How the Wise One Grows

How Counseling Relates to the Yoga Sutras with Izzy Shurte (41)

February 22, 2023 Holly Zajur Season 1 Episode 41
How the Wise One Grows
How Counseling Relates to the Yoga Sutras with Izzy Shurte (41)
How the Wise One Grows Dream team
Support the pod & community causes!
Starting at $3/month
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

In this episode, we talk with Izzy Shurte, a Licensed Professional Counselor and Yoga teacher, about the Yoga Sutras, Mindfulness and Acceptance Based Therapy, and how these modalities can support mental health.

Izzy Shares the ways that primary source yoga texts can coincide and differ from counseling practices and approaches. We even workshop yoga sutra 2.16 together and share how it is applicable to daily life. 

  1. Introducing Izzy Shurte [02:38]
  2. What is the difference between yoga, mindful movement, and the yoga sutras [04:00]
  3. Skillful living: how Yoga relates to Mindfulness and Acceptance Based Therapy [15:10]
  4. Intuition or avoidance?[26:16]
  5. Parallels between Eastern philosophy and Western therapy [29:03]
  6. Yoga Sutra 2.16 as it applies to daily life [39:31]

Instagram: @bhaktiflowrva

Izzy Shurte is a Licensed Professional Counselor and E-RYT 500 Yoga Teacher based in Richmond, VA.  Having completed her 200 and 300HR yoga trainings at Asheville Yoga Center she studied closely under Michael and Stephanie Johnson.  As a counselor, she specializes in Mindfulness and Acceptance based therapies treating Eating Disorders, Anxiety Disorders, OCD, and Emotion Regulation Concerns.  In recent years Izzy has studied meditation with Vince and Emily Horn of Buddhist Geeks and Shadow Yoga under the direction of Andy Matinog.  Her greatest passion in life, aside from her daughter Mariel, is sharing the healing potential of mindful movement and the wisdom of primary source yoga texts with students, clients, and anyone willing to listen.

Support the show

Follow @howthewiseonegrows and @hollyzajur on Instagram for more and check out more offerings online.

Join the ~*Dream Team*~ and get a shout-out on our next episode as you help make dreams come true!

Episode sponsored by Connect Wellness. Connect Wellness empowers people with tools to connect with themselves, others, and the present moment.

Be wise-- sign up to be the first to know what's next!

00;00;00;08 - 00;00;33;17

This week I get to share a taste of my favorite part of every weekend with you, because this week I got to interview my teacher, Izzy Shurte, who is a licensed professional counselor and yoga teacher about the Yoga Sutras and mindfulness acceptance based therapy and how these modalities can support mental health. She shares about the ways that primary source yoga texts can coincide and differ from counseling practices and approaches.

00;00;34;15 - 00;00;59;14

And we even workshop a yoga sutra together. Yoga Suture 2.16 and share how it's applicable to daily life. Yeah, yeah, that's nice.

00;01;04;09 - 00;01;27;21

Hi everyone, and welcome back to how the wise one Grows. So today I am very excited because we are here with my teacher, Izzy. But before we get started, let's just take a moment to land here together. So if it's safe, you can gently rest your eyes or soft and your gaze at a point in front of you.

00;01;29;11 - 00;02;24;28

Notice where your body touches the earth. Let your spine lengthen and gently soft in your shoulders down your back and take a big breath and. And a big breath out again. Inhale. Fill your chest. Fill your belly with air. Exhale. Open your mouth. Let it all go. Inhale chest and belly. Expand. Exhale. Let it all out. One more inhale and exhale.

00;02;24;28 - 00;02;51;02

Return to the sensation of where your body meets the earth. And then you can slowly open your eyes as you return to this space. So today we are with my favorite teacher. I've been following her for years. Izzy Shirt. I love Izzy because every time I go to one of her classes, I feel like I'm in a therapy session.

00;02;51;18 - 00;03;35;22

And that is because Izzy is a licensed professional counselor. And eryt5 hundred hour yoga teacher based in Richmond, Virginia, having completed her 203 hundred hour yoga training at Asheville Yoga Center. She studied closely under Michael and Stephanie Johnson. As a counselor, she specializes in mindfulness and acceptance based therapies treating eating disorders, anxiety disorders, OCD and emotional emotion, regulation concerns and recent years, as Izzy has studied meditation with Vince and Emily Horn of Buddhist Geeks and Shadow Yoga under the direction of Andy, Matt and OG.

00;03;35;25 - 00;04;08;23

Her greatest life passion, aside from her daughter Marielle, who is awesome, is sharing the healing potential of mindful movement and the wisdom of primary source yoga texts with students, clients and anyone willing to listen. So I kind of wanted to start today's conversation. For those who aren't as familiar with yoga by you, reflecting on what yoga is, what the yoga sutras are, and then what mindful movement is like, how those things are distinguished.

00;04;09;09 - 00;04;45;18

Okay. I think yoga is a technology that's evolved over time that, you know, has to do with oneness. Right. So connecting with the present moment, like connecting with your life, also connecting with your body. Um, and there are different lineages, there's different systems, but I think that that's probably the one thing that they all have in common is that it's, you know, some kind of practice that you're going to do to help you connect.

00;04;45;21 - 00;05;12;03

Mm hmm. Right. And then what were the other two? What is mindful movement, then? Because in your bio, it says mindful movement. Yeah. Which I think it's important toward that way. I think mindful movement is, you know, one tool in the toolkit of yoga. Mm hmm. Right. Like moving the body in a way where you're. You're mindful so you're aware of, you know, the sensations that make up the movement.

