The Best Of 2020 Podcast | Part 2

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Woman in triangle pose on a yoga mat

About This Podcast

This is part two of our best of the year podcast. You will hear clips from every episode we recorded this past year, arranged by topic. This is a great opportunity to catch up and hear different perspectives on our favorite topics. Don’t forget to leave a review if you have been loving the Mindful Strength Podcast. All the speaker’s names and podcast links are included in the transcript.


Podcast Transcription

 Kathryn Bruni-Young


Hey, everyone, this is part two of the best of 2020 Podcast. If you didn’t get a chance to listen to Part One I highly recommend you go back and listen. This will all make a lot more sense. What we’ve done is we have taken clips from every podcast from the last year and we’ve put them all together based on category. It’s a great way to listen to a number of different perspectives on similar topics.

I always learn a lot from these podcast interviews. I get a little bit of inspiration every time I interview someone new. And I know that a lot of you are really loving the podcast. If you want to do us a real solid, you can leave a review for the Mindful Strength Podcast, if you’re listening on an Apple device. If you’re listening on Spotify, you can’t really leave a review on Spotify or Google Play or Stitcher or those platforms.


But if you have an iPhone, you can go into the podcast app on your iPhone, on your tablet and search for the Mindful Strength Podcast. You can leave us a review there. Even if you usually listen on something like Spotify, we would super appreciate it if you went into the Apple Podcast app and left us a review. Even if you don’t always listen on that app, the reviews really help get our podcast in front of more people and spread the word a little bit further.

If you are not already in the Mindful Strength Membership, I highly recommend you try it out. In the membership we do weekly live classes, so we have to live classes every week on Mondays and Thursdays. Those classes are also recorded and then we put them into our library and we also offer a bunch of additional on-demand classes that are shorter. Anywhere from 20 to 45 minutes.


Our membership is a multi-disciplinary mindful movement platform. We do a little bit of everything from restorative self-massage work for active recovery, all the way to resistance band kettlebell training, dumbbell work. You don’t need a ton of equipment. There are classes in there that have no props needed. I really think there is something in there for everyone.

If you want to practice with Kyle and I, and our incredible guest teachers who we have in the membership, you can head over to mindfulstrength.ca. For the next week, we are bringing back the buy one gift, one deal on the six-month membership. That means if you buy a six-month membership, you can gift one to a friend for free, and then they will have their own six-month membership. And then the two of you can practice together.


You can send each other text messages about what classes you’re doing and stuff like that, which is super fun. Practicing at home is something that we might not be used to already, but I think with platforms like this, it just makes the home practice so much more accessible and interactive and fun. You can come to our live classes, you can do the recorded classes, you can really check it all out. To get started with that, go to mindfulstrength.ca and click on membership.

All of the information is there to watch a little video that we made about it. And then if you sign up for the six months, send us an email and we will send your friend a six-month membership as well.


All right, everyone, thank you for all of your support and for listening and practicing with us and leaving reviews. Here is Part Two of the Best of 2020 Podcast.

[ep 141 Shannon Marion]


The biggest thing that’s changed for me is that I’ve had to, with humility and not easy, get out of the way, you know; realize that people’s outcomes are not dependent on me and that I’m not there to fix them. I used to see things like that. I’m a glorified mechanic and you come into my shop and I’m just going to fix your tissues and then you’re going to be all better.

The bias that I saw, the lens that I saw through was that that was true. But I don’t think that was a whole picture because what we knew was that manual therapy can help people sort of in the short term. Of course, I would never see people past that. Once they were feeling better, they would go away. Whether their pain came back in different degrees; whether they were following up with some lifestyle changes and behavior modifications that they needed to in order to maintain those results and continue to improve on their own, I have no idea.


There was that reinforcing bias that I am all that and a bag of chips. I am the goddess of physiotherapy. Anybody would come to me and say that there is tons of judgment, too. Other people that I hadn’t seen would maybe tell me two or three sentences about their thing and I’d be like, “oh, well, that’s wrong” or “that’s not the right thing” or “you were misdiagnosed” and “you didn’t see me”. It was really very ego-driven. It was very much about me and me fixing people.

Then I had to learn that what I thought was true was not necessarily true, and that the reason manual therapy works is not necessarily for the reasons we used to think and that I was taught that it works. It might not be all about the tissue changing. It could be about the nervous system that’s adapting and changing. It could be about pain sensitization that’s decreasing. That is a totally different story. It’s a totally different narrative that I really had to wrestle with and come to terms with.

[ep 143 Dr. Shanté Cofield]


The concept that your knee shouldn’t go past your toes all starts in a good place. People want people to not get hurt. We used to take a very mechanical approach to understanding the body. We used to think that foam rollers could stretch things out and would lengthen fascia. We know better now. You have to keep up with the science. We have to advance. There are no studies that actually show that it’s bad for it to go past your knees. It is based on bad science.

