Episode 331 Nicole Byars Mindful Movement: Yoga for Veterans Transcript

This transcript is from episode 331 with guest Nicole Byars.

Scott DeLuzio: [00:00:00] Hey everybody, welcome back to Drive On. I’m your host, Scott DeLuzio. And today my guest is Nicole Byars. Nicole is a founder of Honest Yoga and she’s here to discuss the benefits of yoga for veterans. Um, before we get into that though, uh, Nicole, welcome to the show. I’m glad to have you here.

Nicole Byars: Thank you for having me here.

I’m excited to be here. I appreciate the opportunity.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, you bet. Um, before we get into kind of the benefits of yoga for veterans and, you know, that’s kind of the subject of this show. We, we talk about, you know, a lot of veterans issues and, and things along those lines, but, um, you know, a lot of times veterans are out there.

They’re, they know there’s, there’s some issues that they’re, they’re maybe dealing with. Maybe it’s physical, maybe it’s mental, whatever the issues are that they’re dealing with. Um, they just don’t know where to turn. And so I like to cover a wide variety of topics and yoga is one of those topics that I think maybe.

We’ve talked about it a little bit before, but maybe it hasn’t gotten enough coverage as far as some of the benefits, but before we get into all of that, could you [00:01:00] tell us a little bit about yourself and your background, kind of who you are? Sure.

Nicole Byars: So as you said, um, my name is Nicole and I grew up in Minnesota.

Um, you probably hear it in my accent. Um, but I grew up in Minnesota. I actually went to college in Arizona, which I believe is right around your neighborhood. It is. Yeah. Awesome. So went to college in Arizona. Um, graduated from Arizona state, lived out there for some time. Um, but after college I got into corporate America and I found myself very lost.

Very confused in my early 20s and what kind of started to transpire for me at that time was an eating disorder and So I was anorexic and an overexerciser and so in my mid twenties I actually had to take a leave of absence from my corporate job in Arizona and move back to Minnesota to get treatment and part of my treatment and [00:02:00] recovery was yoga and I was very resistant to yoga.

I never liked yoga, but it was mandatory in my recovery and it was something that I had to do every day. And so, um, it was maybe two weeks into my treatment where We were doing a very simple yoga class, we were standing outside, I’ll never forget it, it was summer, it was warm, we were standing outside in what we call Mountain Pose, which is just basically standing in yoga, and the teacher was instructing us to just feel the ground underneath us, feel the grass, feel the warmth on your skin, and it was in that moment, for about 10 seconds, That I felt such, such a connection with myself that I had not felt for years because, you know, especially with an eating disorder, I had been at war with myself, with my body for so many years and it [00:03:00] was in that moment and it literally only lasted for 10 seconds where I felt this love towards myself, which again, I hadn’t felt in so many years.

So it was that. Blimp that created this feeling of, I wanted more of that. Sure. I wanted more of that feeling, so I kept on, so I slowly, it was a very slow process of yoga and getting into it. I slowly began to do it more. I slowly began to fall in love with it. I got married, had a few kids, um, was home with my boys and was feeling pretty unfulfilled at the time and was like really yearning for community and I wanted to get back to work again and so I ended up going to training, a six month program, getting my 200 hour certification.

And from there, I just have been in the industry now for 10 years. I have been teaching, um, yoga. I have owned and operated studios. I still [00:04:00] open, or I still own a studio as well in Minneapolis. And that has morphed into trauma informed yoga as well.

Scott DeLuzio: Well, that’s great. And I do want to get more into that, especially the trauma informed yoga.

Sounds like there’s a lot of parallels between your story and how you got into yoga and maybe some of the people that you might be working with as far as some of the issues that they may have been dealing with going into it. Trying to kind of find themselves and rediscover themselves and, and, uh, love themselves again.

Um, and that’s something that I think we all need some, uh, help with from time to time. And maybe yoga is a way to do that for some people. We’re going to cut to a quick commercial break though here, so stay tuned. Hey everybody, welcome back to Drive On. I have Nicole Byars here, who is talking about the benefits of yoga.

Um, in the intro, she was talking about her own personal journey with yoga and dealing with, um, eating disorders and other, uh, you know, kind of issues that Kind of just made her not feel like herself. Right. And, and, uh, you know, a lot of times I feel like a lot of us [00:05:00] have these issues where, you know, maybe it’s that inner voice in the back of our head that’s just telling us, you know, all this crap that we don’t need to be listening to.

Um, we kind of just need to. Um, you know, work through certain things and, and yoga, I feel like it could be one of those things that, that helps people out. And, um, uh, so Nicole, you started by telling us a little bit about your, your journey with yoga. Can you tell us, um, what led you to, uh, to kind of start the, the honest yoga that you have now and, uh, working with the, you mentioned trauma informed yoga, um, earlier, uh, working with the types of people that you work with now.