00;05;12;03 - 00;05;38;22

You're aware of things like intention behind the movement and aware of kind of whatever is arising within, you know, the container of the movement. It could also be thoughts and memories, you know, things like that. And that's, you know, one of the practices that that comes from yoga and and I think that there are other systems that that incorporate mindful movement that I know far less about.

00;05;38;23 - 00;06;09;14

Like, yeah, like the Alexander Technique and things like that, like that would also be mindful movement, but not necessarily yoga. Yeah, I think that's an important. It's something I'm trying to improve in my language around yoga because the asana is one small part of it and it's not like the whole encompassing. So I think when we break it down as like this components of Asana is more related to mindful movement and that experience in the body with intention.

00;06;11;10 - 00;06;35;02


I almost feel like the better we can honor the practice and the root text of the practice when we approach them. Mm hmm. Mm. Like. Like being careful in language. Being that yoga is more than awesome. Exactly. Yeah. Yeah, exactly. I agree with that. Yeah. And then what are the yoga sutras? So yoga sutras. And there there are different ones.

00;06;36;09 - 00;07;08;20

Our primary source texts. Mm hmm. That were probably at first transmitted orally between teacher and student. And then at some point, someone decided to write them down. And, you know, a lot of times people talk about them as, you know, offering the philosophy of yoga and that that is in there. But the sutures that I've spent the most time with, which are Patanjali's yoga sutures and Natas bhakti sutures, they're really practice guides.

00;07;08;22 - 00;07;32;08

Mm hmm. So they they help you to kind of put put the practice into the context of like, okay, what are we trying to do here? What are we aiming towards? Right. When we're practicing. And then also literally how you'd want to practice. Yeah. What what would it is you'd want to do if the goal is yoga, right.

00;07;32;10 - 00;08;05;05

Mm. Luna agrees. She chimes in on that. I love that. And if we say when you said if the goal is yoga, does that kind of mean like when we're practicing? If the goal is finding out, like, oneness and that connection? Mm hmm. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Because I think a lot of times I don't want to be like, a hater, but, you know, people get introduced to yoga as a form of exercise, and we need this desperately, right?

00;08;05;09 - 00;08;41;00

Like, there's so many people that myself, I used to be, like, fairly sedentary. We need movement, right? And we need exercise. And so we, you know, wander into a yoga studio and we move around. We feel good, but we might not necessarily understand what the kind of overarching goal of yoga is. Right. So I think that spending time with the sutures helps us to understand, like, you know, how is yoga different from polarities or how is yoga different from, you know, any other kind of movement modality?

00;08;41;09 - 00;09;06;06


Yeah. And I think that's a good bit of like why the root texts are so important in the practice, because that's kind of what keeps us grounded in what the essence of yoga is and why we show up. And I think it's easy to kind of feel like, Oh, like I enjoy this. This makes me feel good. This makes me feel more present.

00;09;06;06 - 00;09;30;22

And I'm someone who does this a lot. But I notice that when I do spend time with the root texts, it's like I feel like when I practice. Otherwise it's like dipping a toe in the water. But when you sit with the root texts and focus on how you can apply them to your life more and more, it's kind of like submerging and diving and it feels like it takes it to a greater depth that I wouldn't get to on my own.

00;09;31;22 - 00;09;54;29

And I think yes to that. I think also what I, I really appreciate from again, the text that I've spent the most time with is that it tells you what to look out for. Mm hmm. Right. Like, if you're going to cultivate a meditation practice, if you're going to cultivate, you know, a mindful movement practice, here's what you're going to bump into.

00;09;55;11 - 00;10;26;14

Right. And here's what we can call it. And here's how we work with it. And to me, I think that's really useful because, you know, if you're really going to earnestly take on the practice of yoga, you have to deal with your mind. Mm hmm. And you have to deal with your conditioning, your history, you know, and and if you don't have some framework for that, you know, it can just feel like you're failing or either, like, doubt arises, right?

00;10;26;14 - 00;10;50;19

Either like, I'm no good or the practice is no good or Right. Like, it can it can make you kind of disconnect. Mm hmm. But if you have some sense that, okay, here are the obstacles, right. That I can expect to encounter, and here's how we navigate that. I feel like it helps you to kind of keep moving.

00;10;50;24 - 00;11;29;05

Yeah. And I feel like it helps, like as it helps you navigate life and the obstacles that you overcome. Like, these things were written thousands and thousands of years ago and it's so a black applicable to life today for so many people. And for me, it kind of hits on like that intervening connection because like these threads of wisdom are supporting me and they're supporting you and maybe in different ways, but it kind of helps, I think, maybe eliminate some of the loneliness and the suffering that is experienced as part of being human.

00;11;29;05 - 00;12;03;00

It's kind of like a reminder that, like, you're not alone in this. These are human things that you're experiencing, and here's tools to help you navigate them. Yeah, I definitely think that the way that let's just like take Patanjali, for example, the way that Patanjali talks about the human psyche is very validating. It's very normalizing. You know, as we're in the current culture we live in now, there's a tendency to be pathologizing, right?

00;12;03;00 - 00;12;26;26

So if someone's experiencing pain, we're going to look at it through like a like a the medical model. Mm hmm. Right. And then, you know, in addition to it being painful. Well, now it's an illness. Mm hmm. You know, which is useful in certain context, in certain places that can be extremely validating. Right. But it also can be problematic.