Yeah, there’s more force going through the knee, but it’s countered by the other parts of your body that are taking it up. Then people are like, “oh, but I have pain going down the stairs” and it’s like “yeah because you’re probably not prepared for that. It’s not the movement that’s the problem. It’s your preparation for it”. Simply said you’re not strong enough to do it. You never practiced it.


Of course, it hurts you; like this is common sense. It doesn’t matter what the thing is like if you don’t have to do it and then you have to do it, I wouldn’t be surprised if your body is like, “Hey, homie, I don’t really like this”.

[ep 147 Trina Ultman]


It was in response to what she had learned that wasn’t so useful, which was everything, an external rotation, because, again, he was training ballet dancers. In the training that I did in our manual, if we did some rotation, we would also do it in internal rotation. I was never afraid of loading in internal rotation because I had learned like, “oh, yeah, of course, you would want to load in both. You wouldn’t want to just do one”.

Then I think the shock for me, still to this day when I teach, I’ll have people do squats and in internal rotation. We will walk around in valgus on the insides of our feet and then on the outside. I forget people think that that’s dangerous because I was never taught that that was dangerous.

[ep 156 Kathryn Bruni-Young]


If I’m going to lift three hundred pounds, then I basically need to engage my whole body as much as I can to move that force. But if I’m doing downward dog, there’s a really big difference there. I might not have to engage my whole body as hard as I can to do the downward dog pose.

There’s a huge spectrum for engagement. The lower end of the spectrum would be lying down on the couch trying to relax where I don’t want a lot of additional engagement. The other end of the spectrum is going to be maximal loads, right? Three hundred pound deadlift. Then everything is somewhere in between on that spectrum.


Where is Warrior Two? Where is Downward Dog? Where is Warrior Three or where is Triangle Pose? Where is a pushup? Where is a bicep curl with a resistance band? They’re all at different points on the spectrum and I think sometimes people don’t remember that.

[ep 178 Kevin O’Connor]


A lot of good anatomists will tell you that every time they do a dissection section, what it teaches them about bodies is they’re completely different, not the same. Then we can think about all the hard work and deliberation and communication that had to go into making something that’s so different appear the same. The way it happened in an anatomy book.

First of all, there are many kinds of anatomies depending on the tool used to look at the body. Then anatomies aren’t true, they are made. They’re not made up. They’re made through particular scientific practices. Then my practice is to try on those made anatomies and see what they do.


And in the fascia world, you can, for instance, try on Tom Myer’s Anatomy Trains. Instead of thinking of individual muscles, he thinks about muscle chains. You can try on this different way of thinking about muscles in sequence and see what that does for your sensibility.

[ep 168 Travis Pollen]


es, I totally agree with you that that’s crazy. That you would need 90 degrees of active wrist extensions before you do a handstand. I think that’s silly. I’ve been looking at some of the research on what constitutes normal wrist extension and range of motion. Normal even for passive, I think, was less than ninety.

My current thinking is that the prerequisite that you need the active range of motion in whatever joint action or all of the joint actions of the pose before you engage in that pose, I think that’s the wrong prerequisite. I think we should be talking about passive ranges of motion as the prerequisites for the movement.


You can imagine that if you go to do the handstand or plank pose or push up and you can’t get into the passive range of motion, then you’re just not going to be able to actually get into a handstand with a relatively straight line. You could maybe compensate through lumber hyperextension and maybe you could take the mental leap to say, well, that’s going to increase your risk of injury at your low back because of that.

Not even talking about that, just talking about, OK, is your wrist going to get injured because you don’t have the 90 degrees of even passive range of motion? I would just say probably not. You’re just not going to be able to do a really good looking handstand. But the idea that you would need 90 degrees active range of motion for that movement is, I think, ridiculous. Gravity puts you into passive wrist extension in all of this. The thinking that you need to actively be able to get there is just silly to me.


I understand that some of the arguments are based on having control. That’s the big buzzword. But I don’t really see that being that specific to the movement itself. I think just practicing the handstand is going to give you the control that you need rather than being able to actively extend your wrist.

[ep 172 Scotty Butcher]


Or another example, probably the best one that I usually use is: how about an 80-year-old who’s struggling to get off the chair. Not because of necessarily range motion limitations, but they just simply don’t have the strength and power to be able to get off the chair.

Well, how is that any different than you or I or any client doing a squat or a powerlifter doing the squat? They’re trying to lift a maximum amount of weight one time. That’s a 10 out of 10 effort. Do you think that’s a 10 out of 10 effort for the 80-year-old trying to get off a chair and can’t? Yeah, absolutely it is.


Their bodyweight could be heavy, right? It is individual-specific, but it does come down to the amount of effort that you’re putting into it. I think that’s one of the key things that is missing in our therapeutic exercise prescription is not just the focus on movements over muscles, but it’s the focus on effort. I think heavy is more relative to the effort that you’re putting in than is the weight itself.

[ep 145-146 Diane Bruni]


And you know, the most amazing thing, Kathryn, is how fast the body responds. Like it’s freaking me out. It’s only been about five weeks that I have been going to the gym and I’m blown away at the progress I’m making.
I’m shocked at how fast I’m getting stronger now and how resistance training is really the key; the key to getting and building strength fast. I know that if I had just gone back to what I was doing, which was my own little practice, which is sort of yoga-like and sort of movement-based but without the resistance.


Yeah, it’s nice to move, but I wasn’t getting any stronger, that’s for sure. I felt like I needed an extra boost to get back on track again. The resistance training, I always realized it was important but I actually never really loved doing it right? I didn’t like going to the gym. I don’t really like the machines; I don’t really like the weights. I don’t really like the energy there.

When I decided I needed to start doing something every day, I realized that that was the most effective way and I’m blown away at how effective it is. It’s what you’ve been preaching for so long and what I knew was true, but to actually do it myself is like a whole other story, and I feel like I’m doing it now.


Learning how to use those machines at the gym is pretty interesting. Good thing they have little stickers with like muscles lit up showing you how to do it. I love the little pictures before and after. Not before and after, but position before you start the machine at the end position; the start and the end position. It’s so easy. It’s so easy. Anyone can do it. There’s really no reason not to do it. I don’t think you can really go wrong.

[ep 153 Erin Godfrey]


One thing that sometimes happens within the field of exercise is this new truth begins to emerge and it’s like, “oh, well, we should be doing it this way”. And somehow what can happen within the health field is that the new things that we understand knock out the other things, rather than having these two or three different ideas coexist.

We might try to understand how could these two things that seem at odds both be true? That means that you have to think about how you apply it. Not if it’s a truth for everybody.

[ep 152 Chris Ruffalo]


Do you have a warm-up that you do mindlessly? Why do you do it? It’s likely a mental trigger to be like, “OK, this is how I start my workout”. Engage with it. When you engage with it, you realize it’s no longer a list of things to do. It’s a feeling.

When all of a sudden your movement is feeling and it’s mental experimentation, you are a scientist in this lab of yourself. It might just be me, but when you start to lock into yourself, stop looking at other people and you stop comparing it is no longer “they can do this. I can’t. They’re better than me”. But their thing isn’t my thing. My thing is me.


You have to be so interested in yourself in the way that you’re doing it that reps and sets no longer matter, which is very, very tough to do.

[ep 140 Dr. Sonia Bahlani]


So basically, we’ll take it from one point of view, which I kind of mentioned before. How does stress affect the pelvic floor? What’s people’s natural response to stress? It’s to clench. That’s just your body’s reflexive reaction. I have many patients who sit in my office and say, “but I don’t clench”.

I’m like, “it’s not something that you’re always cognizant of. It’s not something that you’re always aware of”. But what a lot of people do when they’re stressed out is they clench their pelvic floor muscles and they tighten. This tightening causes a cycle. What happens when you tighten your pelvic floor muscles is: there are nerves within those muscles and those nerves, in fact, flare or what we call a neuropathic upregulation. It gets upregulated and pain is referred.


This can oftentimes kind of, like you mentioned, be referred to as pain in the perineum, pain in the rectum, pain in their tailbone, pain in sitting for long periods of time. Understanding that that’s one way in which stress affects the pelvic floor. Now, whenever we see a pelvic floor physical therapist or even someone like you who understands the body a lot in terms of yoga and breathing, what’s the importance of breath in understanding that the pelvic floor? Diaphragmatic breathing. Right.

When you are breathing in a certain way and your muscles surrounding your lungs are short, or if they’re not expanding as much as they should, you’re going to cause more stress, more contraction in your pelvic floor muscle. This is absolutely related to pain. I talk to patients about breathing patterns because it’s a subtle nuance that people don’t even think about that can make a huge impact in kind of what’s going on with your symptoms in your pelvic floor.

Kathryn Bruni-Young


One thing that I’ve never really heard anyone talk about so much is the sump pump action. If you could tell us a little bit more about that and how does that work?

[ep 171 Sheela Zelmer]


Well, 40 percent of our body’s lymphatic system…the lymphatic system is a waste disposal system…40 percent of that is actually in the pelvis. We have all these veins and arteries that are responsible for increasing our circulation, getting rid of waste, pumping fresh blood. A lot of that is right in the pelvis.

When we have muscles that are not functioning optimally…all of those things that I described, those five functions are the functions of the pelvic floor…but if the pelvic floor is not doing its job, we call that dysfunction. Having all the swelling in our legs or things like hemorrhoids, varicose veins that can form in the vulva around the groin, all of that is a sign that that sump pump feature is not working properly.

[ep 177 Carly Stong]


It’s important for so many more reasons than just having people come into the yoga space because not unlike yourself, it empowers people and people feel empowered. I’ve said it before, I actually think on this podcast, but I’ve had people who felt brave enough to put themselves online for online dating and met their long term partner, or swam for the first time in 12 years, or did home renovations because they felt confident in their own bodies enough to climb a ladder.

Your life expands when you feel empowered and the space where that begins is within the boundaries of a yoga mat. That’s magical. That’s incredible. What an honor to hold space for that. And so, my vulnerability was like nonsense when you compare it to that possibility.

