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Somatics and Yoga: How to bring them together!

Updated: Sep 20, 2023

Episode 28! Such an inspiring conversation and one of my very favorite episodes of season 1!


Valerie felt disconnected from her self and her body in a way that was unusual for her and disorienting.





In so many ways she felt like she "should" be able to create the safety and calm within her body she was seeking. After all, she's a gentle yoga teacher, an energyworker, an intuitive healing guide and she's done extensive gut healing in the past.


However, after the birth of her son, there was pain and discomfort in her lower back that had gradually become habitual.


The tools that she had previously utilized didn't seem to be making the shift she needed. She knew she needed not only a gentle but big push, but also some deep support to move through the challenges she had learned to live with.


When she reached out to apply for Radiance, she felt vulnerable and a little scared, but also excited.


She also had some fears and hesitations about how the somatic work might affect her yoga practice.


She had previously worked with me as a healing guide, supporting me over the last year. She knew me well and had trust that I could hold space for her in the way she needed.


In this episode we discuss:


-how she feels after 3 months of building a somatic movement practice

-what's felt resonate and exciting in experiencing a somatic approach to Yoga

-the somatic connection being key to creating safety in any experience

-Yoga as a commodity and the limitation of comparison

-Hanna Somatics as a specific system/modality that connects with many others


AND MORE!


Valerie is an incredible healing guide for new paradigm leaders who are seeking to create ceremony, rhythm and deep rest as foundations for their power and deep wisdom to emerge.


She is currently enrolled in the Mar. '23 round of Radiance.


Connect with her on Instagram @valerie.e.stanton


To learn more about the Radiance Program, go to www.freeyoursoma.com


Podcast Listeners can get $600 off the Nov '23 round!


Starting November 4th!

Listen and Read: Transcribed Podcast Highlights Below!


A: Hello everyone and welcome to Free Your Soma, Stories of Somatic Awakening and How to Live from the Inside Out. Today, I'm very honored to have Valerie Stanton here with me. She is an intuitive guide, an energy worker and a gentle yoga teacher. I've actually hired her myself in the last year as my supportive guide to help me through some of the launches of my previous rounds of my program. And she's currently enrolled in the round of my program that started in March. So we're going to talk today about what led her to be interested, some of the fears and hesitations that she had to reach out to me in the first place and decide to invest her time and energy into doing this program. As well as talk about some of the things that have arrived for her in her body, some of the things that have loosened up and changed and shifted, and also how she feels about it as a yoga teacher. So we're going to talk about some yoga stuff today and about some of the ways in which yoga has been showing up for her in her life in general, but then how it's shifting and evolving with the somatic work that she's now doing. So thank you so much, Valerie. I'm so excited to talk to you today.


V: Thank you so much for having me, Amy. I'm really excited to be here.


A: Yes. So maybe you can just orient our listeners to a little bit about what you do, how long you've been a yoga teacher and sort of a little bit about like how you came to be out there on the internet doing this incredible work. Absolutely.


V: So I am an energy worker and I'm a Reiki master and actually did my yoga teacher training at the same time as I was doing my energy working and Reiki training. And that was over seven years ago, maybe seven and a half, almost eight years ago. And yeah, so I was training to do all of those things at the time. And yeah, so I've been teaching yoga on and off for that amount of time because I had my kid and had a lot of different things come up. So but I studied it back then and I've been practicing any energy work more regularly I would say throughout that time. And yeah, I love working with people one on one. And that's why I really grad gravitated towards energy work, I think. But I've been having a lot of fun over the past year, especially doing some group classes with people as well in my yoga.


A: Cool, cool. Thank you. And, you know, you were so wonderful at holding space for me and being my guide and helping me to create ceremony for myself in my life last year. It was really a gift to work with you. And so when you reached out, I was excited. I was like, wow, this this wonderful human who like really knows how to hold space, like wants to work with me, wants me to hold space for them in their process. What a gift. What an honor to be able to do that for you. But, you know, you were really kind of frank with me about some of the like ways in which you felt vulnerable reaching out and initiating the conversation, right? Even though we already had this kind of relationship, there were some things that were kind of like in the way. And yet you had felt really called into my work based on, you know, the things that I post and share about and write about. Can you tell us a little bit about your process and what it was like for you to reach out and start that conversation about joining Radiance?


V: Yeah, I mean, it was I knew it was all my own internal stuff, which made it eventually easier to do. And I knew as soon as I just said what I needed to say that it would be received really lovingly by you. And so I knew you well enough to just know how. Yeah, what a wonderful person you are and how skilled you are and also, you know, what kind of loving space that you can hold a hold as well. And so I just knew I needed some. I needed some really big shifts in my life. And as I've mentioned to you, I needed them to be gentle. And it was kind of like I needed to sort of be coming home to myself again in this deeper way. And it felt pretty disorienting for me because of all the tools that I have to kind of feel out of touch with myself in certain ways. And so. Yeah, I knew that I also needed kind of an extensive amount of support. That there were things doors I didn't want to open unless I knew that I had the support in place to hold that level of what might come up. And I knew from really hearing a lot about your program that it would be an extensive enough amount of support. Like I wouldn't just be hanging there like open up the door, see what's inside and then not have that level of holding to actually move through it. I knew that I would have what I needed to be supported through that in my body. So I really trusted that experience with you and I'm so glad I did.