00;12;27;06 - 00;12;52;10

Right. And so to hear Patanjali talk about, for example, The Goonies. Yeah. Right. Like, here are three sort of constituents that are shuffling. Sometimes they're going to have a little bit of this, sometimes are going to have a little bit more of this. And and that's normal. Like for me, the biggest part of suffering can be when you feel alone or when you feel like there's something fundamentally wrong with you.

00;12;52;11 - 00;13;18;02

Yeah. Right. So to have a framework that says no, like we all inquire imbalances and not sort of the way it goes, you know, that that can alleviate a good bit of the suffering that we experience, you know? Yeah. 100%. And when you're talking about The Goonies, just like a little quick recap for people is like The Goonies are almost like the way I interpret it.

00;13;18;03 - 00;13;53;24

Yeah. Qualities that we experience like different levels of energy almost, that we're experiencing. Correct. And the Rajas, that is Luna barking, running all over the yard, freaking out right now because she wants to be a part of the fun is that it's like this high energy state and we all can experience those. And then our tomaz is like when you don't want to get off the couch after the holiday, like you're just moving slow, can have good benefit or it can go to like a deeper level that maybe you do need to move stuff up.

00;13;54;00 - 00;14;21;10

And then there's the smartphone, which is just kind of like this balance and peace and this underlying energy. And I think like having things like that reminds me of like, okay, right now I'm feeling this really one way right now, and that doesn't necessarily mean something's wrong. Like, maybe I'm really into my rashes, I'm really high energy feeling like I have to do a million things on the list.

00;14;21;10 - 00;14;43;29

Can I become aware of that? Can I check in? Like, is it serving me in this moment or is there like, maybe I feel like I need to keep going, but maybe that's because I'm avoiding something that I need to sit with. So it's just these ways of kind of looking at how you can work with the range of emotions, the range of sensations that you're experiencing.

00;14;43;29 - 00;15;05;25

And that's like one tiny bit of one sutra that we had been working on the past few weeks. But I already can tell, like, especially during the holidays, appreciating like, okay, I get to be a little more Thomas here and move a little, a little more automatic, move a little slower. And then picking up on the different religious when it's coming in and just trying to check in and balance.

00;15;06;26 - 00;15;31;15

Cool. I'm glad that, you know, I mean, I mean, ideally, this is like it's about skillful living, all right? Like, you know, we're going to feel different every day, all the time. Right. And, you know, we can be aware of it, right? Like you're saying, like, you know, kind of tracking it and observing it. And then there's also, like, you know, working with it.

00;15;31;24 - 00;15;58;08

Right. So if there's, you know, it's appropriate to be to like when you're sick or the day after Christmas, you know, like, that's appropriate, right? But if that drags out and you continue to accumulate, you know, more and more to almost like you know, then it's time to perhaps intervene. Right. And and that might mean a bunch of different things, but essentially moving your bones around, doing doing things, getting out.

00;16;00;14 - 00;16;22;05

So, yeah, I just think it's and I think it's it allows you to kind of work with it. It's more like elemental or seed state. Right. Like to to bring this back to mental health. Right. People don't end up in a counselor's office very often until they've been bad depressed for months and months and months and their functioning is impaired.

00;16;22;05 - 00;16;41;22

The relationships are impaired. Like, if we can start to see, you know, tamas as it's sort of fluctuating day to day, same with ragas fluctuating day to day, then it's workable. Right. It's it's a much harder place to dig out of. You know, if you've been in a deep depression for months and months and months, you know. Yeah, absolutely.

00;16;42;23 - 00;17;17;23

So I guess that kind of opens a doorway. Could you share what mindfulness and acceptance speech therapy is? Yeah, I guess that's my way of kind of talking about the kind of therapy I do, which is act. Okay. Act is acceptance and commitment therapy. And it is it's a modern form of CBT that's one of its it's the third wave of CBT in which CBT means on one hand it means just like cognitive behavioral therapy, meaning that we're going to work with thoughts.

00;17;17;23 - 00;17;49;18

We're going to work with behaviors. Mm hmm. But really, when we're talking about CBT is we're talking about the therapies that have an evidence base behind them, you know? So CBT is all have randomized control studies that kind of support them to, you know, work with, you know, different concerns. So the thing that really drew me to act is that it it really lifts so much of the philosophy of Eastern philosophy and really like what Patanjali's talking about, like yoga.

00;17;50;07 - 00;18;26;17

And then it kind of is this genius delivery system. There's delivery method to like getting people to kind of arrive at these sort of realizations that one could or would naturally arrive at through a yoga practice and a meditation practice over time. But like, you know, kind of putting them into experiential exercises that you can do with a client to get people to have kind of a ha moment, right?

00;18;26;17 - 00;18;47;01

And then homework, right? Like, okay, now, now you leave my office, I want you to work on this this week, right? So do you want me to go deep with this? Yeah, I do. Okay, so it's a little nerdy. Yeah. In fact, there's something called the Hexa Flex, and I. You know, I would draw it for you if I could, but.

00;18;47;27 - 00;19;16;04

And there are these different sort of processes we work. Right. So the A is acceptance. Right. And what what we're accepting when we're doing act is, well, a lot of things, but primarily emotions. Mm hmm. Right. So with act therapy, we're never trying to get rid of bad emotions. Right. Or even painful emotions. Like we're accepting, like with the goodness.

