Interview with a Trauma Client
By Stacey Loop, Yoga Breath Therapist at Modern Holistic Health
I’m Stacey Loop, Yoga Breath Therapist at Modern Holistic Health, and together with our team, we run an amazing and life changing program to help our clients to overcome their chronic health symptoms and conditions that are rooted in “stuck” emotions, traumas, and belief systems that are keeping them from healing and attaining the vibrant health they are looking for.
Hope and inspiration are foundational for healing and health, and I wanted to share with you a recent interview I had with one of our clients who has been in our program that focuses on releasing “stuck” trauma and emotions. I hope this interview fills you with hope and inspiration on your journey back to health and vitality!
Together with my team here at Modern Holistic Health, I have had the pleasure to work with one of our clients, Jane (not her real name).
Jane had experienced significant trauma in her early childhood years. Her recollection of the trauma was forgotten until the age of 50. She had been working to release trauma, forgive and find understanding over the last couple of decades before finding out about Dr. V’s programs and enrolling to work with us.
Jane’s goals and intentions included learning to work with her breath to release long-held patterns of the effects of trauma. She also wanted to learn to master balancing her nervous system through breath therapy and gentle movement.
When I begin my process of teaching and mentoring a client, I spend time with them so that I can uncover the priorities for that person. Connection is fundamental in this process, and it begins with knowing their stories and how their health imbalances are manifesting. For many, trauma is at the root of their chronic symptoms and is preventing them from healing and living with more ease and joy.
During our first sessions together, I could see that Jane was special in her ability to articulate what she was feeling through simple breath visualization strategies.
Each session with her was a gift as we explored the depth of breath connection, as well as techniques that were appropriate for her symptoms.
Her new connection of her breath to her body allowed for deep healing in what she called “learning to rewrite my stories.” I hope you find this interview fascinating. I sent her the questions, and these are her written answers. I am beyond grateful to her for being so vulnerable in sharing these heartfelt answers.
“Working with Rosita along with Stacey has been so helpful as welI, and I know that Karla will be helpful too. I will soon do an intensive session with her. Both Rosita and Karla work in their different ways to approach and heal old trauma, so finding avenues for regulation first has been huge for me.”
What kind of breathing practices have you worked with in the past, if any? How is our approach to breathwork different?
First of all, I want to thank Stacey for this opportunity to share my experience working with her. She is remarkable in every way.
I have participated in a yoga practice in the past, and meditation practice, and I currently do Tai Chi. In general, I would say that in my mind, in these practices, the breath was the road to get me to my destination… stillness and presence as in the case of meditation. With the movement practices, the breath was a way to make movement more full, steady, rhythmic, and flowing.
The difference with Stacey’s work is that she gives you the gift of seeing breath as not an avenue to where you need to be but the place where you simply are… from birth to death. Your unique breath is your animating vibrant spirit, your best friend, a magical shapeshifter.
Working with her one day, I recalled sitting with my sister and my daughter at my Dad’s bedside when he was close to death. We were quiet, watching his breathing. Occasionally, he skipped a breath. He finally took one last inhalation and then breathed out that last breath.
His body was still. I was amazed to see immediately that he was gone. The entire essence of who he had flown right out on that last breath. I recognized that as a sacred moment and was mesmerized by that moment for months, but it never occurred to me until I worked with Stacey that each of us is traveling through life with just such a sacred and unique spirit – a spirit that comes in with us when we are born and goes out with us when we die.
I now see my breath as my soul sister, my constant loyal, loving, and nurturing companion… a companion who is deeply connected to Love and Confidence, who feels like a hug from the inside out!
Stacey’s practice is powerful because of her unique approach to the breath but also because she is joyful, playful, calm, and empathetic.
When you get a chance to work with her privately, she is 100% committed to designing a practice that is custom-cut for you and for your story. This is huge! She never loses track of your story. Any skill she wants to pass on is clothed in just the right way to address the fears and limitations you find yourself living with.
Stacey fosters in her clients loving self-permission to befriend and love their breath and their body, just as they are in the present moment… no need for perfection or forcing.
Is there a technique that has made the breath accessible to you and if so, what?
Please give the top 2 breath strategies and describe them.
Before I address this question, it might be important to give you a thumbnail sketch of my story, because that story definitely drew me to the practices that could help me heal from the wounds I have acquired over decades.
I was sexually abused when I was just shy of three years old. After decades, I found myself in a process of reliving that early experience of being totally overpowered, engulfed, and absorbed into the predator’s energy field.
I felt cast out. I was in a bubble apart from my body and my life. I could see the people in my life but felt I could not reach them or my body as I had known it. It seemed my family had no idea how to reach me. I felt dark… it must surely have been my fault that the abuse happened.
Ever after, I have been in perpetual fear… sometimes fear with a small f, sometimes with a capital F, and sometimes it has been TERROR. Remarkably, I had no idea that I was consumed by fear or even terror for that matter. How is that possible? It sounds crazy, but I now realize I was frozen and consequently unaware.
I was also unaware of my overwhelming need to feel safe. I was afraid to use my voice, to speak up, to express needs. I carried on a perpetual unconscious search for safe people or situations, but never dreamed that there might be a place where safety lives and a way I could access it no matter where I was or whom I was with.
Then, along came Stacey with her magic flute, and I fell right in line behind her!
I do think that her teaching me through breath work, how to plug into safety constantly, and how to take up space has been life-altering.
Consequently, the techniques most important to me are the ones that focus on slowing down my processes, finding safety, finding my voice, and taking up space through breathing and working on osteoporosis exercises (losing bone and muscle is of course another way of taking up less space).
