Insight Mind Body Talk

Ep 28 Trauma-informed Yoga On (and Off!) the Mat with Nikki Cook

February 20, 2022 Jeanne Kolker, LPC Season 1 Episode 28
Insight Mind Body Talk
Ep 28 Trauma-informed Yoga On (and Off!) the Mat with Nikki Cook
Show Notes Transcript

In this episode of Insight Mind Body Talk, Jeanne talks with certified yoga therapist Nikki Cook about what makes trauma-informed yoga unique. The language, the environment and the emphasis on the mind-body connection are crucial for healing. But what about fun? Nikki and Jeanne talk about the importance of play and joy, which you can find on the mat or in the air. With aerial yoga, you can fly (safely!) in a hammock with the support of knowledgeable instructors, all while supporting your nervous system.


Continue Learning

  • David Emerson
    • Trauma Center Trauma Sensitive Yoga
    • For more information about Emerson's trauma-sensitive yoga program, click here
  • YogaFit
    • For more information about the trauma-informed Warrior's program, click here
  • Nikki Cook, MS, C-IAYT
    • Contact Nikki at nikki@insightmadison.com
  • Insight Yoga



Produced by Jeanne Kolker
Edited by Jeanne Kolker
Music by Jason A. Schultz

 [00:00:00] Welcome to Insight Mind Body Talk, a body-based mental health podcast. We're your hosts, Jessica Warpula Schultz and Jeanne Kolker. Whether you've tried everything to feel better and something is still missing or you've already discovered the wisdom of the body. This podcast will encourage and support you in healing old wounds, strengthening relationships, and developing your inner potential- all by accessing the mind body connection. 

Please know, while we're excited to share and grow together. This podcast is not intended to be a substitute for mental health treatment. It doesn't replace the one-on-one relationship you have with a qualified healthcare professional and is not considered psychotherapy. 

 Welcome to insight. Mind, body talk. I am your host today. Jeannie Colker today. We're talking [00:01:00] about trauma informed yoga, aerial yoga, and how the two fit together and also why this is important for. Before we get started. Let's take a moment for some acknowledgements. We're speaking today as white cis-gender non-disabled people who are afforded certain privileges.

We want to recognize those privileges and continue the work of striving to make our offerings, insight, mind, body talk, and our clinic inclusive and affirming. We also want to acknowledge those who have passed down yogic wisdom from thousands of years of tradition, originating in India. With that let's welcome.

Our guests today. Nikki cook, Nikki is a certified yoga therapist through IYT that's the international association of yoga therapists. I'm also a certified yoga therapist. Nikki holds a master's degree in education counseling [00:02:00] and has additional certifications in trauma informed. Yeah. Nikki believes yoga truly is a practice that is for everybody.

She specializes in yoga for eating disorders, addiction, and trauma, and Nikki's classes. You'll find a welcoming, supportive community. She wholeheartedly believes that yoga can be a powerful and effective component of the healing and recovery process. And this committed to finding ways to make the transformational tools of yoga available to everybody.

Nikki also provides individual yoga therapy through insight counseling and wellness here in Madison, Wisconsin, and virtually all over the world. Welcome Nikki. Thank you for having me today. Jeannie is excited to be here. So Nikki's been a part of the insight team for few years now. What's it been a couple of years?

Yes. Yeah. Um, most of it we've been riding out a pandemic together. Yes. [00:03:00] So we have seen lots of opportunities to use our yoga skills. And we've been doing that mostly virtually. We do have a yoga studio here in Madison, but we've also been able to reach a broader audience through virtual yoga.

If you'd known three years ago, maybe when we first started to talk to each other that yeah, we've got all these wonderful trauma informed yoga tools. Well, then they translate to virtual. No, I don't think so. I would've said you need to be in person. We talk a lot about co-regulation and typically we think of that being when you're actually physically in the same space with somebody.

And I would say one of the lovely things that has come out of the pandemic, which is very hard. Find those is that this has been a really effective way to work with people within the body [00:04:00] and have co-regulation. But through the virtual world, I think we've talked a lot on the podcast before about obviously about trauma and what we consider PTSD that post-traumatic stress disorder, but we've also talked about post-traumatic growth and how we can grow through these adverse experiences.