00;19;16;04 - 00;19;47;29

Yeah. That the human experience contains a really wide spectrum of feeling. And the goal is to not do state chasing right? Not to try to grab a hold of the ones that feel good and then get away from the ones that feel bad. Right. So we accept and then sort of relating to that is diffusion. Right. And by diffusion we mean to get infused and what we get fuzed to, which is problematic.

00;19;48;09 - 00;20;22;12

Our thoughts and beliefs. Mm hmm. Right. So this is when you know, I guess, let's say before someone who has meditated for a while, before someone has had the experience of observing their experience. Right. There's not this understanding that, you know, there is a witness and then there are things that are coming and going like thoughts. Right. And so with act exercises, we're trying to get people to observe their thoughts and to unhook from them.

00;20;22;12 - 00;20;46;21

I see this in the yoga class all the time. Unhook, unhook. Right. Because one of the most helpful things in my meditation lately on Hope is that. Yeah, yeah, cool. And that's diffusing that is diffusing. Yeah, right. So getting unhooked from, you know, just that whatever the mind does, kind of thrown up for you. Mm hmm. Some other processes are here, and now it is what it sounds like getting people to make contact with the present moment.

00;20;46;21 - 00;21;11;27

Because very often when people are, let's say, anxious or depressed, they're not in contact with the present moment. They're living some kind of conceptualized version of the present moment, right? Thinking about the future, ruminating, things like that. Mm hmm. And then we have self as context, which sounds complicated, but it's not. And it's a natural result of practice.

00;21;11;28 - 00;21;33;06

Right. But then for people who aren't meditators, it's like, how do we get them there? Right. And is that like Swati Ayah Like self-study is self as context or. Yeah, I would say that's part of it. It's you know, there's two models right there. Self is content, right where you identify as I am my thoughts and my feelings.

00;21;33;14 - 00;21;55;29

I am the sum total of my life experience. I am my job, I am the roles that I play. Right. And and and when you are living in that mindset, which is actually yeah. Suture we're going to talk about today, it's problematic because all of that content is subject to change and is changing all the time. Mm hmm.

00;21;56;01 - 00;22;19;25

And so as this stuff is changing when you're identifying with it, it's a very unstable sense of self. And when what's arising is painful, your entire reality, your entire sense of self kind of collapses down into a sense of pain. Or more more like in the mind. It's normally like, bad, right? Like I am bad because this scenario in my life is bad right now.

00;22;19;25 - 00;22;51;24

I am bad. Yes. Got it. So when you know, people start practicing. Swati Yeah, when people start observing or practicing mindfulness and they're watching, they see how this stuff is coming and going, I have a bajillion thoughts all day long, and some of them are pleasant and some of them are unpleasant and some of them are positive and some of them are negative, you know, and, and even within a bad day, it's a texture thing, right?

00;22;51;24 - 00;23;12;02

Because this was a painful moment and this was a boring moment. And then this was a moment that felt all right. And then there was another painful moment. And when you when you get people to start observing, rather than identifying with the content, they identify with the context. And so there's a bunch of different metaphors to help people get there, right?

00;23;12;02 - 00;23;34;10

So it's like you are on the stage right? And there are different plays and there are different acts and there are different actors, right? But you're not the play and you're not the act. You're the stage, right? Or another metaphor. I don't use this on a lot, but other act therapists talk about like chess. You're the chess board, not the chess game.


Things. Yeah, things like that. So that's office context. And then what do we have left? Oh, values. Hmm. Right. And by that, it's not. It's not so much like religious values or something like that, but it's like, what are you valuing in this moment? And more like a direction to travel. Right. Like, we don't get to say very often about what is arising for us, but we do get some kind of control over how we want to orient towards it.

00;24;08;17 - 00;24;41;07

Mm hmm. Right. So, you know, a value could be moving towards compassion. A value could be moving towards, you know, service. It could be moving towards relationships like quality. Really like, could be anything right in this helps because this is the same as sanculpa. Mm hmm. Right. This is like if we get people to sort of set an intention, then it helps them to kind of navigate the moment to moment of, you know, what's showing up for them.

00;24;41;08 - 00;25;10;17

Uh huh. And then the last processes as committed action where it's like you you want to get people to say, I'm going to show up for compassion this week or whatever value they've chosen, and this is what it's going to look like. Mm hmm. You know it. And compassion can look a million different ways, right? Or I'm going to show up for, I don't know, relationships this week.

00;25;10;21 - 00;25;32;00

Mm hmm. And this is what it's going to look like, right? Because oftentimes to get ourselves out of a kind of mental health pickle, we have to act in a way that's not necessarily consistent with what we feel like doing in the moment. Mm hmm. Right. Coming back to being stuck in a depression or a rajastic state, if you want to shovel out of that.

00;25;32;01 - 00;26;04;05

Right. We can say what's important to you. And some person will say, I want relationships. You know, I want friendship. You know, that's like. And then as a therapist, you have to say, okay, going home after work every day and not interacting with people. Are you showing up for relationships? Mm hmm. The answer is no clue. So then it's like, this is going to be really hard, and then it's not going to feel like what is intuitive or easy.

00;26;04;26 - 00;26;28;24

But how can you show up for relationships this week? You know what? And then you have to help people kind of stick to it. Yeah. To shovel out. Sort of dig out. I like that way of playing intention with intuition, because I think there is a beauty to like. Well, honoring your body and what it needs in those moments.