The very first technique I learned was belly breathing. In my case, each inhalation was focused on breathing in “spaciousness” while the exhale was all about “releasing, letting go” of something I no longer needed and allowing… allowing relaxation in all parts of my body, allowing me to really feel the safety of where I was.
I learned that breathing from the belly is the best area to focus on when one is anxious. (Of course, we know that the science of breathing is that regardless of focus, the air comes in our nose, and down through the chest cavity, the thoracic cavity, and finally into the belly…then up and out on the exhale.)
I appreciated techniques that focused on toning the vagus nerve. That nerve connects our brain, our heart, and our gut. It wants us to use our body awareness, as well as our heart and our mind, to access safety. Toning it is an avenue for reducing anxiety and increasing feelings of safety and for me… is an opportunity to use my voice.
I also appreciated working with something called Ujjayi or throat valving breath… a way of breathing that involves making a diminished imitation of a Darth Vader breath in your throat with your mouth closed. It is warming and energizing and brings expansiveness, energy, and spaciousness to movement.
How often do you practice and how did you carve out time to do so within a modern lifestyle /pace?
This should be an easy question. Sometimes, I don’t but mostly I do.
I am motivated because this work has been so life-changing for me. I make notes on all the video recordings so I can glance through them if I don’t have time to listen to the recording.
I am realizing that when I am too “busy” it is, in truth, fear and hypervigilance at work. It is (old patterns in me) running to stay ahead of whatever might be the next thing fixin’ to come up behind me, out of the blue, and topple me.
What changes are you noticing as a result of consistent practice regarding nervous system/health behaviors – release of trauma? Anything else?
I notice that I am more self-aware… more aware when I am trying too hard, when I am being a perfectionist, when I am involved in negative self-talk, and when I am running around being too busy.
I notice that being able to find safety wherever I am and saying internally I AM SAFE… as Stacey encouraged me to do several times each session is absolutely huge.
That has been the biggest gift of all: regulating and stabilizing one’s nervous system seems a mandatory prerequisite to releasing and resolving the pain and weight of old trauma.
Also, feeling the wind of Stacey’s love at my back has been a huge gift as I try to garner more courage for each new hurdle in my life.
Question # 5:
Having listened to different stories of MHH clients within the group/program you are involved in to whom in the MHH community would you recommend this work?
I would recommend the MHH programs to anyone with physical issues, such as osteoporosis, body stiffness, and not feeling at home in the physical body. I would also recommend these programs for anyone with a history of unresolved trauma, sexual abuse, negative self-talk, a need to be perfect, a lack of self–esteem, (an overabundance of self-loathing), unrelenting feelings of shame or regret, anxiety, or depression.
I would encourage the work to anyone who does not have good boundaries. Being violated at a young age is a passport to having no boundaries. If your boundaries are invaded before you are old enough to even know what a boundary is, then you will always have trouble making boundaries for yourself or respecting the boundaries others put up. You will be porous… absorbing energy from everyone and everything around you. It can cause one to leave their body easily and often.
If you are in that category, Stacey and the MHH team would be a huge help.
I would recommend working with Stacey to anyone who is thinking that yoga breath work is not for them… because this work is not about getting poses right or being a pretzel on the mat. It is about finding that your breath has been there all along, wanting to be your friend and ballast.
The term yoga, in Stacey’s breath work, is important because that word comes from a Sanskrit word meaning to join or to unite. Stacey helps her clients find the union that can occur between their animating life force and their mind and body. This makes growth (and healing) possible on all levels in a myriad of ways.
Has this work been worth the endeavor? If so, why?
Absolutely 100%! I am running a bit behind on the physical body side of my current MHH program, but I know I will get caught up when I have completed my sessions with the “Three Angels”, as I call Stacey, Rosita, and Karla.
The big takeaway is that I will hold Stacey and her work in my heart forever. She has inspired me in so many ways. I have learned so much about the work and about myself. I am mesmerized by safety. Part of the gift of the notion of safety is the drawing of a definitive line where safety lives. That is a boundary, a concept that I have had such difficulty grasping. Now it appears quite visually to me… where the safety lies, the fear must stop. It can’t cross that boundary.
I have been reinforced in the belief that living is about learning and loving. No whining. Courage is mandatory.
Recently my 14-year-old granddaughter recommended a book to me, The Beatryce Prophecy. It is a magical book.
Beatryce, a girl of 12 years, makes this prophecy. I have memorized it…
“We shall all, in the end,
Be led to where we belong.
We shall all, in the end,
Find our way home.”
This is something Stacey believes and might have written or shared with me.
It is, in a nutshell, Dr. V’s story. It can be the story of each of us!
We just need to show up each day, hearts open, and ready to learn.
So may it be for you, so may it be for me, and so may it be for all people.
I am so honored to have worked with such an incredible person who I like to call, “Brave Warrior!” Thank you Jane! It is my wish that she continues the journey of living with more ease, feeling connected to her safety while exploring her value and allowing joy. This story will reach the hearts of many through her talent of expression and finding her voice.
Jane, thank you so much for sharing this so that others could be inspired. I hope that this inspires you, the reader as well, that you are NOT broken. There are answers and solutions. and our programs here at Modern Holistic Health are designed to empower you with the answers and solutions you are looking for in your healing.
If this indeed inspired you, and you are interested in seeing how our programs empower and teach you how to step into your own healing transformation, we are here, and this month in November we have some very special offers just for you.
Dr. V has been on a mission to bring the new model of healthcare to everyone who wants it, and a part of this mission has been to bring the cost down to make this incredible type of care available to as many people as possible.
If you are ready and inspired to get your health and your life back, we have a wonderful program just for you, and Dr. V has extended an amazing price to you through the month of December. You can get the details of our Healthy Mind | Body | Energy Program here.
Sending you love, light, and hope!