Doing the trauma releasing exercises for the first time

Monday night I taught the TRE exercises to someone who is interested and curious but who can’t afford to purchase the book or video at this time. I was happy to trade bodywork for a TRE teaching session. We did the exercises together.

I was reminded that the first time you do them, you really do not know what you’re getting into. You’ve heard or read about them, or seen them on a video, maybe even seen someone else do them in person, but you don’t know how your body is going to respond.

And frankly, seeing someone quivering on the floor looks … well, odd, and … awkward, and … hmm.

Is my body really going to do that?

Take my word for it. It will feel odd and awkward the first time. These exercises are like nothing you’ve ever done before — stressing your body to induce shaking and release tension? Huh? It seems counterintuitive.

You may or may not experience trembling the first time. You may have involuntary jerks. You may feel a very fine quiver. You may feel nothing at all.

The first time I did them, I had no quivering in Exercise 6, Step 1. In Exercise 6, Step 2, in the forward bend, I noticed that my pants legs were quivering ever so slightly.

I wouldn’t have known my legs were quivering if I hadn’t seen my pants moving!

I began to really release with bigger involuntary movements in Exercise 7, after raising my knees two inches the second time.

I want to reassure newbies to TRE that this releasing process is actually learnable. Even though it’s involuntary, you learn how to release control and surrender to the process by continuing to do the exercises.

This is where it’s really nice to do them in the company of others. You give each other permission to shake, rattle, and roll, quiver, tremble. The energy is contagious.

My opinion is that if you don’t tremble the first time, you are probably habitually holding tension in your muscles, and you really need to keep doing them!

If you’ve been chronically stressed, you may not remember what it’s like to release tension and really feel relaxed in your body. This will get you there, but it may take time.

Each person learns at his or her own pace. If you do these exercises and you don’t get full trembling or shaking, be patient. When you do each exercise, notice where in your body you feel it. Each exercise is designed to stress a particular set of muscles. Notice which muscles are feeling what. Usually at least one place on your body will call your attention to itself with each exercise. You will learn more body intelligence.

The other thing you can do, if you don’t tremble the first time, is to just play. Remember playing? Just lift your hand up and flap it around. Shake water off it. Wiggle your fingers. Circle from your wrist in each direction. Do the other hand. Now do both hands.

You can also push your heels into the floor to start your pelvis rocking. Push and release. You will feel this with your back and head.

While playing or rocking, you may feel an impulsive gush of “release energy” just take over, and before you know it, your legs are trembling on their own!

Whatever, do not worry that you’re not doing it right. It will happen when your mind and your body are ready.

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