We at Insight Mind Body Talk have decided our official season will run September – May, taking each summer to re-visit our “most downloaded” episodes. Why most downloaded? Jess may have her favorites, Jeanne too, but what matters most to IMBT is listening to your voice. And we heard you loud and clear through the number of downloads each episode received. What does re-visiting mean? Well, basically, that you’ll be hearing the original episode again. But this time, prior to the episode, Jess will giving inside information about her thoughts on the content, highlighting key moments, and sharing additional tips not mentioned during the episode.
In this episode of Insight Mind Body Talk, we're focused on how yoga can help our military service members heal from trauma. Jeanne welcomes Shaye Molendyke, a retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel who holds a master's in counseling. Shaye is a Certified Yoga Therapist and the creator and director of YogaFit for Warriors, a trauma-informed yoga teacher training program. Shaye and Jeanne discuss ways in which we can help prevent and heal post-traumatic stress disorder among our military. Shaye explains how yoga teachers and mental health providers can be empowered to better articulate how yoga works from a neuroscience perspective, so that teachers aren't just "shotgunning" yoga out into the world, but truly understanding how healing happens.
Produced by Jeanne Kolker and Jessica Warpula Schultz
Edited by Jason Klein, Jeanne Kolker, and Jessica Warpula Schultz
Music by Jason A. Schultz
Welcome to Insight Mind Body Talk’s summer series: our Season 1 Most Downloaded Episodes.
I love this episode because I think it speaks to who Insight Counseling and Wellness is at our heart. We are wellness, mind, body providers who believe in research and how the mind body connection can be translated.
Into livable, doable practices for the people. Not only who we serve, but the people who serve us like our military.
This episode was actually recorded by my cohost Jeannie Kolker. Her guest is the retired Lieutenant Colonel Shaye Molendyke, the creator and director of YogaFit for Warriors and YogaFit for Warrior Kids. As you'll hear in this episode, Shaye, through her training and ceounseling, and also retraining as a yoga teacher, she started to connect the dots and figure out a way how to serve and help heal.
Those who are experiencing PTSD. Depression decreased quality of life. Because of their service and our military.
It's episodes like this that make me proud of Insight Mind Body Talk because these are things we should be having dialogue around. How do we assist those who are coming. Uh,
Into our therapy offices, not just because of life, but because of their pursuit. To protect and take care of all of us.
I want to take a moment and thank our active military. Our veterans and the families of those who have served us so well and will continue to do so. 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.
Thanks Jess. And thank you for listening. Now, let's begin a conversation about what happens when we take an integrative approach to improving our wellbeing.
Welcome to insight. Mind, body talk. I'm your host, Jeannie Colker. And today I'm welcoming Lieutenant Colonel Shay Mullen Dyke a 27 year air force veteran. She is the creator and director of Yoga Fit for Warriors and Yoga Fit for Warrior Kids.
These trauma informed yoga programs are designed to help and empower anyone struggling with PTSD. Or with unresolved physical and emotional trauma. And this includes yoga teachers, mental health workers, educators, veterans, their families, first responders, and all those who help and love them. She is also a yoga therapist through the International Association of Yoga Therapists and specializes in working with groups and individuals to help process unresolved traumas.
Shay earned her. Master's in counseling from the University of Maryland in 2003, while she was in the military and spent a year working directly with veterans returning from the Iraq war. In 2012, she combined her military and counseling experience with her love of yoga into the program she's in charge of today.
So welcome Shay. Well, thanks, Jeannie. That's a lovely introduction. Yeah. I mean, you look back and I'm like, dang, I'm old. Correct. Now retired, retired Lieutenant Colonel. I retired this past year during the pandemic, so yeah, so it was a big deal. Perfect timing, with the transition to, being at home.
So I got to focus more on the warriors programming. And leading tons of workshops online because Hey, everybody had nothing else to do. So bring on all the, all the warriors workshops. It's been a busy, yeah, and yet perfectly timed.
So I could focus on helping people during this difficult time and to be quite Frank, to help myself. Right. We were all in this kind of interesting, time and we're coming out of it and it's maybe even harder to come out of it than it is to go into it. Cause we don't know.
Cause we're like we're walking out of the cave into a new world. And what are the operating instructions? How do I, how do I, how do I walk and talk and interact with people? And that it does kind of normalize things for us that we're all going through something, and we all have some healing to do this.