A: Yeah, I remember you saying that the first like around the end of the first month there, you know, you were just so impressed with the format of the program, which I appreciated the feedback on because, you know, I kind of just created this myself. I, you know, didn't have like a specific model that I that I went for. I just created this format of like the one on one time and the group time. And I know that you just really enjoyed that first month. You felt like it went really deep. Would you say a little bit about what the first month was like for you?


V: Yeah, absolutely. It really did. I knew that you were going to have a lot of support in your program, but I honestly didn't know and I don't know how I didn't realize it. I maybe it's just experiential, but you were doing so many and such extensive and so long of one on one sessions along with the group sessions. And I kind of told you that ended up being what I think and helped me to drop in so deeply was because it was being so personalized for what my body needed. But then I could take that into the group setting and understand what was going on. And I don't think I have spoken to this part, but I actually think it kind of goes back to my childhood where I felt pretty disoriented and a lot of group learning settings where I'd kind of be like, I don't necessarily know if what's going on with me is what's going on with everybody else. And I would feel kind of lost in like group learning settings. So group work could be really intimidating to me sometimes. So the way that you broke that down and had all of that holding one on one made it so that it felt easy to drop in in the group container. So in that first month, I experienced a lot of shifts in my body that now feel really just natural. My back pain that I had, which was really one of the main reasons that I had reached out to you. One of the ways that that kind of discomfort in my own body was showing up was in my lower back pain and my lower back would just kind of, I didn't know when it might go out since having my son, who's now five and a half, I had had that happen at least a few times. And it felt really scary to me. And so in that first month, I went from feeling that, which added a lot to the vulnerability that I came with, that vulnerability of like, wow, I don't know exactly how to be with my own body and trust my own body. And I went from having a lot of anxiety around that to feeling a lot more trust in my body and being able to be with myself because I didn't, I was no longer having that experience. I didn't have that constant feeling and pain anymore. And that was really huge for me.


A: Yeah, yeah, I remember that. And I also, you had some next stuff going on, too. Has shifted a lot as well.


V: Yeah, that felt very connected that my neck and back were always like these two connected pieces. And it was so such a part of my life. And I was so used to, no matter what I was doing, doing these really dramatic like neck rolls and stretches and heart openers and all these moves to try to alleviate it. And it had just become this loop that I was always in. Like, I mean, kind of constantly, I would be moving my body in that way, but not experiencing the level of relief that I did after doing a month of the program.


A: Yeah, yeah, that's really interesting. I mean, I used to do all that same kind of stuff, too. And then when the when the dis-ease is kind of softened, there's just there's no need to because there's not that kind of itch that you're trying to scratch, right? So then they're not doing all this extra stuff to try to get at that thing. Because the thing is just now integrated into your body again, that that contraction or that pain or that discomfort is now just part of your body instead of like this thing that's sticking out and causing irritation. Absolutely.


V: That's an amazing way of putting it. Yes, I can't improve on that.


A: Wonderful. Yeah. And so maybe you can share a little bit, you know, the the food piece was like another piece that you were called into here. And and we spend about a month on that in the program in the second month, right? And but we still integrate it with the somatic movement. So there's kind of this discussion and then you get to like process whatever has come up like in your body or in your consciousness through the somatic movement. How did you find that that that worked for you?


V: Yeah, I thought it worked really well. I felt. Excuse me, really receptive to all of the information that you were sharing. And it felt resonant with me. So I'm not an example of somebody who experienced a lot of resistance to it. And I would also say that. One of the main takeaways for me was around. You know, when we do have moments of quote, unquote, imperfection in like maybe there's a discrepancy between like what we know and like what we're doing or what we you know, what we found ourselves. Oops, like I just wandered into the pantry and I just ate something that maybe wasn't, you know, the most supportive choice ever. That there's still something that I can do to be present with my body. Because I find like that when shame comes in, that's when you can't really be with yourself. And I think that was one of the pieces that I really wanted some support around. And. In the program was I was just noticing that there were some different parts of myself that weren't able to really like hang out at the same time, because I had so much knowledge, but that's different from being in like a relaxed embodied state around that knowledge. You can either have it hyper alert you and make you more anxious because you feel like there's a big discrepancy. But when you're starting to integrate that, having a somatic tool of being able to drop into your body and kind of self-soothe in a way that's supportive to your nervous system is pretty paramount. I think that's I think it's huge.