[ep 166 Christy Harrison]


We see in research that intuitive eaters, people who engage in intuitive eating and who are not dieting, actually have better nutritional variety, which is a positive nutritional indicator, than people who are dieting. They don’t actually eat any more of the demonized foods like “junk foods” than people who are dieting. Junk food is diet culture’s term, right?

Intuitive eating sees all food as morally neutral. There’s no such thing as bad or junk. There are different kinds of foods that function for different purposes. It’s really interesting how people who are dieting are so obsessed with not eating certain things, right? They avoid certain types of foods.

Yet all of that obsession doesn’t actually really translate into eating any less of it than someone who is just wants you to be relaxed about food. With all that obsession comes this sort of swing of the pendulum from restriction to the feeling out of control of those foods. Right? We can’t just avoid those foods forever. When we are around them, it tends to start to feel like a free for all.


I remember that from my dieting days as well when I was trying to avoid carbs. Then suddenly I was at a party that had chips or cookies and I just could not stop until the whole bowl was gone. Now and before that, too. Before I was a dieter I had the privilege of being an intuitive eater because I grew up in a thinner body and nobody really messed with my relationship with food.

This is unfortunately not the case for people who grow up in larger bodies. I was able to basically maintain my intuitive eating skills until I was 20 years old. Up until that point, I had always been like eat chips at a party if I feel like eating chips at a party. I’m not standing by the food table the whole time obsessing and thinking about it constantly and can’t stop until the thing is gone. Then feeling guilty about it and shaming myself and all of that stuff.


That really came from the food obsession. For me and for countless clients of mine and all different body sizes from all different backgrounds: what we really found is that when you stop the restrictions, the deprivation, that compulsion around food really dissipates and often disappears completely.

[ep 155 Shelly Prosko]


Like you said, it’s more than pain. It’s a philosophy. It’s a way to show up and just in life and the way to look at how to be with people because pain is so complex. When we look at the signs around pain, we have to look at psychology and we have to look at behavioral science. We have to look at biomechanics and physics and social sciences, humanities phenomenology.
We have to look at philosophy. For me personally, getting into this world of learning more about pain and the complexities of it and how to better health care is just helped me in life.

[ep 157 Stuart McGill]


Let’s take a powerlifter now who does extreme loading, but their work-rest ratio is they’ll have a heavy day of squats or deadlifts and they take four or five days off. The average person would look at that and think they’re undertrained.
But what they do over those four or five days, the microfracture trabecular actually form a bony callus. Now, on x-ray, radiological colleagues would say, “oh, that’s sclerotic bone”, as if it’s a bad thing or some kind of pathology. No, that’s exactly what the powerlifter had to do to adapt their bones to actually lift twelve hundred pounds.

It becomes interesting because the same microdamage can either be a good thing or a bad thing. It depends on how you program it and how you handle it.

[ep 158 Greg Lehman]


Then you say, what is it that’s good about strength training? It might be moving again or it could be physical activity. Then you realize there might be other things that person can be doing that will help them with their pain.

Now they have all of these different options so that the day where they feel like crap and they want to train, they can say, “you know what, I should also just go for a walk or play with my kids or whatever else”. There’s some other thing that can be helpful, except for when they actually need strength.


Then if we start saying when do you really need to get stronger, then we can actually try to really build the case for our patients. When we say bone density and reducing fracture risk from falls, all of these things.

Walking is great and so is play and gentle activity. That has health benefits. But you probably need some strength training or high impact stuff to build your bone density. That’s a case where things are good, but they’re not going to cut it.

Kathryn Bruni-Young: 00:25:08

I’m wondering if a method is based on research that might seem outdated now, but it’s still helping people, does it matter that it was based on attitudes that have now shifted?

[ep 160 Lorimer Moseley]


What a lovely question. I believe it does. I think it does matter. And the reason I think it matters might be demonstrated if we take a really extreme version of that. If we want to use the age-old comparison the world is flat, people build ships to only be able to go so far because the world was flat. People had their journeys on the ships and came back and everything was happy and the trip worked. And then we realized the world was not flat.

It would be completely appropriate that these ships would still keep having the same journey to come back and have happy journeys and everything works out well. The problem is that they take that as evidence that the world is actually flat.

[ep 165 Madeleine Shen]


This is actually something I learned to bring back ironically enough. There was this one moment where I was teaching at a boarding school and so all of the kids were taking the same class with the same math teacher. They have the same homework.
There was one night, I think it was a Tuesday that I always had three grade 10 students in a row.

They were coming to me with literally the exact same question three times in a row. Every single student had understood something different and they were thinking about the problems in a different way. They needed a different sort of input from me for the exact same issue, let alone patients who all come with different issues.


Even if you have the same problem, every single person is going to process that in a different way and they’ll need something different from the person who’s helping them. That for me was so amazing. It really changed how I was able to help people with math. And I definitely see it helping me with people who come to me with body pain.

