Esther Brandon
Now My Nervous System, Mind and Heart Are Repairing Naturally

The memories of the experiences of unresolved trauma can get locked in the body. This can affect the nervous system and brain, and distract us from seeing our wholeness, our innate goodness. For me, my memories from my traumatic experiences had gotten locked in my nervous system.

A few years ago, I suffered a traumatic depression, and lost 51 pounds, weighing about 80 pounds when I went to the hospital. I was in hospital for three months recovering. A couple of months after I returned home, the pandemic began. I was first introduced to yoga practice at Kripalu Center in the 1980’s, I’ve had a yoga and mindfulness meditation practice for many years. When I returned home from the rehabilitation hospital, I began the journey to re-learn to walk and to recover from severe vertigo.

I began practicing with Jennifer and her online community at that time. And because of the pandemic, I was missing my yoga practice and my yoga community, and also could not yet stand, nor walk easily. I wanted to find a class where I could try standing poses: I felt ready. Jennifer’s website says: ‘Balance and Restore your Whole Being’. That sounded just right! I wrote to Jennifer explaining my physical challenges and quickly received a reply welcoming me to the class.

‘Circle of Hearts’ by Elias Garcia, Guatemala

During the first class, Jennifer said three-four times “and if you are in a chair,” and offered suggestions to adapt the poses. I felt included and comfortable. Jennifer’s yoga nidra practice includes a central element of ‘noticing your heart’s longing’, and then stating it as the truth in an intention.

During my first yoga nidra practice with her, the intention ‘I am whole, just as I am’, came to me. It was a moment of sweet relief. I have been returning to the same intention for the past two years. I sometimes completely forget it, and then it gently whispers, and I return to my whole self.

From spring to fall I participated in 2-3 of Jennifer’s classes each week. I learned new tools for my toolbox, including mudras, and self-massage incorporating marma points, and the energy channel meridians. I also was doing traditional western medicine physical therapy.

My healing deepened as I learned. My mind, heart and body began integrating my learning of Five Element Yoga practice with Jennifer into my physical therapy sessions, for example: independently standing on two legs with feet hip distance apart or wider, and then moving into Mountain pose, softly floating the words of my intention through me, with my hands in Earth Mudra, with slow and full three-part breathing.

This practice filled me from every angle with the confidence and nourishment I needed. Feeling so much better, in the fall of 2020, I joined Divine Sleep ®Yoga Nidra training! It was wonderful to spend that amount of quality time learning about yoga nidra.

I began neuroplasticity exercises in a local pool. I cannot yet drive, so I get to and from the pool with LYFT rides. The experience of meeting new drivers every day, many who are not fluent in English—and I am not fluent in their language— some who are impatient, and my needing to explain the specific details of the assistance I need to remain safe from falls and cars can take a great deal of energy and patience. I definitely rely on both the stability and the calm that my Five Element Yoga and yoga nidra practices have brought me as wonderful resources during this time.

Then Jennifer first offered her Vagus Nerve Yoga series. I had been studying PolyVagal theory for several years and loved attending yoga classes with this focus. Plus, after taking a break to be in the pool, it felt wonderful to return, and to know my place had been kept in Jennifer’s circle, as Jennifer and her husband Michael and the community patiently waited for me to know when I was ready to return.

I love the work – and feel so inspired by it. I have a new awareness of my vagal system functioning now in my yoga and yoga nidra practice. And I’ve also developed a Mindfulness Power Point presentation for classroom teachers incorporating Polyvagal Theory.

Currently I’m attending Nourishing the Joints Series with Jennifer, and also looking forward to her Ayurvedic Massage workshop this weekend: more great opportunities to deepen my practice, my healing and my life.

What’s exciting to me is that I am bringing all of these practices together! In the pool, I practice some of the Joint yoga from Jennifer’s class example: gentle ‘stomping’ to reset the pelvis. Stomping on my mat created too much dizziness, but I realized I can do it in the water! Realizing this, the corners of my lips turned up into a soft smile. I love this because water element lives in the joints, and here I was in water, nourishing my joints.

Now, my nervous system, mind and heart are all repairing in a natural way. The trauma energy that had remained in my nervous system distracted me from feeling safe, and that led me to experience loneliness and at times deep isolation.

My yoga and mindfulness practices have given me space to repair my unresolved trauma wounds. During this time of post trauma growth, I have been seeking safe spaces and people to nourish my need for the intimacy of authentic friendship.

Jennifer and Michael and the caring circle of members of this community, this circle of hearts, have been a home base for me during these last two and a half years, as I continue to repair and heal. I am grateful for this opportunity via Zoom. I offer my words to you from a repaired heart♡

Esther Brandon

Well-Being Coaching And Consulting

[email protected]