A: Yes, yes. And it can really calm that like that kind of like, oh crap, what just happened? Feeling of like, you know, like say let's relate it to the back pain that you were experiencing, like you're feeling this uneasiness and this tension in your back and you have this memory of like your back going out, you know, and so there's this fear, right? The same way that like maybe, you know, if you're someone like me and you've had like a history of like emotional eating and like my weight going up and down or like having health crises, you know, I go and I'm like eating that chocolate chip cookie and I catch myself in it and I feel like, oh crap, like what's happening? Like, am I about to go overboard? Am I going to have like a health issue again? Am I going to gain? It sounds like we go into this catastrophic kind of thinking because we have some experience like in our in our body, in our history that, you know, really it's just it's our consciousness trying to alert us that like you said, there's a discrepancy between like what you, you know, the tools that you had, the knowledge that you have about how to help your body and like what you're actually doing, like what you're actually experiencing and like how do we bridge that gap and create more like harmony or at least more ease, right? Even when there isn't harmony, we can create a little more ease around that, you know, and come back into like our experience and and like the word you use self-sued is really great. like, okay, you know, here I am. And I'm like eating this bag of potato chips and like, and my mind is starting to push me into like my shame and my fear and my guilt, you know, like in this specific example. Like, can I just be with that? And then like feel into the sensations in my body, you know, and ask myself like, what do I need? Like, what's gonna help me right now? Like that's one of the tools that I offer a lot in the second month of the program is like asking ourselves like, what do we need? You know, because often we're gravitating habitually towards like foods, you know, that are comforting, but it's not what you really need. Like maybe what you really need is like physical touch. Maybe what you really need is like to say something to somebody, but you're like, those words down with like another bite of food or something, right?


V: Yeah, yeah, yeah, 100%. Yeah, and I really like what you, what you just said about harmony, because I think what it can feel like when you're experiencing like the trying to stuff things down is that it actually feel like when you let yourself like, whoa, not just stuff it down, it can actually feel like really discordant and that's freaky to your nervous system. So having anything that can like help you to be with what feels that unsafe initially, like creating safety around what feels like, I have to get out of here, I have to run, right? All those things that our nervous system might pick in to do is creating this like larger container to hold whatever comes up and that's pretty big.


A: Yes, and that the larger container can be literally like your body. And your body, creating connection in your body to feel it all and like be able to move with it, against it. Yeah. And that's literally what we're doing in the somatic movement, we're going with the contractions rather than a lot of, and this is, this will bring us right into month three into the yoga piece and stuff like that, but there's a lot of unintentional, I think, struggle that can be created in our bodies when we're going against ourselves, instead of with ourselves. And there can be fear in the beginning with this idea of going with ourselves because we're like, well, what if I don't trust myself? Like where am I gonna take myself if I go with my selling? I'm gonna just be like binge eating, am I just gonna like go off the rails? Am I gonna, you know what I mean? Like we make these memories of like going with our, you know, experience as not being safe, right? But then when you start to create that bigger container of your body to be able to hold whatever experience shows up, it becomes a little bit more safe. Yeah, absolutely.


V: Yeah, I'm resonating with everything you're saying.


A: Yeah, tell me a little bit like, as a yoga teacher and you had your own yoga practice, was there anything about like, what I share about somatics or what you, well, first year's a good question. What did you know about somatics or somatic realms as a yoga teacher? Was that something you were aware of or like, was it new to you? What did you know about this like concept of somatics?


V: Hmm, yeah, I've learned about it more independently from my yoga training, I guess I would say, like as a word and as a phrase. And definitely didn't learn about it as specifically, like about hanismatics specifically, but just more this idea of just being embodied. And I've experienced it in like a variety of different ways, kind of like movement meditation, if you will, yeah, but not anything that was structured the way that hanismatics is.


A: Gotcha, yeah, so it was kind of like this thing that you knew a little bit about, but like you didn't know maybe all the different differentiations of different kinds of somatic work out there, but you knew that it related to like your body and being really attentive and creating like awareness to become more embodied.


V: Yeah, yeah, and I definitely had like a little like sampler plate of different kinds of modalities in the different work that I've done, but I definitely had zero experience with hanismatics before working with you.


A: Yeah, yeah, it really is its own kind of thing because it's this system that's fairly extensive, meaning that we can like apply it to any area of your body. And there's a very kind of like specific technology or kind of like piece of your nervous system that we're using to create like a really specific result of like a longer, less tight muscle, right? Yeah, yeah, absolutely.


V: Yeah, I had not experienced something with that was that structured before for sure.


A: Yeah, and then coming into it as a yoga teacher, did you have like any like, did you have any expectations or hesitations? What did you kind of think of trying something different that wasn't like yoga, but was like another body practice? Like what did you feel called into with that and what was like a little bit like edgy for you?