[ep 175 Laura Baehr]


Think of the biopsychosocial model as a three-circle Venn diagram. In one circle, you have biological factors. In another, you have psychological. Then you have social. In the center is a person’s experience of self.

Now, that could be their experience of their body. It could be their experience of an illness. Let’s say, at the center of that three-way Venn diagram is a person’s experience of pain. Historically, we always talked about the biological aspects of pain.


“Oh, well, this person has arthritis” or “well this person is overweight” or “oh this person had a major car accident and these are all the reasons why they now live with pain”. But the reality is: many, many people who have pain in the absence of pathology or in the absence of that biological factor, we can’t necessarily point to one thing and say this is why. If we could, we could fix everyone’s pain and no one would have it.

[ep 182 Neil Pearson]


That sort of goes into this idea that pain’s not fully accurate. We really do think that the purpose of pain is to tell you where you’ve been injured, what kind of injury is, and how bad the injury is to your body. We’ve all had experiences where that’s not true. Brain freeze, I’ll ask you considered, is that the intensity of pain in brain freeze has nothing to do with tissue damage.

The location of pain with brain freeze usually has nothing to do with what the problem is because it’s usually the soft palate getting so cold is usually what the problem is.


The pain and the situation, the purpose of it is around protection. The purpose of it would be to get you to stop or change behavior rather than to accurately tell you where the problem is, what the problem is, and how bad it is. That sort of leads into this other idea that if pain isn’t fully accurate at guiding you how much to move or what would you do?

Kathryn Bruni-Young


So that’s our show. Thank you, everyone, so much for listening. If you are listening on Apple Podcast and you are loving the Mindful Strength Podcast, please consider leaving us a review. All of the reviews are really, really helpful.


If you want to learn more about my work, my membership, my teachers’ course, or my new free course called Mental Strength Foundations, you can head over to mindfulstrength.ca

200 Hour Teacher Training Promotion

The Best Of 2020 Podcast | Part 1

To learn more about Kathryn and Carly’s 300-hour training Click Here.

Building Resilience 30-Day Practice Progression | Try Day 1 For FREE!

The Mindful Strength Membership | Click Here

Experience 4 FREE Online Membership Classes: Click Here 


Woman in triangle pose on a yoga mat

Podcast Transcription


 ep 142 Chris Bourke


I have students coming into my class who are crying and having connections to their feelings and they tell me like “I cry in your class or I get emotional in your class”. They become aware of feelings that they may not have been able to articulate through words and through language or truthfully, as you probably learned in the polyvagal pocketbook, when I don’t feel safe and I feel like threatened, I can’t necessarily access my feelings.


Sometimes that’s been people’s experiences of traditional mental health treatment. This very evaluative sense of like “I’m going in and being diagnosed. There’s something wrong with me. I have to talk about it. I can’t find the words for it. It feels really stressful”. And so then there’s like a whole layer of coping that goes on that, like, disconnects me from feelings, because then it’s almost easier to not acknowledge that they exist. But then once I get into like a moment where I’m with my body and I sense that there’s like a tender part here in my heart or there’s this buzzing in my chest.


It’s like, wow, there’s something there and it arises. So I think that’s kind of what has fed this shift is there’s just been this experiential information that’s emerging. That people are doing certain practices and they’re coming to realize that stuff.

ep 148 Brooke Thomas


Because similar to your point just now, I can look around and notice like I’m safe right now. That’s why I’m having a conversation with you like there’s no direct threat that I need to fight or flee or freeze or fawn, which is pleasing and placating.


But what’s funny is that the absence of real present tense harm doesn’t translate directly and immediately into the feeling of being safe. So we know that there are obvious things that are around about in our culture a lot. Like people have a lot of anxiety and that’s very common.


That’s for sure one of the things that I’m talking about here. But I’m also talking about a lot of the strategies that we have to get a handle on our lives. So those can be other things, like constantly goal setting, constantly striving to achieve something, whether it’s an ideal mate or an ideal bank account, that there’s always this sort of reaching for that moment in the imaginary future when will finally be good is kind of what the unconscious mind is saying. And it translates to when I’ll finally be safe.


We have a lot of strategies. Goal setting, being likable is a huge one and women get conditioned in this a lot in particular, men do as well, just in a different way. But for women, it’s like be nice, smile, be sweet. For men, it’s like be important, be powerful, be strong, be on your game. If I demonstrate these things, I’ll be likable, then I’ll be safe.


Like so much of our material underneath the surface here is about coming from our survival brain. Because at the end of the day, we forget it all the time, but we’re mammals. We’re mammals, just like all the other mammals. We’re pretty interesting mammals. I think we’re the most interesting mammals. We’re certainly weird outliers in the animal kingdom here, but we’re operating with nervous systems whose primary orientation is “am I safe?”. And so there’s a lot of strategizing for getting that safety. But it keeps us from the experience of getting safe. It’s like the classic hamster wheel. We’re always running towards the experience of safety, whatever our individual strategies are for getting there.

ep 176 Dr. Rima Thapar


The most important thing that you can do for yourself while you’re going through any treatment is knowing who you are. If you know who you are, you can make decisions that are heart-centered, more in alignment with who you are versus just the intellectual, factual knowledge. Which is a very small part of how modern medicine works.