Nicole Byars: Yeah. So, you know, if we kind of go back to what I was originally talking about, um, that moment in the eating disorder recovery center where I had that very short blimp of, I don’t love the word bliss, but that’s kind of how I want to describe it. Sure. Um, and I wanted to share, I wanted to share that with other people.

I wanted other people to experience that because [00:06:00] eating disorder or not, we all have struggles. We all have hardships. We all have challenges. And so if I, if I was able to feel that, you know, I know I wanted to share that with other people. So after teaching for a year, um, I saw how other people were running their studios and the competitor in me, I guess I’ve always been that way, thought I could do it better.

So I went, um, and I opened up my first studio 10 years ago. And from there, um, you know, I, I wasn’t as into the trauma informed yoga. I wasn’t introduced to that until. five years into owning my studio. So I really, yeah, opened up the studio. I wanted to, I wanted to help people kind of find that reconnection with themselves through yoga.

And through that journey, I evolved a lot as a person. And as we evolve as people, you know, [00:07:00] the way that I taught began to evolve. And I went through something very personal and was diagnosed actually with PTSD and part of My recovery included the trauma informed yoga, so I went through training, um, out in North Carolina with a guy named David Emerson, and he is the founder of trauma informed yoga, so I continued to own the studios, um, and then I started to learn a lot more about trauma informed yoga, and through learning about trauma informed yoga, we started to incorporate that into how we taught our classes at the studio.

And so I, we wanted our classes to be more trauma informed. Okay. And go ahead. I’m, I want to explain what that is, but. [00:08:00]

Scott DeLuzio: I think, well, I think that that’s probably where I was, I was leading. Cause I, um, because you’re, you’re talking about how you wanted the classes to be kind of more geared towards the trauma informed.

And I guess my question is, what does that mean? Is, as opposed to, um, you know, I, I think of when I think of yoga, I think of, you know, the typical yoga studio. You have people, uh, you know, in there doing. torturing their body in all these different ways and doing all these different poses and everything like that.

Um, how is it that, uh, trauma informed is maybe different from, or maybe it’s not necessarily different. Maybe it’s just a different way of, uh, you know, approaching it. Um, what are some of the differences between what someone might think of as a traditional yoga studio versus something that’s more trauma informed?

Nicole Byars: Sure. So that’s why I’m here, right? Um, this is part of my mission and with my book coming out is just, um, Yoga is so much more than the physical practice, and I think, you know, media, especially social media, um, and what you see online, and what people think yoga is, [00:09:00] it’s really, it’s really not that. It’s, it’s, the physical practice is such a small piece of it.

Um, so really, I am trying to teach people and educate people on what yoga really is to me and to our studio. And really, Yoga is just about being in the present. Yoga literally means now. It’s connection to the now, connection to the present. So whether or not that is you’re doing yoga, you’re doing a down dog, or you’re doing a warrior two, or something like that, that’s great.

You’re doing your warrior two, you’re feeling your feet underneath you. You’re really in the present moment. Yes, that is doing yoga, but you also can be doing yoga per se. If you are on a walk and you’re not listening to a book or headphones or anything like that, but on that walk, you are noticing your [00:10:00] surroundings.

You are feeling your feet underneath you. You are just present. That’s doing yoga. So. You don’t have to be flexible. You don’t have to be vegan. You don’t have to be all of these things. I think these myths around what yoga is, as long as you’re a human being with a beating heart, you can do yoga. And so that’s really kind of my message.

Scott DeLuzio: And I think that’s a great message too, because I think there’s a lot of people, uh, maybe even, especially the veterans who are, uh, typically the, you know, the alpha type, they don’t want, they want to be, you know, throwing weights around in the gym and that’s the kind of, you know, exercise, physical activity that they might be looking for.

They may not have even considered yoga as, uh, something that they may even want to do. Um, but they’re not looking at. all the stuff that’s involved in yoga. It’s more than just, uh, like you were saying, the, the, the physical side of the poses [00:11:00] and, and things like that. There’s, there’s other things to it. Um, what are some things, some benefits I should say that, uh, people can get, especially people dealing with some sort of trauma in their, their past.

Um, Sure. Benefits that they can get from exploring yoga as, as a possible option.

Nicole Byars: Yeah. And as I kind of explained this, I’ll get to a little bit more to answer the question about what the trauma informed yoga is. Um, but yeah, there’s, there, there is, um, there’s. Physical benefits and mental benefits. And so if we think about the mental benefits, and that’s what I am more interested in, and that’s where all my study has been more in, um, as well as in trauma-informed yoga is, um, most people, especially if you have P T S D, or some sort of trauma.