V: Yeah, yeah, I felt both really drawn to it and also a little bit nervous because I had just started, not just, I had started within the past year, I've been teaching yoga again and I've shared this with you, but I really for a long time had a lot of hesitations over whether I wanted to teach or not because I felt like it was a lot of responsibility to hold in the way that yoga classes are structured with many people with very different bodies, with different injuries, you know, all of just the list goes on and on and on and with the level of training that I had anatomically and also just the fact that I don't tend to really think super anatomically, although I had trained yoga training in my yoga teacher training, I've always gravitated more towards the energetic side and more towards really, I guess, proprioception or like helping people drop into their own bodies more than anything. And so I was very called to your program the more that I saw how many yoga teachers had been doing it, you were sharing about some of their interests and their results doing it and kind of this desire to sort of, I don't know if go beyond yoga is really the phrase that I desire, but it's kind of like, there's more, right? Like that's not it, there's more, there's more tools to add in. And a lot of the way that you teach is what I have intuitively always felt drawn to and so that part felt really exciting to me. I always want to teach slowly and to have people really connected to their bodies and have like if that was gonna be the result at the end of the day, I was always less concerned about having somebody come away with the correct quote unquote posture and it was always more about their internal experience. And I've shared with you that I was also a little bit hesitant because I was wondering, okay, well, how does this integrate with yoga? Can this integrate with yoga? Is it just gonna blow my yoga practice up or like calling myself a yoga teacher or can I still do that? All of these different questions that I had, like what enticed me was also what made me nervous about delving into the world of beyond.


A: Yeah, yeah. And so what did you find? I mean, how did you feel like the style of somatic yoga that I teach, how did you feel like it was similar or different from how you teach yoga?


V: Yeah, it's, well, technically it's different in that you go through the full description of what the pose is going to be before leading into that pose. I don't always go to that level of description and I found that to be really interesting, especially as somebody who before I was doing my training, I learned yoga by just being kind of thrown or jumping into a class where it was literally just looking around me, trying to figure out what people were doing. And it felt so chaotic to me that I was kind of just like, like going in these general, the closest shape I could get, right? And it took so long for me to have any understanding of what those postures really were and what I was doing in them. And of course that refined through my own training and over time, but I felt that the way that you teach, like slows things down even more. And as slow as my classes are, there has always been this curiosity for me around that because I think that there is always more room to personalize a class even more and to help people drop into their own experience even more, to start to limit the comparison even more because it's such a paradigm switch from our culture. It's just so big. I think people need a lot of space and a lot of permission to start reprogramming that.


A: Yes, reprogramming from what kind of perceptions and attitudes about yoga that you feel like maybe we slip into that are related maybe to our culture. Yeah, I think that, I mean,


V: comparison and like looking around at people to figure out if you're doing it right. That was what my experience in classes were like early on. And again, luckily for me, not once I started studying it more extensively, but when I was first starting out learning yoga by going to drop in classes, that was how I was learning was by looking at other people around me because the teacher was just like boom, boom, boom, queuing things, moving on and I was like, ah, I don't know what you're doing. So I mean, I think in that way comparison became a central part of it and looking around at other people to figure out if I was doing it right. And I think that's a massive part of our culture. We're taught to do that in so many different ways to keep up. I think that's really one of the main things to reprogram as part of our culture.


A: Especially that the phrase of doing it right. Because if you're doing it right, then you could also be doing it wrong. Right? And it creates this kind of polarity of like, there's a right way to do this yoga pose and there's a wrong way to do this yoga pose. And I mean, I see this all the time and frankly, to be completely honest, like I really used to believe that there were right and wrong ways to do yoga poses. And I don't really think that anymore because I have a different perception of what bodies are doing. I see bodies a little bit differently than I used to. So if I see someone who has quote unquote bad form in this yoga pose, I don't see like something that needs to be fixed. I see that this person has, their nervous system is organizing their body in a particular way right now. And they could organize that differently in the next moment. Right? They could just organize it differently. They can have, and to say that the pose is right or wrong, it leaves out what the person is experiencing internally. Right? So this example in the case of like, you're doing it wrong if it hurts. Let's say we just, if you're hurting, if you're hurting in the yoga pose, then you're doing it wrong. Well, sometimes hurt is this relative thing. What hurts you could feel good to someone else or could feel like okay to someone else who has like a high pain tolerance where you could be just very sensitive and it hurts a lot just to do small movements, right? Yeah. So, and you can't see hurt from the outside. You can't look at somebody's yoga pose and know what they're experiencing internally. You can't, you can only ask them to inquire what they're feeling. Someone could be doing a yoga pose that looks wrong, looks like bad form, they don't feel any pain. They're having a great time. Doesn't feel what they're doing because their brain is organizing it in this way that whatever they're doing is comfortable and feels natural to them. But you're looking at them and saying, oh, their hips need to be more forward, their spine needs to be more straight, they're collapsing through their lower back, right? All the same. At the same time, you could have someone like me who had this beautiful form and yet I was experiencing pain but I had such a high pain tolerance and I had such strong will and determination that you would never ever know that I was having them. I didn't even fully register that I was in pain because my form was so beautiful in this time. Yeah. So this idea that we can do it right or wrong and that there's a right way and a wrong, I think it's limiting because something more, I guess, mysterious is going on. Something more mysterious is going on. And so that's part of what I've been opening myself up to in my own practice, but also in the way that I'm offering the somatic yoga is like how can we get more into that discovery and that process and how can I trust that if I give people space to have their own experience that whatever shows up in their experience is going to be safe, right? Not good or bad. Yeah. Yeah.