Isn't just for people with what we would call like a diagnosable disorder, like PTSD. No, absolutely. I thought for sure, I knew mental health. And then that just, you know, of course got magnified and everybody was dealing with stress because we were dealing with the unknown and the human brain doesn't like that.
It likes to predict and it couldn't. And, so all of us were like, well, you know, if you don't know, if you can't produce a story that makes sense in the world, that is by its definition, a stressful place for everybody. And I think there was something weirdly in hindsight, the silver lining is we were all going through it.
Our kids are struggling. I was struggling. Everybody became a caregiver, I'm a homeschooler. I work from home or, and, and roles changed. But I, really, found fascinating coming out of this year is that weirdly people, In some ways more willing to ask for help because it became stress and trauma became normalized and everybody was talking about it. And we're all more like, "Oh, you too?!".
Yes. I mean, every, you know, Tik TOK, star and Instagram star and everybody who's on their life does this challenging. So in some ways, for the people who are scared to talk about it, it gave them some freedom. And I think that's a good news because now it's more, acceptable to say, yeah, I'm dealing with some anxiety, some depression.
So that's kind of nice. In fact, the suicide rates actually weirdly dropped last year.
But the numbers that the phone calls to the suicide hotline, quadrupled. So, which makes sense. Right? Which is why people come to you and that's always a sign of, I hope is that when you're finally, like, I can't handle this myself anymore, picking up the phone, walking into your office, you know, giving me a call.
for yoga therapy. I'm more willing because it's less stigmatized. It's more like, oh my gosh, of course it makes sense. So anything to educate people that this is, like you said, It's normal, what we're feeling. , and that uncertainty is what's producing the stress predominately . And I think we are in this place of having it validated and normalized and it must've been yeah.
A different experience for you when you decided to introduce some sort of yoga based program for military veterans? I'm guessing that there was not as much willingness to address trauma in our troops. Well, no, I mean, we were actually talking out of both sides of our mouth.
So we started creating the warriors program, , really in late 2011, 2012, because as you, as most people know this number of 22 veterans a day, which by the way has not changed. So that's, you know, could be a whole separate podcast. So that's 22 veterans commit suicide. Average per day. Okay. And, and that was really it.
We were in what, in our, went over to our rack, the reason why, just a little bit of history for those who aren't familiar with what happened in the military, why we saw this increase in PTSD dramatically. As we had this thing called the surge, and we spent, we sent over 125,000 troops into Iraq, Afghanistan to finish the war so we had enormous amount of troops for the next four to six years to see that timeframe there. So then everybody started coming off orders, coming home from their deployments, multiple, multiple deployments, you know, years at a time
and then that's where you saw this big shift, not only in PTSD, but things like, you know, traumatic brain injury, TBI, and those always go hand in hand. Um, and it was a desperate time in the military. And a mental health was just, a disaster and the only, paradigm that the military has because we're bound by, you know, evidence-based research in Western medical model and insurance model was what will cognitive behavioral therapy, which is fantastic, but it doesn't always work well with trauma, if it's just talk therapy and, you know, just sort of related, relying on a narrative there from the mind standpoint.
Um, but then of course, Uh, pharmaceutical interventions, psycho pharmaceutical interventions, which are great in some instances, but just a disaster, many times for PTSD post-traumatic stress disorder. You know, there's not a pill when you walk into a doctor's office says I'd like that pill for PTSD and military wouldn't come in and say, I want that pill for PTSD because they wouldn't really admit it, but they would come in and say, Doc, I have chronic pain, which always goes with trauma right back pain.
So what you get, you get an opiate. Well, they're trying to stop that. Of course. This is still in that time from a 2011, 2012. Well, you know, the whole, again, another workshop on the opiate epidemic. Right. But then, oh, I can't sleep doc. Oh, okay. Here's some Trazadone. Oh, I have, you know, maybe some anxiety now.
Oh, okay. Here's some valum. You see how this goes? I'm having trouble focusing. Oh, here's some Adderall. I mean, so then they would walk out very commonly with six to 12 medications as cocktail and it either made them a zombie or weird, not weirdly. Now we know, um, unfortunately many, uh, overdose deaths and addictions, um, and, and also increased suicidal ideation.
So again, Not all drugs are bad, let's be clear, but how there, that was all they had, right. There was a trailer toolbox and I knew yoga could help. And that's what gave birth to the warriors program. Cause I said, we can't, this is not sustainable. And it's actually not helping anybody. What I was looking at was a bunch of zombies and people, you know, not really feeling bad or they've been on these medications, um, you know, for a long time.
