so you’re not asking, “What in the heck does she mean by mindful, anyhow!?”

Below is mindfulness to me:

Mindfulness doesn’t mean you have to do yoga or meditate or eat tree bark.

Mindfulness simply means you live your life fully aware of yourself, your surroundings, and how you and your surroundings affect and impact each other.

Mindfulness is compassion for yourself and all living things surrounding you.

Mindfulness is not prescribing to any particular religion or faith. The faith required to be mindful is a faith in oneself.

Mindfulness is a state of being and knowing, knowing you are perfect in your imperfections. Mindfulness is accepting your imperfections and understanding that they are not permanent and do not define you.

Mindfulness is knowing that life is in a constant state of change and flux and that you are part of that change and flux.

You are who you are today. Tomorrow, you will be who you are tomorrow.

Accepting this and being patient in knowing is mindfulness.

Namaste!
~Paula

“Escaping the Boy: My Life with a Sociopath” to be featured in international magazine

20140528-193938.jpg

International, UK-based OM Yoga Magazine will feature my book, me and fellow survivor, blogger, and entrepreneur, Andrea Clark, in their upcoming edition.

As part of a larger story on the benefits of yoga and meditation for domestic violence victims and their children, our professional bios and contributions to issues of safety, DV/abuse recovery, and sociopath awareness will be highlighted.

To put an international spotlight on survivors of sociopath/pathological abuse is HUGE!! It’s huge for everyone from victims to those who offer assistance and support to survivors in recovery.

Please checkout Andrea’s blog, The Eternal Victim and her Safe Girl Security site.

Also, consider following OM Yoga Magazine or getting a subscription. Their mobile app is free!

Namaste!
~Paula

Yes, that’s my butt

20140528-100837.jpg

Select the image to learn more and become one of my first loyal customers!

It Works! wraps are infused with a botanical-based formula of natural ingredients, contain no animal by products, and were not tested on animals.

I have very sensitive skin due to psoriasis, which I have struggled to control since the age of 12. The It Works! wraps not only toned and tightened and diminished the look of cellulite on my most shameful body part (my butt!), the wraps also did not irritate my skin. Rather, the active ingredients of tea tree extract, horse chestnut, jojoba and a host of other natural ingredients had a calming and soothing effect on my often irritated and reactive skin.

With a single application, you will see and feel amazing results. Personally, I was amazed at how tightened and toned my upper thighs felt and looked. I didn’t feel as self-conscious as I usually do about walking around in shorts after a single application! It was very freeing.

In combination with a healthy lifestyle of exercise and mindful food choices, It Works! wraps provide long-lasting improvements to skin texture and appearance of cellulite.

I have been applying the wraps bi-weekly. I will post more pictures as my courage strengthens. In the meantime, consider getting started with your own wrap regimen by becoming a loyal customer. Learn more at my It Works! site and contact me if you have more questions.

Namaste!
~Paula C.
http://paulacarrasq.myitworks.com/shop/product/111/

Cry with me

20140430-115244.jpg
I’ve cried a lot in my life. Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve cried: for myself, for my sisters, for my parents, for my friends and even for people I don’t know.

I used to be extremely affected when I was accused of being too emotional.

(Go figure, right!? Haha!)

But now, understanding what I know about being a highly emotional person, I embrace my emotions…my tears, my joy, my anger and my frustrations.

I imagine most who come here are highly emotional, highly sensitive and deep feelers.

You’ve probably been called emotionally unstable a few times in your life, too.

I want you to know that this sadness you feel and the tears you cry are not indicative of some type of clinical depression, especially when these tears flood out of you in moments of quiet thought and pondering.

It’s normal and necessary for us to release our emotions. When we don’t, tension and stress build.

I know some may be skeptical of all my talk of yoga and meditation. But wouldn’t it be a blessing to be in a room with a bunch of highly emotional survivors who experienced what you’ve experienced? All of us meditating quietly and releasing those tears to make room for our joy?

I envision it quite often…We have smiles on our faces as the tears roll down our cheeks.

I don’t call that unstable. I call that being perfectly in tune with our emotions with the freedom to express them without shame or judgement.

Namaste!
~Paula

Find your dosha to help guide your healing and recovery #sociopaths #abuse #recovery #DV

20140429-112314.jpg
Ayurveda 101: Discover your dosha to help bring your body and mind into a more natural state of balance and peace.

Will you take a test and share your dosha type with the rest of us?

I believe the majority of us survivors are Pitta. I base this on how we communicate and on the struggles many of us have shared related to stress, weight gain, digestive disorders, and general well-being.

What’s your dosha? Better yet, do you even know what a dosha is? Have you ever come across the words Pitta, Vata, or Kapha?

Do you wonder why certain foods seem to negatively affect you almost instantly, while other foods feel like home in your belly?

Or why you enjoy certain activities and sports and not others?

Discovering your dominant dosha will offer great insight into how to bring your body and mind into balance.

I’d love it if you would consider taking this test (provided on the page linked below and above) and share your dominant dosha in the comment section.

http://www.naturesformulary.com/contents/dosha-test

Namaste!
~Paula

(Image source: http://pinterest.com/pin/218987600601380543/)

%d bloggers like this: