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EP63 - Recovery Wellness & Accessing Healing Water Consciousness with Kim Ureta

Updated: 3 days ago

Water therapy can really help with healing from past traumas or old hurts by helping your body let go of built-up stress and tension, both physically and emotionally. 

It typically involves immersion in warm water, allowing individuals to experience a profound sense of relaxation and safety. 

Kim Ureta's journey exemplifies how this therapeutic approach helped her overcome past traumas and addiction. Through her experience with water release therapy, Kim found a pathway to self-compassion and love, leading to a transformative experience.

In today’s podcast episode, Kim takes us through:

  • Her holistic approach to recovery and how it focuses on somatic works.

  • Her journey as a massage therapist, where she discovered her passion for bodywork. 

  • Her path of personal healing and growth through her transformative and holistic work.

  • Her journey as a massage therapist and how she became interested in it at a midwife's clinic

  • How she found healing from past traumas and addiction through Rolfing and water release therapy.

  • How water release therapy became a catalyst for her journey towards self-compassion and love.

  • Her experience with ADHD and how working out can help with mental health.

  • How she set boundaries and channeled her energy toward helping others despite challenges such as scoliosis and familial influences.

  • The importance of experiencing joy and nourishment in the body and shifting the focus from external appearance to internal well-being.

And so much more!

Kim Ureta is a Certified Rolfer ® LMT, WRT Water Release Therapy® Practitioner Author, and Yoga & the 12 steps leader who is dedicated to helping people overcome addiction naturally.

Drawing from her own recovery journey, she aims to free individuals from "Escape-alcoholism," or the cycle of escaping feelings. Kim believes in safe emotional processing using holistic tools to support brain chemistry, stress resilience, and the ability to feel without fear.

Her expertise in bodywork adds a physical dimension to her holistic approach, aligning both body and mind in the recovery process. Her mission is to help others find comfort inside themselves, relieving physical and emotional pain so that each person can feel whole and can have purpose.

Come, let's discuss holistic tools to support your clients to identify emotions, relieve physical discomforts, and find spiritual connection in their lives.

Connect with Kim on her website


A: 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. 

A: Hello everyone, and welcome to Free Your Soma, stories of somatic awakening and how to live from the inside out. Today, I have Kim Ureta with me. She is a recovery wellness coach. She is a water release therapy practitioner. She's a golfer, and I've gotten to experience her work first-hand in the last month and it's just so transformative and amazing. 

She's doing some wonderful things around holistic recovery from addiction, and we're gonna talk about all of that today, as well as nervous system states that people come into this kind of somatic work with and the ways in which she helps them dance with that to emerge into their true self that arises when our bodies are deeply held and in this truly relaxed space, right. That essence of who we are can really start to show. So, thank you so much for being here with me today to talk about these super exciting things. 

K: Aw, well, I'm tickled pink. I'm wearing pink. 

A: Yes, yes, yes. 

K: Thank you so much, Aimee. 

A: Oh yeah, for sure. So, I usually just invite all of my guests to give a little introduction to themselves for our audience to orient to them. You know, how did you become these things? How did you arrive here today as a recovery wellness coach? It probably has something to do with the ralphing journey. So, wherever you want to start on your timeline, share with us a little bit about yourself. 

K: Well, thanks Aimee. I'm really glad that you invited me to come and share and I met Aimee just a few months ago at my midwife’s clinic, and she was just showing some really nice slow movements, and I really connected with her energy, and I could tell like our bubbles were like. So, for me, I knew I wanted to be a massage therapist when I was a teenager. I just thought it was like the sexiest thing. I remember being, I was on the snow club, and so I'd go up into the mountains, you know, with my friends and the ski slopes, and I'd say, okay, so I'm gonna be the massage therapist, okay? 

So if we meet hot guys, I could tell them that. So it's funny, I guess I already knew that I was 15 years old and but I grew up with scoliosis, and I experienced a lot of discomfort in my body, and my mom had a lot of pain, and watching my model of a woman and how she gets what she wants or how she can say no. My mom didn't know how to say no. So it was just her body would break down, and that was her way of saying no. 

She'd have to get sick, or she'd have to be in pain in order to set boundaries with other people. So it was a little rough, you know, having that as someone who burns a candle at both ends and well, you are most highly valued when you put yourself in a situation where you're going to use all of your energy for others, and then it's almost like a trophy when you break down. Like, well, I did everything I could for everybody, and now I'm broken. 

Like, see, look, I did it in this gross, you know, kind of victim mentality way. So, that was my model, and I became a massage therapist. I went to school right when I was 18, and the massage school I attended was awful. It was like in a strip mall. My original teacher quit within a couple of months, and then we got this guy that came in and basically started like licking people and biting their toes. 

Oh my God. It was really odd, and anyway, so my experience wasn't great in massage school, and I just happened to flip open a magazine in the, I guess, the little eating area, and there was an ad about, we're not an ad, but an article about how roughing helped children with learning disabilities. And I went, how interesting the bodywork can help realign so that you can think more clearly. 

And that spoke to me because I am a little bit like squirrelly ADHD in a fun way. So I ended up Googling it, and this would have been in 2005 or 2004. I found a woman. Her name is Kathy Haller, and she's from West Covina. And I said, can you tell me more about this? And the conversation at no point was like, this is going to help your pain. It was just like, well, it's, roughing is very difficult to explain. 

Why don't you just come and experience a session, and then you'll get it from there? I'm like, okay, whatever. So, I had no idea what I was getting into. They get there, and she's assessing me and watching me move and figuring out like my breathing pattern. And then, on the massage table, it felt like I just have never had somebody access that deep itch that I wanted to scratch inside my body so deep in my body. And I got up and I, it was the first time I had not been in pain ever in my life. Like I had been going to the chiropractor since I was five years old. And so I just fell in love with it. I just, I'm like, I got to learn how to do this. 

The, this massage goal of this man licking and biting people's toes, like this isn't it for me. So I immediately enrolled in the Rolf Institute and that's up in Boulder, Colorado. And I did that. That took me about four years to finish. And it, it, it took me on a totally different journey. I mean, where I ended up working was a colon hydrotherapy clinic. 

And so then I ended up taking all the colonic less the schooling because it was a school that the clinic was at. And just this journey of learning how I can help myself as best I can. And then my favorite thing is being able to put it in words to share with others. And so it just kind of naturally became a coaching business. Like the way that my work went, it was sharing with others. 

So I didn't let me back up a little. So, between the ages of 11 and 17, I was in and out of eating disorder rehabs and 30 day alcohol detox programs. So I think the pattern of that, what I mentioned before, with that victim mentality and really screaming out for help started at a really young age. And I think it was the physical pain that really just drove my, my flight and fawning. So I, as a, as a massage therapist and a Rolfer and, you know, burning the candle at both ends, I burnt myself out pretty quickly. It took about 12 years where I was really okay. 

I could, I was probably been drinking a lot on the weekends, but I could pick myself up and then, you know, throughout the week, I was fine, still working and but I wasn't staying in my body, and I was really ignoring my own pain again. And then my marriage started shifting and kind of falling apart, and I experienced three really terrible miscarriages. 

And they just kind of tore my soul apart. And at that point, I really couldn't hold it together anymore. But then I went straight into the, into like full-on alcoholism, and my life started really falling apart. And I think maybe it was about a year or two later that COVID hit and or no longer than that because my kids were older. But then COVID hit and then that was like the crux of my addiction and really needing to figure things out. 

So I think all of my background and bodywork and, and trying to get inside my own body but never really being able to stay there and feel safe. Like I could figure out a movement pattern, and then I could immediately share it with somebody else and get like this gratification from that. You know, like, oh, there's a reason why I went through this pain. It's so I could teach this person and then it helped them. It wasn't really about finding me. It was about just always validating. Being helpful. I'm right. I'm right. 

A: Oh yeah, validating and being helpful and being getting that confirmation that, like what you're doing is the right thing and all of that. Yeah. Yeah. 

K: So I mean, the things that I was learning how to do was really just reaffirming my people pleaser. How can I please others? I was making everybody around me God. 

If I was a good person enough and I could help these people, it would make it worth it that I was in so much pain because I could stand at the feet of everyone and help them because they were people were God without knowing. 

So yeah, I hit rock bottom, and somehow, on a business trip, I was looking for something to do, just an outdoorsy kind of spa, kind of like Glen Ivy that we have here in Southern California, and because I was like we can't be inside because of COVID and I found this woman with a micro spa, which was basically just this sweet Parisian woman that had a pool in her backyard in Arizona and my friends and I were flying in for a business retreat and so three of us met at the airport. We got in an Uber, and we ended up in this neighborhood. 

I didn't realize it was a neighborhood. I thought it was a spa, but it was this beautiful woman that she's like, oh yes, it's in my backyard, and it happened to be the two of the women I was with spoke French. So it was very fun and delightful, and we get in the water, and I just completely fell in love. 

I mean, if you're, now that I know what the session is supposed to be structured like and the experience you give to a client, it was probably like the worst session ever. Like she didn't use any floats, she didn't keep her shoulders under the water, but like just what she gave me, the presence that she brought, and she just held me in water and let me or supported me in water, just let me be me. 

I immediately like started traveling and I could feel myself unwinding and finding like the real me, like I could feel the colors. It was like if I had been stuck in a world where I had all these problems, and everything was my fault, and I was letting everybody down like it was a very small bubble of who I was in my existence in this universe. 

And then the water, it was like, no, remember? You got all these times, all this cool stuff and you are just amazing just for even existing. Like you don't have to have these titles, you don't have to have done things for others. It's just like, no, no, you just. So I asked the woman, do people like journal after this? And she didn't, she's like, no, but I knew she wasn't my teacher you know, and to move on from there. And I found my teacher, she lives in Santa Barbara, California, and she is the creator of WRT water release therapy. 

And she trained with Harold Dole, the creator of Watsu, that was in Northern California. And I went and I experienced who I could be without a body. That was one, not in a dissociative sort of way, but just in a larger sense of like that my soul is larger than my physical shell. And I saw like, you know, when if you were scuba diving in like a cave in Mexico or like Greece, and there's this beautiful turquoisey light that comes from like a, what do they call those? A starts with a C. You know, like in Mexico, how they have the pool inside of a cave? Yeah, I don't remember the name for that right now. It starts with a C, but I've got pregnancy brain, so I can't. And it's the note. 

I think that's right. Anyway, so it's that blue light that it so invited me like, this is you. I'm like, I'm the light inside of a cave. And I really connected with that so that every time I went in and I was receiving in these beautiful sessions, I would see that color and it would drop in to me. And then I started getting messages. Like it was the first time I've been open in that way, where I was like receiving like interesting information to give others and for myself. So as how I've translated that into my recovery program for addiction is for me, it was the first time that I had real self-compassion and real love without truly hating myself. 

I mean, having eating disorders for many years and having an addiction, that is just pure. You really don't like yourself and it's so much shame that people carry. And I cried so much in the water and my teacher, she has these very fluffy available bosoms. She's holding you and supporting you. And it's not, you don't even remember who it is that's doing the session for you. You're just there and it's like the most comforting. It made me want to gain weight. 

I'm like, I really need to get these fluffy. Anyway, which you can imagine is very healing for a person with a past eating disorder. Even contemplate I might need to gain weight. 

A: Because there's things about it that could be very lovely and feel very nourishing. And that's the difference between like focusing on how we look externally versus how we're experiencing things as a whole body. Because little children aren't necessarily looking at their mothers and thinking, oh, she could stand to lose a few pounds. 

They're not doing that. Until they're programmed to do that, they're just experiencing the softness and the joy and the pleasure of being taken care of by their parent, ideally, if they have that kind of relationship. But I love your story. 

It's so beautiful on so many levels because I think that if there's anybody out there who's listening to this who also does bodywork or who identifies in some form as a healer or a helper or a guide or a coach, we can end up like expecting so much of ourselves and having a certain level of perfectionism and then therefore carrying a certain level of shame about the ways in which we're still human and the ways in which we still struggle as we're on this path to healing and even on this path to helping and guiding others. 

We are still human, and we still struggle with things like pain in our bodies, with things like substance abuse and dissociation and recovery from our traumatic patterns in life. And I just love your honesty and just the openness that you can be doing both. You can be seriously helping other people and still struggling and still figuring it out yourself because that's just how it goes. That's part of it. That's part of that wounded healer, and how we learn to support others is through the constant journey of doing that work ourselves and sometimes it's messy. It doesn't always look how we think it should look. 

K: Right. Learning this water release therapy. I realized that I think halfway through my training and I just broke down crying that what I'm able to give others, I'm receiving just as much that I'm not sacrificing my body in any way by sharing this with another. This mentality. Yeah. Because I mean, I was a freaking roelfer. 

A: Yeah, that's very physical. It's very physically demanding for the person who's doing that. Yeah. 

K: Yeah, I get these CrossFit guys and they're like they want me to get in them hamstrings. And I'm like, I am done with that. I love being available as a body worker still on land but I mean my true love is in water. The holistic availability I have to a person, which I thought Rolffing was holistic because we're working with cranial sacral therapy and somatic experiencing and the fascia but no, it doesn't touch it. I mean the way water just engulfs you and you are water. Like it just the availability and the change and the subtleties, which I know that you can relate to because your work is very subtle. 

A: Yeah. Well, and the thing about water is that we all came from that in the sense you could talk about it like whether it's through evolutionarily or whether you're just looking at like being a baby inside of our mother, inside this water cave, right? For all this time as our bodies grow and develop and expand, suspended in this perfectly safe little bubble of water and how in my experiences with Watsu, because my dad has done some Watsu training and then also in the experience I had with you, you do go back in time. 

You go back to a part of your consciousness that knows true safety and knows this pleasure of being part of something larger, which is what you were describing so beautifully in your story is: this sense of being the light at the top of the cave, right? That we get so over-identified with our conditioning that we forget our essence and we forget this deeper part of ourselves that has existed since we existed, and in this very particular environment of water and water brings us right back into that if we're able to get there. 

So when we were right before we started the recording you were talking about how, depending on the person, they can be in certain kind of nervous system state when they first come into this work or when they first start working with you and that can greatly affect how deep or how quickly they're able to go into these kind of altered states. Would you describe some of those nervous system states and talk a little bit about that? 

K: Yeah, it's so interesting is I will tell you about my friend. She's a Akashic record reader and like a holy fire rakey master and god you know like one of those people like us that the list goes on like of years of just training because we're just hungry for all this fun information. So her expectation of getting in the water she thought I'm going to be completely fine above and below the water. 

She was really excited about going below the water and we get there and her body goes no and I had to keep telling like kind of without words, like it's okay you don't have to go underwater like this time, you know your nervous system is is saying let's stay here and you could see she was so frustrated that she wanted to be like the cool one you know like that I'm gonna go right now and we had to stop and I realized the roles that she had you know how it is as a practitioner and you go like you have another person work on you and it's kind of hard to let go of that control like you want to tell them what to do. 

I could tell she was there, so I had her stop and float me for a few minutes and I showed her how I was able to kind of just like a sit like guide the session I knew she needed that control back. I think she had this idea that I had full control and really no it's the client that has full control they can like be like this slippery little eel rolling around and I just have to follow along so when she saw me do that she was like oh it gave her the freedom and space she needed so then she was able to go underwater because she knew she was the one in control like I can go down and come up when I want so I guess I don't know what I would call that in the nervous system other I don't want to I don't want to label it as like controlling it's more giving somebody what would you call that? 

A: Well she needed back that sense of agency and there was some kind of conditioning on a physical level that she was experiencing of if I am working with a practitioner that I'm somehow giving over control over my body which was not the case and I love that you actually physically showed her that through an example rather than just trying to talk about it because it was not something that she was consciously aware of on a mental level she was like already doing the thing you know what I mean but it was a it was a body learning experience that she had gone through at some point in her life probably where working with a teacher or practitioner or receiving some kind of you know body work maybe or even just receiving some kind of lesson was imposed on her and there was a part of her that was resisting that imposition but you know it wasn't it was an it was a false paradigm and that you were able to move through that. 

K: Oh so that was a really fun one because I really like it when people like it happens a lot with yoga teachers you know like they they'll like bring their knees up and like they want to be squeezed. I'm like okay so I'm going to squeeze you like so I I have no problem with people leading the session I think it's really fun and then in other times like when I have somebody come in with a lot of fear like they're just you know maybe they've had some experience with water that wasn't so positive so I can guide them to lengthen their breath.