V: Yeah, and I love that so much. Yeah, I really, really, really love that. That's something I just resonate with on a really deep level. And I think like that in some ways, I think that is something that I like, that the Hanosematics comes without a lot of the cultural ideas and baggage attached to it, because there are a lot of limitations that yoga can have just because of that. I remember teaching a class not even really that long ago. And like I was saying, like my classes are really slow. Like, you know, they're like in slow mo and all these things, right? And I remember there was like a there was somebody who was there and I was like, Oh, this was just like, hmm, but he must not be in a very comfortable, you know, space, because his body just really didn't look like it that and I was kind of not trying to single him out. But I was also trying to really offer like, let's, you know, help you experience more ease and comfort in this position, or maybe not in this position. And he was really like, not really quite able to receive that in that moment. And he was even like, but yeah, but like, I'm stretching and like, that's what yoga is all about. And I was kind of like, Oh, Oh, no, you know, like this idea of like, he was already jumping to bypassing his body experience. And I was so trying to like, meet him there and try to alleviate some of the discomfort I could tell was in his body. But he already had an idea of what the agenda should be from him coming to that class. I was like, dang, that's when I was like, this is so big, how do I even have a yoga class without having some of these are very almost meta conversations about like, what are we doing? Here? Why are we all here? You know, like, there's a lot to kind of be redefined, I think, within our culture, when it comes to the this kind of stuff, it's, it's, yeah, there's a lot to be unpacked. Yes.


A: And, and yoga also has turned into, you know, for me, it was a career, it was my livelihood. You know, and I had a lot invested in that, like when something is your livelihood, you know, and I also was part of a culture of yoga that, you know, had a lot of really wonderful, beautiful, great things about it. And at the same time, there was like a kind of status quo of like, this is what yoga is. This is what a good class is like. Can you deliver that so that we can make money so that we can do yoga? Yeah. Are your classes filling up? Why or why not? And kind of that pressure to like perform and be a good yoga teacher, quote unquote, be like successful or be, you know, someone that people want to learn from. And so we have a kind of like this ideal or model of what a yoga teacher is and what a yoga class is like, that maybe we're not fitting into all the time. Right.


V: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, no 100%. I think that's, it's a huge part of it. And I know that, I mean, I think that the, I think that yoga has shifted a lot from what I've just seen from when I started doing it. And maybe it's just that I started finding more pockets of it that I gravitated, you know, and resonated with more, but I was starting to see really big shifts and they were because like I have mentioned, like that I had yoga teachers in my training who had had, you know, joint replacement surgery way earlier than they would have needed to because of ignoring their body and just putting themselves into some really extreme postures very regularly or doing some of these. So it's like, you know, that's how people started learning and incorporating some, I don't know if you ever encountered much of her work, but luckily a lot of the teachers that I learned from were informed by Judith Lasseter's work and she was a physical therapist as well. And so she started talking about some of these things like there are some of these ways that maybe this is not right for everybody to move in and like let's really break this down. So, but I mean, to see how yoga kind of gained a lot of popularity like fast vinyasa classes where you're just sweating a lot and it's like almost like the opposite of really being with yourself. It's like this idea of just like pushing yourself so hard that you're not really feeling anything versus slowing it down and creating gentle spaciousness like two very different ways of approaching it.


A: Yes, yes. And I think that, you know, part of where I'm at now in my process has been figuring out how to really marry these two things of the somatic work and the yoga because I think that ultimately, you know, the somatic work is about becoming connected to your internal experience in your physical body real time. That's what it's all that's what it basically is. It's yeah, be connected moment by moment to my internal experience and just stay connected. Even difficult, even if it hurts, even if it's not how I want it to be, right? That kind of creating that bigger connectedness within your body to hold all that space for yourself, right? In your physical body. And that goes with everything. It goes literally with any sense that you could possibly have, including running a marathon, including weightlifting, including, you know, whatever, some crazy, you know, crazy experience bungee jumping, it could go with anything, right? In the beginning, though, when you first become like aware of your internal experience real time, there's this like kind of unraveling of going like, Oh, wow, like look at all this stuff that was buried in these closet. All of these things that I'm sorting through all of this stuff, right? Yeah, yeah. Part of what like I very, very gently invite you into in like a really like, easeful way in the Radius program. Like it's not, we don't do like intense cathartic heavy lifting stuff, like certainly some people have big moments, you know, in their physical experience. But for the most part, it's about letting go. And it's about letting letting things naturally process over a period of time. Right? Yeah. Yeah. Right. But really like, where I'm starting to arrive at is like, this can go with anything, including an intense vinyasa class, but you're going to have a hard time with that intense vinyasa class. If you're at the beginning of your somatic journey, because you're in this unraveling phase, and you're starting to sort through and realize how disconnected you've been and how maybe, like me, you may have been using intense physical experiences to separate yourself from your body. Yeah. I'd be with those intense physical experiences while remaining connected to my body. Yes. Yes. That's not something that just happens one day and it's done. It's like an awesome thing. Absolutely. Yeah.


