341: The Interplay Between Nervous System Health & Exercise: A conversation w/ Irene Lyon
The state of your nervous system is a very big deal. Why?
Because your nervous system governs literally every system in the human body and massively influences how you show up in the world.
More conversations around nervous system health are being had thanks to people like Irene Lyon, my guest in this week’s episode of the Grace & Grit podcast.
Irene and I have talked extensively on this show about the workings of the nervous system and even the impact nervous system regulation has on our ability to create long-term behavior change.
In this episode, we are taking a slightly different approach to the conversation of nervous system healing by exploring the interplay between nervous system health and exercise.
More specifically, in this episode we explore…
- How nervous system regulation impacts our capacity to exercise,
- How exercise influences nervous system regulation,
- What the state of your “tissues” might be telling you about nervous system issues,
- Practical steps for honoring nervous system health as you engage with exercise,
- Why we can experience “emotional releases” as we exercise,
… and so much more.
MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE
Irene Lyon, MSC
Irene Lyon, MSC. and nervous system expert, teaches people around the world how to work with the nervous system to transform trauma, heal body and mind, and live full, creative lives. To date, her online programs have reached thousands of people in over 60 countries. Irene has a Master’s Degree in Biomedical and Health Science and also has a knack for making complex info easy for ALL of us to understand and apply to our lives. She has extensively studied and practices the works of Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais, Peter Levine (founder of Somatic Experiencing) and Kathy Kain (founder of Somatic Practice). Irene spends her free time eating delicious food, hiking in the mountains or walking along the Pacific Ocean in her hometown of Vancouver, British Columbia.
Are you ready?
Welcome to Grace & Grit.
The Grace & Grit podcast is your go-to resource for reclaiming, generating, protecting and expressing your power as a woman in midlife.
This show will completely change the way you think about health & well-being and help you make your second act the best one yet!
- 353: Unlocking the Power of Nervous System Regulation at Midlife w/ Irene Lyon
- 352: Rising Strong: The Power of Reorienting at Midlife
- 351: Dreams Interrupted: Exploring the Sleep Dilemmas of Midlife w/ Laini Gray
- 350: Defying Defaults: Life on Purpose
- 349: Year in Review: Noteworthy Lessons Gifted by 2023
Transcripts are auto-generated.
Courtney Townley 0:00
Welcome to the Grace and Grit Podcast made for women who want their healthiest years to be ahead of them, not behind them. Join your host Courtney Townley right now. As she breaks down the fairy tale health story, you have been chasing all of your life, indispensable action steps and lasting change.
Courtney Townley 0:28
Hello, my friends, and welcome to the Grace and Grit Podcast. This is your host, Courtney Townley. As always, I am so delighted that you are here. And I am really excited to tell you that the Grace & Grit Podcast is now back in production of new episodes.
Courtney Townley 0:43
If you’ve been listening along through the summer, you know that we launched a summer remix series of some of our most popular episodes. And the reason we did that was because number one, we wanted the really good past content to make sure it got into listeners ears. But we also wanted to take a pause from the Podcast to kind of reevaluate what we were producing how we were doing it, and most importantly, how to give you the listener the most incredible listener experience.
Courtney Townley 1:14
And so as we move forward with new episodes of the show, for an undisclosed amount of time, because I just honestly don’t know how long we will stay in this cadence, we are going to commit to dropping bi weekly episodes. So every other week, you can expect a brand new episode of the Grace & Grit Podcast. And the reason I’m committing to that cadence is because I feel like it will give me an opportunity to number one protect my energy, because I have a lot of other projects I’m committed to. And I’m still very much committed to the show. So it allows me to continue to show up and produce high quality content, and also give you the opportunity to listen fully to the episodes because I do realize that we have so many in the bank now that it can feel like you’re consistently trying to catch up. And I do not want this to be one more thing in your life that gives you an opportunity to get into a state of overwhelm.
Courtney Townley 2:15
So with all that being said, those of you who have been longtime listeners know because I have talked about this pretty prolifically throughout the Grace and Grit Podcast, a little bit about my history and how I have gotten to this place in my career of talking about self-leadership within the health arena, and more specifically with midlife women.
Courtney Townley 2:42
And for those of you who might be newer, I just want to kind of give you a quick summary of that because it is pertinent and valuable to understanding the importance of today’s episode. So I started my career in the movement space, I was a professional dancer, and I had been doing a lot of personal training and specifically Pilates training as a part of my own dancing development. And when I was looking to make more money, it made a whole lot of sense that I go into something that I had experience with and that I really enjoyed doing. So the world of movements exposed me to so many things in the wellness industry. And perhaps most notably, it really highlighted the ignorance that I had around all the things that it takes to create a state of deep health. So as much as I adore movement, and I actually really enjoy teaching people how to be better movers.