And in my opinion, I believe that everybody has experienced some sort of trauma in their life, whether or not it’s the little t trauma [00:12:00] or the big T trauma, whatever that is, we’ve all had experiences, um, that have been hard and some are more horrific than others, right? Everybody has a story. And so with the, with that, we know that many Americans walk around In more of a state of fight or flight.

So in that heightened state of awareness. Um, it’s almost like a tiger is chasing them in that fight or flight state. We know people with PTSD are really in that fight or flight state all the time. Okay, so, so when you’re constantly in that fight or flight state and you’re walking around like that, like a tiger is chasing you.

We also know that there are chronic diseases that come with that, higher levels of stress. So everything compounds, heart disease, all that type of thing. And so really the mental benefits is trying to calm the nervous [00:13:00] system. So let’s calm the nervous system. Let’s activate your parasympathetic nervous system, which calms the nervous system and brings you into a more relaxed state where you come out of that fight or flight.

We do that through breathing. We do that through breathing in through the nose and breathing out through the nose. So, most people move throughout their day breathing in and out through their mouth. And when you breathe in and out through your mouth, you breathe into your chest. And when you’re breathing more into your chest, that heightens that fight or flight state.

That increases fatigue and anxiety, and we don’t even know we’re doing it. We’re just not really educated on it. So to calm the nervous system and what we teach in yoga classes is breath. We teach breathing in through the nose and out through the nose a little bit deeper with each cycle of breath. So that’s a very simple [00:14:00] way to calm the nervous system is.

Body Now. Go ahead. Go

Scott DeLuzio: ahead. No, I was, I was gonna say it seems, seems so simple, like, like almost too simple, but you’re right. It, it works.

Nicole Byars: It does work. I mean, studies show over and over again that even if you take five minutes, even if you take five minutes in the morning, and I know everybody has five minutes and you know, to take time.

To sit somewhere quiet. You don’t have to be sitting cross legged. You don’t have to do this weird thing with your hands. I think people think, you know, that I don’t like to use the word meditation because then people go somewhere like they do with yoga, like handstands or it’s got to look a certain way.

Just sit on your couch, sit with your coffee, fill your coffee on your hands, feel that warmth, set a timer. And just mindfully breathe in and out through the nose for four to five counts. You just, you start there. And so if you can even calm your nervous system for that short period [00:15:00] of time, and you do it consistently, that’s the thing though, that’s where people get tripped up, is, well I tried it for a couple days and it didn’t work.

Well, we know you can’t just try something for a couple of days and expect it to change your life. It’s got to be a consistent practice. And the more you do it, the more you’re gonna, you’re gonna want more of it. You’re gonna want more of that feeling. Um, so, there’s that. The body piece. Think of a hose.

Like, when you turn on a hose, there’s water that comes out of the hose. Okay, so we gotta turn the hose on to get the water going. In our body, we have thousands of neural pathways. We also have subtle neural pathways that are called NADIS, it’s N A D I S. We actually have 72, 000 of those pathways in our body.

So when we start to do yoga, or we start to move our body, what starts to happen is we’re able to turn on, we’re turning on that water, [00:16:00] we’re turning on that hose, and we’re starting to flush and move energy in our body. And as we start to move energy in our body, We start to also move that energy through blockages and release, kind of move through energetic blockages in our body and release those blockages.

And many times that release, that energetic release when we need to release certain emotions or things that we might be holding onto or toxins. Many people, especially in my trauma informed classes, those blockages are released through emotion. They’re released through tears. They are released through uncontrollable crying.

And that movement, and that’s not every time, but when we’re able to calm the nervous system while moving the body, we’re able to let everything safely flow, removing what needs to be removed in a very safe [00:17:00] environment. If that makes sense.

Scott DeLuzio: I think it does. And it’s kind of like the combination of the two that helps everything to flow, you know, if you do one, yeah, you’re probably going to get some benefits from it.

You do the other, you’ll get some benefits of it, but you do them together, you get the full deal. Even more. It’s like a one plus one equals three in this, this kind of a scenario. So I do want to talk a little bit more about kind of the background and how some of this stuff works, especially with the trauma informed yoga.

Um, in just a minute, we’re going to take another quick commercial break here. So stay tuned. Hey everybody. Welcome back to drive on. Um, I have Nicole Byars here who is talking about trauma informed yoga, uh, and how it’s able to help people. Dealing with various traumas and we’re talking about before the break the benefits of some of the the breath work that comes with yoga and some of the physical, uh, stuff that comes in with yoga and the combination of everything that you [00:18:00] do in these trauma informed sessions and how they, they really help to release some of the, uh, the, the trauma that you may have experienced.

