by Kara-Leah Grant
The more research I do, and the more I observe my own experience and that of people around me, the more I become convinced that understanding trauma and how to release it is the key to our evolution as human beings.
Fortunately, there are many amazing researchers and therapists working in the field of trauma work, including Ben Ralston.
I first interviewed Ben about his work four years ago (see bonus video below). Since then we’ve become good friends and I’ve done a handful of private sessions with him (which I wrote about here and here).
His work has made a huge difference in my life, and in the lives of the thousands of people he’s worked with over the years. (See testimonials down below.)
Now Ben is focusing on leading week-long retreats that combine yoga in the mornings and group shadow work in the afternoon, using the principles of healing and releasing trauma.
I spoke to Ben to find out what trauma is, why we all experience trauma as children, how trauma can be permanently released and how it liberates and frees us to feel more joy in our lives.
Plus, Ben and I are going to co-facilitate a week long retreat in Taupo next May (2016). I’ll teach the yoga in the mornings and Ben will facilitate the shadow work in the afternoons. Send me an email to register your interest.
Ben Ralston on How Unresolved Trauma Holds us Back
On what trauma work is all about:
“As human beings we have this incredible potential. We’re animals, but we’re also spiritual beings, we have this potential to elevate ourselves… The thing that prevents us from being who we are, or who we can be, is trauma.”
“For some generations now our ancestors have not been processing, completing, healing, and releasing trauma. So it’s been accumulating… We hand down our unresolved trauma to our children.”
“A very simple definition of trauma is something that makes you feel unsafe.”
On trauma and the chakras:
“A lot of people think we’re becoming more and more spiritually evolved and that things are getting better. From my perspective unless we do this trauma work, this shadow work, things are not going to get better, because we’re still stuck, most of us, at the level of the first chakra.”
“The whole point of this work is to get back to being… When we can really be fully present, and when our doing comes from that space of being, spontaneously, then we get everything we need.”
On his teaching and facilitation style:
“The way I usually work is a little bit, or a lot, spontaneously. I see what’s happening, and how people are feeling and what’s coming up anyway.”
“What I’ve found is that healing is a completely natural process. Unresolved stuff just wants to be healed.”
On his Bali Being-ness Retreat:
“It’s suitable for anyone… Beginner yogis and advanced yogis. The way I structure my classes and the way I teach is that I work with whoever is there.”
“Don’t expect to be pampered. I’m not interested in making people feel good about themselves for seven days.”
“It’s really about having a great time, having loads of fun, getting to know people, getting to trust people, and taking off the mask. Identifying the stuff which has been making your life less than joyful and being prepared to face it and confront it and release it.”
Great food, eco-luxury accommodation, tropical paradise, the beautiful Balinese culture… but most of all, yoga and healing work. It’s an opportunity to permanently release the shadows that are blocking your light from shining free.
Guided meditation and 2 hour yoga class consisting of warm-up exercises (usually sun salutations), asana (yogic exercise), pranayama (breathing techniques), and yoga nidra (deep relaxation method).
Group shadow work to identify and release old subconscious ‘blockages’ (that were caused by childhood and ancestral trauma) and release them, permanently.
This process will transform your State of Awareness as you let go of old survival-based patterns (eg: fight, flight, freeze) and reawaken ‘Resource States of Awareness (eg: inner peace, freedom, power).
You will leave this retreat feeling super-charged and with a whole new sense of BEINGNESS that will enable you to transform many old, negative patterns, beliefs, and associations.
See you there!
Check out the Facebook Event Page here. (Note, even though 50+ people say they are going, that’s not how many people have registered and paid. There are still spaces available!)
Testimonials from Ben’s Clients:
‘I felt something I haven’t felt in a long time…. pure joy.
It was not something I was trying to convince myself of or trying to understand with my mind, it was just there.
So thank you…’ ~ Martin, Music producer, Canada
“Ben, I just wanted to spend a moment telling you how I feel about our healing session.I feel such gratitude to you for being the person who has helped me understand myself better from a really core place… I felt unconditional love from within in the deepest form I have ever felt.
No words can tell you how profound that experience was for me, and how much I feel you have changed my life…” ~ Love, Megajn Halifax, therapist, Sydney, Australia
I want to thank you. I am not the same person I was a year ago. You have transformed my life. Although I have some way to go!
I can not thank you enough for the gifts you have given me. The gift of self, of connection, of intuition and truth. I can feel people now, I can let them in, be vulnerable and real. You have walked me through a period of transformation. I needed your strength, clarity and healing as I did not have access to this within myself.
I realise now it is time for action and although I am still working on this I wanted to reflect on your amazing gifts and what you have given to me and so many others. Thank you.” ~ With love. Torey, Paediatric surgeon, Australia
Ben Ralston in 2011 talking about Reference Point Therapy
Note: Ben still uses some principles and methods from RPT but his way of working with people has continued to develop over the last four years and he no longer uses this term to describe what he does.