V: And it might look totally different. You might make some very different choices than you would otherwise. And that is part of the, I think, gaining trust in yourself and why it makes sense to start it slower and smaller, because it's like you're learning how to like hold your own hand on that journey. And if you try to do that while you're like running, but you actually don't really trust yourself, it's not really an integrated experience. Like you start slow. You start, you're literally connecting with yourself. And yeah. And so you don't know how things might shift. Yeah. I think it's totally possible that you can also do things where you're moving faster. I don't think that the somatic practice says you must only ever do things very slowly. But I think that once you are integrating that experience more, it can give you a foundation to move from. Absolutely.


A: Yeah. Yeah. And I mean, a lot of times, and again, I'm speaking for myself with all of this because I've been on this very kind of arduous at times journey with yoga. And I feel like I'm really sort of healing my relationship to it because I wasn't super healthy when I, in my approach to yoga, it was kind of compulsive in the beginning for me. Yeah. Fresh from like a traumatic experience, recovering from like having been abusing substances as a teenager to deal with stuff like that. So for me, when I came into my yoga, I came into it in a certain level of desperation. And sometimes we have an up regulation of our nervous system, right? Like that, that intense, you know, fight or flight, kind of like sympathetic nervous system experience, we have it deeply linked with like dissociation. Yeah. Linked with exiting our experience with getting out of our body. And so unlink those two things, and then be able to enter an elevated nervous system state, a sympathetic state with actual body awareness, with actual presence in your body, like that's a task, you know? Like what takes time to unlink the dissociation and the up regulation of your nervous system? Do you know what I'm saying?


V: I do know what you're saying. I'm just like taking that in because I think that's so true. And I think a lot of peak experiences that people have can be like that. For sure. Yeah. Yeah. Where it's like they're almost only able to have a peak experience because they're dissociating sometimes, you know? And then it's like, oh my gosh, it's such a different experience to be. I mean, slowly integrating it. And I think that, you know, that was another piece of why I was kind of resistant to it is like, I knew that you weren't going to hand me just like some miracle solution. Like I knew from what you've shared about your own experience and like what it is, is that it really is because you're like weaving it into the fabric of your own life, like you're normalizing having this be something that, you know, is not just like, oh, you just did I was gone? No, all your trap is gone. Or like the way that people can just market things sometimes, I think can be so like we all want to believe that. And so I knew that it would be, you know, I knew at times I was going to not want to do it. Or I'd be like, when I first did it, I was like, this is boring or whatever, you know? Yes. So I knew at times it was I was going to feel that way. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, but you know, and it's true, there are still times I don't always want to do it that where I'm and that's just like my own resistance talking, you know, because I know whenever I do bring in the movements, like it feels like very like it's a physical sense of release, I guess, and relief. I said release, but I meant maybe it's both relief in my body.


A: It is. And our bodies want it. Our bodies are like calling for it. And then our lines and our like, you know, other layers of like ourselves are like, I don't want to or like, you know, I have some other thing I want to do or I'm too busy or there's all these things that come in. But once you like give it to your body, like once you actually like, like your body's just like, Oh, thank you. Thank you. Yeah. It's kind of like, I think of it as like my little kid who doesn't want to go to bed or something. Yeah. You know, but it's like so tired and starting to get cranky and starting to get, you know, overwhelmed by everything. And it's like, Oh, let's just go to bed and it'll feel so good to rest and like, I don't want to. Yeah.


V: Well, and I think like this part has been honestly, this part, I'm glad I'm going to say this because I feel like this has been the part of my journey. Really why I called you in was because, you know, I had my kid when I was pretty and he's five and a half. And I didn't anticipate some of the changes that would happen as a result of that. And I think I had this very idealized, not idealized relationship with my body, but I actually felt like pretty in control, quote unquote, of my body to a certain extent. Like I felt like, okay, by this point, I kind of know like what foods, you know, like really bother me and which don't. I kind of felt like I had this understated like almost like agreement, like with my body of like, okay, like, I can do these yoga poses and I can be okay, or I can like know what to eat and I'll be okay. And I think that becoming a parent for me was such a big curveball, not only in the decrease in the amount of personal time that I had for myself, but also like when I started having this back pain show up or these things that were that were pretty unfamiliar to me, I know our stories are very different because you were living with like intense chronic pain. And I didn't really have that mine like started showing my more intense experience with my body started showing up after, you know, having my kiddo and and just like my whole relationship to my body really was changing. And I think that's when I was like, wait a second, I don't really know how to handle this. And this is when the things I used to go to could actually make it worse when sometimes exercising would make it worse, sometimes doing yoga would make my back feel worse or more I feel more out of control. And I think that lack of control was and not really knowing like how to relate to myself in that way. it started causing more imbalances with my relationship with food and with eating and like from there on it's almost like the more the lack of control that I felt like the more that I was just trying to like regain it some way that felt safe but I didn't feel like I had the way to do that and that felt so it's so disorienting to me and like I mean it was a bit of an ego you know release for me to reach out to you to say like I don't feel like I should have to like have anybody help me with this but like I am in some new terrain you know and I'm finally admitting that to myself years, years down the line that I need something different now. And I don't even remember how I started talking about that but that to me is really feels like the crux of what came up came up for me and it's just like really relieving to have a new tool. Yeah, to use to relate to my body in that way and so even when I'm bored I'm like, it's kind of a privilege problem to have to like be bored, like instead of just being like fuck I'm so scared of like my body and I don't know what to do and all these things it's like, I'm just kind of don't feel like doing that thing right now. It's like a great transition to have it go from.