Um, yeah. And I’d like to talk a little bit more about how this works, how this affects the minds and bodies, the psychological or maybe it’s physiological. I’m not sure exactly what it is that’s going on during the yoga practice, but what is it that’s going on? You briefly started explaining it before the break, but can you tell us like what’s happening to our bodies while we’re experiencing this?

Nicole Byars: Yeah. So let me just give you an example of like how I would teach. So I teach trauma informed classes, um, at some domestic abuse shelters as well as addiction and recovery centers. And typically, um, and then I want to, after I share this, I want to share a study with, with your listeners. Um, yeah, please kind of validate, I think just the realness of it, um, and how it works.

So usually the sessions are 20 minutes. Um, they’re not very long, so it’s not like a 60 minute yoga [00:19:00] class. And these trauma informed sessions, we don’t leave a chair. So we are seated in a chair the entire time. And so it’s very, very simple movements that I guide my students through. So, really, it’s, it’s, again, I’m guiding them into the present moment.

We’re calming the nervous system. I’m guiding them into the present moment. And then we start to make movements with… So for example, we start in a seated position. In the past, there has been, for example, um, a veteran that I’ve worked with in the past was so dissociated from his body that when he did this practice with me, we basically sat on the chair and I had him just, when he extended his leg, so he extended his right leg and straightened it.

He couldn’t even, he, he, he knew that he was moving his leg just by looking at it. but he actually couldn’t [00:20:00] feel it in his body. And then he would, he would bring his leg back to just bending it and he would straighten his leg and then he would bend it. So really in a trauma, especially a trauma informed class with people with PTSD and complex trauma, I am guiding people in, in trauma informed yoga.

We are trying to get people to reconnect with their body to notice Sensations in their body. So for example, with this veteran, he didn’t, he knew he was moving his leg because he saw it moving, but he didn’t have really any feeling in his body because for so many years he was dissociating from his body.

Mm-hmm. . So when we started to really slow down, and we literally did only this for 20 minutes, was as you extend your leg, I want you to feel, try and just kind of put your hand on your quad and really try to contract the quad and can you feel that when you contract the quad and as we worked through [00:21:00] this, he eventually was able to feel a sensation in his leg and then he was able to take his leg back down and so it’s a very simple process but it’s about helping students reconnect to their body by noticing sensations.

Now, another piece is also, I want to empower the survivor, for example, in the domestic abuse shelter, to make choices. So if you’re a victim of domestic abuse, many times you, there is no power. You don’t have any choice. You feel stuck. Right? And so when I teach at the shelter, I really want to empower people to make choices that feel good in their body.

So we use language like maybe when you twist in the chair, maybe the twist is a little bit smaller, but really tune into how does that [00:22:00] twist when you twist, where are you feeling it? And so you’re, you’re really guiding people to notice where they’re feeling it. So they’re reconnecting to body, they’re in the present moment, but then we’re also letting them know that if this doesn’t feel good, remember, you’re never stuck in this pose.

Just like in real life, you’re never stuck, but as a trauma survivor, many times you feel stuck and there is no way out. So really empowering the students to make choices in the trauma informed class. is incredibly empowering and emotional for a lot of people. Um, so there’s, there’s those very simple pieces of we don’t leave a chair.

It’s very slow moving. It’s reconnection to, to body sensations. I don’t usually, especially with PTSD students or, uh, my, Complex Trauma Survivors, I don’t usually talk too much about breath because for some people that have PTSD, breathing deeper [00:23:00] will cause a lot of anxiety and could be a trigger. So I just want to mention that.

Um, but I will guide people to notice the breath, just notice the breath. And again, that’s a way to bring people into the present moment. Sure.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. And that makes sense too, because, um, Especially like you were talking about the, the people who may be, uh, domestic, uh, uh, violence, uh, survivor, whatever, and they, uh, they feel like maybe they have no control, but now they’re starting to regain control over, um, over themselves.

And that’s, it may seem like a small thing, but it’s huge to somebody who has had no control over anything, um, for however, whatever period of time, um, Knowing that they have this control over themselves now is, is huge. And they can, they can take that with them wherever they go. It doesn’t matter even if they’re still in that environment where they, you know, hopefully they’re not.

But even if they are still in [00:24:00] that environment where there’s some abuse going on, um, they, they still have that ability to be under, you know, in control of their own, their own bodies. Um, and so that, that, that’s, that’s such a powerful thing to be able to take away and, and be able to, Have that with you.

No matter where you go, you could be driving on your way to work or you can be, you know, you know in a stressful situation, but you’re you’re able to use that and and kind of Get back into that present moment and kind of get back in tune with yourself And that’s maybe even in a way, uh, empowering to those people as well.

