Wendy: Do a little play and just feel, just notice how your body feels different. Just sense and feel where you are now compared to when you came in today.
Karen: I have more freedom!
Wendy: You have more freedom? That's the goal!!
Karen: I have taken yoga for a long time, like since 2009, and it's really helped me with some body issues. But I walked into one of her classes one time and we were doing some shoulder work in a Soma yoga class, and I didn't really get it. She came over to help me a lot, because I really didn't get it. I thought I'd done yoga all these years, and I just wasn't getting it. So, I walked away, but then I had a couple other classes with her along the way, and thought, well, maybe this Soma stuff has something to it.
Then I got into some shoulder and neck pain that got really bad. I was in a very stressful situation with work and it came out in my neck and my shoulders. And I got to the point, where I couldn't even turn my head to drive, like to look over your shoulder, and I was actually scared to drive because I didn't think I could see very well. I had gone to physical therapy and I had gone to massage, and it just wasn't getting better. So I said "I’ve got to see this Wendy," something just said I've got to go see Wendy. And I did a private with her, and within, about, within a few days it was just like so much better, like almost 50% of what it was before! Then I had a lot to work on, but within a few weeks [the pain] was like completely gone, and it really freed up my neck a lot!
And so that was what convinced me that Soma yoga is something I really need to do more of, and learn more about. I've taken several classes and workshops with Wendy, and do a home practice of it, and I'm really just exploring it; you become a student of yourself. Because the practice teaches you about yourself and your own patterns and your own, maybe, areas where you need to work on. And everybody's different, so Wendy has a great intuition about where to guide you to look, but you have to seek within yourself too, and try to learn to listen to those cues.
We've turned off our listening mode in our society so much, that you have to tune that back up and to really listen when your body says "this is a little ouchy," you should listen to it! Or, your breath is catching now, what's that mean? Or another part of your body wants to help, what does that mean? So, you start becoming aware of all those little things that you were just ignoring all your life, and it does help a lot. Then, when I get away from the practice I start feeling more pain again, so I have to come back and see her. You have to keep up with it too.
Interviewer: What do you say to someone who's never done yoga in their life? How to see Soma yoga?
Karen: Well, Yoga is for everyone. The pictures that we see maybe introduce it to you but it is not a really, a full understanding of what yoga is. Yoga is connecting your mind and your body and your breath together, in a way that meets you where you're at, and it's therapeutic for you. Actually the real Yogis from India would prescribe a specific yoga prescription for each individual. When you were starting out, you wouldn't be walking into a big class and expected to do these amazing poses that your body might not even be ready for. So, it's a matter of having an instructor who really gets it, who really is intuitive about you, and is not going to push you farther than your limit. In fact, is going to teach you to pull back from your limit right now. In our society we're all about pushing our limits, so you need those messages, telling you no, you should not go to your limit. You should not go beyond your limit. You should find where that limit is and come back from it. That's actually a harder message to hear.
Wendy: With Karen, when she came to see me, she had a lot of neck issues and shoulder issues. And we did want to focus on that. We also had to pay attention to the entire pattern that was going on with it. So, you know sometimes, like you'll come in, and so she, of course, is thinking, let's just focus right here on the shoulder and neck, which we did, but we also have to focus on all the larger muscles in the trunk. So that we can hold the work we do in the shoulder, right? So I gave her, we did a whole session together, a little bit of educational piece, and then we get a movement session like 60, 45 to 60 minutes of a movement session so that she could get some relief. And then I gave her, in our movement session, time to practice what I wanted her to practice at home so she could learn it with me and get it into her body, and then have it and bring it home. Really, she was a great motivated student, right, which is really important because this is something that is more of a, we work together as a team, you know. It's a We, it's not just You, or I. We work together. So really for Karen, she was highly motivated and inspired to do the work, and that's important. So she really did make some good progress with that.
Karen: Well, I just wish I had discovered Soma Yoga earlier because I've had a lot of other health issues I think it could have helped me with. And I think it can really help people in all different parts of their life, from very young people who think they can do it all, until they find out 20 years later that they actually injured themselves when they were in their 20s, to people who are middle-aged and really under a lot of stress and need to deal with that right now, versus people who, as they get older, they can still come back to a lot more functionality than they think they have. So I think it really is for everyone, and it's just a matter of finding where you need to be at the moment in it!