We’ve made modern medicine to be that this is the end-all and be-all. But it’s not. It’s just a fraction. We still don’t know a lot about how the body works. So the driving force of how you are going to do well in your health is ultimately you knowing yourself.


And I do this experiment like if I have to go to the hospital for anything, I don’t tell them I’m a physician. Because I want to see how they’re going to treat me. And it’s very different. They treat me one way when they know that I’m not a physician, and then they treat me another way when they know that I am a physician. It should be the same.

ep 183 Rochelle Miller:

The more that we can give our students agency, the more that we can allow them to feel empowered within their own selves. This is what starts to break down the things of trauma. It’s feeling strong within my own body to say yes and to say no. Right.


nd this tone of, and I’m going to use it again, infantilizing. It’s very similar to that model of charity. It’s very similar to that model of like “I’m here to help you. I have all of your answers”. That’s also very oppressive. Like, please, let’s talk to people like they’re people.

ep 159 Rashmi Bismark


I think there are so many beautiful ways to practice meditation and so many gateways in. Whether that is that sensory experience of the breath. Whether that is sort of using visualization. Whether it’s using mantra and sound as that gateway into an experience.


And so, part of even when I’m teaching adults, part of the way that I like to teach is that there is no right or wrong way. It’s really about pursuing what works for you. So having different sorts of experiences, finding what really you connect with and exploring that for a while, and then maybe trying something else and exploring that, too.


So there are so many similarities actually around that curiosity. So letting ourselves kind of get curious about exploring the different things. And even when we find something that’s comforting and soothing, letting ourselves get curious about the dimensions of that.


So maybe it is kind of really exploring the breath with a freshness of meeting each one, like with that child-like beginner’s mind. Beginner’s mind is one of my most favorite Zen concepts, you know, that it’s actually there in Indian philosophy as well. That idea of approaching things with that sort of freshness of a kid’s eyes, you know. And so when I’m working with children, I don’t teach children other than my own children, so when I’m working with them, this idea of curiosity and love really sits right at the center of it.


Allowing them to sort of trust into what they’re uncovering to get a little bit curious about that, whatever that is, and letting them kind of guide the experience rather than me necessarily being overly prescriptive about it.

ep 163 Megan Spears


It’s really important to, information-wise, load people like my clients, slowly. The same way that it’s important to let our bodies slowly gain strength.


It’s important to load with information over time. So it’s helped me slow down. It’s helped me appreciate the process of learning and the process of being a consistent student. On one hand, I’ve learned a lot about teaching, but I’ve also learned a lot about being a student. As a student in college classes, I’ve learned how I respond to being frustrated by learning. I’ve noticed how I experience when I’m thrilled about learning when I’m engaged in learning.


I have a better understanding of what it’s like to be in communication with my professors. There’s a level of professionalism and a very clear student-teacher relationship and a little bit of a mentorship kind of experience as well. So as I’m learning in my classes, I’m also viewing myself as a student and viewing my professors as teachers as well as I’m watching them teach me, watching myself be taught.

ep 170 Melanie Camellia


But that said, I think that we can do our absolute best to mitigate an imbalance of power within the context of our classes. To me, that looks like being very explicit about what you are offering and who you are in your marketing. Right.


So in your class description, in your bio, on your website, be as honest as possible about what you are equipped to offer and what perspective you’re coming from. Right.


Is this a physical practice for you? Is this a philosophical practice for you? Do you have training in trauma-informed techniques or did you take an accessible yoga training? And what are you anticipating the class looking like?


Is this a class where you are teaching a very specified formalized sequence that’s not to be diverted from? Or is this a class where you’re planning to offer as many options as there are people? Right. And I think it starts there like it starts before the class.

ep 174 Susanna Barkataki


And so anywhere there is harm being done, in my mind. A guru who abuses is no longer a guru. So whether or not they have this whole lineage, that’s not a valid teacher for me. And so I, for example, wouldn’t cite the name of that teacher, wouldn’t cite the name of that particular school or style.


I personally, when I’m talking about embracing the roots of yoga, would be like the practice of yoga that came from Shramana tradition, that came from yogis practicing in India or what is now called India by the Indus Valley in this valley, by the Sarasvati River. I’m referring back to the place that yoga came from, the place it was codified and developed, the people who did so, but not a specific abusive person or lineage path and I think that is an important distinction.

ep 154 Robin Lacambra


How can we share whatever resources we have by one, recognizing what those resources are and resources aren’t just like physical things or wealth. It’s also time, it’s attention, it’s having uncomfortable conversations with people in service of educating them and growing their awareness. Like there are so many things that fall under the category of resource.