Courtney Townley 3:50
I also felt really hungry, to better understand how to improve the health of a human, because movement alone is not enough. So I went on to get nutrition education, I went on to better understand the impact that our total stress load has on our biology and really started to embrace the idea that the most fundamental thing we need to focus on to improve our health story mentally, physically or otherwise, is to manage the total stress load that we are carrying at any time. And unpacking stress looks like a whole lot of different things, which is why nobody’s health journey is going to look the same. Everyone’s journey will look very different. And that knowledge led me to getting very passionate about teaching women how to navigate their own healing process. How do we organize our life and maneuver our way through to life in a way that keeps us in integrity with ourselves, and helps us to unpack our specific stressors. And so that’s kind of where I have landed, and two in the space of really teaching people those self-leadership skills.
Courtney Townley 5:18
But I’m telling you all of this, but because what became so crystal clear to me along the pathway to helping people improve health, was the power of the nervous system, at the roots of every function in the human body, is the nervous system. And the nervous system is something I hope you are starting to see more information about, there is certainly a larger conversation starting to be had on this topic. But for most people, it’s a pretty new conversation, we didn’t really hear a lot about nervous system health. You know, in biology class through school, we didn’t hear a lot about the nervous system, as we kind of dove into our own health journey as adults. And the more we are learning about it, and the more people are really starting to nurture their nervous system, beautiful things are being born of that.
Courtney Townley 6:21
And I always give credit where credit do is due. Irene Lyon, who is my guest on the show today is someone who I tribute with really helping me to better understand the impact that the nervous system has on our well being. And so I’m really happy to say that we are here to have another conversation today. If you have listened to the Grace & Grit Podcast for a long time, you are very familiar with Irene Lyon, because she has been on the show so many times, she is absolutely the most frequented guest of the show. And that is very intentional. Nervous System work. If we don’t do it, if we don’t understand it, if we don’t start to acknowledge the power of the nervous system, it is quite literally impossible to create a state of deep health. So I think that the information she has is just so so important. I will give you full disclosure here I always do. I am an affiliate of one program in the world. And it happens to be Irene Lyons program. And the reason I’m an affiliate is because I have known her now for nearly a decade. And I signed up for her program, I believe it was about four years ago for the first time, her full program, SmartBody SmartMind™, which is a 12 week self led program.
Courtney Townley 8:35
She is launching twice this year. So the course is opening September 12 through September 19 of 2023. So this episode is launching very strategically a few weeks before the program starts because I want to give you an opportunity to get registered if it’s something that you feel called to. So if you want to check out the details of the program, you can go to graceandgrit.com/smartbodysmartmind, once again, graceandgrit.com/smartbodysmartmind. Now I read and I in all the conversations that we’ve had on this show, we have covered a lot of ground around what the nervous system is and how it impacts our health and even how it influences our ability to create lasting behavior change.
Courtney Townley 9:28
So today, we decided we would take a slightly different angle and really start to lean into the conversation around the interplay between nervous system health and exercise. Because I think most people have an understanding that too much exercise can absolutely be a hindrance to nervous system health that can dis regulate the nervous system. But exercise can also help to regulate the nervous system.
Courtney Townley 10:00
So in our conversation today, we really start to explore the dynamic between finding that sweet spot between overdoing it and not doing it at all. And really just exploring some of the really frequent questions that come up around the space between nervous system health and exercise. So I hope you enjoy this conversation I really enjoyed I loved actually doing the interview so much. And once again, if you like what you hear, and you want to do a deeper dive into Iran’s work, graceandgrit.com/smartbodysmartmind. And the last thing I’ll say here, before we get into the interview, is that I do offer six months of free membership to my own Rumble & Rise community for every person who signs up for the SmartBody SmartMind™ program. And the reason I do that is because I think that the work that we do in Rumble & Rise so beautifully aligns with nervous system healing. And so I give participants an opportunity to do both. So if you sign up for Iran’s program, you will have six months to activate your free six month membership. So if that is kind of giving you a little bit more incentive, go check out that page. graceandgrit.com/smartbodysmartmind. Okay. Without further ado, let’s get into this conversation. I hope you love it as much as I enjoyed conducting it.
Courtney Townley 11:39
Irene Lyon, welcome back to the Grace & Grit Podcast,
Irene Lyon 11:42
Ms. Courtney Townley. Hello, thank you.
Courtney Townley 11:44
Hi. It’s always great to have you here. Yes. For listeners who may not know you, who may not be familiar with the amazing work you do in the world, what would you like them to know from the outset of this conversation today?
Irene Lyon 11:57
Whoa, I know that’s a loaded question. My name is Irene. Yes, it is a good start. Yeah, I live in British Columbia, Canada.
Irene Lyon 12:09
I am someone who has been learning about the human body since 1993.
Courtney Townley 12:19
So for a minute,
Irene Lyon 12:20
a minute. You know, it was really my first entry point, which I haven’t mentioned. I loved biology 12 like high school, or senior year. And it was the the biology it wasn’t it’s I didn’t like the plant stuff and looking at insects and the dissection of the frog. I didn’t I didn’t dig that stuff. Like I’m like, okay, but I loved learning about like the digestive system. Yeah. I love learning about how the kidneys worked. And the circulatory system and our inner teacher was great. I still remember his name Mr. Lismore. He was amazing. He was He loved biology. And I took to it like I really got it. So that was cool.
Irene Lyon 13:08
My parents were both are both retired veterinarians. So I also was brought up in the medical world of animal animal care. So that was another thing. But what really propelled me into studying the human body were my own injuries, skiing, from ski, downhill skiing, snow skiing. And we don’t have to go into all the details there. But needless to say, I’ve had many surgeries, many orthopedic surgeries. I’m actually waiting on another one in August to get a staple removed from my tibia from a surgery that happened in like 1995. Okay, and it’s bugging me. So it’s kind of been that’s where it started.
Irene Lyon 13:50
I got interested in exercise rehabilitation and fitness because of these injuries, because I had to, well, I didn’t have to Courtney. But for whatever reason, my system my my essence wanted to study, how does my body work? How can I learn about it? And let’s go into this. So I went into exercise science for my undergrad. And that led me into the world of sports performance. I’ve had the little it’s a luxury but the blessing of working with high level athletes. When I was what would consider a high threat high level athlete I was a high level skier. Rock climbed mountain neared stuff, paragliding all these things. Yeah. And got really injured from another knee injury. And that led me into the world of mind body because everything I learned in my like 10 to 13 years of post secondary education. did not help me recover my body. Yeah, that was a big wake up call.
Irene Lyon 15:05
And what that led me to is the work of Feldenkrais and human developmental movement patterns and how we get stuck in patterns. And that was my first kind of humbling experience to not everything they teach in university is everything we need to know there’s more out there. So I studied this stuff called the Feldenkrais Method, totally transformed, my body loved it, became practiced in it and practitioner in it private practice, very successful practice teaching groups, workshops, ski teams, whole nine yards.
Irene Lyon 15:41
And then I then stumbled into this world of trauma. And stored I like to call it stored survival stress, and you know that lingo from being in one of my courses and, and it was like, holy cow, I now have another piece that I’m completely ignorant to. And that is how events that rock our world and put us into what we would call PTSD, complex PTSD, how they limit our ability to be physically well, and to maybe recover from an injury. I recovered from my injuries, because my injuries were not embedded in early trauma. But a lot of people, their injuries don’t recover because their early trauma is keeping them from recovering the physical level.
Irene Lyon 16:29
That’s a long way of saying I got into this trauma work, which is called somatic experiencing. It’s the work of Peter Levine, that blew opened my world to a world that when I look back in 2008, when I got into this, I had no clue where it was going to guide me or leave me and went into that work for myself, not for myself for myself and my practice. So I can help my clients with these deeper issues that weren’t getting resolved with fitness, exercise, training and Feldenkrais and learned very quickly that there is a whole world of emotions, physiological embed traumas that gets stuck in not just our bones, but in our tissues in our organs and our fluids, and our fascia. In the way we have movement patterns. So that really opened up my eyes to so many things. And then I just kind of went full steam ahead, learning from all of the mentors in that field. And that that, yeah, that was 2008.
Irene Lyon 17:37
So yeah, I went from 1993 to 2008, just studying, studying, studying, and then it was really in, I would say, 2009 ish, 10 that I really was like, Okay, time to practice time to work. Time to work with people worked with tons of people in private practice groups, teaching, educating. And then in about 20, through the 14 1615, somewhere around there, everything went online. Yeah. In addition, in addition to some of the group workshops that I did do, but everything went online. That’s how you and I found each other through podcasts worlds.
Irene Lyon 18:16
And so now, I am the owner or founder of a few two online courses that teach people about their nervous systems, how to heal their nervous system, how to restore regulation to the nervous system, not just from a nervous system, somatic point of view, but also from a movement point of view, or rewiring point of view and your neuroplasticity point of view. And I bring all my stuff, the Feldenkrais the somatic experiencing deep education into my work, as you know. So that’s a nutshell of what I do. And, and what keeps me out.
Courtney Townley 18:55
I love it. You did great. You did really well there summarized it really well. I do want to point out because I think what’s so unique, there’s so many things that are unique to the work that you do. But being an avid mover myself, and having done lots of healing modalities over the years, I was trained that to heal the human body, it was often a manual therapy of some kind. Yeah, I was in a room with a PT I was getting, you know, work done with the Graston Technique, like a 10,000 things where someone was working on my body.
Courtney Townley 19:28
And what I love so much about your work, and what I think is so empowering about your work is you’re literally giving the tools to the client to practice on themselves. And so there is no one out there sort of doing the work on your body. It’s the work that you’re doing within your body and you’re giving them that pathway. Yeah, you and I go ahead, sorry, no, not do that. Okay. You and I’ve had a lot of conversations about the nervous system over the years on this Podcast in summits and elsewhere. And we have kind of approach To the conversation from a lot of different angles, we’ve talked about the fundamental workings of the nervous system. We’ve talked about stress, macro, and micro, and how that impacts the nervous system, we have talked about how nervous system dysregulation affects behavior change.
Courtney Townley 20:17
And so today, we kind of thought we would take a little bit of a different angle and really kind of lean into this exercise piece. And how, because it really, and I’m really curious to hear I’m really anxious to hear what you’re not anxious curious is the right word to hear what you have to say about this, because exercise. My understanding is that in my experience, is that it can absolutely help us to process stress and regulate the system. And at the same time, if the system is hyper dysregulated, it can prevent us from doing that work. Yeah. And so yeah, I’m really interested to know, sort of, how do we how do we resolve that conundrum? And I’m sure some of it, you’re gonna say is education, right, learning about the impact?
Irene Lyon 21:03
Well, and I think this, you know, I’ll start with a story that isn’t around the trauma piece when I was learning Feldenkrais in 2000. In Florida, oh seven, if anyone knows anything about Feldenkrais, at the surface level, one thinks it is about gentle, soft, slow developmental movements. And that’s partially true. But it’s also an applied martial art. Like if you go to the highest levels of Felder, Christ, you’re doing judo roles, then you’re doing handstands headstands. You are doing intense squat maneuvers where you’re on all fours. It’s very human movement, Ido portal, which I know, you know, like, it’s, it can be very physical. Yeah. And but because in a lot of our trainings, the people in those trainings were deconditioned and frailer. And they were.
Irene Lyon 22:02
This is because they were seeking out a movement practice that wasn’t asking them to like crunch and core and squat and push and pull. There was kind of this preponderance to have really low level movement, and subtle movement in that world. And so there was this thought that felt in crisis, this slow thing that is just for old ladies. And that’s not the truth. But what occurred is that there became this. I don’t know what the word would be Courtney, but this like disdain that might be too strong of a word for intense exercise, that’s bad. Like we, we can’t push our bodies because it’s over taxing. And it’s too intense and needs to be slow and aware. And what occurred, I think, in some of these Mind, Body things, is it pulled this thought that oh, well, this is for the easy stuff. And then if you want exercise, it’s really intense, you go see the CrossFit person. So I say that because when I got into the trauma work, there was no talk about the importance of being vigorous with our bodies. And I get it, you can’t talk about everything in one methodology.
Irene Lyon 23:25
What would happen is you’d have people come in who had let’s just say, complex PTSD, their capacity was so small. Yeah. And rightfully so they’re swimming in a soup of survival stress or traumas, they can’t even leave the house, because they have so much fear. They have sensitivities, any blip in their heart rate, and they think that something is wrong. And so that that work was just like, Okay, we just have to get someone not just stable but able to even experience the tiny blip of activation in their system, and then work with it.
Irene Lyon 24:02
And so what started to happen as I got more steeped in learning about this trauma work from the somatic point of view, and I started being in trainings, Courtney is I noticed a lot of the hate to say it, but a lot of the high level trainers, a lot of the students, a lot of practitioners who were in training, were just so physically unwell and no vigor like just an I’m not the way I was when I was an athlete, but you know, I can hold my own I can, I can exercise, I can sweat, I can lift, not to the degree that I used to but it’s there and I have that impulse to be active.
Irene Lyon 24:43
And it just it showed me okay, there’s there’s a missing piece here. We still need to talk about exercise, but not from an Arnold Schwarzenegger kind of point of view or getting that perfect beach body from a view of health and wellness and then I’ll say one More thing that we’ll dig into this is my master’s degree. When I did my masters in Australia in science applied bio bio biomedical science, I was given the task, I didn’t want it. But it was the only thing that was available because of the funding. I was given the task to put together into an intervention prevention study with older adults, so 65 to 85. Okay, and they had to be on two different diets. It was a dietetics study. It was funded by the Meat and Livestock Association of Australia. Oh, interesting. Because at that time, red meat consumption was going down, because people were being given the fear that red meat is bad for your heart and cholesterol, which we know is not true, right. And so they were trying to beef beef up there.
Courtney Townley 25:50
No pun intended. Yeah.
Irene Lyon 25:51
And so I had to put these great, amazing older humans through an intervention of high intensity weight training with two different diets one high, high protein in the form of red meat, and the other just normal diet. But what I did, when you do any kind of research is you have to do a lit review a literature review, you have to go into the back literature and look and see who’s done these kinds of studies. I came across these amazing studies by a woman by the name of Maria Fiatter Ronee, she’s an American that is based now in Australia. And she was the first lady, person scientist to say, we’re gonna see what happens if we put these elderly frail people into a situation of high intensity strength training, and like high intensity is eight, eight RM so which is like you fatigue at eight reps. Yeah, which is a lot of weight. It’s a lot of intensity. Yep.
Irene Lyon 25:51
And what she found is, this is a huge macro presentation of this is that you can take someone who is frail and osteoporotic, someone with kidney failure, someone with mental illness, someone with congestive heart failure, and put them into this high intensity resistance training. At the minimum, the lowest study was one time a week, Courtney, one set, your markers of health just skyrocketed. And that was the first moment where it was like, Oh, wow, humans don’t have to age in the way that we think they do. They actually have the capacity to have intensity at them, pushed out them or exerted through their bodies, and the body wants it. Yeah, it doesn’t want, you know, I’ve got like, in my matches here, it doesn’t want one pound bicep curls. You know, it wants like 30 pounds, like, can you pump that out? Especially at that age, it needs the it needs the stimulus.