So I might like you know go with the flight thing for a minute like okay so we're going to do some faster movement just so it satisfies the nervous system you know like we're not suppressing it and saying that that's wrong or bad so I'll do some fun movements just to like kind of get the the wiggles out and then I'll start like asking the body like how about we take a larger breath here how about we extend our breath in this in this sway here and it helps the person feel like oh I was heard you know we did we did a little bit of play to get the fight out or the flight and then we're going to go into a little softer movement.

And then you get that once a person has lengthened their breath a little bit you can get that really nice mermaid swish and I think that first mermaid swish where the person builds their confidence like I don't actually feel like worried or panicked underwater like you get to that place where you kind of don't care if you die or not like I don't know if you know what I'm talking about it's not like. 

A: It's a trust it's like a super deep trust that even if I were to die right now that would probably be okay in like a weird kind of way not in like a negative way but just with this pure acceptance and trust that even when it's over it's not over 

K: Yeah. Like that's kind of like scuba diving for people who don't who've never experienced watsu or water release therapy there's or snorkeling there's a really soft muted thing that happens like where the world goes away and you're just there with the fish you know and like the soft tinkling of of seashells and so it's a place like that that I want to help people get to but it's also really fun when something comes up in the session and they get to triumph over it like I was able to like cry and let that out and allow that to happen and then come back into now I can go back to my scuba diving tinkling seashell thing.

So I always like to really commend people after a session especially if they've been through a few ups and downs it's like like you did it like like you were able to regulate yourself and find that resilience you know that you can carry through your life you know and be proud of yourself that you went there and it usually does come with a story where they're like ah you have no idea like I was a bird and you know so I'm experiencing without the movie but they're experiencing it like with the movie like a like an iMacs theater. 

A: Yeah, yeah. I mean I know what you mean firsthand because I definitely had some of that come through in our session together um you know just dropping out of like my human form but not in like like you said before not in a dissociative way not in a way where I've tried to escape my body but it's actually a product of like going deeper in like going deeper into like the minutiae of the dancing flowing organization of material that is my human body right and the water is like guiding me deeper into that kind of almost trippy like experience of of yeah of being a fish or being like in a different form of consciousness that is simultaneously a different physical body in a way. 

K: I had this really neat experience um it's a little bit sad so remember when that tower fell in Florida like there was these maybe it was like three years ago it was an apartment building and they had all these people that were lost so I was so distraught by that it would it was maybe a day it was happening during one of my um trainings that I was up in in Ventura which is a little bit below Santa Barbara um and I was underwater and I was just thinking about it and all of a sudden I this little mini horse shows up like a like a palomino but like a mini not in a pony like I like with the short legs.

It had long legs just small and he shows up and he's like well do you want me to go get them out like they're they're not alive but I can go get them out and I can help guide them and I go you will and he's like oh yeah and anyway it was just very like conversation about how the horse was gonna go help guide them away and where they needed to be and I came up and I was just like beside myself.

I'm like there's guides that are there like I did it made me feel not helpless in um in hearing bad news you know like that there are the guides that are there around us you know and not just mine and in that same horse um which I can tie this into pain relief because at the time my husband and I were not doing well. 

We were in PTSD marriage counseling um my jaw was completely locked and I was spending thousands of dollars at this TMJ dentist that was fitting me for different devices to wear at night and um so my jaw and my neck were not doing okay and I'm under water and the horse goes you know how a horse flesh is like very thick and and it can heal I'll let you have some and I'm like really so it was like I kept having these conversations where he was like totally available to my needs.

I love that experience and many of the inversions just like in yoga inversions are meant to connect your heart with mother earth's heart with you know your higher power with sky with source it's meant to be this like alignment right. I'm sure there's a name for that in yoga um but when you're underwater so you're now connecting with mother earth with your heart with the practitioner's heart and with source and so I'm there and I'm upside down and I got like it sounds funny that mushrooms were talking to me 

A: nice there's many people who could probably relate to 

K: that super excited about mushrooms talking to me I was always underwater and they were like you know how we grow really fast and I'm like yeah and they go you can heal that fast you can regenerate that fast I was like oh that's so neat I hadn't thought of that so now it's funny every time I go out in the backyard because I have a lot I have four dogs and a lot of grass I find it so joyful to go pick up dog poop because there's all these mushrooms every morning that weren't there the day before and I'm like you heal so fast so it's 

A: You know, all these kind of ways in which you're in this very open, receptive, relaxed space and the things that come in are very fascinating and remarkable. I mean, a lot of this, what you're describing feels like the term that I first heard for it is like shamanic journey, where we're journeying into kind of the void and these things, these spirit guides or this information just starts pouring in. 

And it's often kind of surprising and kind of delightful is usually how I experience it. Occasionally there's something that's a little bit like freaky and you're like, oh, I'll actually alarmed perhaps, but you're in such a relaxed state that it's never like a fearful experience, even if whatever's coming to you is kind of scary or kind of bizarre. 

Right? And I've had a number of these experiences and I think that, you know, people are having these experiences where you're in almost like a dream state, except you're awake. And we can experience that and access that very easily with bodywork. But also, I think especially with, again, that immersion in water, because it takes us immediately back into that nervous system state that we were in before we were born. 

Right? And then, you know, if you want to even go back further in our human timeline, like before maybe we even had legs and we're walking around on the surface of the ground. And so, like, I love these kind of stories or these messages coming in about the consciousness, the collective kind of soup that's actually available to us and we're just not tapped into it to be able to experience it. Right? But we can, we can go there, especially, you know, shortcuts would be like water therapy. Right? 