And then, you know, you're really not open to going to mental health in the military when you're an active duty. Cause there's stigmatized reasons for it. You're judged for it. Yeah. We're trying to get rid of that, but the truth is their security clearance concerns. , oh, you're the perceived weak link in the military.
You can't hack it. You can't cut it. That's still there. And that's just a necessary part of what our military does. So I kind of have to speak out of both sides of my mouth. I said, well, you know what? People can come to yoga class. They can come to yoga class. They never have to self identify to say I have PTSD and yet they can come on their mats, and heal.
So, you know, the motto that I live by the credo is now. You don't have to talk to heal. You have to feel to heal. Healing comes first talking may come second. Right. And when it does, it's usually a really good sign when people want to talk. But it's that lack of feeling. It's the not feeling. That's the problem. so yeah, so I'm obviously quite passionate about it, but you know, that was back in 2012. It wasn't well accepted, but I knew it could help. And you know, it was that grassroots, you know, yoga had then, you know, in the west for a while,
it was on every base. Everybody could come there is still is. I had a lot of people coming into my classes and I knew they'd been through trauma and PTSD. I didn't call my classes, yoga for PTSD, you know, but they knew who I was. I was like, Hey, come together with Shay better. So, you know, , it wasn't a fast change.
It's a slow one. We're still not there. But boy, have we come a long way, you know, how much more acceptable. Well, and you and I have both had a healing journey through yoga. That's why we are yoga therapists and continue to preach this word to, to help others heal their trauma. So you had that experience of healing on the yoga mat.
So, from what it sounds like you were teaching this to military, not necessarily like in this, therapeutic way, it just, it was therapeutic. Yeah. You know, and remember I had got my masters in counseling back in 2003, so 1989 to 2003. So right. The talk therapy came first. I started yoga in 1998 and it finally all came together and I moved.
I was like, wait a minute. I know yoga could help. You know, and I knew it was mental health therapy on the mat. I didn't have the, uh, ability to explain how to people, which is really important in the west. We want to know why people want to know why they're doing this and the mechanisms that make it healing.
And we have that now. So that's why it's an exciting time. If you have trauma PTSD, you should be really excited and get on the mat and find a trauma informed yoga teacher or a clinical therapist like yourself who specializes in somatic therapies. Or you're the therapist because we know exactly how and why yoga and mindfulness works.
It dials into, uh, precisely into the part of the brain and the nervous system, uh, where trauma is stored, right? Almost like a computer chip of virus stored. We hack into it. There, there is, you know, we're kind of, you know, I hate to say Russian hackers here, but we are. And so there's hope. I just, that I think that's the biggest message is you don't have to feel this way.
That's a good news story for a lot of people that, you know, once they hear the science behind it, they're like, all right. I, you know, I guess I'll give it a try and you don't have to retell the story. You know, some of the evidence-based PTSD treatments have us just continue to cognitively process that, which is just continuing to talk about our story, which can be re-triggering in which can be add to our toxic stress load.
And of course, those, there are, you know, There's research to support that that can help us heal. But when there's something as accessible as yoga, and we know that we feel better when we do it, it's something. I think that that takes away that fear of, of treatment. You know, you leave a yoga class and you feel good.
You might not know why, but you do. That is a different thing. Um, I know what you're talking about. Prolonged exposure, great therapy. And, and, you know, we could go into the research on that. I have my strong feelings about it, and I think for some people it's been a lifesaver, but in some ways I feel per this is just me personally.
And if it works for you, it works. But I feel like it kind of makes you a declawed cat. It's kind of like a decent citizen nation. Um, and, and, and as opposed to what we do in yoga, Which is an integration. We're not trying to get rid of the trauma, which is a completely Western based sort of reductionist, you know, cut it out, get rid of it.
We don't believe that we believe it can be a source of strength when we believe in post-traumatic growth syndrome, that trauma is going to eventually be a big, strong root system for you. But the way out is through and yoga gives you the skills, the strength, right? Predominantly what through the breath practice.
Right. Self-regulation skills. That's a real, tangible thing. The mindfulness stay present. Then when I get triggered, I don't check out. I don't disassociate. I don't go shut down. That's where the healing happens. And we can now say, because we have technology and things like MRIs, we can see what happens in the brain.
So a person who just associates or checks out, or it's just being re-experiencing, which like you said, that's not productive. That's just living. Hell. Instead, we trigger a little bit. Sure. But we stay present. We stay grounded with an expert therapist like yourself, right. Or, you know, somebody who knows what they're doing, holding space, focus on your breath.