Irene Lyon 27:53
So that was interesting to me, because I was given that study, kind of not, I didn’t want it. I was trying to get out of the exercise science world and study more biochemical stuff like omega three fatty acids I was interested in, but you know, blessing in disguise, I then had to look at this literature, and it was conclusive. So now, when I do work with my students and clients, my students online, I say, you know, if you don’t know why you should heal your trauma, do it so that you can be active. Yeah, do it so that you can be that 55 year old, 65 year old and you do have the rigor and the vigor to go to the gym, because that will not save you but it will make it so that your comorbidities and your just general health. Your health is higher going into older age. And people just they don’t attach those two together. They think I have anxiety, I gotta fix the anxiety.
Irene Lyon 29:02
And I’m like, Well, let’s look at us a little more broad scale. Because a lot of folks who have, let’s just use that term anxiety, they won’t exercise because when their heart rate goes up, it freaks them out. It is coupled, it’s over coupled with fear. And so part of, of this work is not only working with your traumas and these old patterns and these memories that are hard and these sensations, it’s also being able to separate when your heart rate goes up high. This is good because you’re exercising versus your heart rate is going up high because you’re in a threat response.
Courtney Townley 29:40
Right. So a whole bunch
Irene Lyon 29:42
out. Yes. So
Courtney Townley 29:44
how do you discern between the two? Like, is that something that somebody uses, like their executive center to sort of discern between like this is this is not anxiety. This is actually I’m in a safe environment. I’m on the treadmill. And of course my heart rate is going up right now. All?
Irene Lyon 30:01
I would say yes, there needs to be some top down functioning, executive functioning reasoning with yourself. Yeah. And again, this is where I wouldn’t say this, this is, this is where I wouldn’t say to someone, just just go exercise for 30 minutes because you have to, but that’s what a lot of prescription is with, with exercise. Like the doctor will say, you need to go and exercise three times a week at this intensity, and the person doesn’t understand what that means. But they go, Okay, I need to do it. And they’re like, I’m terrified. I can’t do this. Yeah. But I’ve had to go ahead and
Courtney Townley 30:37
do some more stress, because they’re doing it at such an intensity that they’re actually causing a bigger problem. Exactly. Exercise can traumatize I’ve been in that camp. Yes. Right. Like, I think a lot of athletes have been in that camp. Yes. And so we have, like what I heard you say earlier, which I really loved is just talking. You didn’t say it this way. But what I heard is there’s almost like a capacity spectrum that we have to honor Yeah, that your stress load is different from my stress load. What you’ve dealt with in the past is different than what I’ve dealt with in the past. And we have to take that all into consideration when we are entering the waters of exercise. And sometimes that’s really hard to figure out for yourself, which is why there’s wellness professionals in the world who actually help you to kind of titrate that approach. Yeah,
Irene Lyon 31:22
and that concept of titration is so key because we do when you’re trained in fitness, you do know that like you’re not going to give someone like these older adults that I worked with, we didn’t start them off on eight reps Mac on the first on the first chair. Right, that we we had a warm up, you know, they had to learn, they did it on low weight so that their motor system could could understand. And I mean that if you know anything about the way muscles work, some of the biggest strength gains are not because the muscle is getting stronger. It’s because the neural pathways are getting stronger.
Courtney Townley 31:59
I wish people understood that. Yes. That’s a great argument for strength training. Yeah.
Irene Lyon 32:03
Because it’s like, oh, look at me, I’ve just increased 30 pounds on my leg press. And then how can I a month that I can’t, I can’t put it up another 30 pounds, it’s like, well, because those first beginnings are the connections of the wires coming together. But it’s the same when you’re working with the nervous system and you’re working with the basics that we teach is at the beginning in this isn’t everyone because everyone’s different. But for some people, they’re floored in a good way by how potent just learning how to orient is and learning how to follow impulse and feel the body and feel the breath without changing it. But then they reach this plateau toe I guess you could call it or this capacity where they keep doing those things. But nothing’s changing. It’s like well, now you got to add another stimulus. Now you have to add another goal, if you will, or another intensity
Irene Lyon 32:54
Yeah, to fate
Irene Lyon 32:55
to focus on. So I’m thinking of a friend right now whom had trouble all her life, being active and struggled with weight and all these things, and also autoimmune and tons of abuse growing up. And we were out in a world where we were hiking, and she went off on her own hike. And it was a beautiful resort area with all different trails for different levels, which was great. And she came back after this walk. And she said, I’m so proud of myself. And so what happened and she said, Well, I found myself on this trail, and I could feel my heart. Race. This is how you know racing. When someone says their heart is racing. That’s usually connected with survival, stress and anxiety. Okay?
Irene Lyon 33:45
Like if someone is intensely working a cardio workout, a person won’t say correct me if I’m wrong, Courtney, my heart is racing. They’ll say my heart rate is high. Right? This is intense, right perceived exertion of 10 out of 10. I can’t talk you know, all these ways that we perceive exertion when we’re exercising. And so she stopped and just felt it. And then she brought in feel the feet Orient, I’m okay. This is just my heart working because I’m going up this hill. Yeah. And then she was okay. Yeah. And so what I think happens because I worked in fitness for like 15 years. I think what occurred and I didn’t have the awareness of this is a lot of people didn’t come back because they didn’t know that they were having reactions to their fitness regimen. But they didn’t have the language or the knowledge to even track their, quote unquote, racing heart. They’re just like, This doesn’t feel good. Yeah. Yeah.
