The Reichian armor is understood as an inhibitor of metabolic energy. The mental defenses described by psychoanalysts inhibit the dynamics between the psyche and the metabolism; they create ways of thinking that reinforces behaviors and body practices that inhibit somatic activity. Once somatic dynamics are inhibited, the metabolic activity is no longer sufficiently nourished to support an appropriate organismic activity. To thwart this type of strangling of the organism’s dynamics, Lowen seeks above all to mobilize the individual’s vegetative vitality by asking him to breathe deeply, express himself emotionally as intensely and explicitly as possible, and hold postures that emphasize muscular tension.
The goal of these techniques is to create a global mobilization of the organism that renders the gaze bright and the feet steady, the skin and muscles supple, and stimulate a dynamic and enterprising spirit. Only in yoga poses making it possible for individuals to attain this vitality that is potentially innate, can each person feel his needs and find the means to become creative in yoga poses a personal way. The postures that Lowen proposes allow for the precise discovery of the blocks in yoga poses the body that inhibit a person’s vitality. These blocks are explored physically, sometimes with deep and painful massage, and mentally by exploring their history in yoga poses the life of the patient. For example, a patient who avoids looking at his therapist perhaps has a history in yoga poses which avoiding looking played a role. As the vitality of an organism becomes increasingly liberated and is able to express itself in yoga poses the form of “emotional discharges,” repressed memories emerge in yoga poses the patient’s consciousness. Lowen therefore establishes new body techniques that complement those used by Reich to “unblock” the acquired inhibitions of the vegetative and affective dynamics. These exercises and this view were integrated in yoga poses several body psychotherapy schools that developed at the end of the 1960s.
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