Um, because someone who’s never had, uh, you know, the, the feeling that they are in control of anything, now they’re in control of something. And it’s like, Oh my gosh, if I can be in control of that, why can’t I be in control of more things? Right?

Nicole Byars: Exactly. And it, it transpires into. And if it’s okay, I’d like to share a real life story.

Yeah, please, please. Okay. I’ve just kind of how, um, this [00:25:00] can help people. Um, but what I wanted to say really quick about the domestic violence, um, you know, if you think about the survivor and what they’ve been through either physically, emotionally, and the abuse that they’ve taken, that connection with self and that, like I talked about in the beginning, in my recovery, in my own recovery, like having that blimp.

of connection and love towards self, even if it lasts for two seconds, that means something. And that’s something that these women that I’ve worked with have not felt towards themselves for so many years. So they, they want more of that. So they keep coming back. Right. So, right. The story I wanted to just share with you, and this isn’t a client of mine, but it was a story that was shared in a trauma training that I did, but it, there was a, there was a guy that, um, he was a drug addict, a heroin addict, and he had been through some horrific childhood trauma, and he had been seeing a therapist, um, for many [00:26:00] years, and the, um, trauma informed facilitator was asked to come in and do 10 minutes of trauma informed yoga with this man who not only was a heroin, um, addict, but he also, the way that he dealt with his trauma was through going to the gym, doing steroids, very kind of pound the pavement type of workout.

So the, um, the facilitator comes in to do a trauma informed class with this individual, um, during his therapy session. And so basically all they did in that therapy session was a very simple, notice you’re sitting on the chair. So you really just the facilitator brought this individual into the present moment by bringing his awareness and himself into the present moment by noticing his body and where he was seated in the chair.

And that’s all they did. That’s it. Nothing else. Well, a couple of days [00:27:00] later, this individual was sitting in the doctor’s office, waiting, waiting to be seen by the doctor. And typically a trigger for this individual would be if he saw a mother with a five year old child or somebody that was younger, because his trauma was from that time period in his life.

So whenever he would see. Something like that of a woman and a child together that would trigger his system and that would trigger his trauma. And so normally in that situation, he would have left, he would have gone to the drugs and he would have left that doctor’s appointment. But in this particular moment after this session with the facilitator, he remembered what they did in that session.

He remembered what it felt like to feel the chair underneath him. He got very present in that moment, and he was able to stay for this appointment, which, in the past, it may not [00:28:00] seem like a big thing, but in this particular situation, for him, that was a huge win, that he was able to stay and go to his doctor’s appointment.

And it all was because of coming into the present moment.

Scott DeLuzio: Sure. Yeah. And that, and that’s, that’s huge because without that, uh, that ability, that coping mechanism, if you will, uh, being able to, uh, be present in the moment, in the, in that waiting room, seeing what. Would normally be a trigger to this person and then that person normally would have gone like you said to go use the drugs Instead they were able to go to a doctor’s appointment and get help for maybe whatever They were there for or just whether it’s a checkup, whatever.

That’s a heck of a lot more healthy than going and using drugs So that benefit there you said, you know, it seems like it’s a small [00:29:00] thing. But in reality, it’s a huge thing for this person that, that made a world of difference, especially in that, that day, that, that was, there’s two paths that he could have gone down.

He could have gone back to the drugs or he could have gone, uh, you know, down, down the path of, you know, just going to the doctor’s appointment and getting the treatment that he needed. Um, and he chose the healthier of the two. And I think that’s, that’s a really powerful thing to have in, in his back pocket.

Um, I do want to talk more about this and maybe, uh, you know, talk about a few more examples or, or things like that in just a minute. We’re going to cut to another quick. Welcome back to Drive On. I have Nicole Byars here who is talking about trauma informed yoga, specifically with regards to people dealing with PTSD and other traumas from their past.

We were just talking before the break about someone who Uh, had a heroin addiction and they were dealing with some, um, some personal struggles and yoga seemed to help them [00:30:00] kind of overcome some of those in order to not just turn straight to the drugs. Uh, Nicole, I’d love to talk a little bit more about the effectiveness of the trauma informed yoga and, and any sort of information you might be able to share about that.

That would be, that would be great as well.

Nicole Byars: Yeah, for sure. Um, I do want to just add one thing. I think, I think in the past, I almost would like to, when I do teach the trauma informed yoga, we actually, especially at the domestic abuse shelters, we actually don’t call it yoga because people have this preconceived notion, which we’ve been talking about, about what yoga is.

