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EP 2 - Releasing My Forgotten Belly with Aimee Takaya

Updated: Sep 27, 2023

Let me take you to India at the end of 2015. I'd been traveling the world for several years, teaching and practicing Bikram Hot Yoga and living with a secret.

The tension and pain in my body had become chronic and unmanageable and I was searching for answers.

I felt frustrated and ashamed to be in so much pain as a yogi, a teacher who was supposed to be helping others in healing their bodies.

I hoped, in India I would find the magic teacher, the magic pose that would heal me. What I found was a NEW way of experiencing yoga and my body. A far more somatic approach than I had ever known before.

I began to realize how disconnected I was from a very important and yet triggering part of my body: my belly. This is one my stories of somatic awakening, wherein I discover some deep unconscious patterns in my body and become deeply motivated to transform them.

In western culture, there has been a long-held perception that our bellies should flat, hard, tight, strong. Even within the yoga world you will find a focus and emphasis on having a strong core. Additionally, humans contract their stomachs automatically when stressed, in fear or sadness.

Like a dog tucking it's tail under. We sometimes forget that belly and our breathing are fundamentally connected. We forget it's the home of our digestive processes and our microbiome. We can get so focused on the outside and meanwhile so much is taking place inside. 99% of it UNCONSCIOUS.

Why have we become so obsessed with these external markers of strength in this area of our bodies? And what does it really mean to have a strong core? Is it rigidity or is it dynamic function? Had I been using tight yoga pants and mirrors to feel safe and compensate for a lack of proprioceptive awareness?

Answers to these questions and much much more as I take you on a tour of India and my internal process 7 years ago.

To learn more about me, The Radiance Program and Hanna Somatic Education visit or follow me on Instagram's @aimeetakaya

Every day there is a forgetting and every moment there is the possibility of remembering. Remembering who you truly are, awakening to your body, to the inner world and experience of being alive. Here is where you find the beauty, the joy. Here is where you free your Soma.

Hello, I'm Amy Takaya, the host of Free Your Soma podcast. Today's episode is really going to be an introduction of who I am, where I come from, and a little bit about how I became a Hanna Somatic educator. Now I could tell you all the same stories that you might see on my website, or I could tell you about the different content that I've shared on Instagram. But I thought today I would take you guys to a very specific time in my life and share with you a very specific story that deeply relates to my, as I would say it, somatic awakening. So today I'm going to take you to India in 2015, the end of 2015, beginning of 2016. To give you guys a little background, a little setup, I traveled the world globally for about six years teaching what was known at the time as Bikram hot yoga, the 26 and 2. I had been dedicating my life to this form of yoga. I had been traveling the world, teaching in a bunch of different countries, and really doing a lot of searching, a lot of searching all over the world for the deeper meaning to life and the different experiences that people were having all over the world. I was just on a quest of sorts to discover more about myself and more about the world. And so of course, where do traveling yoga teachers end up at one point or another? Well, they end up in India.

So I got to India in the beginning of November, I believe, of 2015, and I was planning on staying until the beginning of February. So about four months. I had taken the advice of a friend of mine earlier that year when I was traveling in Israel, and he had recommended that I go for several months if I was going to go to India. And his reasoning was, you are going to take a whole month to get used to India. If you only go for three weeks or a month, you're going to be miserable because your whole body, your whole psychology, your whole perception has to adjust to the intensity, to the color, to the beauty, to the just craziness that India can be. The culture shock, etc., the bacteria, all of it just is going to be so different that it'll take four weeks minimum to adjust. So I took his advice to heart and I scheduled this as a four month trip. And a little bit more background. Even though I was a traveling yogi, I had been dedicating myself to really just working on my yoga practice and also working on my teaching, becoming, you know, as I wanted to be a yoga teacher full of heart and integrity. I was struggling with a really challenging issue that I was not really being totally upfront with the people in my yoga world about.

It was kind of like my dirty little secret that I was carrying around with me. And I laugh about it now, but at the time, to be completely honest, like I was full of a lot of like frustration and shame and fear about what I was experiencing in my body. And what I was experiencing my body was a level of chronic tension and pain that was becoming week after week, month after month, more and more unbearable. And you know, for anybody out there who's ever lived in chronic pain, you know how demoralizing this can be. You know how frustrating this can be, especially when it feels like you're doing all the right things. You know, which at the time I thought I was doing all the right things. I was doing 60, 90, you know, 30 day challenges, you know, like yoga five times a week, you know, just practice, practice, practice. And I was teaching and so I really wanted this to be like the thing. I wanted yoga to be the thing that was going to get me out of the pain that I was in eventually. But what I discovered more and more was that, you know, it wasn't necessarily that there was something wrong with yoga or that there was something wrong with me.

There was a way that I was practicing that was actually creating the experience that I was having in my body. And more than that, there was a way that I was living, you know, and from the outside you wouldn't be able to tell, but there was a way that I was living internally. There was an approach that I had to myself and my body internally that was manifesting and creating this reality of pain in my body. So here I am traveling to India. I started in Goa, which is kind of like gentle India, except it's still definitely India, little less confronting, still fairly European. I went to Adambol, North Goa, and there was a yoga center there that I ended up taking a couple of courses there. I end up taking yoga, very, very different than the yoga that I had been practicing, very different than hot vikram yoga. First of all, there were no mirrors. There were no mirrors in the space. And in India, you're very much encouraged to wear loose fitting clothing when you practice yoga for modesty's sake, especially as a woman. And this was wildly different than the yoga that I had started with, that I had been exposed to in the United States and the yoga that I had been teaching. What I realized, what was so confrontational about loose fitting clothes and no mirror was that I really became aware of my lack of body awareness. And it was a crazy thing to become aware of because at this point, you know, I had been practicing yoga since 2008. That's like seven years, almost eight years, that I had been dedicating a good portion of my waking hours to yoga, whether it was practicing or teaching. And yet here I am in these baggy clothes on this concrete floor of this yoga dome in India. And I don't know where my stomach is. I don't know where my hips are. I realized how much I had been relying on the tight pants and the mirrors to know where my body was in space. Now, flash forward now as a somatic educator, I understand nervous system functioning. I understand things like proprioceptive awareness and that I was for whatever reason, and there's so many different reasons why this can occur in a human being. But there was a lack of proprioceptive awareness.

There was a lack of neural connections to certain areas of my body that I had been using tight pants and mirrors to kind of overcome the lack of connection. And so it was quite, at first I'd say disturbing to not know where my body was without those tight yoga pants, to not know what my body was doing without having that feedback, that visual feedback of seeing myself in the mirror. But what came of this was something that was long due and that I'd actually already been stimulating within my system, which was developing an internal, felt sense awareness of what was happening in my body from the inside. And why I say I'd already been starting to experiment with this is because around 2008 when I first started doing hot Bikram Yoga, you know, my dad introduced me to it, which actually was very sweet, and he had become a teacher. The thing was, he had also in 2008 discovered a new technology that he was in a training for, which was called Hanna Somatic Education, and he had exposed me to it. He had done a session with me. I'd had taken some of his somatic classes. And I mean, I really didn't think much of it. I thought it was slow and boring and for old people like him and didn't really seem as sexy or exciting as sweaty, rigorous hot yoga, right? But I had already started using this movement method to deal with some of the pain that I had been living in, this pain that I mentioned before. And so I wasn't really consistent.

I wasn't really dedicated to it, but I had been doing it. And when I felt myself unaware of where my body was and now suddenly invited or forced to feel inward to know what was going on, I did already have some grasp of how to do that because of the somatic work that I had been introduced to already. And really, those two weeks were just this incredible awakening to how to feel my body, how to engage my abdominals without that biofeedback of the fabric against my skin. And I believe that it really did deepen the somatic awareness that I had already been, I guess you could say, experimenting with. What's more is that then I continued my travels and some of them were yoga focused and some of them weren't. Some of them were just about this curiosity that I felt about other travelers that I had met some really amazing travelers already in my time and made wonderful friends, but also just about different places and wanting to see India as much as I could while I was there. And so I traveled further south. I saw some of the beaches in Karnataka. And then of course I have ended up going to Rishikesh because of course Rishikesh yoga. This is the place to be. Yeah. So by the time I was in Rishikesh, it was quite cold. It was terribly cold. And that was adding another layer to the tension that I was experiencing my body along with the rickety rides and the very uncomfortable trains and carrying a 50 pound backpack. But I arrived in Rishikesh just full of my body. I guess longing, desire to go deeper in. And I went to an ashram there and I stayed there for two weeks, two and a half weeks and yoga every morning, yoga in the evening, ashram style, very, very conservative.

There was a 9 p.m. curfew for the ashram and it was just this great continuation of what I had already been doing. Except it was also confronting on another level, which was that, and I don't know if any of you have experienced this, when you step into a place like an ashram, when you step into a place that is about healing and meditation, and I'd previously experienced this at the pastna centers. There's like a shift that happens in me internally where it's like my soul just goes, okay, okay, she's in, she's doing it, this is happening, and all of the shit that I wasn't dealing with, the weird mental emotional garbage just rises to the top, ready to be sorted through, recycled and taken out. And so that was definitely occurring simultaneously. I was finding myself as I was being more quiet, as I was being more receptive. I found myself kind of flooded with all these different feelings and judgments and patterns of thinking that I was noticing, that I was taking the time to just be quiet with and notice instead of immediately responding or reacting because life had kind of been slowed down by being in the ashram. And there was this awareness of the space I was in being about healing, right? And so that was a really beautiful part of this Indian experience, this somatic awakening that I had in India was looking at the different thoughts and patterns of thinking about myself and other people that showed up during this time. And some of it was triggering, it was so triggering and frustrating. Yet I persevered and I stuck through it. But I was not, I would say when I left the ashram, I was not in a happy place. I was more and more aware of the things in my consciousness, my thinking, and also in my body that were not serving me and that had not been serving me for a long time. One of the things that kept coming up was this relationship to my stomach and getting a little background TMI kind of information, it's not really TMI, I talk about this fairly regularly on my social media. But I went through early onset puberty, which was very traumatic for me and really altered the course of my young life.

Early onset puberty means that I went through puberty and had a woman's body by the time that I was eight years old, so third grade, seven years old. And this left an impact on my stomach. And by that I mean my hips kind of exploded and by seven, eight years old, I had stretch marks all over my hips and belly. And I had a lot of shame about this when I was younger. I had a lot of bad feelings about my body, bad scary feelings about what happened when I was between seven and eight years old and went through early onset puberty. And of course there was bullying and there was inappropriate comments by adults and all of the things that came with that. But ultimately it left me feeling like my stomach was scarred, which it literally is and was. And I kept having this come up for me while I was at the ashram. And it was interesting because previously in the yoga course there had been this awareness that I didn't really feel my stomach, that I had been using yoga pants, like tight yoga pants, to feel where my stomach was because I didn't have this sensory connection to it. And so then as I was finding myself triggered by like all of these things that were going on inside me while I was in the ashram, the thing that coming up was this frustration, this anger, this sadness, this grief, this shame that seemed to be right at my belly, right at probably from my solar plexus down to my sacrum. This is a place that felt really sad, that felt really mournful, like that I had lost my childhood, like that I had lost my beauty, like that I had been marred already by life.

And so this connection to my stomach kept arising and confronting me. And I found it really frustrating. Now the next spot on my journey, the next destination, was Varanasi. So from Rishikesh I took a train to Varanasi. And for those of you who don't know about the infamous Varanasi, it is the city of the dead. It is the place on the Ganges where they cleanse the dead before burning them on a pyre with sandalwood, the ceremonial burning of the dead that has been going on for 3,500 years that they have been burning people. And I was told this multiple times by multiple Indians there, locals in Varanasi, 3,500 years, 24-7, they have been burning bodies here. And I mean, it's just so unbelievably intense, the energy there in this city where they have been opening and spreading thin the veil for so long. And there is this really rank intense feeling of death in the city. But at the same time, where you find death, you find life. And so it's also brimming from just wall to wall from riverbank to riverbank with life. And I mean, that's really just a poster for India right there.

It's brimming with life, brimming with death. But in this place, in this place where you are confronted day in and day out with the reality of the end, there's a really interesting shift that occurred there for me as well. And for many others that I spoke to, where you start to really get in touch with what is keeping you from being alive right now as you are, you're alive, you are not dead, you are not being dunked in the river and then burned with sandalwood. You are a living, beating heart here. And what is in the way of your fully experiencing that. And so I went from this place of just lots of quiet, confrontational triggers that were going on internally to a place, literally a place in India that catalyzed a desire in me to live, to live differently, to take all of that pain and that confusion that I had been experiencing about my stomach and transform it into an action, into a living something that could be done about what was preventing me from living in a way that felt truly resonant. And all of this in a strange way was related to the pain in my body, which I'll get to. But when I arrived there, I had so many realizations over the course of the next 10 days that I was there.

And my friends who I was with there, my beautiful friends, they could attest to this. I was just talking so much about these very intense kind of deep things that were coming up that were showing up in my aura to be processed, to be like felt, to be understood. And some of it, some of the deep, deepest stuff had to do again with my stomach, with this space between my second and third chakra, with this space between my sacrum and my sternum. And it's actually the space that as a Hannah somatic educator, we call the somatic center. And it's where we say all movement, you know, movement of our arms, our legs originates from this space when we're talking about dynamic movement, like walking or running or going from sitting to standing and things like this. It's this space where I was, I would say hyper focused on during this time in India hyper aware of because it felt like I was just meeting it for the first time, honestly. So the big message that came up, the big piece that had arisen since I had been in India was not only that I did not have any awareness of my stomach when I wasn't wearing tight pants, but that as I started to gain awareness as I started to build awareness, I realized that I had been unconsciously clenching and holding my stomach in for I don't even know how long I realized that I had been holding and keeping my stomach tight, like sucking it in for yeah, possibly my whole life.

I couldn't even remember when I had not been doing that when I realized that I had been doing that. And there was an actual like letting go that wasn't just like, Oh, I'll let this go now. It was like, I would let my stomach go, and then I would let it go again. And I let it go again, because there was like multiple layers of tension that I had been holding there. And I thought about this, you know, of course, as a woman, we're kind of trained by, you know, our Western modern society to try to avoid having a belly, especially a big belly, you know, in the yoga world, even like there's a lot of suck your stomach in, you know, engage your core, especially in the Western forms of yoga that really are a lot more like a gym workout.

There's a lot of this emphasis on a tight core and having a tight stomach and a hard stomach that that's like desirable, that that's healthy, that that's what we want, right? And so I think that that was a piece of it was this kind of conditioning, this kind of programming that said keep my belly tight, right? But there was another piece of it that I had not fully understood, which was that this clenching, this holding of my stomach in, it actually changed my posture. It pulled my pelvis under, it basically tucked my tail, it tucked my tailbone to be in this position. And as I began to try to reposition my pelvis, right in these yoga classes, it actually required a releasing of my stomach in order to reposition my pelvis. And I was confronted by the squishy softness of my belly and how incredibly uncomfortable I was about having a squishy soft belly that reminded me that my belly was covered in stretch marks that reminded me of the pain of my early onset puberty, my my adolescent experience reminded me of, yeah, of this idea that I was somehow flawed, like deeply down flawed.

And so, you know, it just seemed like I was repositioning my pelvis, but in releasing my belly, I realized I was getting in touch with all of this shame and grief that had been residing there in that contraction.

And at the base of it, you know, with with all of it, you could break it down to just fear, right? And tucking your tail under. Isn't that what a dog does when they're afraid? Isn't that what most of us do when we're sad or we're afraid, we kind of slouch, we round our spines, we tuck our pelvis, right? As a somatic educator, I understand this muscular pattern so deeply now I help my clients to release it. But at the time, this was still new to me. This was a discovery that I was having. And it was, it was again, triggering and confronting and all of those things. But I was also so, so inspired to do something about it. And so the way I put it at the time, what I was telling my friends was that if I wanted to be loved for who I truly was, like who I truly am, not who I pretend to be, not who I posture as, but for who I truly am, that I needed to let my stomach hang out.

And this was scary. So scary. Because if I wanted to be loved for who I truly was, but I was unconsciously or consciously squeezing and holding my stomach in to have my body, to have my shape appear a certain way, maybe for the male gaze, maybe for, you know, getting a getting a certain type of partner, you know, I was at the time, you know, very much like hunting for who's going to be like my soulmate, right? That question. And if I'm posturing my body, I'm holding this tension. I'm not really showing them what my body actually looks like. I'm not really showing them like what it actually is, who I actually am, right? I'm showing them something else. And I'm positioning my body in such a way as to kind of hide what really truly is.

And so, yeah, it was, it was powerful because the way I, the way I framed it to one of my female friends, I said, imagine you're laying in bed with a boyfriend, maybe a new boyfriend, someone that you haven't been with very long, the relationship still new, and you're almost asleep, and you feel him reach around and bring his hand down onto your lower belly. What is the first thing that you would probably do? And the answer is squeeze and tighten your belly. Now, maybe that's not true for all of you, but that was true for me. And that was true for her when I asked her about it. And probably true for quite a lot of women out there, especially young women. And this automatic squeezing of my belly was what I had been doing. And what I told my friend is that if I wanted someone to love me as I am, for who I truly am, for the body that I truly have, I needed to let my belly hang out, let it go, and, and be seen and be felt as I truly am. And this was so scary, but it was so necessary for me to feel this and be ready to do this. Although I would to be completely honest, it took a bit more time until I actually was able to undo that programming, that level of nervous system response and contraction of my stomach before it was no longer as automatic.

Right? So bigger than that, bigger than this, it was this, this awakening that I had not been being myself, I had been doing something unconsciously out of fear, you know, out of fear that I'm not lovable, out of fear that I'm not worthy, out of fear that I'm not beautiful, whatever the fear was, you know, and there's layers to it. Oh my God, like we could go even deeper on this relating to other experiences that I had in my life, which I realized were very much stored in my belly. But this realization that I had been so disconnected, and this desire to be connected again and to be authentic in my body was groundbreaking for me at the time. It was this thing that I could no longer like, I couldn't, I couldn't unsee it. It was the new way forward.

And yeah, I got really into it. I got some like, high waisted sweatpants and just loose fitting things so that I could really let my belly relax without having, you know, some tight pants pushing into it. I could just let it soften and I could explore like what it really felt like and what it really was when I wasn't holding it in. And like I explained before, it would let go in layers. I would think I wasn't sucking my stomach in. And I really thought about it and I took a few like deeper breaths down to my belly. Oh, there was more to let go. And this was consistently going on for a while that there was this, we call it in henna somatics, motor sensory amnesia that my, my motor cortex had not been connected to the musculature there. It had been another part of my brain that just runs things automatically. So this was huge for me.

And when I got back to Europe, because I had been living back and forth, when I got back to Europe, I was on like a mission to really be in my body and like heal this pain in my stomach. And I mean, there's more stories, there's more to this story. But this piece, this piece that I experienced in India, this awakening to my belly was so important, I realized now, because it was awakening and stirring the depth of my somatic center. So let's explore this from another angle, you know, chakras. And this is interesting because I think it will connect some dots for some of you about like why we are a culture that is, you know, Western culture that is so obsessed with like a hard stomach that is so obsessed with abs. Okay. So looking at this from a yogic perspective, from a chakra perspective, this is the second and third chakra.

This is our creativity, our sexuality, our life force energy. And this is the space also when we remove up to the third chakra of self identity, power, strength. And so of course, we want there to be a flow of energy here, we want there to be this, this fortification of this space, we want to have a self that is sovereign, that is really grounded, that has this level of internal peace that is unshakable. That is kind of like the ideal that's like the dream of the third chakra is that level of self containment and self mastery and power, right, combined with this really flowing creativity, this really, you know, open and powerful system of life force energy. So that space, what it represents, you know, and our desire to fortify that to have like that level of strength and, and creative power in the world, right? So then what do we end up focusing on? Because there's this inner, you could say like innate desire for that part of our body to represent like power and strength and self worth and all of this. When we can't experience it internally, which most of us are not taught, you know, from an early age to experience our bodies internally to live in a somatic way, we focus on the external.