Uh, yeah, I hear them. I'm going to give you the bad news up front. You're going to feel it again. You have to just like when you stub your toe and hold your breath, eventually you're going to take an inhale. It's the not feeling, but you know what? It's not the same pain. It's a different thing. And when you stay mindful, then you own it and it doesn't own you.
And it doesn't have like a pop-up virus on your computer, like a file stored there just to come and like, you know, trigger you at any moment's notice it's there still, but now it's filed and then you can pull up that experience when you want, and you can retell that story from a place of strength, like all trauma survivors, I think eventually get to I do.
I believe that they eventually get there and maybe a long and winding road yoga helps us get there faster. Uh, so it's, uh, again, it's a, it's really a holistic perfect system. It is advanced medicine, but it acts at that subtle energetic level and it acts, beyond the vision and, you know, again, we can see it through special technology now, but that's why this understanding is really important to get out there to everybody, how it actually works, not Hocus Pocus, it's not medical.
So you don't have to chant a certain way, but you have to breathe and stay present in the body. And there are so many tools, so many ways to do that. And the ultimate goal for this is empowerment. So when we think about military, you know, we think about this as being a very powerful population and, you know, trauma can really be so complex in that population.
So what are the unique ways that that PTSD shows up in our, in our military? Well, that is a fascinating, and I find it interesting as well because, a lot of people join in the military. You can enter at age 18, you know, a lot of them are coming in because they're not coming from the best situations. So you and I both know about what the ACE study, the adverse childhood experiences.
So, your average military person has an ACE score of four or more that they're coming in predisposed by the way, PTSD, that makes you more predisposed to actually getting PTSD. You know, we screen them for like medical problems and all that. Do we screen you for potential emotional problems? We kind of, you know, we do, are you on any drugs?
Have you had any psychiatric incidences, but that can lay dormant and, again, I think it just could be the positive because you know, if you've been through a lot of stress and trauma, what's one of the responses it's fight and flight, so fight and we get the fighters and they come because they're like, man, you know, they're the fighters.
They, you know, they've been fighting out their whole lives. So , they tend to do well, those who make it through bootcamp and, get in, they tend to do well, but they do well in they're rewarded from that fight. Yes. And it's normalized in the military. And so here's the thing is it does cause then that's called complex PTSD.
So you've come in with, previous childhood stressors and traumas, which is very common in the military. And then guess what, I'm going to intentionally traumatize you in the military. And that's before we send you to war. It's one of the few things we know we're going to traumatize you. And yet we do nothing to inoculate your nervous system or your brain from it.
And we know you can, I mean, that's all martial arts, that's all Eastern. Like, you know, Mr. Miyagi training, karate kid, mindfulness, right. Control resiliency. But we don't do that. We train you to fight. We train you to follow rules and all that, but we don't train you how to. You know, you control a weapon, but to control the weapon of yourself, you're the worst weapon there out there.
It is right? Control your nervous system through your breath, control your mind, mindfulness practices. So some people get it, you know, some of the special ops forces, they get that training. Some of the other elite forces get that, but I mean, we should make that mandatory and all basic training.
I mean, that probably sounds ridiculous to people listening to the military, but I don't think it is. We make you do PT. Let's make you do meditation. I believe in making me do yoga. So we don't send you unarmed out there and then you have a traumatic experience and you have a dysregulated nervous system.
We get mad at you cause you can't regulate yourself and your emotions. You come home and you're a hot mess and you're a hot mess at work. And your family, your finances, your relationships, your work, all of that. And we go, what happened? Like we're surprised. Hey, what happened? It's actually quite logical.
This is all common sense. And for some reason, this barrier about introducing this in basic training or incorporating it as sort of mandatory training is there. And I think it has to do with a course that, you know, a lot of the people's notions of what yoga is and, you know, as a religion, et cetera, which it's not, we need to really look at it.
Just kind of like training you, physically training your mind. So whatever the languaging has to be there that makes it acceptable. Let's do that. And they are, there's some, there's some initiatives, but it's a slow cruise ship to turn around the whole military. I can imagine your question about how it shows up, but I think it starts before they even enter is what I'm trying to say.
And then we're going to traumatize you on basic training. We've gone to, you know, I hate to say it like a few good men. I'm sorry, but Hey, I got to traumatize you, ? . Because you're going to come under fire and I need to know what you're going to do. I need to know how you're going to respond.