Irene Lyon 34:50
And I’ll tell you, I wrote out many, many, many exercise programs on those little pieces of paper with the boxes and they have to come in and they take and then they put them in the little file. older, the, you know, at the counter of the gym, and the first few weeks of the year like they’d be in ticking off the boxes, and then you’d have to go and clean them because the box just gets really full. Yeah. And they’re like, oh, so and so hasn’t been in since March so and so hasn’t been in since last year of February, I guess I’ll take this out. And it was more than 50%. I would say it was more like 85 really generous. 85% of the people just didn’t come back. Yeah. And I really do think Courtney, it was because there was no internal internal guiding to how to navigate these uncomfortable feelings, sensations, really sensations, and then the feelings that might come with that. Yeah, it can,
Courtney Townley 35:46
I think really is, especially when you’re just getting back into it, or maybe building a habit for the first time. It’s so uncomfortable. I know you’re literally walking into an invitation of discomfort. That’s what it is. Yeah. And what I hear you saying is if we don’t have the sort of the clarity, and the sort of the wherewithal to kind of talk ourselves through that this is actually helpful. Yeah, discomfort, not harmful discomfort, then we just retreat. And we just say that’s not good for me, or it didn’t feel right, I felt unsafe. And maybe we’re not even using that language in our brain. But that’s how we’re responding.
Irene Lyon 36:25
Yeah, it would be really interesting to like, do a retrospective study, to find out like those who don’t like to use the word fail, but let’s use it, who failed at their fitness regimens, how many of them had stored trauma, and stored survival stress, and that that was the culprit that led them to not go back to ever do that thing again, because that intensity, mimicked the intensity of being screamed at or abused, or even just being put on the spot and being uncomfortable. Like, that is a huge thing. We’re not because I love going to the gym, I was brought up, you know, at the racquetball club, my dad played squash, like every night, much, you know, to my mother’s dismay. And so he takes me down there.
Irene Lyon 37:17
And I just like, you know, this was when a kid could just go and do whatever they wanted at a gym when their dads or moms were playing, you know, whatever they’re doing, and, and I’m just so comfortable in that, in that genre, of being around all sorts of people sweating, and grunting and seemingly looking scary and all and I just kind of watch and like, there’s a lot of people here who are not in their body. Yeah, you know, they’re, they’re sure there’s a pool of sweat under them on the recumbent bike. But they’re like cricket, and they’re just going or like the worst, Courtney is that the person on the leg pressing, they’re just looking at their phone as they’re pressing,
Courtney Townley 37:55
completely detached, completely detached, and
Irene Lyon 37:57
one could say, well, at least they’re getting out. And yes, and they’re doing something their heart rate is getting up. But it’s not building a bridge to your own personal internal capacity and strength. Because if you really go into a solid, and it doesn’t have to be crazy, but a nice, moderate fitness routine, and you are in it, and you’re listening, and you’re breathing, and you’re fit, and you rest when you need to, and you take a drink of water when you need to. And you look around and you watch, like it’s a lovely experience, it can be. But I think most people go in, and they’re afraid. And they’re looking around who’s watching me.
Courtney Townley 38:42
They also find a lot of evidence for what we’re looking for, like, I hate being here. I don’t like movement. I don’t like weight training. I don’t like whatever it is. And if that’s the attitude we go into it with, of course, we’re going to find evidence for that. Yeah. You know, so it’s so Okay, so I just want to make this this really tangible for listeners, because for the person who is listening, that really does understand the value of exercising, but has really struggled to build a practice of it. What you are proposing is that, fundamentally, there could be an issue at the nervous system level and there likely is. And so to enter that gateway of building a regular exercise program, a couple things to take into consideration.
Courtney Townley 39:25
Number one that you enter with the proper dosage. Yes, you aren’t going all out into something that is far too ambitious for your level of capacity. I also hear you saying that we have to go into it awake, staying conscious, and really present to the sensations in our body. And using our executive center to kind of coach ourselves through this is not dangerous. I’m safe. I’m simply exerting myself. Yeah. And what else and then and then ultimately, we’re expanding our capacity for that level of discount. For, which then we can eventually move further down that line of intensity. Yes, as we build that capacity, but if we do it prematurely, it can just add more stress to the system
Irene Lyon 40:09
100%. And what also occurs when you mentioned the piece about capacity and feeling is when you are tuned into your internal system, and you can feel your joints and you can feel your muscles and you’re not just there in a rote, robotic way. Your likelihood of being injured is so much less. Yeah. Because you’re not disconnected. And this doesn’t mean that you can’t exert a little extra. But you don’t push it when something says, Don’t do that. Right.