So in this course, we talk about one, what systemic oppression is, and who is most impacted by it. Two, it destigmatizes the shame around privilege. Being like privilege is something that we shouldn’t deny or be ashamed of, but something that we should resource and stand atop of to share. Be like “yeah this is the privilege that I have. The privilege that I have doesn’t discredit the challenges I’ve had to overcome, but speaks to what resources I have and the amount of resources that I have to share”.

ep 161 jamilah malika


What do you think of when you think intention versus impact? Yeah, I mean, there’s a really great black woman named Rachel Ricketts and she does something called spiritual activism. And I feel like a lot of us folks who are involved in these conversations, especially in yoga studios, know people really want to feel better.


People really feel like yoga makes them a better person. They come, they do their practice. So they’re kind of confronted or affronted by this idea that, like, they messed up and they are just so resistant to just being wrong and being a person who made a mistake and being a person who was ignorant. So that whole attachment to being good and being right and like “I didn’t mean to”, it puts people further and further away from the work of dismantling the power.

ep 180 jamilah malika


We learn antidepression in our families in a really simple way when we’re really young. So like if you grow up in a family and you have siblings and one of your siblings is a boy, then you’ll learn about patriarchy. If you grow up and you’re starting to feel like, “oh my gosh, maybe I’m queer” and like expressing outside of your gender and the outside of the binary, then you start to learn about homophobia, queerphobia , transphobia. And if you like, have a sibling who’s fat, then you learn about fat phobia and you, like, understand how value is attributed to different people in your family differently.


You see the kind of power and the kind of respect that your dad gets and you see if you have a stay at home mom what that is like in terms of respect for other people.

ep 179 Natalia Mehlman


But when I talk about fitness, I’m talking about recreational exercise that is not necessarily for participation in any kind of elite competition or really any kind of organized athletic competition, as we would traditionally see it.


I’m interested in the way everyday people who have no aspiration to go to the Olympics or play for the NFL or even try out for their high school soccer team, I’m interested in why those people have increasingly in the United States made working out either a part of their daily life or the goal to work out a part of their daily life. And I think that’s an important distinction because it’s very clear that there’s this sense that one should exercise a lot, but that a lot of people are not doing what they think is the right amount.


And so I’m interested in how that cultural expectation came to be. And to me, that is really different than making the varsity football team or having athletic ambitions. Although, like I said, of course, there are overlaps.

ep 169 V. Ophelia Rigault


I look at it this way if you have two people walking like a twin, grief and joy walk together. Because the deepest grief that I’ve known is the death of my mother, but that helps me to understand what joy is and the deepest joy that I have in my life.


It is really propelled me and a lot of people find a way to understand their grief, accept it and bring meaning to their grief. Most of them have said, and I would say almost all of them that I’ve talked to, “I truly appreciate life now. I know what life means . I will live in gratitude”. For me, I really truly don’t sweat the small stuff because I’m all about appreciating the big stuff. But that grief is always in my heart and it’s always part of me. And that’s okay because I love this woman for 40 years.

ep 167 Lizette Pompa


Do you ever go back to that back Bikram practice just to see how it would feel? I actually started last year again. I own a yoga studio and we still have four Bikram classes a week and we have students that they just want to practice Bikram yoga. So we have a few classes for those. Part of my job is to take all the teacher’s classes in my studio.


So I have to go in class and see how they’re teaching. And I have been avoiding it for a long time because my body really refused to go into Bikram class. Suddenly one day I was like, “well, I’m ready”. And I started taking a Bikram class once a week. And it was mentally challenging for me because I knew the sequence so my mind was just like waiting to go through the postures.


I have to admit that after the class it felt just really nice in my body again, because I was not doing it, you know, like everybody was just like bringing it once a week for about five months. And it felt nice because then you get this time to get into the postures again that I haven’t practice for a long time either.

ep 144 Anula Maiberg


What are you doing with this practice that you’ve honed? Because what I’m challenging the students to consider is that it’s not that interesting to be good at Pilates. What’s interesting is what is Pilates getting you ready to do? And what I’m confronting the class with is like “I can teach you the order, right. Like all of the things that you already know and you’ve been practicing and you have in your body. What do you do with the skills that that got you ready for ?” Do you know what I mean? And that’s chaos.


Because if you are really good at balancing on one leg, let’s say you’re never going to balance on one leg, probably in an environment that is super organized, in temperature-controlled and like just so, and you warmed up just so… you’re going to have to balance on one leg and probably a chaotic situation where it matters that you can do this thing and maybe not fall or more importantly, fall well.


And my opinion is that Pilates is getting you ready like this organized like codified method is getting you ready for the chaotic, the unexpected outside of the Pilates studio. Otherwise, like, what’s the point?

ep 150 James Crader


What I came to realize, I think is that within the Pilates world, at least, there are cultural preservationists who are very interested in keeping the true work of Joseph Pilates alive. And that is true for probably every wellness and fitness modality and probably true in all professions where this thing has been created in the past and we need people to keep it alive. We need people to keep the history alive and sort of pass that on from generation to generation.