A: Yeah, totally. Well that's so wonderful thank you for sharing that about like just the way in which you felt that you had this sense of control, and then some things happened in your body like having a baby as a big deal in a woman's body. Right, it's a big deal in your body, and then everything shifted in so many other ways to accommodate this new way of living. And yeah, there can be plenty of instances where things shift and we feel like we lose a sense of control or connection in our bodies whether it's injury, or some kind of trauma or a life shift or some kind. And that's, you know, that's when we need as much support as we can get. And I'm so grateful that you like reached out and finally felt that there was that there was someone that was able to help you and, you know, what you've experienced now since we're now ending you know the third month of the program. You have talked about feeling so good in your body, feeling so like flowing in your body, certain activities that you were like afraid to do before you're like comfortable and happy and joyfully doing now. Yeah, yeah, would you say a little bit about how things are like, you know, after this third month of the program of doing this practice with me.


V: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah, I feel really, I think it's that sense of being able to trust myself. That gives me that sense of being able to be at home in my body. And that feels like such a relief. And yeah, I remember after that first month or in the, I don't remember when it exactly happened but just being able to know that I could be in the garden and like be bent over in that position that was really aggravating to my back otherwise, that I could do that and then I could just know that I was going to be okay and even when we started the program and there were just certain arching movements with my back that gave me a lot of anxiety and I'm, it's amazing to me now how I don't have that experience at all. So I just feel like this really, I mean the phrase that we've used in a different context was softly embodied and that feels just feels really safe and nurturing and And I mean, I, another piece like I just want to say for anybody who's listening to is like, I really thought that I had to lose a lot of weight before I could feel that like I really thought I was kind of like, okay, like, I'm going to get some tools from this but I was like, I'm not actually going to be able to be out of pain until I'm like 40 pounds lighter. And I have lost some weight, but I have not lost 40 pounds and I thought a huge part of my brain even coming in was like, okay Amy is going to help me with like this one thing, like so that I can exercise more so that I can lose the weight because I probably can't actually be out of pain until like I lose a significant amount of weight. And I'm still very open to that experience of like releasing some more weight I'm not against that but I'm also been actually kind of shocked that I could feel this good in my body, while still, you know, not having lost 40 pounds, probably lost like eight pounds or something total but that feels kind of wild to me so that's been a huge game changer of being like whoa like I actually like as as I am, I can experience a certain level of ease and comfort and just feeling like kind of like leaned back in my energy if that makes sense like kind of just like oh yeah like here I am this is just who I am. And that's been really, really freeing and I actually think that was a gift I didn't know that I needed, because I knew the whole time. Because of my past experience with eating disorders and all that stuff I was like I totally like know how to lose weight in a way that's disembodied, like I know how to bully myself into it like I know how to like put my head down and like just do the right things but I was like I kind of actually don't know how to do it. From a place that's like integrated embodied really compassionate. I haven't done that before. And so I have felt like a kind of a sense of relaxation around knowing that I can be comfortable, exactly where I am and that it's like a choice that I get to make, if that makes sense. Rather than something that like I needed to, that's the way that I wanted to do it I was like I don't want to bully myself I don't want to feel like I have to sacrifice my integrity or any of those things are like, but so that's been like kind of that's like literally shocking to me which is cool to like reflect upon that I could actually find some comfort and and sense of being at ease in my body, like now, I don't have to wait until I'm 40 cons later. Whoa, that's huge.


A: Right well and I would argue that being more at home in your body feeling more comfortable doing and daily physical activities and also just not having that same, like, I guess, level of discomfort in your body is all of that's going to support whatever choices you make around weight loss. All of that. Absolutely. Yeah, all of that's going to support it, and it doesn't have to be this like, I'm going to run my brains out and go on a crash diet and fast a bunch and like stress my body out to lose that weight. Yeah, I'm a bad girl because I gained or something right. It doesn't be that way because now you have this experience of your body feeling good. And then you can also do whatever else you want you could take up a running practice you could make it a goal to lose another 15 pounds in a loving way in a yes, your body yes, yes, you don't have to wait like you just said you don't have to wait to feel good in your body until after the weight is off or after this thing is done.