Irene Lyon 40:46
So, you know, just the other day, I was doing a leg extension machine at the gym, and there was a little pain on the lateral side of my kneecap, and this is my better knee. And, of course, you know, that part of me is like, just come on. It’s just one more set, just do it. Yeah. And, and I’m getting better as I get older, it’s like, nope, walk away from the machine. Yeah, right, just walk away, because there’s probably something tight in your pelvis or tight in the hip or something needs to be moved, because you’ve been sitting all day, and you didn’t do enough to balance out things. Because if I had pushed, it’s very likely that I could have strained something or a part of my meniscus, my ligaments, my cartilage. And then I’d be out for like, weeks. And that’s the cool thing that I have found is that when you have that we would call it interoception, which is something that, you know, we teach, and many people don’t have even high level athletes don’t have interoception. It’s wild, right?
Irene Lyon 41:53
But when we have that as regular civilians, so to speak, and we go into this, this, this desire to become stronger, fitter, more able bodied, more independent, because it’s not just about physique, it’s about independence into life. It just becomes a different, it’s like it’s different. It’s not because of aesthetics, it’s because of health. But to get to that can take some time when you’ve been driven through external goals and motivations that aren’t for you, but or maybe for others.
Courtney Townley 42:26
Yeah. Yeah. I’ve been, I don’t know if you’ve read Peter Thiel, his new book,
Irene Lyon 42:32
I have not really.
Courtney Townley 42:34
But one of the concepts that he just so beautifully illustrates is kind of talking about this marginal decade, the last decade of your life. And when you really consider how you want to be living that final decade of your life, most people want to be mobile, they want to hike with their friends, they want to get on the floor with their grandkids, they want to still be able to get in and out of their car. And he talks about, you know, in order to let’s just say that your marginal decade is going to be in your 80s 90s or beyond, yeah, we have to have a ramp, like we have to have sort of a surplus of capacity to allow for the decline. Yes. And if we haven’t addressed things like nervous system health, we’re already starting in a deficit. And we will only continue to lose capacity as we age as a natural byproduct of the aging process.
Courtney Townley 43:26
So to do this work, at any point that you’re listening to this Podcast, or you get introduced to Iran’s work is definitely an entry you know, whatever age you’re at, enter it. But I think for those listening who are kind of in the, whether they’re younger, or kind of in those midlife years, it is so important to build this. So you have room for that decline. And that’s
Irene Lyon 43:49
the crux Courtney, because even people who I know whom are in the work that I do, they’re not aware of this. Yeah, they’re not building and I think that’s where connecting with this importance of building physical robustness, and muscle and bone density and ligament health and spinal flexibility and joint flexibility. It’s sort of not talked about or thought about in the trauma world. pacity it’s all it’s all about capacity.
Irene Lyon 44:26
And I mean, I often say this thing, like how many times do you hear someone who just dies of old age, but by that I mean, up until the day a person dies. And I mean, like old like cast ad. They are doing their groceries, they’re still driving their car, they’re going up and down stairs, they don’t need to push themselves up. When they get out of the chair. They can get down to the floor. They can they can do all these things, right? That’s very rare. or, and as someone who has not been able to say walk for years at a time because of all my injuries, I sometimes wonder and I have a feeling you’ve had an injury to that was quite debilitating at one point. Did you like with your,
Courtney Townley 45:16
you know, I really actually haven’t a video. This stage of my life probably because of perimenopause, I’m experiencing more joint challenges and kind of like tendinitis and things like that, that I never contended with before.
Irene Lyon 45:29
Okay. Yeah. So I think like, I think for me, at least personally, because I’ve been bedridden with orthopedic injuries. It’s like, I never want to not be able to be able to be mobile and take care of myself and walk. And that drives me a bit more than I think the regular person who hasn’t had that kind of dysfunction. And so that’s the part where it’s like, Nope, I never want to not be able to walk up and down stairs, to get out of my own bed to shower myself.
Irene Lyon 46:04
But we know, we know that that is the fate for so many people, especially in the Western world, especially in North America. And I do think that’s why Peter A T is so passionate about it, because he’s he’s seen the repercussions of metabolic syndrome of dysfunction of arthritis of osteoporosis. And I think a lot of the reason we’re not taking care of our bodies is because we’re not connected to our bodies.
Courtney Townley 46:31
Yeah, absolutely. I think it’s so we’re so in our heads and absorbing more information than we could ever possibly process. And then wondering why Yeah, we aren’t connected to the body or having trouble connecting to the body. I want to I want to jump to this conversation, because I really am so curious to hear what you have to say about this about kind of issues in the tissues and how that relates to nervous system health. So you had kind of mentioned in a voicemail that you left for me about seeing a correlation in sort of the stiffness of people or even the elasticity of joints in terms of hypermobility, and how that might relate to nervous system health.
Irene Lyon 47:13
Yeah, so this is a controversial topic. I have worked with people more so my online students so I hear their stories. But one in particular I’m thinking about her name is Elizabeth I’ve done many talks with her online for my channel, and she’s young, young and that she’s probably only in her 30s and been diagnosed with fibromyalgia. I think some bowel problems and something that we would be we would label as EDS. Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, which is like hypermobility of the joints. And it said that this is genetic. Okay.