00;26;28;24 - 00;26;47;01

But I do think it's certainly true, especially when we're having a mental health experience that like what you feel like you want to do isn't what's going to serve you. So by checking in with that intention, I think that's a really good way to think about like, okay, this is how my body's feeling, what is my value, what is my intention?

00;26;47;01 - 00;27;13;14


Is this in alignment with that? I feel like I'm going to remember that one as I move forward. Oh, cool. Yeah. The other thing that's really hard to tease apart is the difference between intuition and just plain old avoidance. Yeah. Right. Because that's actually the central thing with Act access that 99.9% of mental health concerns all boil down to experiential avoidance.

00;27;13;16 - 00;27;42;15

People trying to avoid feeling some kind of way. And, you know, and, you know, one kind of avoidance sort of spins itself out to be social anxiety. Another kind of avoidance spins itself out to be, you know, major depressive episode. Another kind of avoidance spins itself out to be OCD eating disorder, self-harm. Right. And it's all about an inability to to be with something.

00;27;43;05 - 00;28;17;08

Reminds me a lot of when Shinzen Young says that suffering equals pain times, resistance and in life pain is inevitable. But suffering is optional. And like the degree to which you resist is the degree that you're going to suffer. So I think that's like a really key component that you're naming there. If like it's this accepting the wide range of things we're going to experience accepting all The Gunas, all the weathers that are going to pass through our life and our storms.

00;28;17;10 - 00;28;43;23

Mm hmm. And when you're with clients, is it experiential based? Is it like talk therapy with like, kind of like, is it guided meditation practices or is it so. I, I tend to begin with mindfulness. Mm hmm. Always. Yeah. Right. And actually, some intention setting, like, right, right out the gate. And then there is a lot of experiential stuff.

00;28;43;26 - 00;29;11;10

Mm hmm. And there's a fair bit of talking. Yeah. Too, right. Like, people need to be heard. People need to be validated. People need to know that I'm a human. Right? Right. Like, so that I can't just kind of pummel them with exercises. Yeah. There's a can. There's a connection piece, which I think is healing. When did you start seeing the parallels between Eastern philosophy and act therapy?

00;29;11;18 - 00;29;37;28

Is this something that you've like kind of drawn the parallels through like your deep study and training in both of these fields? Or has there been like a guided support in connecting the two? I think it's dumb luck, sheer dumb luck. So what happened was I did a 200 hour training in yoga. Mm hmm. And my life changed, right?

00;29;38;00 - 00;30;09;09

Because I was, like, very mired in experiential avoidance before yoga. And in my 200 hour yoga training, I really fell in love with patanjali's procedures. Mm hmm. Yeah. And the book with Geeta and then the teacher that was one of the lead teachers in my teacher training, who is Michael Johnson, who teaches in Asheville. He was in every class teaching patanjali's yoga surgeries.

00;30;10;15 - 00;30;41;00

And it was like the first the first thing I'd ever like. This is going to sound like an overstatement, really, is the first thing that ever made sense of my mind to me. Like, nothing else. Like, like ever really made sense. I just thought, like, this was like some rat's nest that couldn't be helped and that I was like, you know, irreparably broken and, you know, and it was it was just so clear.

00;30;41;18 - 00;31;13;12

It was so not stigmatizing, you know what I mean? It was just like, oh, like, here's how the human mind works and here's how things go sideways. And there wasn't judgment on it. Yeah. And I was like, Why haven't no one ever said these things to me? Like, like dumb stuff. Like, no one ever said to me that it's normal to to feel sad or angry, you know, like, or that that could be expected or there could be space for that or.

00;31;13;14 - 00;31;44;25

And I just felt like just so catalyzed by the. And then I started teaching and I started teaching them because it's one of these things where I had to. Yeah, I don't know. It was like it was like it was like I was learning something I knew and also didn't know. And like, I just felt, you know, you're so catalyzed by something, You're you're like, I have to go deep with this.

00;31;44;26 - 00;32;18;16

Yeah. And the more I was spending time with the sutras and the more I was meditating and reading books about meditation, the more I realized I'm doing psychology here. Mm hmm. Right. And so then I started reading books that were kind of like the intersection between meditation and psychology, yoga and psychology. I got really into this teacher, Michael Stone, who was a psychologist and a meditation teacher and a yoga teacher.

00;32;18;16 - 00;32;42;10

And then I just felt so unstuck. I decided I just wanted to get a master's degree because I wanted to understand the Western lens. I want to understand, you know, okay, here's what you know, the yoga tradition says, I read a lot about the Buddhist tradition and studied, you know, a fair bit in the Buddhist tradition. I wanted to know what what the West has to say.

00;32;42;11 - 00;33;15;19

Right. So, you know, Applied got into a masters in mental health counseling program. And here's where Dunlop comes together. The the one of the teachers in my program, this guy Trent Cod, is an act trainer and has written books an act and and he became my mentor. And you know, it was one of these things where as a okay, so as a therapist, you have to find your theoretical orientation, right?

00;33;15;19 - 00;33;38;07

You learn basic skills, how to make people feel comfortable and reflect things too. But then you have to find a theory from which to operate. Mm hmm. And he started explaining act. And I was like, You're just saying yoga. What? What? Like. And it was all the same. Just like how I explain to you the process is it's all yoga.