And I do think that if, we could try to put a little reframe on the pandemic, we have learned that we can still connect. Even through a screen. Yes, absolutely. Yeah. So I'm sure doing yoga. Through a screen that's presented its challenges. It has empowered us as yoga teachers to really broaden our skillset.

So let's first start with trauma informed yoga. So we hear that phrase kind of tossed around. What [00:05:00] does that mean to you? Well, somebody that I've done a few trainings with has said that trauma informed yoga is really people informed yoga. And I think that. That's true. It's a reminder that it's yes, there are.

And we'll get to this in a minute. There are certain ways that we teach and things about the environment. There are very important, but also knowing about individuals, their experiences, how trauma chronic stress affects the nervous system that is also hugely important in trauma informed yoga as well. , so talk to me a little bit about, okay.

Somebody who's never been to yoga before they see a class, at a studio or at a gym, doesn't have the word trauma in it. Then they might see a class where there is an instructor who is trauma informed. What's going to be the difference. Are people gonna know there's a difference?

I think so. [00:06:00] I know I've worked with people who have experienced. Being in a trauma-informed yoga class and it has not been the best experience. And then when they find our way to us, they noticed such a huge difference. And some of those things include our environment. So things that we want to think about are how do we have.

You know, for, uh, for practice I'll refer to versus area, how do we have the yoga mat configured in the room? Right. Are there enough space in between them? Sometimes when I practice, if it's, um, if it works, we'll have people in a circle, which is also a nice thing too, because everybody can kind of see each other.

We think about. Uh, delighting, right. We want to be mindful of that. We don't want anything that's too bright. We don't any one, anything that's too dim. We also think [00:07:00] about for the instructor or the facilitator, we do our best to stay in one space, like on our map. And the room and not walk around because that can be very disconcerting and unnerving to have somebody walking around and feeling like you always need to be aware of where is this person in my space.

Right. It can be very comforting to know that the instructor. Where they are and if they do move, they speak to that and they say, why they're doing it just to really keep that dialogue open. The other thing that is, I think, very different from what you might find in a non trauma informed trauma aware class is we do not do any hands-on assists.

 So we really allow the people to have their own kind of internal experience without us, um, moving into their space and being really respectful of that. [00:08:00] And then there's also the way that we offer.

Our yoga poses, our yoga shapes. It is an offering it's in the invitation. We get different options, so that can empower people to really explore what feels the best for them, but make the choice that feels best for them. And that is something that is really missing in a lot of more mainstream yoga offerings.

There's typically one way to do the pose and there aren't any options provided. Which sometimes leaves people feeling. If it's something that's not working for them either in the moment or not working for their body, that they're doing it wrong. And that's very disempowering. the yoga community I think, is coming along to this are waking up to this.

But I remember when I first started teaching yoga. That's been awhile, uh, the images that we were seeing, we do still sometimes on [00:09:00] Instagram, see these, nearly impossible, pretzel like pastures, 

 people in very small bodies doing what looks like a very like contortionist type things. And. Um, you know, we still kind of see that sometimes in some yoga studios. And if that's, if you, you know, if, if that's what somebody wants to do and it's all about fitness, wonderful, whatever works for you.

When we talk about trauma informed yoga, you know, we're talking about trauma, which is any event that overwhelms the system, anyone who's experienced something that has been. Overwhelming. And if you've been a listener of the insight, mind, body talk podcast, you might know that talk therapy isn't necessarily the go-to when it comes to recovering from trauma.

And we talk about like capital T traumas, like surviving, a car accident or a war zone, which, you know, many people are walking around with. We also talk about those small T trauma. Those things that have happened to us, like being in [00:10:00] abusive relationships or chronically not being, um, seen, heard, held in our relationships, um, you know, poverty is systemic oppression.

All of these things can, wire our systems in such a way. That, we're always seeking safety, even if we're not like super conscious of that. So our clinic, our yoga, it's always through that lens of people are wounded walking into classes with us, whether or not they think they are aware of it.

And we hold that that's very sacred. And what we're trying to do is to help people, like you said, impact. We're trying to help empower people.

What we're talking about, specifically is, to target yoga, which is a union, it's a union of mind and body, the poses, the breath work. The everything we want to look at that through the lens of, well, you know, people are here to, to [00:11:00] heal. They're walking in here looking for safety and we want to just really tailor it for that.

