I was 23 years old working in a local clinic in downtown Oklahoma City. It was 9:00 am and I heard an earth shaking blast and the building started trembling, windows bowing out and in.
There was construction across the street and, at first, I thought the giant crane that had been towering above us for weeks finally fell on our building.
Then I saw the smoke.
The Federal Building just blocks away had been bombed.
We all jumped into action as it was only minutes before parents ran into our facility, holding children with shards of glass sticking out of their body.
That was a long day and night, and when I was finally able to leave, I started shaking. Uncontrollably shaking.
Shaking is a natural response to extreme stress – whether it’s an actual life or death situation or a perceived one.
It’s energy in your body to do what you need to do.
It’s also good! But it’s not cool… in the socially cool kind of way.
Have you ever seen a dog chase a rabbit? That rabbit is running for its life! Have you watched what happens when the rabbit gets away? It does a little shimmy and chows down on a blade of grass.
That’s what animals do – shake it out. Sometimes they even make weird noises as they shake after a traumatic event.
What do we do when something happens?
Act like it’s no big deal. We’re the only species that walks around bottling it all up.
But we don’t have to…
In yoga, we have a shaking thing we do, from thousands of years ago in the Himalayas. It’s called 'virata' and we literally stand or sit and shake our arms and legs and body. Shake, shake, shake. We shake like no one’s watching!
It’s not just woo-woo, there is a an actual therapeutic thing called TRE (Trauma Release Exercises) where people do just that.
Shaking is adrenaline in that fight or flight moment, yes. But it's also release.
It's our bodies way of letting go.
We have a saying in yoga, the issues are in the tissues. And one of the oldest ways to release those issues… just like Taylor Swift… "Shake It Off."