Trauma, as the psychiatrist Dr. Paul Conti puts it, is “anything that causes emotional or physical pain and leaves its marks on a person as life moves forward.”
There are many types of trauma, and many different approaches to healing it – body-based practices like yoga, meditation, and breathwork being some of them. I have found the following resources to be invaluable in learning about trauma, and of great help in understanding myself and others in a deeper and more compassionate way.
Trauma: An Invisible Epidemic: How Trauma Works and How We Can Heal From It
By Paul Conti, MD
A compassionate and clear resource on what trauma is, how it affects us, and what we can do to heal ourselves.
The Body Keeps Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma
By Bessel van der Kolk, MD
This comprehensive book unpacks how deeply trauma affects individuals and society. It covers some pretty heavy topics and is an absolutely worthwhile read (just keep the kleenex close by).
Permission to Come Home: Reclaiming Mental Health as Asian Americans
By Jenny Wang, PhD
Written by an Asian American clinical psychologist, this unique book is a culturally sensitive look at the effects of racial trauma. While the material is geared towards those who identify as third culture or as part of the Asian diaspora, I think its themes are transcendent and can be useful for understanding intergenerational trauma and the legacies we carry.
The Inner Tradition of Yoga: A Guide to Yoga Philosophy for the Contemporary Practitioner
By Michael Stone
While not pointedly about trauma, this book lays out the philosophical pillars of yoga in plain and accessible language, in a modern context. Michael Stone was both a yoga / meditation teacher and skilled psychotherapist, and it shines here. His many talks were recorded and are available online. This particular one touches on the symptoms of trauma.