Yeah. Absolutely. And I would suspect that this is going to change and get higher. Uh, now that we've are two plus years through a pandemic, which in itself has been very traumatizing for most of us. But prior to that, the research showed that 70% of adults, by the time they reach adulthood have experienced some sort of trauma.

So when you look at it, That point of view, no matter if you're coming, if you're teaching, you know, coming to a class where no, that you're going to have people who have experienced some level of travel, or if you're not aware of that 70%, you know, of those people may have experienced some sort of trauma.

So it's really good information to have. And just to keep that [00:12:00] always at the forefront of your mind when you're teaching. It has become, I think, like you said, less stigmatized.

, with the pandemic that we're recognizing that we're living through something collectively here and we are equipped you and I, and, trauma informed yoga teachers are equipped to, to really help people heal on their own in their own space too, which has been kind of the nice thing with. This virtual world that we're moving into or living through right now.

Yeah, absolutely. I know that I've had people come to two groups or come to individual sessions that doing it from their home at the sense of safety that is so important and it's really helped to open the door to using. The mind, body connection, like healing, modalities to help regulate their nervous system, because we know we, as we love to talk about, the nervous system.

And so that's another part of [00:13:00] what you may experience in a trauma informed yoga class or yoga session is this knowledge that we have. How we can use particular poses and breathing techniques to help regulate our nervous system to help bring that sense of he's bring us back into our window of tolerance that may not be present in some other offerings.

Uh, well, I use a lot of the work of David Emerson who wrote a book about trauma informed yoga and, and has done a lot of work in the clinical setting in Massachusetts. And so traumas the trauma center, trauma sensitive yoga is very well known. You know, we borrow those principles and I'll put a link in our show notes to their work.

And David Emerson talks about some domains. What makes a class trauma informed? And I like to, you know, trauma informed trauma sensitive, kind of the same thing. Um, [00:14:00] but I like to think of trauma informed is like you and I, who are very informed in this, we've done a lot of deep studies. Uh, we have a lot of experience with that.

You know, we're not just being sensitive to people. We're really. Sorry, targeting our interventions as yoga teachers to help people heal their trauma. So, you know, this just a little semantic difference, but David Emerson, he talks about using language. That's so important in a trauma informed class. So we're always inviting people to do things we're never coming here.

 It's much more, again, empowering. So that person has the choice because in trauma, often choice is removed. So we want to give people some, practice making choices that are best for them. And we also want to have a language of inquiry. So we want people to start to see what's happening in their bodies.

Because again, we're not telling them what they're feeling and maybe this is the first [00:15:00] time that they're coming in and I don't know about you, but I've had people all the time say to me, well, what am I supposed to be feeling here? Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. Like I'm the authority, you're, you know, your left hamstring , there should be a tingling sensation you tell me.

Yeah. And that's something that people aren't used to, uh, because a lot of times we will. Uh, go to a yoga classes and when we're in a pose, oh, you should notice that you'll probably feel this here, which for many people may be true, but then if you're somebody who's not noticing it there, then again, oh, I must be doing something wrong.

So when we can, you know, talk to us that, well, what am I noticing? Right? Because for. Many of us, you know, I'll include myself when I'm practicing yoga. That's when I actually had that space to say, what am I noticing? What am I feeling? And for a lot of us, we just don't have that practice. And this is a great way to [00:16:00] start to notice.

And then from there, as you suddenly make those choices about what feels good, what's helping. Because there's something called interoception we've talked about on the podcast before that's that, uh, awareness of what's happening in our bodies. So just being aware and often in trauma we're disconnected, and that's because of the way that our bodies have adapted and are wired now.

So we have to slowly start to reintroduce. This function of being able to know what's happening in our bodies. And that's why , we often leave a lot of space and trauma informed yoga and an open-ended question, what are we feeling right now?

And to start to, improve that communication between mind and body, or even just start the conversation. So other domains of that trauma informed yoga, you already touched on assists. , it was kind of refreshing actually when the pandemic starts. [00:17:00] Nobody gets to put their hands on anybody in virtual yoga. So those of us who have been practicing that for years, well, that's no big thing. So you know, if we're in person. We're not laying hands on people. Um, there are, maybe certain times there've been comfort assists, offered, and you've enjoyed that any yoga class, you know, that's still, that doesn't mean that that's totally off the table, but if you're in a trauma informed class, just know that we're not gonna, sneak up on you and Shavasana and rub your feet, right?