I don't want somebody next to me is going to run away. When the firefight goes, I need you to be able to hold your ground and shoot. That is abnormal human mammal behavior. Your first response actually should be to flight, right? Because that is the best conservation of metabolic resources to keep you alive, to run away, to live a fight another day and people think, oh, well they're being cowardly.
No. There being animals. , but we have to train them over and over again to counter that. That's a trauma. I have to traumatize you to counter the flight response, to fight. And for some that's more natural. They're like, I'm a fighter. That's why they do good. All of the, now let's send you into battle.
Why are rates of PTSD higher for men in the military versus civilian men? It's because why. It's a relationship trauma most of the time that happens because your buddy got blown up next to you. Yeah. Or you witnessed somebody, you know, it's that band of brotherhood, we get cortisone a stressful event, but we also get a lot of oxytocin.
And especially in the military, weirdly we are fighting or a greater good. I like to think of a moral purpose, which actually gives you the most oxytocin. Here's a weird fact. I would die for you if you're my brother and the military, her sister, but I don't even have to like you, but I would die for you because we're for a greater good, that gives you so much oxytocin.
And now you get blown up or hurt or whatever, and I feel responsible, et cetera. It's that moral injury that moral injury, but that's much more powerful by the way than any physical injury. And we're talking about chemical.
Messengers. We're talking about oxytocin, what we think of as the cuddle hormone, that, that chemical process, that bonds us to one another. So again, this is a physiological thing. PTSD is very much physiological. You started to talk about moral injury and that is very much intertwined with. Those processes as well.
How do we, and you, you can't just give somebody a pill, like you're saying to, to tease all that out, to alleviate those symptoms, it has to be more, the body has to be involved and there also has to be, you know, and that's why I really like yoga is the greater, the meaning. There's so much possibility to explore the meaning.
What is that greater? Good. How do I fit into that and explore that on the mat? Well, yeah, but that brings up an even bigger point. We don't explore philosophically, you know, with our young troops, are you okay with killing somebody? Right. You know, part of the word is program. I made them, we make them read the story of our Juna.
Right. The warrior is telling his dilemma that he's faced with darned. If he does Don w doesn't I mean, someone's got to go out there and fight. And is it okay? You know, is it okay with my moral knowing who you are? So the moral injury, part of what happens is we send these very young troops. I didn't even mention the brain part.
So, you know, the 18 to 24. And when does the brain fully develop, you know, to the 24? So we've done great damage to Humpty Dumpty's brain and it comes home and go, what's wrong with you? You know, again, ask surprise when we shouldn't. , but we haven't done that deep, moral, philosophical. , discussion about war, because we're just like, just do what you're told follow orders, and they've done that.
And they come home and they're like, wait a minute. What does this mean about me? I killed somebody. I was responsible for this and it's, that's the moral injury. And it really comes from, by the way, not really knowing who they are from the standpoint. Right. I've really knowing. So that is. Like you said that another benefit of yoga from the standpoint of exploring, energetically emotionally, but also philosophically, who are we?
Why are we here? , and that's a big umbrella that yoga brings to it, no matter what culture you come from, or, religious tradition or, , political standpoint, doesn't matter, you know, all are welcome on the mat. , and then, over time, That's that big inner kind of tent pole of strength that yoga gives us, you know, that's resiliency as well.
No, if you know who you are, then in any given situation, you're going to know the right thing to do for you. And better to explore that before you're faced with it. And again, we can avoid some of those moral injuries. And I also believe that we shouldn't send people to battle with that kind of stuff until they're 25.
I don't think we need brute strength anymore. That's kind of controversial, you know, I think we should send them to go make peace, build a bridge, army Corps, engineer, something medical, I don't care, whatever, but like the real battle, we don't need to put a gun into your hand until you're 25 and go shoot somebody.
That damage is really tough to undo that level of damage to the brain. So anyways, that's just, again, Shay's philosophical standpoint. I think technology has gotten us past, you know, world war one, just brute strength. And, you know, I get it at the time, but we don't have to have that anymore.
So what sort of training can, happen? In your mind, like, do we need to have mindfulness?
Do we need to have yoga and basic training? What else? We talked about heart rate variability in our workshops as well. Is that being an indicator of our, flexibility to recover from these huge, that's huge, you know, everybody's walking around, he got apple watches. Now you have that technology.
