Peter Levine founded Somatic Experiencing, a body-oriented approach to healing trauma. In this interview, we hear about the origins of that work, and a lot about what's now, and what's next, for this pioneer.
Find Somatic Experiencing, and more of Peter Levine's bio, at https://traumahealing.org/
Happy third anniversary, friends 💛
I started following Ryan's page on Instagram. I was nearly immediately put on edge by some of his posts. He, at least a lot at that time, was playing a bit of a villain, challenging me and anyone else reading to put ourselves out there in a way I'd been, and to a large extent still am, uncomfortable with.
This episode is really about communication, how we talk to ourselves and others alike. It's a challenge to find the passion in the work you're doing.
(There's a line about midway that's been rattling around in my heart ever since, something about "if you're not excited about what you're posting, you're not posting the right stuff" ... which sounds a bit hokey now that I put it out of context, but didn't feel hokey then and, hopefully, doesn't to you when you listen.)
ps he swears a lot and I have no beep'r
Links to Ryan's work:
you can search #randomtalkingvideo on Instagram
And, again, his page on Instagram
Patty Townsend has been teaching yoga since waaaaaay back in the day when there were only a couple yoga studios in LA. That alone would give her lots of credit to be on this show ...
And so it's such a bonus that she offers her experience with a refreshing humility and clarity. We go into what teaching yoga in the States in the early 80's was like, the distinction between purification and clarification (this one's good), even a really sweet — if not super disarming — tip for teachers on how to begin a class ... a home practice you can do to feel the buoyancy of your internal organs ... and heaps more.
I really enjoyed this one; hope you do too!
And here's a schematic to give you an idea of what and where the mesentery is inside you.
In this episode, we wrap up Season 2 of The Body Awake with a mix of retrospect, looking around and some personal sharing from me.
Here's that poem I mention at the end.
With love, LB
Don Hanlon Johnson has had his interest at the intersection — or perhaps mutual expression — of "taking care of your body stuff" and "political, social and taking care of the environment stuff" for a long time now.
We cover a lot of ground. I was delighted to join him, an early pioneer of what we now consider the broad term of "embodiment" practices.
DHJ's new book, authored by a wide array of body types and lineages, is called Diverse Bodies, Diverse Practices: towards an inclusive somatics
Other show notes: Bone, Breath and Gesture: practices of embodiment
and his website, DonHanlonJohnson.com
This episode, after a long time considering and reckoning myself with some of this material : “Reaching for Blackness” with Aaron and Jennie of Holistic Resistance. You can find their website here. Cheers to all of our inquiries, rich and personal, on our own paths.
Our guest this go is David Fleming, a bright and thoughtful practitioner whose work spans bodywork, lifestyle shifts and movement, and is informed by research into fascia, bioelectricity, the healing potential of the earth and more.
This episode has a great big dose of little potential experiments that fall into the category of “Try this! It’s cheap or free, is not complicated, has no downside and may have a huge upside in your life.” One example is spending some time barefoot on the earth each day.
And more, always. Cheers and love from Montana, LB
AMNA : https://www.amnacademy.com/
AMNA’s IG page : @amnacademy : https://www.instagram.com/amnacademy/
James Oschman grounding, earthing (google this; lots of resources)
David’s Mac / Apple app is “Candelight” — or search for a blue-light blocking app in whatever app store
The work of Robert Becker; right now I (LB) am reading The Body Electric and really loving it
William A Tiller : Conscious Acts of Creation
Mae-Wan Ho : Living Rainbow H2O
Rolin McCraty “The Electricity of Touch” : https://www.heartmath.org/assets/uploads/2015/01/electricity-of-touch.pdf
When teaching, "I start with science, but hopefully I end with more of the poetry of the movement."
This is one of my favorite lines from this episode's guest, Tatjana Mesar.
Tatjana is a teacher and practitioner, a smart thinker and deep feeler, like so many of you. And we dive into some big guiding questions: what is tradition, what is modern, what is fusion of ideas and, ultimately, what is outside of the erosion of time?
You can find Tatjana's school, and some of her writing, in Berlin or at https://www.zenyoga-berlin.de/
I love a good question. I also love the attentive space it evokes in me to come up with an answer.
And so with that, hopefully this is a win-win as I present to you five listener-powered inquiries, ranging across a decent spread of body-related topics, and my corresponding responses:
Cheers, love, Liam
Living your body's intelligence ...
Oh, what that could mean! To get a feel for what it is, let's point to what it's not.
It's not blindly following every bodily desire that arises. (Only one donut orgy per month, alright?)
Nor is it forever perfecting your internal compass without moving in its direction, paralyzed by the potential — and inevitable — messiness of life.
It's something else, something that is both of these end ranges at the same time.
Pay attention, try, move, keep paying attention, refine, laugh and fail and fall and yet strive for a certain regality; this isn't child's play (unless, sometimes, it is) ...
We sure do hope you enjoy. Love, LB (+ BT)
PS if there's still space in our July 28 / 29 workshop in Seattle, you can find that out, and sign up, here.
This was one of those interviews where I thought we were going to talk about one thing, and we ended up talking about another. It is real, intimate (and happening in relatively real time, depending on when you listen to this) as we discuss the power of sex, touch, and being predator and prey, both in and out of the context of bodywork.
Glad to have you tuning in, as always. Love, LB
Kimberly's website (with her latest writings, etc. also, to get her "guide to the pelvic floor" audio, sign up for her email list on the bottom of the page)
In this episode, I'm reading "The Limbic Brain and the Biology of Emotion," which is a chapter from Younger Next Year: Live Strong, Fit and Sexy — Until You're 80 and Beyond by Chris Crowley and Henry S. Lodge, M.D.