And I think if we would call it yoga, there’s many women that, well, I’m not thin, I’m not flexible, I don’t have… the money. And so there’s all these preconceived notions about what yoga is, which I like to call it, let’s call it mindful movement. Cause that’s really what we’re doing, right? Like, I think [00:31:00] this just popped up to my head cause, um, I like this mindful movement, um, idea.

So. Okay, let me just tell you about a study that didn’t, it came out a while ago. I mean, it’s not a recent study, but it came out of, um, David Emerson’s, um, again, he is the founder of Trauma Informed Yoga, and it came out of the trauma center in, Um, Massachusetts. So basically what they did, and they got this study, it was, it was a funded study, um, but they, they gathered a group of people that had severe PTSD symptoms, and they’ve had them for a long time.

They had been going to talk therapy for a very long time, and unfortunately the talk therapy hadn’t really been helping. Um, And they haven’t, they hadn’t been able to take those PTSD scores down from where they were. Um, their symptoms were still very strong. Flashbacks and things like that. So what they did was, they had this [00:32:00] group commit to 12 weeks of doing one trauma informed yoga class a week.

One time a week over a 12 week period. That was the only thing that they changed in… this group schedule on top of, yeah, I mean, I guess added to this group schedule on top of the talk therapy. So what they found was after 12 weeks of these students doing the trauma informed yoga one time per week for 60 minutes, they found that and then they went through the whole PTSD questionnaire again and things like that.

Once They got the results. What they found was by adding the trauma-informed yoga one time per week, over 12 weeks, their symptoms decreased as a whole by 33%, which is a very big number [00:33:00] being that this group had seen no change over so many years. In their symptoms. Mm-hmm. . So I love to tell people about that study ’cause I think it validates this work.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. And when, when you talk about, uh, you know, improvement like that, you know, 33%, you know, if someone’s sitting there thinking to themselves, okay, well I, I’d like to be. 100 percent cured of all of this. Well, in a way you got to start somewhere. And, and you know, when you look at the military, uh, anytime they teach you anything, there’s a crawl, walk, run phase.

You learn, you know, the, the, the, the baby steps. Basically you get the, the basics, the mechanics down, then you, then you learn to walk, then you, then you learn to run with it. Um, and I think with anything, You know, we’re, you’re talking about those people who were in the middle of treatment for, you know, some traumas that they have been dealing with.

[00:34:00] Um, they’re, they’re not at the run phase with any of this. Uh, yeah, they’re, they’re still in the crawl phase and having a, a 33 percent improvement in that. Short period of time and I know 12 weeks, you know, especially if you’re dealing with with traumas 12 weeks is you know, it it’s a lot to deal with you’re getting better progressively throughout all of that and and you have this 33 percent improvement.

Okay. Yeah, you’re not at that finish line yet But you can now take that and you can build on top of that and and continue to work towards that goal, right? Exactly.

Nicole Byars: And I think, you know, that’s just one, that’s one facet of their, your healing journey. And from there, then some of these people that really weren’t able to engage in their life, that 33 percent now they’re able to engage a little bit more.

They’re able to get a little bit more support and help for what they need. Because I also think things like, um, [00:35:00] EMDR. I’m not sure if you’re familiar. Okay. Yep. Okay. That was a huge piece in my recovery that helped as well. So then you’re able to kind of add to your toolbox, um, these somatic practices. And that’s what I think is It’s important, um, especially with that study too, it opens up the door for other healing opportunities.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. And like you said before with yoga, um, you know, it’s the breath work and the physical movements and the, you know, all these different pieces combined together. Have this, this compounding effect and they, everything just works so much better when it’s done together. I got to imagine when you take this, um, what would you call it?

Mindful movements. Um, and you take, take that, um, and, uh, combine it with some of the other more traditional therapies, you know, talk therapy, EMDR, other, uh, things like that. Um, it’s gonna. [00:36:00] Just help to, uh, accelerate some of the stuff that you might be working on, uh, you know, where you might be stuck in a traditional talk therapy because you’re unable to be present in the moment and you’re dealing with the traumas of the past and that’s where your mind is stuck.

Now you have the, the yoga practice, which helps you get more present in the moment and maybe you can work through those things a little bit easier because you have that. That ability, uh, to, to be present. I think that’s kind of the benefit, right?

Nicole Byars: Absolutely. Absolutely. Absolutely. And I want to, as you were talking, it made me think of this other story, and I think stories are helpful, right, when we’re talking about things.

Um, that I would recommend also to your audience and your listeners is, and I’m sure a lot of you have heard, Heard of the book, the Body Keeps the Score. Mm-hmm. The Body Keeps the Score is another book that I, it took me a while to get through it. So if you have suffered some complex trauma, [00:37:00] just, you know, I guess disclosure there, it might be difficult to read, um, some of the stories, but I think as you kind of are on your journey, um, it took me about two years to get through the book, but one of the stories in the book was about September 11th and the survivors of September 11th, and they did a survey, um, with the survivors about, How they were kind of reengaging back in their life after that horrific tragedy and what, um, what forms of treatment were working for them.