So heart rate variability, right? That's really a measure, not of our heart rate. It's a measure of our nervous system, that coordination of our nervous system with, , the autonomic nervous system functioning. , so you train people on heart rate variability, and you look at it right in HRV doesn't lie.
And it shows if you're resilient or not. We have a biomarker. That's why I could go for it to, Congress or DOD, whoever, and said, folks, just like physical fitness can be measured, nervous system fitness can be measured. It can that's what resilience is. Do you have high HRV? How about that in training? How about we teach you to train the parasympathetic no nervous system, which is a stronger system.
, it's where resiliency comes from. Awareness comes from, but healing comes from it. I don't know, we have this nickname of just rest and digest, but it's much more than that, you know, it's that calm strength, . It's coming out of fight. And I always just revert to whatever he knows. Karate kid.
You're either Mr. Miyagi in the fight or you're, you know, John Cleese, you know, you're going to crazy dangerous. Krease. Yeah. Oh yeah. We're big fans of Cobra Kai here on the podcast. Can you see where his trauma came from him? But it actually made him a dangerous ineffective fighter and morally right liquid. It did to him.
But Mr. Miyagi. He had that resiliency and that's the difference maker and you can still be as strong, you know, whatever kind of fighter you want to be. , but what are you connected to you're connected to that constant awareness. You make better decisions, not reactive, scared decisions or , angry decisions.
He was calm. He did what he had to do, and guess what? He's going to recover faster. Right? He is on that recovery path faster. It's not going to affect him as much as somebody who doesn't have that strength in their nervous system, they're going to be taken down. . I mean, we're all going to be affected by trauma. We shouldn't. Yeah. In fact, we don't want you to not be right.
So yeah. I'm all about heart rate, variability training. We have the mechanisms. I think we're getting to that technology now. And I hope someone in the military is paying attention to this. I like to think some neuroscience, somebody studying this is saying, Hey man, come on. We have advanced technology inside of the stop, focusing it outside.
We're only as good as a person operating it to some degree. Really that emotional intelligence also much more powerful. It's much more effective and efficient to, to make friends, to be friends, somebody to work along to collaborate than it is to fight you metabolically. It makes a lot more sense.
Right. So we say fighting hopefully for the last resort kind of thing, you know, and you think it would make sense financially to, to invest in the sort of training on front and back. And so that we don't have these, kids coming back with all of these significant health problems that are then become a burden on our system
so we have to, again, introduce it in basic training. You have to practice it. It can't just be go through a one-week course on resiliency and I'm good. Yeah, it's a little like a lunch and learn. That's not going to do it. No, it's not.
And here's your PowerPoint on resilience? I got my certificate. That's what the military does it that's their program, right? Oh, we'd done it. No, you really happen. How about this leaders out there? If you're listening, start off your staff meetings, with the five minutes of mindfulness.
You know why they're not, I'll feel weird maybe, but find someone who can teach it. De-stigmatize that make it normal, just like that's what we do. And look how much more effective and there's studies. There's people, author. Who've done those studies. I have a lot of friends in this world who done that, you know, little onesy twosy here in the military, much more efficient winning unit of the year.
Just introducing mindfulness. I mean, talking yoga just five minutes, these mindful moments, in their units and squadrons, every time they get together. That's all it takes. Exactly where we train our muscles in basic training, we get stronger and we need to do the same thing with our minds.
We need to train and mindfulness is so affordable and so easy, and it counters that, that past and future orientation of trauma, it keeps us in the moment. So it does make sense that that would be a part of it. Before we send people into battle. So what about coming back? So what can we do?
What can we, as yoga teachers, as clinicians? Like, what's the big thing for us to support the military? I think again, um, talking about it more educating our students, wherever you're at. Even if you teach military, not, the military has been used for social change for a long time integration, going out out of segregation, et cetera.
, and I believe in that I really do. I think we can use the military for the good, you may not go teach military directly, but you educating your communities, you have national guard everywhere, just as you go, starting at the schools, go teach to kids. Right. You know, I'm all about, let's introduce this earlier.
Like when they're five or before that right. Breathing and teach them about their brain. , how to control their body. , I would challenge all yoga teachers or, , mental health therapists out there who understand this, articulate, how it works. Start talking, you know, I love polyvagal theory, teach Vagus Nerve, teach mindfulness, teach about the brain, the triune brain teach about the medial prefrontal cortex.