Yeah, yeah, absolutely. And you know, for some people like. We'll say, well, that was the favorite. My favorite part of the class. Also understanding that for you to feel like that was the favorite part of your class, you already were in a place where you felt safe and you felt secure, and we cannot assume that everybody feels that way.

Like you said, you know, it has its time and place. [00:18:00] And a lot of times what I'll notice is that, uh, When I work with somebody individually, that's maybe when you get to that point where something like that might come into play, but yeah. Yeah. So basically , we don't want to do anything that takes power away from the individual or the individuals around that person to you touch one person in class.

You're not just touching or affecting that one person. People around you are seeing that too. And it can, you just never know what people are walking in. So we just err, on the side of safety again, pandemic happened, you can't touch people. So nowadays I do, um, it's, it's just a different way to empower people.

So we don't do assists. , The, the teacher, the instructor, the guide, in trauma informed, we're going to make sure that we're presenting as a safe attachment figure, essentially not to get too technical about it, but the most important quality I think of a trauma informed [00:19:00] instructor is that, that you are regular.

So you walk in, you leave your baggage wherever it needs to be. It's not coming into that class. You're open. You are conveying safety at all times, you have a soothing voice. It doesn't have to necessarily be, you know, the yoga teacher whisper. Like we authenticity goes a long way to being yourself. Yes.

And, dressing appropriately. We're making sure that there's nothing that. I'm going to be triggering to anybody and just basically presenting as your authentic self consistent just being there and being a safe figure for people.

And it's not about, it's not about you, you know, that's a big thing too, is like, This is not, this is not the genie show. I'm not going to show you all the fun poses I can do. I'm going to show you, what's going to be best for you today. Model to the the most basic [00:20:00] level. No need for me to, do a fingertip stand.

Can you, I mean, I have not quite mad at mastered levitation yet, but stay tuned. Um, you might be getting there. Yeah. I think that's a, you know, a really good point too. And it's not that some of those things can't be fun, but again, if we're using the poses as a way to get into our bodies and to notice and to.

Find ways to bring some more of that comedies, that nervous system regulation. And it doesn't have to be something fancy. Right? That's more where the magic is. The less is more concept. . ,. There's no magic prescription for trauma healing.

We want people to be in their bodies. We want to encourage distress tolerance. So sometimes we do, get into a pose. There's a little discomfort there. We might want to hold that for a little bit, because [00:21:00] that helps our systems learn that, Hey, we can tolerate distress.

And I know this is going to end cause often when we, when we're having a traumatic response, we think it's the. How it is now, this is going to be permanent, but we can train our body is on the matter or in the hammock, which we're about to get to that, that we can tolerate some distress. We start to learn that line where we might feel like where we drift into pain.

We never want to have pain, but we are increasing that sense of awareness within our bodies so that we. Register that, and then take that action. Take corrective action to be in a place of, of more comfort. So this stuff is all in now, I guess, to live in our lives. You know, what we do in our yoga, our therapeutic yoga practice is intended to help us take that off the mat out of the hammock.

Go live your [00:22:00] life and be able to use those skills out in the. Absolutely. That's the whole point, right? I often say to people that, um, our yoga mat or our yoga, uh, aerial silk, wherever you are here, our practice is like a little mini experiments every day. Right. Because things are going to be different and that's okay.

And when we get to try things that work and. Identify those. And if something doesn't work, that's okay, too. Right. There's so many, so many different things out there that, um, it's okay to leave what doesn't work for you and keep the rest. Absolutely. And there's no end to yoga. I'm never going to stop learning.

Being able to study the, the concepts, the philosophy, the breath work, it's just a rich well from, from which we can draw. Yeah. [00:23:00] Which takes us to the real highlight here is okay. What's aerial yoga. Really good question.

So, uh, area yoga kind of mentioned, it's been going back and forth because, um, once you start to practice aerial yoga, you differentiate aerial yoga from, uh, floor yoga or mat yoga. So mat yoga is what most of us think of one. Uh, we can think of a yoga practice. So aerial yoga uses, uh, aerial silk. Aerial hammock or yoga hammock, and it's suspended from the ceiling and it is which for some people right away sounds very scary.

Okay. So this is an opportunity to practice that distress tolerance, by even thinking that you might want to practice it. Right. Um, but as you and I both know, we have seen the. Construction that goes into supporting an [00:24:00] aerial hammock at Ariel itself. And it's very strong. It will hold you. I promise. Uh, but the, the aerial stuff is an opportunity to practice what we would normally practice on the floor, but this meant, and in the area.