V: Yes, 100% and that's really like what I wanted and what I didn't. But like I didn't really know if that was possible. But I feel like there's like a deeper invitation, you know, to like continue the thread of like what helps me to feel really good. That makes sense. So it's like it starts now and then like you get to keep following it rather than being like, you can't have it until like, you know, until this happens and I know from so many, you know, I know that that that finish line is like a false. It doesn't really exist. I know it doesn't really exist. It's just like you just kind of keep following like what feels really good to you and so it feels so good to cultivate that and then like it's more like an allowance of like continue to allowing more and more and more of that into my life rather than like the opposite spectrum of just pushing really hard for it. So, it feels really good.


A: And it's great too because I can really feel and see how our work intersects here because a lot of what you support and teach around is like allowing ourselves to rest deeply. Yeah. Rest and not having to earn our rest, but that it's just like you said, you know, just recently in like a session that I had with you that the earth is supporting you. The earth is without any expectation. There's no, there's nothing you have to do to be supported. Right. There's nothing that like you have to do to earn feeling good and safe in your body. It's, it's what you're allowed to experience by being in your body. Yes.


V: It's so true. It's so true. I feel like yeah, we both do a lot of gentle like allowance right for all of that kind of deprogramming, if you will, to to happen. Yeah, on different levels. So, oh yeah, our work definitely is very complimentary.


A: Yes, absolutely. Well, thank you so much for being so vulnerable and sharing about your personal experience, you know, with somatics and some of the things that you're, you know, it's funny, I thought of this quote like right before we got on this call and I'm like thinking about it in like a new way. So I think it's like, I think it's Shakespeare and I mean I'm just probably going to like misquote it a little bit or something, but it's talking about the dream within a dream. Right. And life is like this dream within a dream. You know, and I was thinking about that in terms of like this idea of like a somatic awakening or waking up, you know, or being, you know, woke is kind of like the really, you know, kind of over the top politicized term for it. But this idea that like the waking up or the awakening never stops. There's just like layered. So like there's a dream within a dream within a dream and we're continuously, you know, waking up to a new day and a new experience and something like that we weren't aware of in ourselves before. It's like, how deep does the rabbit hole go like it just keeps kind of going and going and we keep learning and discovering. And there's always something more. Right. And so even as like an energy worker as an intuitive guide as a healer as a yoga teacher, like there was still another layer of like awakening that you were called into. Yeah, yeah. Feel bad about it's not like you weren't, you weren't, you had failed or something, you know what I mean. Yeah, yes. It's really beautiful and just part of this continuous process of being alive and being open to like the new possibilities that are available in, you know, in our lifetime. Hmm.


V: Yes, I love that so much. And I think that just, yeah, reframes it from, yeah, getting being something that we get to be excited about and that that is that is what it's about here. I'm like if we, if we did choose to come here, we chose to play the game of of like baseline like, you know, kind of starting to want to go to sleep and also that desire that little seed within us that's like what that desire to wake up to and it's that that really interesting contrast I think that we just keep playing with on the in the on the earth game and I don't know I'm having fun and it makes it even more fun to connect with somebody like you or you just get to share your gifts I get to share my gifts we just all get to keep reminding each other like your podcast tagline says you know it's all about that just helping, helping wake up another app.


A: Yes, yes, and, and start to live from the inside out from our internal and dance with the internal experience and the external reality and notice how they're, they're constantly in this beautiful exchange flowing with another, you know, and that, and so blessed to be able to like witness that dance and interact and play with it. Mm hmm. Here here. Awesome. Oh, it's been such a lovely conversation today. Thank you for getting into some of the yoga stuff and talking about these things that I think sometimes can be kind of taboo to talk about as a yoga teacher, like the yoga world because like, there definitely is like, I don't know a way things are done and then there's also like different ways that things are done you know different. Yes. And yes, to kind of analyze and like talk about some of the challenges that you know like you've had as a yoga teacher that you've had as a yoga student. Don't feel like everybody's always like ready to share about that stuff.


V: Yeah, yeah, my honestly my pleasure. I feel like we're all here and service to one another and so if somebody can relate and it helps them to feel like they can explore, you know, more than there we go. Thank you.


A: Yes, beautiful. Okay, well we'll catch up with you again sometime soon I would love to have you share with our audience a little bit more deeply about your work I know you're working on some new things right now and maybe there'll be a time in the future for you to, for you to share a little bit more on those exciting, exciting developments.


V: Yes, please. I'd love to come back. It'll be really fun. Awesome. Thank you Valerie. Thank you Amy.


A: Hi everyone. Thank you for listening to Free Your Soma. I hope you've enjoyed hearing from Valerie today about what's possible. If you're interested in creating easy flowing movement, effortlessly aligned posture, deep peace and safety within your body, a more aligned relationship to food, confidence to move painlessly through life. Apply now for the radiance program at www.freeyoursoma .com. As a podcast listener, you can get $500 off the summer round. The time is now. We start on July 15. Cheering on your embodied freedom and discoveries. Bye for now.

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