K: Well, and I mean, when I was going through so much of my neck issue, because that actually happened for about 18 months or a little longer than that actually, maybe two full two years of just hopeless agony in my neck. And it was from an injury that I had at a training. 

I was training for Yamuna body rolling. And because of my addictive personality, I really wanted to get it right. I was going to get it right. And I was going to learn as fast as I could. And I was going to share it with as many as people I could, because I was looking for that, you know, that validation hit. This was before I was in recovery. And so I completely jacked myself up with my, you know, with my whatever, enthusiasm. 

A: Totally. That's a real thing that like way that we can get, you know, I did that with yoga. And I think that people don't like talk about that enough and acknowledge that like, when you have a history of addiction, and when you have like self harm tendencies, they can show up even in, you know, environments or even when you have the best of intentions, the how you're going about it is so important. You know, it can break it or make it, you know what I mean? The how you're going into a practice, you know, something even beneficial can hurt you if you're going into it with this, you know, aggressive, addictive, kind of disconnected way, right? Yeah. 

K: It just, I know that the pain, and I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy. But it did teach me a very big lesson in my life about moderation and acceptance. And I watch with my clients coming in for recovery, wellness, coaching, if they can get that piece in the water, that deeper connection to themselves, that self, that really self acceptance and love, a connection to something much bigger than themselves. And that ability to let go of that it has to be a certain way, those expectations, you know. So there's lots of work that can be done, I think with a person's nervous system, and just helping them get to a better place in who they really are. Right. 

A: And it's through a, you know, what you're describing in the water is the felt somatic experience. This is not something that someone's going to get just by repeating to themselves in the mirror, I love you, I love you, I accept you over and over, when it's not getting into the flesh of our experience, but when you do something immersive in the water with someone or when they go through, you know, I'm thinking of in my own work through like a physical felt sense of this is what kindness feels like, not just the concept of it, but how it feels in my body. This is what it feels like to be in true acceptance. That's a life changing experience that can actually shift us out of our old way of thinking when we have that kind of felt somatic experience. 

K: Yeah, but beautifully said, definitely that. 

A: Yeah, so talk a little bit, tell us a little bit about like, as you come into this recovery wellness coaching, and are you working with groups? Are you working one on one with people? Do you work in person? Do you work online? How does this kind of fit into a framework that you're exploring? 

K: Well, I have a group that I work with online every Monday, that's 11 30 a.m. Pacific time, and it's healthy emotional processing. So that's going to be with essential oils and breathwork, and I teach grounding tools where I know when someone has had a traumatic thing happen in their body, and you try to teach them breathwork, they freak out. Yeah, or like when someone's like, we're going to go do what's that? Yeah, what's the meditation where you're laying and they go through every body part? Oh, the yoga, needra? Needra. Oh my God. 

I can't. So many people have told me how they freaked out during yoga, needra. And when you are not available to relax that quickly, and when you do it, it throws you into a tailspin. So it's a lot about helping a person get back into the life where let's bring the mounds of your big toes to the ground, and they're keeping their eyes, you know, open, and you just go through, you know, and access the toes, and then you're going to go up through the body, and you can, you know, talk about breath, but not like make that the main focus, just different ways of helping people like, when you come back into your body, like it's going to be a little bit safer. 

So, I'm very conscious of that, that not every exercise is going to fit everybody's nervous system. And I let them know that, you know, like, be aware of what works for you and vocalize it means there's, it doesn't mean anything is wrong with you. It just means that that one's not for you right now. 

A: Yes, absolutely. And I think that's, that's a great point, because I definitely have experienced that because I often, you know, in my somatic movement classes, we'll start with a body scan, but I can very quickly, especially if I'm working with a group and in person, I can tell like, who's cool with this, who's down with this, and who's, who or whose body is saying no to this, you know. And it's often, you know, if I have someone coming in who wants to do the somatic work and release, you know, stress patterns and trauma from their muscles, but they are unable to go through a body scan, I'm like, that is fine. 

This is where doing something hands on is going to get you a lot further because then I can modulate and I can like really like fit this to your needs moment to moment versus, you know, doing, doing what everybody else is doing and feeling that pressure to go along with it, even if you're physically uncomfortable in the process, which is not, you know, it's not what I want for someone in that experience, but I love the way you just verbalize that in terms of their ability to actually be in their whole body, it might just feel too overwhelming starting in their toes, you know, or starting somewhere small is a great way to kind of ease into this. 

K: I had a really fun sound therapy teacher, her name's Peggy, oh, it's that pregnancy brain again. Anyway, you probably know her, she lives in Yuccaipa and she does the, she teaches the bowls and she teaches Gong, Peggy Knight. 

Okay, yeah, Nick Knight. So I use a lot of her exercises and they're more like kindergarten play. So I can, I can show you now if you want. Yeah. So a lot of times when you start in a group, people's voices are really small and quiet, like in a group, but she goes, okay, so everybody, there's a table in front of her, she's like, everybody hit the tables. 

And then you speak out loud and you notice how much louder your voice is. And so the first time everybody introduced themselves, they're like, hi, my name's Mary, and I'm so happy to be here. And after they, on the table, they're like, my name's Mary. 

A: You're like, I love that. It's like given permission to make noise. You were just given permission to make noise. Yeah. Right. And how many of us were, you know, for, I mean, I even catch myself doing it with my own kid and he's like shouting in my face because he's excited. And I'm like, oh my God, please make your voice less loud. Right. 

So so many of us have conditioned ourselves. And that's, that's a great way to kind of break the ice, so to speak, and like give us permission to be big and loud and really, you know, make sound. That's great. That's a great one. 