Okay. So , we're still doing yoga pants. We are still doing yoga classrooms. Um, and sometimes they're even still using the floor, but it gives us a different way to practice yoga. And many people actually find it makes. A lot of the yoga poses, more accessible because you're not having to hold your weight up.

You're not compressing the joints as much. Um, so it makes some things a little bit more accessible than what you might practice, uh, traditionally on the floor. I would say that. Once people try it. They [00:25:00] find that they really like it. And some people will even just move from like a floor practice to an area.

Okay. So we can almost think of it as a prop because in our, in our yoga classes at insight, we use blocks. We use bolsters, which are basically just this big sturdy pillows. We use blankets for support, um, sometimes sandbags. So, often people are used to having these prompts. So an airline hammock is essentially just another.

Absolutely. I think that's a really great way to look at it because, to put an image in people's minds because they may be much more familiar with that, um, until they get a better sense of what an aerial silk looks like is, you know, sometimes think of like, uh, aerial dancing or circus a life where they're using this belt.

Right. It's very much like that, except we're more, you know, Focus on that. [00:26:00] Um, but that's the apparatus that is used. And as you said, it's very much used as a prop. It's a way to enhance our practice and people often ask where did aerial yoga comes from? Right? Cause we have like this rich tradition of yoga.

You talked about at the beginning and aerial yoga is borrowing things from the aerial arts, like the silk itself. However, when we think about props and the yoga teacher who really made these kind of mainstream, I guess, for lack of a better word, uh, BKS, Iyengar, and he uses or used, um, suspension, like on the wall.

So you can look to some of those practices where you see supports being used for inversions and to hold the body in a different way to allow getting into a posture. And [00:27:00] that's what our aerial silk allows us to do. So that's aerial yoga. Obviously it's something that we can't really do virtually unless the person on the other end has their own home rig, which probably unlikely. So this is something that's going to be practiced in a group or one-on-one in person. Yes. Yes. Correct? . You're right. Not many people have their own aerial silk at home.

No, not likely. So, so what about trauma informed aerial? So is there anything special about that? Yes, I would say that it's very much like what we were just talking about. So somebody that teaches trauma informed. Nice to have been trained in trauma, informed trauma, sensitive yoga. So all of the things that we were talking about, right?

The, um, the environment, the options, the offering, creating that, uh, that safe [00:28:00] container that is all. Forefront of the mind when we're talking about a trauma-informed aerial yoga practice, which again is it's different than, um, many of the aerial practices that are out there. Um, a lot of them are more focused on the fitness end of things.

And not that that's not a positive thing, a lot of people get a lot of benefits from it. And then, you know, happened to notice that it also just really makes them feel. Not only physically, but emotionally good as well. We're just bringing a different focus, different lens to it. And we'll teach things in a different way than what you might get in your traditional , aerial class.

So I would say, you know, trauma informed and. Uh, therapeutic aerial yoga. So again, how can we use our practice within the silk to bring those physical, emotional benefits that we were talking about to help with symptoms that might be [00:29:00] associated with chronic stress with trauma? Like you're feeling very anxious or upregulated, not feeling safe, or maybe.

Just associated or low mood, low energy. How can we use this to help, to, , provide some relief from those symptoms? And when you talk about creating a safe container, right? We talk about like our yoga spaces being the safe container. Well, the great thing about aerial yoga is you have your own little safe container within the.

, some people really find it much more accessible to practice aerial yoga since while you're maybe not always completely in yourself and you can't see everybody else, it does provide a little bit of that sense of here's my own little space. There's my own. Um, you know, when there's something that we do where you just lay.

In the, in the silk where you take like Shavasana in there, or you can do different poses from there. So it's like your own little [00:30:00] cocoon, which just feels very soothing. Um, and so some people find that they're able to, um, release any. Anxiety, they may have around, well, what is everybody else doing? What does everybody else look like?

Right. Which is very common. We, many of us have that. Oh, how does that is just automatically taken out in an aerial yoga practice. That is one of the things I, that I really took away when I took a few aerial classes. I remember I just any opportunity to like play and feel joy and feel like a kid, like the minute I hung upside down in that hammock was just so joyful for me.