Um, you talk about the fight flight freeze response. Talk about how the breath practices hacks into our nervous system. People want to know the why then you're going to get their buy-in I mean, it's interesting, everybody, there's so many people just absolutely won't but more and more are I think I see more, I'm looking more for the good these days. I'm trying. And I see a lot of that. You know, things like tapping, I mean, huge fan of that, because again, another big problem with PTSD that we don't have a good answer for in Western medicine is anxiety and hypervigilence.
Yeah. The first thing I teach people breath, but really it's actually tapping, you know, if you've done a program on tapping, but I'm a huge fan of it. Yes. Yep. We're recording one. It's that Emotional Freedom Technique. It's a body-based intervention. That is. Super easy and affordable because it costs you nothing.
You just need your fingers, right? Pharmaceutical interventions are disasters. Those are your benzos, your diazepine. Those are the things that are highly addictive. So, um, so then what's your answer. You walk into, I have anxiety. What are they going to do for you? I'm telling you it's Tappy, right? Like we're making this too hard. I've taught family members that, and you can show, turn your apple, watch, start tapping, watch what your HRV does.
You want the group? And it's right there. It goes up every single time, you know, and the science behind it is clear. The brain information about what happens in your brain when your brain is stressed and traumatized, it's listening to the emergency broadcast system. It can only tell one story at a time he started tapping.
It's like giving it a different signal, different different channels. Wait a minute, we're getting a different input. Hold on. And it can't tell the same anxiety story. And so what are you doing? You're recalibrating slowly over time. So the more homeostasis, right. Bringing people back into that. Oh, okay. It doesn't have that power over you anymore.
And then you can start, you know, okay. I'm going to go for a walk. I'm going to phone a friend. I don't feel as anxious, or if you separate from panic attacks really good for that. So again, we have things out there. If they're easy, everybody can do them. Like you said, affordable. Shoot. I'm all about the tapping solution app, download the app.
There's an app for that. There's a YouTube video for it. Like it's not, you know what I'm saying? Like, yeah. EMDR, which is that you need to go to a clinician, but tapping, everybody can figure out, you know? Yeah. We have a pretty long wait list for EMDR at our clinic right now, but tapping. Yup. Yup. And I will put in our show notes information on heart rate variability, which we've mentioned and the Emotional Freedom Technique, which is tapping.
And it also of course include a link to Yoga Fit and Warriors Trainings. If somebody is interested in doing some of this yoga teaching or just learning more at Yoga Fit, , Shay has created this amazing program if I do say so I'm a trainer as well for yoga fit. And I believe , very deeply that this is, this is.
Part of our, the answer, this is our healing. This is what we can do to, to bring yoga to people in a way that, as you said, is really accessible. It's very demystified. It's very much something that we as clinicians or we as just, lifelong learners. Can benefit from this material. Absolutely. I want to give a shout out, cause I was just thinking about this the other day.
You know, here we are 2021 hoof, you know, warriors started though. I launched it in 2013, really just for the military. And at first it's expanded way beyond that. So I have military and military spouses, mental health professionals, yoga teachers, educators, parents at home, people have been through trauma--All are welcome.
Right. And who knew 2020 was going to happen? I sure didn't. I don't know where I would have gone because you can't escape from it on this planet, but Hey, who knew? I kind of think, you know what, look at what the military did for us. Look how they kind of took one for the team again. Yeah, there, the reason it's here, but really I think the Warriors Program and the Warrior Kids now, our kids, and again, that's a whole nother episode.
Dramatize the mental health crisis for our teens and kids is through the roof right now. Everybody has work to do trust me. I got an, a Mayan I'm helping friends right now. Oh my gosh. It's such a scary time for our kids, but backing it up. The reason why maybe with was so that we, that this was here for 2020, and again, we've trained thousands of people.
I know there's millions who need help, but I feel like truly, that was the reason it came to be, you know, and look at what, you know, it took the military again, kind of taking one for the team, but that's why I so so much gratitude for our military. What they do for us on a daily basis thank you so much for the work that you do, Shea, thank you for your service. Oh, well, I, I loved every minute. I know that's not the truth case for everybody, but I feel so blessed and fortunate it, um, you know, I didn't know.
I didn't know how that worlds were coming together. Nobody does, you know, keep following what you love right now. That's my, advice for everybody out there wanting to do this path. There's a reason you're doing what you've done. There's a reason you've had your, your specific trauma. You've got to find that reason.
I know that's, there's some traumas out there. Very tough for me to find meaning. And so I'll just caveat that. And then, you know, I didn't know that was going to come together with yoga. And counseling and I've been going to counseling to help others. Truthfully, I wouldn't tell myself, like we all do.
