The answer to this question is ‘yes’, according to Tom Myers, a body worker, anatomy expert, and author of the book Anatomy Trains. The Huffington Post published an interview-based article with him in summer 2013 where he outlines how yoga in particular can help address deep emotional issues that we have stored in our bodies, by working particularly on the fascia (fibrous connective tissue containing collagen).
“Somatic pioneers of the last century, like Wilhelm Reich and Ida Rolf, pointed out that it’s not just the mind impacting the body through biochemical pathways. The body impacts the mind as well, because we tend to hold unresolved emotional trauma in the tissues, thereby locking us permanently into certain patterns of thinking and behaving.”
He goes on to explain how this is so. ‘The body holds unresolved trauma in the tissues, and by releasing chronic tension patterns, we affect not just the body, but the mind as well. Past experiences get lodged in our body as well as our mind. As distress builds up in the brain, it only has two ways out – one is through the chemistry, which changes the messenger molecules, or neuropeptides, that are bathing the nervous system, and thus changes our mood. The other way is through patterns of tension in the body. The trouble with those patterns is they don’t always move. Some patterns get chronically locked in the tissue fibers and eventually as chronic tension patterns. Most emotions start in your nervous system and then are exported to your muscles, and eventually they become part of the fascial tissues as well.’ (Extract from page linking to free downloadable interview with Tom Myers.)
If you are interested in reading more about Tom Myers, his influences and his book, there are more interviews with him on the Magazine of Yoga blog, and the Yoga Dork website and the Anatomy Trains website.