K: What made me think of that is because like you said, a lot of times when people are in a group, like say they're in a yoga class, they're trying to just do what everyone else is doing. And even if it's uncomfortable and oh, I'm okay, I'm okay. They're like, but they're freaking out. It's, I would actually call that fawning. You're where you're in the, you're in people pleasing mode. I don't want to make other people uncomfortable based on my experience. 

A: Right. I want to be good and I want to get the kudos from the teacher. I want to be a good student. I don't want to disrupt and I don't want to have anybody you have to worry about me. And so I'm just going to pretend like I'm fine and everything's great. 

K: Yeah, but it does help. So in the group sessions, I help people put a name to what they're experiencing. You know, because if you don't have that education, you get your bachelor's in psychology, and even that's kind of doesn't mean shit anymore. So because I talked to lots of people that have their bachelor's in psychology and they don't know anything about experiencing emotion or trauma, like they have a completely different education. 

So yeah, being able to just say this is what this looks like. This is what this be this learn behavior looks like, you know, like my experience with the victim mentality or, you know, fawning and there's lots of things that people they don't know that that's what they're doing. So the higher awareness they have in their emotional vocabulary. And I teach a lot about the full spectrum of emotion. One of my teachers is Carla McClellan and her information. It comes from her book, The Language of Emotions. 

I highly recommend it for anybody. It just blows it out of the water that like there's this spectrum of emotion that's good. And there's this spectrum of emotion that's bad, like so don't feel those ones or show people those ones. Like no, no, they all are useful. They all teach us a lesson. 

They all show us what is the next right step in our lives. So example, like when people are experiencing frustration, that's a level under the family of anger, they are peeved or it starts small until it goes up, you know, in intensity. And when I say the word anger, people are thinking like an outburst, but it can start very small. And if you can find what that feels like inside, before it gets to like, I have to throw shit at your head, you know, then you can decide, oh, I'm starting to feel a little bit frustrated. 

I think one of my boundaries have been crossed and I need to express my needs in the situation. So it doesn't say, oh, I'm so mad, I should go meditate and make it go away. It's no, this is teaching me that in order for me to have a healthy relationship, I need to say what is needed here. 

A: Yes, yes, it's information about what happened in real time in our lives that does or doesn't feel like actually supportive or actually healthy for us. And it's our body letting us know. And I love how you describe that. I mean, this book sounds amazing. 

I want to read it. Because I've been working with this too of like, can we catch it early on? Can we catch it when it's just the beginning of a feeling, a sense of like, ooh, something didn't feel super great about like the way that that interaction went with my husband or my child or, you know, with my coworker. 

There's something that feels a little off about that versus not paying attention to that and just letting these resentments build over time and then walking around with a chip on your shoulder, you know, and angry at somebody and you're not even sure why you just know that like you don't want to look at them or you don't want to listen to them. Right. And you're not really sure how it all came to be this way, but suddenly it is. 

Right. If we can catch those things early on, it's an opportunity for us to actually learn something about what our body is trying to tell us about what we need and our needs that aren't getting met. Because that person, whoever it is that you're resenting, they usually, until they actually start to feel your frustration, they don't even realize that they're overstepping your boundaries. They might not even realize that there's something about the way that you're interacting that doesn't work for you. 

Right. Until you say something, they're going to be pretty much in the dark about it. Even if they sense something, you know, intuitively, they may not pick up on that, just like you're not picking up on what you need to say or what you need to do to make things feel better. 

K: Yeah, it's stuff like that. Like, so part of what we're working on on Mondays in the group session, and this is free, it's open to everybody. I just, that's part of my gift to my community and I mean the world because it's on the internet. But it's helping people identify their values. That's one of the first things that we look at. 

Like, so I show a really long list of like, what are your highest values? Like, for me, I value curiosity. I value open-mindedness. I value kindness. I value understanding. I value integrity. Integrity is my highest, highest, highest one. That will be the one that pisses me off very fast. When I feel that something is not my standard of integrity, I'm like, we need to talk about this. 

This isn't right, you know. And when someone's not open mind, the open-mindedness thing, and that can get me in trouble, that's where I have to use my serenity prayer. God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change. 

The courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference. Because I can't control other people's behavior. I can't control other people's emotions, which brings me back to my job. Just what my job was, obviously, it's control. I really want to control other people's emotions. It's just, that's just my whole life has been, I was taught to manipulate people. 

And that was through my people pleasing and my fawning. So once I was like, my husband and I would hit a breaking point. I filed for divorce. 

I did all the paperwork. He ends up saying, like, he's going to change everything. And he did change everything. So then we didn't push the paperwork through. But I paid for the divorce, did all the paperwork. It was a very long process. And then my job stopped hurting. Because I let go of controlling what he was going to do. And I went, all that thousands of dollars spent on these these medical devices for my job. And all it was is me trying to control other people, specifically my husband. 

So we're together now, everything's fine. And actually his vasectomy healed itself within a year. And now I'm impending birth. So I have, so it's just this huge turnaround in our lives. But it's so interesting how our reality and our emotions and how we experience it in our body can really affect your pain and how comfortable you are. So I love being all that together for people. I do work one on one. 

My ideal, like this is so juicy and wonderful, is to work with somebody in person for three days. So they can come receive several sessions a day for three days. As they're doing that, you know, maybe it's a 12 step work, maybe they have more of a yoga, yoga philosophy for their recovery. But they're, they're definitely doing the journaling and, and the unwinding work themselves. And they're coming to release it in the water and find out who they really are and connect to that higher power. So that, that's my ideal magic. 