Of course, that's what we do. And I mean, that's not a bad thing. I did that. It was part of my journey to come inward was to focus on the external. We do that. And we don't realize that the external is, you know, is giving us messages ultimately about what's happening internally and that the real work, the real change is the things that we do internally, right? But we focus on the external, which means creating a hard, tight body, creating a strong core, a muscular core, we want to see it, we want to see the six pack abs rippling, we want to see the veins bulging, we want to see that it's strong. So then it's like this visual feedback, kind of like the tight yoga pants that tells me, Oh yeah, I'm strong. See, look at myself, look at me in the mirror. I can see my self worth. I can see my power. It's in front of me. I can visually see it. And I can feel the muscles in contraction and how strong they are looking at least. I mean, some people may feel, you know, that strength in their core, especially if they've done a lot of strength training, like actual strength training with it.

But, you know, for many people, it can turn into like an abdominal prison. And I'm speaking for myself here too, because in order for natural breathing to occur, like natural belly breathing, in order for food to be digested, there's a need for our abdomen to actually be soft and expand. In the same way as for me to actually have functional walking and come out of pain, it meant not holding my musculature in such a way that I was constantly tucking my tailbone under. Because in order for easy flowing walking and movement to occur, my pelvis needs to be free to move dynamically. And in a coordination with the rest of my body, which may mean that my pelvis needs to be able to arch and to tuck under instantly, you know, as I'm moving without a lot of muscular interruption.

And if I'm in a state of contraction in my abdominals that keeps me tucked under all the time, that movement is simply not possible. It's not possible from an autonomic nervous system perspective. So this is all quite retrospective, you know, the way that I'm speaking now about it at the time, you know, I didn't have all of this information. I didn't understand all of this. And part of what I really enjoy about the clients that I work with and the people that I help is that they're in their own somatic awakening process. And I remember what it was like to be in that process, except at this point, I didn't have a guide.

I didn't have somebody who understood like the stuff that I was talking about or the stuff that I was sharing about. It just, you know, it seemed kind of like deep and intense to like my friends that were there, but they didn't have this like experiential, you know, knowledge of this stuff and have, you know, a way to say insightful or really, you know, eye-opening or even affirming things about it because, yeah, I was, I was guide-less.

And it wasn't until I returned to the United States and I started my studies at the Novato Institute that I finally got to have like more clarity in these conversations and more learning occur so I could understand more fully what had been going on. What had been going on from a nervous system perspective? What had been going on from, you know, a psychological perspective? What had been going on from a biomechanical perspective? All of these things, you know, these questions that were just these strange, like conceptual feelings and like inklings and, and like triggers that were going on inside of me were things that could actually be spoken to wisely explained and, you know, help, help me nurture and cultivate my perspective once I had those kind of somatic guides. So part of what I'm, you know, really excited to bring to this podcast and for all of you listeners out there is that conversation that I kind of wish I had been listening in on.

You know, I realize now that there were people out there in the world who were talking about this stuff. I just wasn't connected to them and I didn't have like an in-road for that at the time. And I want to create the podcast that I would have loved to have stumbled upon. I want to create that podcast of these somatic awakening stories, these awakening to our internal experience stories that remind us of the bigger truth within, right? Underneath and including all of the pain and the triggers and the trauma and the bullshit that we have been through in our lives. And I say bullshit quite lovingly actually all of the learning, all the experiencing that we've been through. You know, what do we make of it? What do we do with it? How do we transform and transmute it? How do we integrate it? And how do we allow it to move us in powerful ways that bring us closer to being who we are truly meant to be on this earth and do the work, the service that we are truly here to do.