00;33;38;07 - 00;34;10;06


Yeah. You know, and and he's not a young guy, and he's not a meditation guy, and he, like, looks like a state trooper. I love him. He even he would even admit to that. Right? Like he's the most conservative nun, woo woo yoga guy ever. But he's follows the evidence base and so act and db t are these new forms of CBT that all infuse Eastern ideas and mindfulness and they work and the the evidence base is there.

00;34;10;21 - 00;34;37;21

And so I guess the the counseling world was like, you know, having an explosion in mindfulness at the time. So it just all came together that just, you know, one of my teachers happened to be an act guy and act was just echoing back everything that I had learned. And, you know, in the study of yoga and meditation and Buddhism, and it was everything was just reinforcing everything.

00;34;37;21 - 00;35;18;04

And it just it just came together that way. Yeah. So is act in CBT based in mindfulness is or is that just a parallel that is drawn or is it rooted in those practices? So CBT, CBT is not historically based in mind ACT and DVT, which are new forms. The third wave got it. Are really grounded in mindfulness, and that's because the developers of the models had been practicing mindfulness and were, you know, starting to think about, gosh, like this can really be helpful in getting people unstuck.

00;35;18;06 - 00;35;55;24

Mm hmm. You know, and all the ways that they get stuck, especially that piece around self as content or self context. Yeah, very cool. Yeah, that is Sony too now. Yeah. It just was lucky the way it all kind of came together in that moment. You know? Mm hmm. So as you continue and you're like teaching in your therapy practice today, do you kind of just notice the two supporting each other naturally, or is it something you're like continually seeking on finding those parallels or just kind of falls in?

00;35;55;24 - 00;36;23;23

I think the two support each other naturally most of the time. Mm hmm. Right. So things that I observe while counseling will kind of inform how I'm interpreting citrus when I'm reading them and teaching them in the inverse is true. Right. So as I'm teaching yoga and sifting through the sutures, it, it, it definitely informs how I work in the room.

00;36;23;25 - 00;37;03;07

There is one place where it doesn't work for me, and this is there is an emphasis in the therapeutic yoga world on downshifting the nervous system. Okay. And so a lot of like the act for trauma or from yoga, for trauma training that came through project yoga had this emphasis on if you had someone in there activated, you want to use yoga to deactivate them?

00;37;03;13 - 00;37;31;16

Mm hmm. Now, my approach as a counselor doesn't. I don't work that way. Yeah. So if I have someone, even if there is trauma, you know, in my office and they're feeling activated, I'm not gonna reach into my toolkit to try to see the way anxiety. That's where that acceptance comes. Yeah, I'm going to try to really emphasize witnessing.

00;37;31;23 - 00;37;51;07

Mm hmm. I'm going to try to emphasize acceptance. I'm going to try to emphasize flexibility so, like, I can have all this pain, but I can also track your voice and I can have all this pain and I can also feel my feet on the ground. But I'm not going to try to get them to soothe or push away.

00;37;51;20 - 00;38;16;29

Uncomfortable, See? Mm hmm. And so that's that's a piece where? So that's why I'm not doing a lot of. Now, I think there's a place for soothing. Yeah, right. I think. I think of soothing as, like, almost like hygiene. Hmm. Right. Like you're going to brush your teeth every day. Mm hmm. You're not going to just brush your teeth after you have a piece of chocolate cake.

00;38;17;22 - 00;38;47;23

Right. Yeah. So there are so many yoga practices that are soothing, right? That you would want to probably practice every day. Mm hmm. Right. But you don't want to bust them out when some just because someone's uncomfortable. Mm hmm. It's this making sense. That makes a lot of sense. Well, it is like. Yeah, it's like it's your internal hygiene, So kind of like, calming your nervous system is like brushing your teeth, like doing a few breaths at the end of the night.

00;38;47;23 - 00;39;05;04

In the beginning, the day, to just kind of, like, return to that equilibrium. So you're not in that chronic stress state. But I see what you're saying. If, like I'm having a panic attack right now, like trying to like telling someone to just be calm or trying to get them to that calm, it can be helpful to share a request.

00;39;05;05 - 00;39;20;14

Yeah, but it could be harmful if it's if it's done in that way. Well, what happens is and I and I've learned over the years, I have to be really careful if I'm going to teach something that's soothing. Mm hmm. Nine and ten time, someone's going to come back to me after the next session and go. Didn't work.

00;39;21;13 - 00;39;40;09

Like, what do you mean, it didn't work? Well, I was really anxious and I did the square breathing, and I was still anxious. Mm hmm. You know, and then it's like, Oh, okay, I see what's happening here. We're going to use this practice as a means to avoid. Yeah. It's like we have to be able to be with that thing, and then the soothing can come.

00;39;40;17 - 00;40;03;26

We need to be able to be with that thing. And then probably on a regular basis, probably daily be doing things to kind of tone the nervous system. Right. So strengthen that muscle. Yeah. Do doing a daily meditation practice or doing some kind of daily breath work or taking a Epsom salt bath. Right. But but not trying to cope it or push it away.

00;40;04;24 - 00;40;29;28


Yeah. You know, in the moments so that we're avoiding. Yeah. Yeah. So that's a piece where I sometimes get stuck or tripped up or why when I'm one on one in the yoga room, I'm very often not pulling out, like, smooth techniques, you know? Mm hmm. I think that's a good kind of other side of that to hear and acknowledge.

