This was life changing for me! Sharon, pediatrician
Modern life is riddled with stress, as we all know. It affects everyone and seems unavoidable. The negative effects of stress are well researched and publicized: depression, sleep issues, memory problems, unhappiness, irritability, anxiety, isolation, a compromised immune system that can lead to anything from colds to life-threatening illnesses, and so forth.
It’s common knowledge now that stress affects our relationships, our businesses, and our financial well being. We also now know that stress affects how our DNA functions – just witness the people who live in sustained stressful environments, get cancer, and then miraculously recover when they choose an altogether more peaceful life, aligned with who they are.
But what is not commonly understood is that the cumulative effects of stress and trauma are an indication we are only using ½ of a nervous system encoded within us effectively. And this system is designed to respond to and then release us from the mental, emotional, and physical effects of stressful events.
Oh … right! That makes sense! Why would we be created to burn out, get overwhelmed, get PTSD, or accumulate painful tension or develop terrible life-threatening diseases as a normal course of life?
Interestingly enough, we happen to be the only animals in the kingdom not using this system as designed. There are theories about why, but what’s more interesting is the potential for transformation – self transformation – that exists right within that we are not taking advantage of, simply because we don’t know it exists.
TRE with Nikki has helped me and my partner tremendously. After every TRE session I have the experience of being remarkably peaceful, present in my body, and safe. This has helped me to trust my partner more and be less triggered. What an incredible relief for both of us! G., IT Professional
Triggering ourselves to use this system again means that children and adults alike can internally access mental, emotional, and physical relief from the stress of daily life, human interactions, past trauma, and what is going on around the world. It means that athletes and couch potatoes and people with stiffness and postural issues can release accumulated tension a whole new way – that incidentally is super easy and your body knows how to do it on its own.
TRE® (developed by Dr. David Berceli) and Neurogenic Yoga™ (based on his work) are two practices that directly activate this underused natural stress-relieving response – at its roots deep within. They are simple practices, accessible by anyone, adaptable for everyone. They trigger this innate nervous system release, something your body will readily recognize as normal – usually before you mind will.
What are TRE® and Neurogenic Yoga™?
TRE stands for Tension and Trauma Release Exercise. It is a series of simple movements that turn on our body’s natural relaxation and rebalancing process. Neurogenic Yoga is yoga sequences followed by some of the TRE exercises. Both give us an immediate and deep experience of mental, emotional, and physical relaxation. Everything from everyday stress to deeply held physical tension and trauma begin to melt away, as natural biochemical changes occur. This can challenge the beliefs of some, as you literally watch your body unwind on its own, bringing a sense of peace with it. But it is the way you are designed to let it all go!
People find that TRE and Neurogenic Yoga free us up to meet life’s challenges with greater skill and ease. Best of all, our bodies do the work: muscular tension dissipates little effort, our mind calms, and we get emotional relief without needing to process or retell our story.
Nikki creates a safe environment in which even beginners feel free to allow their bodies (and voices) to do what comes naturally. She not only has taught this work for years, she actively uses it in her own personal practice. Her insights are immensely helpful. I highly recommend Nikki as a skilled teacher and healer. Rachel Lankford, LMFT, ATR
How I teach TRE® and Neurogenic Yoga™
More and more this tremor response is infusing itself in everything I offer. Why? Because people’s bodies are recognizing tremoring not only as natural – but as contributory to their wellbeing. I am so thrilled! Our nervous systems are beginning to work as intended!
I believe this is a direct result of me incorporating this work in my life regularly since 2002. The moment I learned TRE, my body and being knew right away I was willing to recognize this as a natural and vital function for wellness. My personal use of this work as a singular activity led immediately to my body naturally incorporating it in my other personal self-help work. I began to see that modalities turned on this part of the nervous system! Whether I’m doing energy work or reflexology, the Bars, etc … tremoring showed up!
By me doing this on my own so much, I have naturally infused tremoring in my classes and sessions. It’s becoming so normal, that my classes end with it and the group release is often faster than the individual releases students get on their own. When tremoring shows up in class, I encourage the bodies to let it contribute to their wellness. People are starting to recognize this state as the body’s natural unwinding. Yeah!
I offer TRE and Neurogenic Yoga in three ways: privates as single-sessions or series, or as part of my Simple Body classes and workshops. Privates are for you to try this and go deep if you wish (3 session, 6 sessions, in Intensives, or 6-months weekly). And you can incorporate them with anything else I offer!
Privates sessions are a great way to start for anyone who might not want to do this in group, for whatever reason. The sessions involve discussion, instruction, practice, observation and adjustment, if needed. I generally give homework in between, so this can become a practice integrated into your life.
In Simple Body Classes & Workshops, the self-induced tremors are added at the end to deepen and solidify the work done in class. Doing this work in group is a great way to know how normal it is. There is something about TRE as group work that allows you to recognize it as a normal part of life. Everyone does it; everyone does it both differently and the same; and even your sessions will vary.
What to expect during and after a TRE or Neurogenic Yoga session
The beginning of a class is always a series of physical activities designed to tire out muscles. The second half of the class is the tremoring piece, which is all about discharging energy and dropping you deeply into the parasympathetic nervous system.
The tremors generate on their own, and are usually relaxing and/or enjoyable. They span the gamut from subtle to vigorous, and the intensity often varies session to session and even within a session. Besides tremors, the body also can initiate fascial stretching, rocking, bouncing – any organic movement you can imagine the body can could do.
The poses during tremoring can be modified for any need. For example, once I had a student who had sexual trauma as a child. Lying down did not feel safe for her, so I told her we could tremor standing up. We had a fabulous session.
As well, in this work we hold no intention and we do no specific breath work. This work attempts to set aside the mind: we do nothing but let our bodies unwind on their own, as is natural and they know how. Once you realize how natural this is, you will know that the organism (the body) will never hurt itself. Only the mind has that capacity. The body is only interested in survival.
For many people, tremors start in the legs and hip and stay there for a while. However, tremors can be anywhere – in your shoulders, fingers, torso, head, foot. Mine started vigorously in the beginning, and then calmed down after very specific events in my life discharged my body. I was someone with deep physical trauma from childhood athletics using a misaligned body. As well, I had emotional trauma from the sudden death of my younger brother, just before my wedding at age 21.
It is important to note, this work is not cathartic. It is simply discharging energy stored in the body from stressful events. I tell students that sometimes you may have a vision or emotion come through when tremoring. It is likely related to some memory connected to releasing tension. I may not be anything you are consciously aware of.
I had thought that the trauma of my brother’s death was behind me, until one day in a tremoring session I saw a picture of me lying in his bed crying the day after his death. I felt no emotion as this picture flashed by, and indeed I was smiling. Then right afterwards, I had a profound change in responses to my daughter. Some button she was pushing, the I could never have assumed was related to this tragedy, just disappeared.
I also had a vision of what must have been quite scary when I was three, but certainly not as an adult. I was standing by the a lake I know well, worried a fish in it would bit me if I went swimming. As I tremored, I wondered what impact that trauma might have had because I’d never take it out.
PTSD & Tremoring
This work is wonderful for dealing with PTSD. In fact, Dr. Berceli’s own PTSD was a catalyst for this becoming his life’s work.
Working with PTSD just requires learning how to turn the tremors off, which is not hard. And I strive to provide a safe and comforting environment for this work.
Depending on the severity of your PTSD, you would be fine doing this with my observation only, that of a friend or family member who trains together with you who can support you when I’m not there, or you would combine this with psychological counseling. Any partner in this would be trained in helping you turn off the tremors and keep you safe, discharging the energy of PTSD slowly.