And so these stories, like the one you just heard from me today, these stories are important. You know, if I had heard this story about somebody else with their belly or with their self-worth or you know, with squeezing their stomach, any little piece of this story could have been a clue along my path, a little piece to my puzzle that made, you know, a little bit more of my internal experience makes sense. And that's what I feel is so important about sharing these stories. It also takes away some of this stigma of like thinking that there's something wrong with early onset puberty or that there's something wrong with, you know, having stretch marks or a belly and, you know, Instagram and like body positivity culture, you know, the good and the bad, the ugly of it. There's a lot more conversation going on about this than there was seven years ago when I was having this experience in India. There's a lot more awareness of this. And I think that's wonderful. I think that's beautiful. I think these are important conversations to have and, you know, feeling that you're not alone in the things that come up in you, in your human experience, that there are other people who are having parallel journeys, who are on a similar path to, you know, healing, recovering and transforming the way that they live in the world. So, you know, to wrap it all up with this belly experience and then the preceding, you know, years of somatic education.

I can did another yoga training. I became pregnant. I housed a baby in my belly and I gave birth and I have a son now. And that whole process was related to part of the healing work that I did on that space in my body, my ability to find my husband, to find a partner who loved me with my stomach hanging out, you know, who wasn't afraid of like my stretch marks or my intensity, who was like ready for it, who was like, okay, bring it on, you know, that was all related to the time that I spent in India and the time that I spent facing all of that pain and trigger and discomfort that I had been holding in my stomach, you know, that grief over my childhood lost and all of this. And it's been a continuous process since then to really turn it over and make sense of all. I mean, many of you know, healing is not linear. And so it takes time to unwrap these, these gifts, even though sometimes they feel like tragic gifts that we have been given in this life to, to unwind and to investigate and to discover the wisdom within them. I've also found it incredibly comforting to gain knowledge and gain tools, reliable tools for helping myself become more semantically aware, to become more connected, to become more functional, to become more efficient. And also just the information that is available now about why these things occur, about why our bodies take the shape or the form that they do, about why things like early onset puberty happen, the awareness and the knowledge that's out there about nervous system regulation and trauma recovery. And it's amazing.

There's things out there that really do work and that really do allow people to live more connected and more fully. And that's definitely part of what this podcast is going to offer as well. The stories alongside the practical tools and the powerful information that I just wish everyone had access to. So here's my, my beautiful soapbox and my beautiful invitation for you to join me on this journey. Free your soma journey, free your experience of your body from the inside out, free your belly, free your zest for life, free your intensity, free your sadness, free your grief, free the things in you that you are holding back, that you are clenching, that you are resisting. Let them go. Like I let my belly go and see what happens. See what shows up when you really release whatever you've been holding onto. And I feel so blessed to be doing this. I feel so blessed to be transmitting this work into the world. It feels so natural. It feels so right to be doing this work with people. I work one-on-one. I have an online program, the Radiance Program that you'll hear me talk about from time to time. It's a powerful program for heart-led leaders who are ready to become more somatically aware and release the muscular tension and pain in their bodies. And I just, I absolutely love seeing people experience themselves when they're not tied down by the weight and the oppression of all their past experiences. I love to see people light up when they lighten their load. I love to see people emerge relaxed and soft with tender eyes from a somatic session.

It's just incredible. It's a real gift for me to be able to be doing this work. So if you're curious about this work, you can find out more on my website. It'll be in the show notes today. But this is a journey that I'm inviting you on, freeing your soma. And if you've already been working with somatics of some kind, I hope that you can find inspiration in this show as we weave together more and more connections between people and things and philosophies and ideas. Because there really will be kind of a range of different things that we explore on this show. Through story, but also through how to, through practical methods, through techniques, and can't wait to share all of that with you. Looking forward to more stories from other people, and you'll hear more stories from me from time to time about my journeys around the world, like my journeys in motherhood perhaps, or my journeys as a human being throughout my life. I think I have always been a storyteller, but I didn't have always the same courage, or I guess the same freedom in my body to express and share the stories that are in me. And that's what I invite every person on the show that I interview to at least step into a little bit, their story, and share it.

For more about somatics or the radiance program, please visit www.freeyoursoma .com.

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