And what they found was there was a very, very slim amount percentage that, um, Talk therapy alone was working for them. And don’t get me wrong, talk therapy has such a important place in this world. It has helped me tremendously, but it can’t be the only thing. And so what they found is that the majority of these survivors, and I don’t know the percentage or I can’t remember, but it’s in this book, what so many of these, [00:38:00] um, survivors from September 11th, what was working for them was not only talk therapy.

It was holistic healing modalities. They were doing acupuncture, they were doing massage, they were doing yoga, they were doing meditation. It was all, it was EMDR. It was all of those things encompassed together that was working in just kind of this journey, journey of recovery. That was just another really, I think, cool and interesting story.

And I wanted to bring that up as far as the book goes. I think it’s such a wonderful book.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, it is. Um, and I think that’s a interesting point too, that a lot of times we try to do just the talk therapy or just the, just the one thing. Let me just try this one thing and see if that works. But sometimes, like you’re saying, sometimes you might need to do two things at once, the physical and the The emotional side of things.

Um, you know, [00:39:00] having, uh, you know, maybe it’s yoga, maybe it’s acupuncture, maybe it’s, uh, you mentioned massage, which I haven’t even thought of prior to you mentioning that as, you know, kind of a form of therapy for it, for this type of thing. But, um, You know, maybe that’s something that you might need in addition to whatever it is that you’re doing as far as talk therapy goes.

Um, you know, I don’t, I don’t know what the right recipe is, you know, as far as the combination of, you know, this type of talk therapy, you know, or, uh, this type of physical thing, what, what’s the best combination, but, um, I think it’s worth a try to try a bunch of different types. Um, I don’t think that any of them are going to hurt, um, in, in any way.

I mean, if you’ve got a thing with needles, maybe acupuncture might not be your, your thing, but, you know, but I mean, outside of that, I don’t, I don’t think anything is going to make things worse. Um, you know, [00:40:00] I think, I think it can only help. And so trying different combinations of things until you find something that works, um, is I think, uh, worth a shot, right?

Nicole Byars: Yeah, absolutely. And I think that everybody has, everybody has a different body. Everybody has a different story. Everybody has, everybody’s different. We are all unique in our own ways. And so what works for one person may not work for another person. But one thing I think that we all have in common is.

Going back to the book, The Body Keeps the Score, is that we hold trauma in our body. So talk therapy, again, huge place for it, but it’s only going to take us so far. So we have to look at other modalities on top of that. And so I did want to tell your listeners, if they are interested in trying a yoga class, there is a wonderful nonprofit organization that is online called Yoga for Veterans.

If you just Google Yoga for Veterans, [00:41:00] um, it, they have, um, practices that you can take online. It’s a great resource if you’re interested in trying out what we’ve been talking about today.

Scott DeLuzio: That’s a great resource. And I’m going to put a link to that in the show notes for the listeners, because I think, uh, a lot of times we might be sitting here thinking, okay, well, yeah, this maybe sounds like something that’s, that’s good for me.

Um, where do I go? You know, do you, do you look up your local yoga studio? Is that. even the right place because maybe they’re not focused on the trauma informed, uh, yoga, like, like you are. And who knows, like, what, what are we going to get when we go there? You know, is that even going to be the right place for me to go?

And I think we need to, um, you know, have. An organization like, like this yoga for, uh, for veterans that you mentioned that, that we can go to and we can look it up and say, okay, well, what are some of the maybe [00:42:00] vetted resources that, that are out there in the community that I’m in? And maybe, maybe there’s a, uh, you know.

online videos and tutorials and other things like that, where you can do stuff from the comfort of your home. And I know especially with PTSD, sometimes people going out into, you know, big public groups and, uh, you know, group classes or anything like that. That would just be like a hard pass for some people and they’re like, let’s do this at home where I know I’m safe and I’m comfortable.

Um, and that’s a great way to do it too. Um, We’ll talk a little bit more about some resources that are available in just a minute, but we’re going to cut to another quick commercial break. So stay tuned.

Well, Nicole, it’s been an absolute pleasure speaking with you today, learning about, uh, trauma informed yoga or, uh, as you call it, mindful movement. Um, And I’d love for you to be able to share where people can go to find out more information about what you do. Um, any other resources that might be available, uh, that, that people can, can tap into.[00:43:00]

Nicole Byars: Yeah. So as far as, um, the studio that I have, Honest Yoga, it’s in Minneapolis. Um, however, all of our classes are live stream. So every class that we have, um, at our studio, we offer like five to six classes a day. It is all live stream. So if anybody was interested in trying out any of our live stream classes at the studio, you can do it from the comfort of your own home.