At some point you look up, you're like, oh, I am looking at traumas real close in the mirror and doing your own work. And then all of that came together, you know, and again, a perfect time that we know so much more about trauma than we ever did. We're really just at this advanced stage and more is coming again.
And with technology included. So. You know, it has the backing of science and I can talk, I will go, I will happily talk to anybody, anybody out there and military, whatever. You're like, I want to know more, this, I have PowerPoints. I can speak military PowerPoint. I have brochures. It's like, it just is a matter of getting that information out there.
I think it's an irrefutable. It undeniably works. It's much, like you said, much more efficient, effective financially across the board mentally. And, not to mention the lives that could save oh, absolutely. Just the alleviation of suffering, whatever we can do to work toward that, we're going to do that.
Yeah. You know, for those that don't know Yoga Fit, it is wonderful.
It's very, user-friendly, we're so supportive. We're so inclusive. You can come to us, not know anything about yoga. Great. But then also for those, I think I love that we speak yoga, but we also speak Western science, and I just, I'm a big believer in that we have to have the science and the research.
You have to know why, what you're doing. If you're a yoga teacher, just like a mental health therapist. You can't just operate in the dark, shotgun, your yoga out there. It's good. It's medicine. In fact, it's really effective medicine. So if you don't, you know how it works and in my mind, you're kind of dangerous, right?
So you've got, I think you have to dig into the science and the research behind it. The whole focus of yoga is supposed to help you calm your mind. Well, if you've never thought about how your brain brain works and you're, you know, nothing about , neuroscience, Well, then how do you know what's happening in the mind and how do you know you're not actually making it worse in someone's mind, which is why I think all yoga teachers need to be trauma informed your words have an impact on someone's mind, right?
How you speak to someone if you've done your work or not. Right. We have, an energetic, electronic signature that we bring with us. Regardless, and you can't fake it anyway, as you know, you've got to mean, you just got to walk the walk, so I'll give you a good teachers out there. Get your trauma-informed training through yoga better.
Otherwise, really? I just a big believer in it. I just seen so much damage, actually done. Teachers who triggered people unintentionally. They don't mean to. , and so that's why you have to be very careful as a yoga teacher. If you don't have this understanding our words can trigger people, whether you touch them or not.
and just to be prepared to deal with that trigger is so important. We have to do our own work. We have to be grounded in our own experience in order to hold that healing space for another person.
So we're, de-stabilizing people emotionally there's stuff that's coming up. Yeah. You better hold space. You better know that's coming. It's supposed to.
We train ourselves to be able to be regulated so that we can hold that space. So there's a lot to this. There's a lot to being a trauma informed yoga teacher, but at the, same time, it's also a fairly simple process to, of being, authentic with ourselves. Like you said, Being able to be in community with other people.
And I think that's where with military, especially we have a good group of military that comes to our studio through Team RWB and yes, they're so great. And they have supported us through the pandemic too, which they've just been so grateful for. And it's very much community. , I know that when, a bunch of them show up for classes because one person was like, Hey, let's go do this together.
And then it just cascades. You know, so it's this, it's this community that then creates , that normalized environment and people, of course, people get triggered and they know that they're in a safe place because of the community that they've established and just the work that we've done at insight as trauma informed yoga teachers to be regulated for them.
So to welcome them. I think, , you know, especially coming into a group yoga class, so, , effective for military, we like that sense of community and connection and like feeling supported by the people next to us, , that tribe kind of feeling, which is of course, what I love about yoga fit as well, like a strong time, a strong network.
And you walk into that class and I believe in the power of group healing and more and more studies are actually coming out specifically. It's very fascinating. I think we're just at the end of the beginning stages of this research. What makes coming into a group yoga class versus like practicing at home on your own, which is fine or one-on-one, but like a group yoga class actually has extra special healing properties.
, and so there's something else going on here I think is really cool and fascinating and more is coming on that.
I think that's a great place for us to wrap up our conversation today this was just, just, just this lovely Jeannie and again, whatever we can do to get the word out there to everybody and let them know that they have hope, , he don't have to stay in this place. Someone does care about you.
I care about you. I know you care about everyone out there and there's people who are just, , you know, this is our life's mission and purpose. So please don't hesitate to reach out. We would love it. Thank You again for joining us on Insight Mind 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 next week as we continue to explore integrative approaches to wellbeing. Until then, take care.