A: Most beautiful, powerful offering. And you have the, you know, such a beautiful space in your backyard that you've created for that too, that I think you're going to find people who want that and hear that and go, that's for me. Yeah. 

K: Yeah. So far we've done it in more of a retreat style. So we go out to Palm Springs and we'll do it where people have a hotel and they can do the spa and then receive the sessions and yeah, but I see in the future that's going to happen more often. Right now I'm working a lot with people online. 

So it's more of one-on-one coaching. And then I'm giving them the homework that they're going to be doing, depending on what fellowship. So if they're starting with, you know, over readers anonymous, if they're starting with narcotics anonymous, alcoholics anonymous, codependence, codependency. My favorite adult children of alcoholism and adversity. 

Because to me, when you work with your childhood mold of how you were raised and all of the, just all of your examples, that's always going to be carried into your adulthood to recreate normal. Right. You know, so for me, that one is like the core for everybody. The root is starting with your childhood patterns and what you were taught and working from there and reparenting yourself. So yeah. 

A: Fantastic. I mean, I can, I think I was probably 20 years old when I was working at Barnes and Noble, which was a great first job really in my 20s, because I got to just pour over all of the sections just by working there. 

Right. And see all of the, the information that's out there available to the world. You know, it was even better than like a Google search, because I didn't have some algorithm like following me around, like just feeding me things in my little niche. 

I saw it all. I saw every section and I came across this book that was about adult children of alcoholics. And I was like, that is scarily accurate to describe both of my parents because I grew up knowing that my grandfathers on both sides of my family were alcoholics and that that had impacted both of my parents. 

You know, so I grew up with parents who were in their own version of recovery throughout my childhood, you know, not from their specific alcoholism, but from the impact that generational alcoholism had on them, you know, and so it was just so mind-blowing to realize that there was language for this, that there were actually people out there talking about this, you know, and that I could learn about my own patterns through learning about my parents' patterns and what they, the coping skills that they developed to have to deal with this dynamic, you know, kind of goes back to what you were saying about being able to give a voice to or name to our experiences and then share them with other people so we can feel this sense of that we're not alone and that we can be understood, you know, and that these issues, yes, they're big and they're painful and they have, they have resolution. 

There is resolution that's available out there that people can access and find through specific types of work, you know, and what you're describing with the water therapy, it's literally a deep dive into, you know, who am I beyond all of these generational physical patterns and can I connect and reorient myself to that as my true nature, as who I truly am and then all the other stuff, the fawning, the, you know, the patterns that I have to contend with or that I have intended with, those are actually secondary or not even secondary, they're not who I truly am and, you know, that piece that you're offering is priceless. 

K: Well, thank you, yeah, it's all from experiencing it and really wanting to, this is my life's work and currently what I'm working on right now and I'm certifying a group of individuals as recovery wellness coaches. 

So we're building, we're building something so that it's going to be available, more widely available. We're helping people with, you know, because we didn't go into this and I'll just briefly talk about it, but most people going into a rehab facility or in treatment with a psychologist or with their general practitioner, they're going to medicate the shit out of them. And to me, I mean, there's a time and a place because there is, there is need, but the general population, if you can help a person identify their emotions and learn how to self-regulate without medication, that's the road to go. 

Because I was 14 when they put me on lithium and I'm not diagnosed as bipolar and there wasn't any reason for me to be put on such heavy medication. So, which is basically like modern day lobotomy. 

A: Yeah, yeah, this is, I mean, this is an intense topic. I had a woman on the show last year who talked about being over-medicated for like 16 years of her life, you know, and then that we start people off like it was 14 years old and you were given that and you didn't even have a specific diagnosis. It is really scary and people, you know, need to know that there's alternatives that they don't just have to do whatever the clinic or the doctor recommended, which is just another way to manage symptoms, right, that there are actual things they can do in their daily life, maybe even just sitting on their couch, they can do some things that are going to help their bodies find that balance again. 

K: Yeah, brain chemistry is a huge part of the work that I do as a recovery wellness coach and helping people regulate their own chemicals. So, it's really powerful stuff and I just really enjoy empowering people and helping them be who they really are meant to be and not just somebody who's numb and can't feel in order to, they're basically putting them into it into a dissociative state. 

A: Right, right. Because you're actually, you're creating a false sense of like, I guess, feeling better through this chemical interaction of the drug and so then it's almost like it feels like that kind of short cut of like, okay, well then now that I'm not feeling all those things that I was feeling, they don't exist anymore, but just not the case. It's just, it's like pushing everything into the closet and saying that the house is clean. 

K: Well, somebody in addiction in that cycle, they're an escapeaholic. They will do everything they can to get away from pain because they're in the, that pain and pleasure loop in their brain and they've actually, parts of their brain are not online, the parts that help with stress resilience and emotion regulation because they're in that loop. So it doesn't support a person's healing journey by keeping them in the loop by avoiding pain. 

You know what I mean? Like, so what I experienced was being heavily medicated, completely numb, which was what I was trying to get as an alcoholic. So they gave me what I wanted. They put me in a numb state. I'm not learning any lessons. Then they stick you in group. How the hell does this someone deal with their life when they can't feel? That doesn't make any sense. Right. 

A: So I think there's probably, you know, if there's, this probably exists on a spectrum and what you're describing like makes no sense to me, you know, in terms of like how that could be helpful, you know, but taking the case of like, you know, people who are having intense suicidal ideation or struggling with really, you know, intense physical sensations in their body that make them want to harm themselves. 

Okay. Maybe like some level of medication just to help them cope and get them to a place where they're, you know, they're safe for themselves, you know, that we can take the edge off a little bit and then start to bring in some of this other work. But to have that, you know, standard of medicating people just be the standard that everybody receives without this kind of like individual, you know, like, I guess, attention is disturbing. 