00;40;30;02 - 00;40;58;05

Mm hmm. Do you mind if we workshop? Yeah, yeah, yeah. Suture 2.16. I'm really excited for this because, like, I barely want to go anywhere on the weekends anymore. Because every Saturday is a teaches and has a suture study and meditation and it is amazing. So I'm really excited that we're going to kind of workshop a version of what those sessions are like and applying one of these drugs to life and and our mental health experiences.

00;40;58;16 - 00;41;22;17

Cool. All right. So you want me to just, you know, offer like, a little snippet on this now? Yeah. Okay. So I'm actually going to do 216 and 217 because they really do go together. 216 Pardon me. Patanjali says pain that has yet to come is avoidable. Mm hmm. And then he says, the cause of the pain is when we fuze the seer with the scene.

00;41;23;00 - 00;41;46;02

Right. And so, again, this is so much of what we've been talking about already. Right. So when we kind of, you know, identify with self as content, you know, when we think I am my thoughts, I'm everything I've done. I'm all my memories. Right. There's a lot of pain in that. Mm hmm. And, you know, I'm just basically repeating myself at this point.

00;41;46;12 - 00;42;15;12

There's pain in that because this stuff is highly variable. Mm hmm. Right. So then our sense of self is very variable. Variable. Right. Like, Oh, I did good at work this week. I'm good now, you know? And then I made a mistake at work this week. Well, now I'm bad. Mm hmm. Right. That kind of thing. And, you know, in in addition to that, it makes it hard to have room or space to work.

00;42;16;06 - 00;42;42;18

Right. Because if, you know, it's like, you know, when an object is so close to you, there's no clarity. Mm hmm. You can't see it. Yeah. You don't know what it is. Right. So if we teach people observing skills, right, we can. We can turn up the clarity. Oh, here's a thought. And, oh, there's a thing that I did, and.

00;42;42;18 - 00;43;04;17

Oh, here's a memory versus this kind of amorphous. Yeah, It's like you can't like when you're in the forest, you can't see the whole, like, mountain range, like needing to take that bird's eye view of your life and your mind almost. Yeah. Yeah. So, yeah. So one of the first things I do as a therapist is kind of teach people to observe.

00;43;05;28 - 00;43;27;19

And I do this as a yoga teacher to write, teaching people to just start to observe, you know, how is the body today? What is the breath like today? How is the how's my mood today? You know, how's my mind today? Right. Because in the space of observing, there's room to work. There's room to breathe to. I want to say about this.

00;43;28;24 - 00;44;00;03


Yeah. So when we have this, we're diffused. Right. We're not fuzed. We're diffused, you know, And that so that that's already kind of building up that skill set of being less attached to, less affected by less bothered by all of this stuff that's coming and going outside, stuff that's coming and going inside. And I don't know if we even need to go down this road, You know, this is a very classical presentation.

00;44;00;03 - 00;44;29;20

Patanjali is coming from the samkiya tradition, which is a dualistic tradition where you separate everything into two piles. Okay? One pile being Perugia, which is consciousness, or depending on your worldview, you might even go with something like spirit. Mm hmm. Right. So the part that looks out from my eyes and then literally everything else's purity, right. Which is means nature.

00;44;29;20 - 00;44;36;14

But it's everything else that's in flux. Everything else that's out here in flux, Everything else that's inside in flux. The body you know.

00;44;38;15 - 00;45;11;21

And so this might not ultimately be true, right? So tantric yoga 800 years later says, no, that's it's not two things. It's one thing behaving differently. Right. So consciousness vibrates in a certain way and presents like consciousness. But when it vibrates in a different way, it looks like matter, right? And this is kind of what physics and neuroscience seem to support, that this is closer to the truth of things.

00;45;11;23 - 00;45;37;11

Mm hmm. But that's okay, right? Because this is a really useful set. Yeah. To to have the ability to identify the witness, to have the it's like a the other metaphor. I gave in classes, like with the yoga teachers or whoever. When we teach anatomy, we have to break things out into different pieces for clarity. We have to say, you know, this is a finger.

00;45;37;11 - 00;46;06;22


And in this finger there are bones and joints and tendons and ligaments so that we have clarity. But like truly, if we were to dissect a body and look at it, it's all one thing. Mm hmm. Right. And and I think the same is true of stuff. And universe, but it's really useful to to, you know, to be able to identify with a witness, to be able to identify with consciousness and for the sake of clarity.

00;46;06;28 - 00;46;32;06

Mm hmm. Well, yeah, it sounds like one level. It's like our minds can better interpret it when we have things in these. Like, we can put it in a category, like, kind of like learning how to color in the lines before you can make your own painting. Yeah. Like getting that baseline of knowledge, losing the thought, seeing it will come back.

00;46;33;28 - 00;46;58;01

Yeah. Almost like diffusing from the things that you're experiencing, diffusing from your body, but also acknowledging that, like, these things all are a part of you, but you're not one of them. Mm hmm. So maybe that, like suffering really comes in when we see that we are that one. We feel attached to being that one thing versus seeing like these are all a part of the whole of me of this experience in this life.

00;46;58;20 - 00;47;24;08

Like I am all of that, too. It gets us to complexity. Yeah. Right. Because very often when when people are suffering, they're in a a black and white headspace. Right. Like, I'm good or I'm bad. The world is good or it's bad. Right. And the truth is, it's a hot mess. It's it's messy. It's you know, it's all the things all of the time.