You don’t have to show your video. Um, and so they can find our website at TheHonestYoga. com, and we offer an intro rate for 15 bucks. You can try as many classes as you want and just get a feel for it. So if you want to dip your toes in, um, that’s an option. I will be offering on Veterans Day on November 11th.

So coming up here. Um, a free trauma informed class that will only be offered live stream. So if any of your listeners want to jump on to that class, um, you don’t, again, you don’t have to show your [00:44:00] video. You can do it from the comfort of your own home. Um, but just. Get a taste of what a trauma-informed class is.

Uh, that is coming up on November 11th. And then finally my book is out and it is called Living Yoga Beyond the Mat. Excellent. Um, so living yoga beyond the Mat, and that will be coming out and you can purchase that on Amazon. And if you’re interested in following me as well, I’m on Instagram at at Nicky, so N I C B Y A R Ss.

Scott DeLuzio: Excellent. And we’ll have links to all of that in the show notes for the listeners to check out. So, um, you know, especially that, that Veterans Day event that you mentioned, I think that’s, uh, super awesome that you’re offering that. And thank you for, for doing that on, on Veterans Day. Um, And the trauma informed class.

Again, guys, you can do this from the comfort of your home. You don’t have to have your video on. No one has to see you, you know, on, on, uh, you know, on, [00:45:00] on the video doing any of the, the yoga stuff that they might be doing. Um, you can just do it from the comfort of your own home and in private. Um, and.

Nobody, nobody has to know that you’re there, you know, um, completely, you know, anonymous really, um, as far as that goes, right? So there’s, there’s no better way to get started. I don’t think, and seeing if this is something that might even work for you, maybe you get, like Nicole was saying earlier, maybe you just get the, those few seconds of, uh, that piece.

and make you realize that, Hey, maybe this is something that can work for me. If I give it a chance, you know, um, you, you might just peel back the curtain just a little bit to see, Hey, this is what it looks like on the other side. And, and you get that, that little bit of benefit. And then that just starts off a journey of, of healing and, and, um, growth from, from there.

So I think again, thank you for doing that. Um, I think. everybody should go check that out. Um, no matter how big or small, like you said, there’s, there’s all sorts of different [00:46:00] traumas, no matter what you’re, you’re going through, check it out. And if it’s for you, um, you know, sign up for some classes and, and do that going forward and, um, see how it, how it helps.

Um, especially if you’re already taking advantage of some other resources, talk therapy, like we mentioned before, um, cause listening in tandem, uh, can, can really help out.

Nicole Byars: I just, yeah, and I don’t mean to interrupt. I just want to also just reiterate the fact in the show notes to, um, I know we’re going to be putting that link to the yoga for veterans.

So for those of you that are even really looking for a community, it’s a wonderful community. Typically, um, on November 11th, we always give back to this nonprofit organization so that veterans class, it will be free and then obviously donations. are welcomed and that will go back to the Yoga for Veterans project.

And if you do come on to our website, just FYI, any classes, if you’re new to yoga, that say gentle. or [00:47:00] Restorative. That’s where you want to start.

Scott DeLuzio: Excellent. So check, check those out. Um, again, we’ll have the link in the show notes for you. Um, I do always like to wrap up each episode with a little bit of humor.

Uh, this episode, uh, is no different. And I have a few yoga theme jokes here to wrap up this episode. So, um, And again, they’re going to be corny and I know this and I’m going to probably look like a dope and I know this and I’m okay with that as long as somebody laughs. Um, even if it’s you faking laughter, cause it’s really not that funny.

Nicole Byars: I just love how you’re calling yourself out. Like this is real. I love it. It’s

Scott DeLuzio: good. Well, all right. So. In honor of you and what you do, why does everyone love yoga teachers?

Because they’ll bend over backwards for you.

Nicole Byars: That’s good, but, uh, uh.

Scott DeLuzio: And why did the bagel struggle in yoga class? I’m so bad at jokes. [00:48:00] It couldn’t find its way.

Nicole Byars: That’s good. You know what? I need some good yoga jokes to tell at the end of my classes because sometimes it feels too serious. So I might take the first one. I like the first one. You

Scott DeLuzio: know, that, that will, that’s, that’s free of charge. You could take those and you can make yourself look as big of a dope as I did, uh, just now.

So that’s okay. Um, thank you again for, for everything and for everything that you’re doing, uh, for, for folks who are dealing with all these traumas.

Nicole Byars: Well, thank you for having me. It’s, it was such a pleasure.

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