I love inversions and I didn't have to put any pressure on my head, shoulders, arms, any of that stuff. And it just felt free and fun. And then the other thing that I really took away. The relaxation at the [00:31:00] end, just being in that hammock, it's very wound like it's very protected. It's rhythmic. Cause you can kind of sway yourself and just so relaxing.

It just, it takes it to another level. So I can, I can definitely see what you're talking about and, and that's one of those components to have trauma informed. Yoga is creating. We're very soon. We're sooth by the beat of the heart, . So that's why I teach a yoga flow class.

Cause I like to link our breaths and our movement and have rhythm and we can do all of that with aerials, my understanding, and then even like take it up another notch to absolutely. Yeah, just, just sitting or lying down in the field with a real gentle play. It's very soothing to our nervous system and you know, much like a regular yoga class or yoga class where you would start with some [00:32:00] centering, some grounding and then maybe start to build, you know, a little bit with the movement.

And then you have your relaxation, your Shavasana at that. We do that in an aerial class, right. We start seated. Um, but within kind of somewhat enclosed within the silk and, one thing that you might find a little bit different in an aerial class is. The instructor sometimes we'll be moving around.

Um, but it, and when we talk about this, we make it very clear, you know, at the beginning and re remind throughout. So if you're swaying, but you're maybe playing a little bit too fast. So if you're somebody sitting here saying, oh, no, I'm going to get motion sickness. That's okay. We come around, we check, we say, Are you comfortable with your movement?

Would you like me to slow you down a little bit? So there is even control within that when you feel like maybe you don't have any, so that that's always present. Which I think is really lovely. And [00:33:00] you know, there's always those options too. If somebody is listening and thinking, well, I don't want to be completely enclosed and that you're not there's options to have your head out, to have your feet out, your hands out instill really be supported within the silk.

And I think there is a fear factor to this. I think that, people are not used to being off the ground. You know, we, we talk so much in our yoga practices about getting grounded, being grounded and here, now we're going to like take you off the ground and ask you to fly a little bit again. Really good for distress tolerance.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, absolutely. And that's something that we work with too. And again, When you take an aerial class from a trauma informed yoga teacher, we have, uh, a really strong understanding and awareness of what that does to our body, what that does to our nervous system and how that shows up.

[00:34:00] So we can. Recognize that speak to that. And then just really find ways that we can work with that and ease into things. So, you know, most people you'll start off with a beginners class where everybody's on the same page, you know, they're new to it. They, and we have very specific instructions and you're always supported along the way.

And there's always that option just like in a flirt. To maybe take a different poll as if it's not working for you to spit something out or to take a break, you know, maybe you decide that you just want to swing in, in the silk, the whole class very gently and that's fine. Oh, definitely. And that's the way that we've always, um, presented our environment at insight is if, if being in this room is, is therapeutic for you.

Wonderful. If it's not. Why don't you go hang out on the couches, out in the waiting room, get yourself some [00:35:00] water, just, you know, take care of yourself. So we're, we're very much inviting people to be in charge of their own experience. I'm excited about having an Ariel, uh, in-person aerial, it plays to practice, which insight is opening an aerial studio here on Madison's, , east side, the spring 2022.

And. Like Nikki said, there'll be a lot of orientation getting comfortable with the hammock, giving people that opportunity to do like the 1 0 1. Try it, just see if it's something that is going to work for you. And maybe it will maybe. You know, you can give it a shot. You know, I remember when I took a couple of classes that got really sore because it's, I was working muscles that I wasn't used to working.

There's some upper body, if you really want to do some of that stuff, you have the opportunity to really deepen into some hip openers. If you really want to, [00:36:00] uh, lots of, lots of core engagement, right. And that's. We're, we're not like purposely working on the core. It's just necessary, um, to do that. And while there is that maybe, um, sort of a fear factor that uncertainty, that anxiety, what most people find is that, uh, kind of working through that.

He is a little bit into the practice. Right? And the other thing is that it really helps us develop our focus in our concentration when we practice aerial yoga, because there's certain ways we want to do things and people find that to really help, to strengthen that, that mind body connection. There's not a lot of.

, opportunity when you're doing some of those poses for the mind to wander to the grocery list. Um, and so that, that's another really nice added benefit. And, there's also a lot of people who [00:37:00] experience, um, Back pain. Find this to be a really great practice because just allows the spine to decompress, to lengthen in a really gentle again, supportive way.