I’m not that. I’m an innovator. And so I live on the opposite side of the spectrum where I look at history and I’m well informed on that and abreast at what is currently happening culturally within the wellness and fitness world and outside of it. And how can I take the information I have and share my experience a little bit more and maybe introduce new conversations.


So that’s where I really realized that I live. And what I thought is that what I was running into was people misunderstanding my work, thinking that I wanted to change Pilates proper or whatever the case was. And so I chose with the new work to actually take the word Pilates totally out of my work.


So I left the Pilates world. I’m no longer a “Pilates teacher” and I adopted the term movement coach and created a whole framework in which to look at movement. So it’s self-organization strategizing and there’s a movement component and a resiliency component to it. And that is what jamescrader.com is. It sort of just takes a look at what my work is and frames it in the larger scope and it’s out there in the world for everyone to kind of go and look at now.

ep 162 Jenn Pillloti


Because the thing with interception is some people have a lot of interoceptive sensitivity. Hypermobility, for instance, people who are hypermobile, they tend to be very, very, very in tune to their internal state. Their perception of what’s happening isn’t always accurate. And this can be true of people who aren’t hypermobile as well.


So, for instance, if they feel discomfort in an area, there might be this assumption that, “oh no, I’m really injured” and that might cause anxiety. Or “oh, I feel my heart beating fast. Something must be wrong”. So if you can say to yourself, “oh look, my heart’s beating a tiny bit faster than normal, but it’s not that big a deal. If I breathe a couple of times, it’ll quiet down”. If you can start to be a little more in tune with why your body is responding the way it is and what it actually means, that can make a big difference.

ep 151 Jules Mitchell


Because it oftentimes does come with flexibility, yoga tends to attract more people with hypermobility for a lot of different reasons. Partially they appear good at it. But secondly, people with hypermobility tend to feel tight a lot because they’re trying to protect and guard a joint that doesn’t feel stable to them. And so they like the stretching feelings that come with activities like yoga.


So they’ve drawn to that as well because it makes them feel… it’s our cultural narrative that we think tight is a cause of something that can be remedied with stretching. But that’s actually not the way it works. So it’s just part of our belief system. And so we see a lot of it in yoga and now people are getting diagnosed with it. It’s like this explosion.


So it goes both ways. It’s great that we know more about it. But at the same time, because we know more about it, we’re doing like what you said when you asked me this, the beginning of this long question, which is we’re kind of like flinging hypermobility diagnoses casually around each other and at ourselves because we know more about it.


And I don’t know that that’s a good thing either. So you can’t just look at someone who’s flexible and say you have hypermobility. Right. And it’s not our job either. Here’s the thing is, if they do have hypermobility, be careful with those types of statements because if you understand all the other symptoms around hypermobility, chronic pain, and anxiety and you labeling someone with hypermobility like you could be spiraling them even more into a hypermobile like experience.

ep 149 Clare Kelly


Just to be very clear, coronavirus or covid-19, covid-19 is really the name of the sickness that comes from the virus. So just to be clear about that terminology and so in public health, we’re working to help the spread of disease at a community level.


Whether that is the chronic illness, whether that is infectious disease. And so we’re always thinking about it in terms of how can we take a population of people and work with health at that level.


So we think less about necessarily individual health decisions and more towards health behaviors that contribute to how a disease might spread or occur in the population. We’re counting diseases in epidemiology. In the area of research that I was looking at was more qualitative research, looking at how cultural norms affect threat of disease. So that’s the large difference right there. And so that’s really important right now because we’re not talking about people’s individual health.


All of the decisions that we’re making for this outbreak are for the health of the community, for people who need our protection, because there’s no really other way for them to have agency to make their own health decisions. There’s also a couple of other reasons why we’re really concerned about this. But that’s a longer answer to your fairly short question on the difference between public health and medicine at an individual level.

ep 173 Matthew Remski


This contrast between the wellness / messianic influencer who can spend their entire time emoting and because they spend their entire time emoting, they don’t have to deliver any facts. And what the public health official has to do, which is to convey basic, provisional and careful information in a way that’s just not appealing. Nobody re-tweets the NHS. and I’m realizing that I have never re-shared the public health Ontario posts that I get on my Facebook feed.


I probably should start doing that because it’s like, they’re not coming from personalities. But that’s the best information that we have been able to pool together through the notion of a common good in our province. So why am I not supporting that ? Facts are just not as attractive as emotions. So it’s a real problem.

ep 181 Diane Bruni


I guess when I realized that death was imminent when that really sunk in for me, I realized, “oh yeah, OK, this is it. I’m actually confronting death right now”. And going through the stages and phases, which I’m still going through, of course. But the beginning ones are different than the later ones.


I guess gradually there’s like this acceptance that begins to sink in and become real and that feels empowering in some way. Not empowering, but it feels like I’ve overcome a lot of obstacles in my thinking and I’m becoming more OK with talking about dying and death.


There’s a tendency to want to just actually not go there, thinking you can just keep fighting. But when I started to realize that I didn’t and shouldn’t and couldn’t fight anymore, then I began to actually feel more peaceful.

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