K: It's yeah, it's definitely meant to be a short term. You know, it's not, it's for chronic. It's not for not wait, not chronic. What's it called the other word where it's acute? 

It's supposed to be acute, a short term band aid, not the long term thing. Yeah. And I mean, so what I want to do is help bring in other alternatives and make them the standard. This is where we start just like, when I have clients coming in for all things sessions or other type of pain relief or I'm sure you've experienced, like through our insurance now, they don't just go straight for the MRI. Now they want physical therapy for six weeks. 

Yes. So there is ways that we've seen different practice come in. So before I'm going to blast you with medication, they should be trying other things before to see what will work. 

A: Well, because the medication can unintentionally do further damage. Right. Oh, ridiculous. 

K: So anyway, I'm just so happy that you and I were in this realm of helping people feel safe inside their body and get the relief they're looking for without sacrificing who they are. Yes. 

A: Yeah. And also encouraging them to experience who they are, to actually be in touch with that. You know, and it comes first, as you said, from acceptance and creating that safety, you know, but the longer journey or the longer kind of mission that I have is I want to see people like shine. I want to see people like reach their highest potential of who they can be, you know, of the gifts that they innately have here to offer, you know, and that all starts from that foundation that comes from being able to be in our bodies and be present in all of our experience, not just the ones that we've been conditioned to, you know, run towards or away from, but all of it. Yeah. 

K: And I want to honor that the pain we've experienced in our, in our bodies and in our lives, they are, they're really great lessons and you wouldn't be who you are without those things, you know, but it takes knowing what's not what you want to get what you want. Yeah. 

A: Yeah. And then there comes a point where, you know, and you can probably relate to this, where you come out of what you described as like that pain, pleasure, paradigm or, you know, loop in your brain and you step outside of that and you go, oh, okay, like lesson learned. Like, I, I, I understand this one at least to some degree at this moment to the best of my capacity. I don't have to keep going into that pattern. You know, I had that with smoking cigarettes. 

There was a point, you know, where for years I was just back and forth between it. It was part of my like, I'm a good girl and I'm not smoking and then I'm a bad girl and I am smoking, right? And I would just jump back and forth for years and there just came one point where I stepped outside of all of that and I was just like, no, that's not, that's not a thing that I'm going to do anymore. And I have had no desire, you know, for now, what is it like seven years, eight years, I've had literally no desire. It used to be when I would see someone smoking, I would want that. 

It would be part of me that was like, ooh, I want that. I don't experience it anymore. So there are these points in our lives where it's like, we do learn that lesson and we don't have to keep perpetuating it. We don't have to keep in that same loop once we have like really gone all the way with it and learned what we're supposed to learn around that specific thing. 

K: Yeah, I love it when I can find help somebody get to where they don't have to hit that big bottom. They can, they can have a high bottom. There's lots of what ifs, you know, and if you can ask the right questions, they can draw to their conclusion of where this is going, you know, without them having to like completely destroy their life and go to jail and then institutions and have a divorce and lose custody of their kids and, you know, it doesn't have to get there. 

A: Right, we can catch it early, like catching a disease and it's early stages versus, you know, a double mastectomy or whatever it is that sometimes we have to go through when it's like, oh, this is already gone to your bones. Right. Yeah. 

K: Which by the way, if I ever had to do that, which I hope I don't, but I would get the most beautiful nipple tattoos. 

A: Just saying. I can imagine that they would be very epic. Yeah. 

K: Right. Like what we could think of, there's so many options. 

A: That's the silver lining there. That's got to be the silver lining. Right. But yeah, you'd probably spend less on that than like a whole new brand pair of boobies, which I know some women go for that, but, you know. 

K: No way. I'm going, I'm going, we're going the artsy route. 

A: Love it. Well, it's been such a gift to speak with you today and to hear about the amazing things that you are up to and the way that you're supporting people in their recovery process and how you're looking at making like larger impact over time, you know, maybe trying to change like a way that this whole system of recovery has been operating to give people alternatives. 

I think all of that is incredibly exciting. If people are, you know, wanting to learn more from you, if they want to sign up for one of those sweet three day immersions that you mentioned, where can they find out more information and connect with you? 

K: They can check out my website at or I'm on Instagram. I'm recovery wellness coach and you can read it out to me. 

A: You just said your last name so beautifully. I think I've marred it at the beginning. 

K: So I don't know. I'm so used to saying it because I'm, you know, I'm just a Jewish girl. So I just married a really hot Latin guy. Good at that. Is that how you say it? Yeah. 

A: Yeah, that's spicy. I like that. Thank you so much, Aimee. Thank you for this beautiful conversation. And, you know, we have hinted at and talked about doing a retreat together. And I am totally down to do that. I would love to talk to you more about that. And maybe we'll even do another podcast episode closer to that time to share with people what our collaborations, what kind of ideas we're coming up with. Right? 

K: Oh my gosh. I had so much to talk about. I've been researching all the Mexican resorts so we can all share those with you. 

A: Sounds very delicious. I'm very excited for all of that. And yeah, thanks for coming on the show today and sharing your history, your truth, like the things that you've gone through in such a candid and real way. It's so refreshing. I'm sure there are so many people that could relate and just appreciate that openness that you came into this conversation with. 

K: Thank you, Aimee. 

A: You've been listening to the Free Your Soma podcast. To find out more information about today's guest, check the show notes. And to find out more information about me, Aimee Takaya, and the Radiance program, visit www.freeyoursoma .com. 

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