And so that chronic stress and tension that many of us hold on to whether it's from what we're physically doing in the world or the, you know, our emotional internal environment that really naturally starts to dissipate. Which is why we tend to see those mental and emotional benefits as well.

Of course, , it's increasing that mind, body connection. We're paying attention to what's happening in our bodies. And this isn't new. , we have a couple of therapists on staff who do things with sensory processing issues and, We've used weighted blankets with people before there are sensory swings, hammocks, things like that, that have been really beneficial.

We often think of it in terms of like kiddos or [00:38:00] folks on the spectrum folks with sensory processing issues, but the hammock can just be a really natural way to integrate the senses. You know, it's a, it's a different sensation on the skin, so that touch. It helps us with our vestibular senses. That sense of balance, uh, our appropriate reception, which is another one of those, you know, fancy words it's our brain, knowing where our limbs are in space.

So using these hammocks can help us integrate. All of these senses in, in just a really supportive soothing environment to, you know, our studio has nice lighting. We'll have some lovely music on in the background and it's community is a huge part of this too. It's a huge part of healing and growth is just to feel like we're supported in a community.

So all that is happening in an aerial yoga class, especially a trauma informed aerial class. [00:39:00] Absolutely. And aerial fun to bring that playback in which we know. Is that something that, you know, I think especially over the, you know, You're a lot of people have missed out on, right?

So we need more of that too. Another really nice way to, , increase , the mental and physical wellbeing and that sense of community too. I often find people in aerial yoga classes being very, very kind and supportive of, of other people, um, which is also really a nice way to. Create that community and that.

Of course, and it is just fun. It reminds me of being on the swing set when I was a kid, you know, it's just, it's one of those really freeing things and yeah, you're right. The pandemic has been hard. There's only so many kitchen dance parties. No. [00:40:00] So solo kitchen dance parties that I can throw. I really need that connection.

I really need to just be in a room full of people, , having fun and being held and supported. And, I'm really happy that we're going to be able to offer this at insight and just to be a resource. I'll put in our show notes, some links to the trauma informed yoga that we discussed.

Um, we'll put some pictures up of what this, what this looks like, because you know, it isn't Cirque de Solei. We, we want you to dress comfortably. Like leotards are not required. Nope. Nope. Sparkles. I mean, you know, optional encouraged, but optional, no, nothing needs to be bedazzled for this.

And it's just, an accessible thing that we want to make sure people feel comfortable about and know they can ask us questions too. So I'll put Nikki's email in our show notes. So any final thoughts, Nikki, on. Well, we [00:41:00] talked about today.

I just want to encourage people to give it a try, because I think they're really going to like it. You all can't see me, but I have a huge smile on my face. Just thinking about. Oh, how fun and also healthy our pubic, this is going to be, and, um, you know, fun is therapeutic. So please, if you have questions, reach out and even if you just, you know, once we get the new space up and running, she just want to stop by and just kind of look at it for a little while and ask them questions.

Maybe, you know, maybe Sedna let us know. Absolutely. We got these really cool hammocks. So they're just in a box on my front porch. Cannot wait to hang them up. It's going to be so fun. And these are this. Isn't going to be like a gymnasium full of people. I want people to understand that too. These will be small classes with lots of one-on-one attention.

I think we'll maybe have space for eight to nine people in these classes and that's that's as it should. You know, we want to make sure that we're giving people that [00:42:00] attention that they need so that we can remove any fears that anyone's going to get hurt or that their anxiety is going to increase with we're there.

We're going to be there and supportive. Yeah, absolutely. And you know, like you said, safety, right. Safety is always at. Our, our forefront of it, not your physical safety when we're thinking about Ariel and your emotional safety as well. So I know we talk a lot about emotional safety, but we, we got you. You will be good.

You will be okay.

Wonderful. Well, thanks so much for chatting about this sneaky. , we're really excited about it. It feels like we've been talking about it for years and here we are, you know, it's 20, 22. Yes. Fear of aerial yoga. Thanks so much, Nikki. Thanks for having me. 

 

 thank you again for joining us on Insight Mind [00:43:00] Body Talk, a body-centered mental health podcast. We hope today's episode was empowering and supported you in strengthening your mind-body connection We're your hosts Jeanne and Jess. Please join us again as we continue to explore integrative approaches to wellbeing. Until then, take care.