This could be a great chapter to share with parents or grandparents in your life. (My reading starts at 6m 10s.)
I was quite excited when Stanley agreed to this interview. His book on the autonomic nervous system — including but not limited to the vagus nerve — includes detailed anatomy and self-help exercises and was easily the best $20 I've spent in a long time. I loved it.
Here, I ask Stanley questions about the notion of our "social nervous system," and some detail around his self-help exercises which can be, if they work for you, an astoundingly simple way to reorient your basic sense of orientation and safety. (And, if you go lightly and pay attention, as with anything, are probably at least worth a try.)
Show Notes / Links
Join Lisa Elliott and I for a dive into the inner workings of someone who, in my experience, curates beautifully a space often known for its disembodiment and unkindness: a facebook forum.
Hers in the Vagus Study Group, linked below.
This is a great episode for anyone who curates space, whether teacher, facilitator and anyone who works with clients.
Enjoy. Love, LB + TBA
"How I've Come to Think of the Vagus" (an expanded definition of the tenth cranial nerve; definitely lay-reader friendly)
Two articles on how to critically read research, for the layperson:
By listener requests, and my delight in the fulfillment, here's one of what may be a few led meditation / awareness / embodiment exercises.
Questions, feedback, requests: please do shoot me a line.
It used to be: good information was hard to find; good teachers and teachings were rare. The onus, in many ways, was on the teacher.
Now, of course, that’s still true in a certain respect. But also true now more than ever, I reckon in this age of near-infinite material being but a click away, is the importance of being a good student.
What makes a good student?
• You are willing to learn, and also willing to stop learning and practice what you’ve learned.
• You don’t think you know everything; you don’t think you know nothing.
• You’re willing to suspend belief for the sake of experiment, thought also you remain an adult, not handing over your discernment at the feet of a guru.
• You go through periods of introspection, taking the teachings in and treating your body-mind as a very precious temple. You also go through periods of expressivity and effort, inhabiting your body-mind as a hungry tiger inhabits the forest, fierce and unrelenting.
• You’re willing to try new teachers and teachings.
• You’re willing to dive deep into material, not stopping until you know, in your heart of hearts, that you understand what’s being taught (and not merely an ability to regurgitate, verbally or physically).
• You can take care of yourself and you’re also willing to bust your ass trying.
• You don’t seek confirmation; you seek guidance in confirming for yourself what’s true.
• You’re not an island. You’re part of an ecosystem.
You're a student. Beware anyone who isn’t.
Welcome back to Irene Lyon for our second chat on TBA. We pick up largely where we left off from our first interview (ep 17), namely into this question I had — and have — around okay, so we're aware of this trauma thing ... what do we do about it?
Wondrous, deep territory. Plus the pitfalls and joys of teaching online (newly on my mind as well).
Also, here's that 15-min neuroception exercise.
Love, LB. Get this, as always, on iTunes et al, or download direct here.
Gerald Pollack has spent more hours studying water and the nature of muscle contraction than you've spent doing just about anything. He's a very bright, kind and well-seasoned scientist with a lot to say about the current state of affairs in science.
1. Water (particularly Jerry's work regarding water's "fourth phase")
2. The nature of science, and experiments
3. The nature of muscle contraction, and Jerry's work with water explaining contraction beyond the most-usually-cited actin/myosin model
4. The ways in which we use light as energy, through water and infrared
He's a gem. Enjoy.
Alexander Tsiaras is a modern-day Renaissance man who's been called the "Leonardo Da Vinci of the digital age." He's a scientist / artist behind a new look at human anatomy, and it's pretty revolutionary.
He's authored two books I adore — The Architecture of Man and Woman and From Conception to Birth: A Life Unfolds — and give away often.
That's how I found him, anyway. What unfolded was a conversation about the art and science of imaging the insides of a human being, even an embryo, and then so much about storytelling.
"Those running the healthcare industry of some of the shittiest storytellers out there." — AT
We have so many stats, and numbers and "should" in mainstream healthcare. We need, says Alexander and I am obliged to mostly agree after this talk, better storytelling, so that people are motivated to change.
For example, he's received stories from smokers who said they quit after seeing this image:
A thousand words, and more ...
Enjoy! <3 LB + TBA
Kate White is an expert in the autonomic nervous system, with heaps of experience — both intellectual and that kind of knowing that sits in your guts and is felt — in the world of being born, at first and again.
Jill Miller and I range from yoga to biomechanics to humility and hubris to Jill's recent hip surgery, her old teachers and the beauty, pain and wisdom that can come from growing up. About halfway through, Jill shares a truth bomb — sprung from the question "if you could go back and had 5 minutes with your 20-year-old self, what would you say?" — that is SO beautiful, powerful, poignant.
Are less-embodied movement practices good gateways into a deeper practice, or are they doing more harm than good? Are all movement practices really created equal, or are some better than others? Is what you're doing working? What matters about a yoga posture? Should you practice yin yoga or weightlifting or contact improv or ... ?
Just a few of the deep questions, of many gems, from the chat with this show's guest, Mark Walsh.
Mark is an embodiment facilitator who's worked in war zones, in board rooms and yoga studios. And he is, I think, a sharp sword who is doing some really good work in hacking away old, stagnant beliefs from their roots.
It's about being in the world — political, if you will — and not about isolating "the body" from our lived experienced, which very much includes one another.
Thanks, Mark. Hope you enjoy, y'all.
Here's the Embodied Yoga Principles video playlist on YouTube.
Mark's e-book Centring: Why Mindfulness Alone Isn't Enough.