00;47;24;12 - 00;47;54;01

Mm hmm. Yeah. I think witnessing helps us to hold that. I think so, Yeah. So this these two sutras are saying that pain is avoidable. Mm hmm. And that it which, like that piece. What does it mean by that? Because, like, pain is inevitable on some level, as it saying maybe that like this suffering, this like attachment, this resistance we're adding a revolt avoidable.

00;47;54;17 - 00;48;18;11

Yeah, I think it's the same I think he's saying Patanjali saying which ends in young says that it's that if we can if we can loosen up there resistance we can hold this lately we can alleviate pain. Not all pain. Yeah. Right. Someone you love dies. You're going to hurt. Yeah. You know, you make a mistake and you know you're going to be upset about it.

00;48;18;11 - 00;48;43;23

Right. But if we can take this witnessing thing or this kind of big picture mentality that, yeah, these are the things that happen in life, you know, making a mistake is a valid thing. You know, death is a valid thing. I think it can help to alleviate a lot of the the extra suffering that we kind of layer on to it.

00;48;44;01 - 00;49;16;25

Yeah. So how would you apply this version to your life? I can. Hmm. I don't know. I guess a thought that keeps coming through my mind now. Kind of like what I was just saying is that it's kind of taking this long view, right? Like, because I did make a mistake last week and. Yeah, I mean, yeah, right.

00;49;16;26 - 00;49;42;15

Like, just that. Yeah. That, like, throughout my life, I've made mistakes and that's a valid experience. Yeah. I'm going to continue to make mistakes. Yeah, right. And, and this is an okay thing to have happen, right? I'm not thrilled about it. I might want to be a bit more vigilant going forward. Right. But like. But not hardening into that place of I'm bad.

00;49;42;15 - 00;50;26;04

I'm bad and bad about that, right? Yeah. At least most recently how this is. I've been working this. Yeah. How about you? Who? I think the holidays come as, like, a reflection and maybe similarly, like noticing the wide range of things that I experience and feel during this time and even, like, kind of feeling and perceiving the energy of others and really trying to witness it rather than like getting caught up in it or like, Oh, this didn't happen.

00;50;26;13 - 00;50;49;01

How in my mind I had it in. For me, I think it's been that like real compassion with it and acknowledging like, you're not them, You're like, things are different. It's no longer like what it was and, and feeling. I think more and more just being present with like this is the texture of it right now. And like, you're not that and you are at the same time in it.

00;50;49;19 - 00;51;18;03

So trying to control us. Yeah, I think that yeah, control is a very interesting territory to get into with this too. Right. Because there's all this stuff that's in flux. Right. We might want to influence it. Mm. We might want to set an intention, we might want to, you know, influence what we can influence. But also there's all this stuff that's like that kind of like we have to surrender like that.

00;51;18;04 - 00;51;55;03

We're not ultimately in charge. Yeah. Yeah. Well, how can people support you and your work? Anything that you have going on and or just like, intentional ways of being, I guess. Oh, wow. What a huge question. Um, I don't know. I get really I'm very excited about the Future Study Group immediately excited to see people engaging with these ideas because I do believe they're healing.

00;51;55;05 - 00;52;26;02

Yeah, but I'm also really excited because the community that's forming is so sweet and so tender. It's like it's just shaped up this way. Like I didn't say, Hey, we're going to come together and break out into these small groups and I want to be really vulnerable, right? Like, I didn't say that. Yeah, I just said, okay, here's some discussion questions and let's group up with like four or five people.

00;52;26;02 - 00;52;59;09

I've been so generous in in what they're willing to share. Yeah. And I think it's been so healing 100% and so, I don't know, I guess continuing to show up to support the group, right? Because I think people are starting to get to know each other, think that people are starting to feel safe within the group. So I guess that would be the way to I don't want to say so much to support me, but like this group is a thing that I want to see flourish.

00;52;59;13 - 00;53;40;00

And this group is at the Yoga Dojo in Richmond, Virginia. Yeah, Saturdays at 11. And um, and I think like what I kind of have pulled from having this sangha, this community forming in this way too, is like finding more spaces to open up and be vulnerable and have those real conversations. And these ways too, you know, like when I leave there, I don't like, forget about it, you know, and trying to be intentional with these practices and conversations and even just like the openness that we're experiencing with one another in other spaces as well.

00;53;40;19 - 00;54;03;15

Oh, that's awesome. I love that. Yeah. So I hope that people seem hungry for this kind of quality of connection. Mm hmm. And I don't know whether it's something about post-pandemic people feeling like. Like a real need to have real quality face to face can. I don't know what? It just seems like people need us right now.

00;54;03;18 - 00;54;31;07

Yeah, I mean, I know I do. I think it's some of it's for sure, probably post-pandemic for me, but I think it is very needed and I think there is I think a bit of I'm going to brag on you more like I think a lot of it is a testament to you and the way in which it shows us that intervene and connection, like we're talking about these things and acknowledging that we're all experiencing these things that might look different in everyone's lives.

00;54;31;07 - 00;55;03;25

But there is that less loneliness. And it when you hear the word from psychology called universality, right. And that this is one of the healing components of groups like groups when they get together is just what you're talking about, feeling less alone and and more like others. Yeah. Thank you so much for sharing so much wisdom and information and and helping us create that connection.

00;55;04;03 - 00;55;24;14

Thank you. Thanks for having me. Thank you for taking time to listen to the wise one inside of you today. Please rate review and subscribe to this podcast to help it grow until the next time. Let's keep taking it one breath at a time.

Podcasts we love