Irene Lyon 47:56
However, she don’t she don’t got it anymore. And, and, and she’s healthy, good relationships, eats well, you know, all those things. But when she started doing one of my courses, it was primarily the 21 Day Nervous System tune up slowly over about six months, and now I’ve known her for about two years, two to three years, gone, she can run up mountains, she can hike, she has capacity, whereas before she couldn’t do any of these things. And so the hypermobility of her joints shifted as she B cane b be as she started to gain more regulation. And this is the part that I think is very hard when we’re new to this to wrap our heads around is when our system is living in dysregulation so if the sympathetic nervous system is on high fight what we call fight flight, for no reason, there’s really no threat. And then we also have this shutdown, we call it freeze response where the system is going into conservation mode, low metabolism, the the fight flight and freeze, coalescing together creates a system that can’t repair and regenerate.
Irene Lyon 49:14
For some people, they have this chronic stiffness, tension, armoring, you know, like all that kind of stuff. But then the other side, the flip side is this We the the term in the somatic experiencing world is over, under coupled and over coupled so somebody who is very tight and stiff, it’s like everything is velcro together and like armor suit. And then under coupled is like they don’t got no suit. Yeah, they got no boundary. And they’re so flexible to the point where they don’t even know where they start and where they end and where someone else begins. And then this is where you get people who will say everyone just walks all over me. I’m always getting into shitty situations. I’m always good Heading into toxic situations. And it’s almost as if and of course, this isn’t studied by a double blinded, randomized placebo controlled study, but I’ve seen it enough times anecdotally to go, it’s like that individual is translucent. Yeah. It’s like there’s no boundary of where they be, you know, me
Courtney Townley 50:20
like, like a identity of themselves self.
Irene Lyon 50:25
Yeah, yeah. And then that comes, if I generalize from living a life where you have to kind of hide yourself, or you have to let down your guard, because if you don’t, you know, you’re gonna get in trouble. Like, there’s, there’s so many ways in which little people children protect themselves by either guarding too much, or letting it all down. And then the fight that the final thing, but the other thing I’ll say to this hypermobility is, we need healthy nervous system regulation, we need the nervous system to be regulated so that we can repair and regenerate tissue and stitch it back up just like the gut lining stitches up every night due to wear and tear.
Irene Lyon 51:11
And if you eat too much, if you eat something that’s doesn’t agree with you that the lining breaks down, and then you don’t feel well you get inflammation in the gut. That would be what happens with someone will say, IBS or Crohn’s is chronic all the time. With the tissues that aren’t recovering or are hypermobile. It’s almost like the system just doesn’t know how to tighten those those tissues. So that they have that good elasticity. Yeah. And then it just it’s like there’s just this flash sadness. Yeah. So does that answer your question?
Courtney Townley 51:44
Yeah. And you know, what I hear in this is because I always think in images that, you know, when there’s a dysregulated nervous system, like two things, and these, they’re always ends of the spectrum, right? When we’re dysregulated. It’s like, we live at one end of the spectrum or the other. But we either build an armory of our body, which is that really tight, rigid, like, don’t let anything in, don’t feel anything. Or we dissolve our stability, which is kind of like where all that loose sadness, I think comes in the joints. And at least that’s what I hear.
Irene Lyon 52:16
Yes. And there’s no like, it’s not like textbook because everyone’s different. But when I was working in private practice, and doing touch work, yeah, those that had more of that representation of this under coupled, no boundary, it’s like you would touch them. And it’s like, it’s like, nobody was there. Yeah. And it’s the tissue would be very dopey. Um, very soft isn’t the right word. But like there was no aliveness in it. And it’s like, you could press it, and it would indent. Right. And so there wasn’t enough figure. Well, this is what’s interesting, like, we need some sympathetic activation, in order to get energy and to move. And so when we’re stuck in these more low level, we would call them in the fancy term, high tone dorsal of the parasympathetic, like the shutdown, this collapse.
Irene Lyon 53:18
One of the reasons why folks have traveled to go back to the exercise thing. Exercising is they literally have no sympathetic drive. There’s no cortisol, there’s no adrenaline, the kidney and adrenals are pooped. Yet, we’re burnt out this ties into autoimmune and chronic fatigue. Usually those, those juices from the kidney and adrenals are just dried up, because they’ve been living in so much threat. And stress, maybe from in utero or before. And so you get this tissue, that’s just there’s no life to it. And it’s just interesting to me that humans can represent so differently, when maybe their circumstance and their their upbringings, were very similar. Why one person ends up with this versus say, a more mental based illness. We could say it’s genetic, but I think that’s an oversimplified oversimplification, because we just don’t know. Yeah,
Courtney Townley 54:16
they don’t know. And, you know, I’ve always ended up getting this is just my theory, but I’ve always believed like, even just with the conversation of inflammation, you know, everyone experiences inflammation differently. Some people get headaches, some people get like, a pain in their knee that’s had issues over the years. It presents itself in so many different ways. And I have always sort of just thought that we feel the pain and we feel the effects where the tissues are a little bit weaker, you know, the systems that are a little bit weaker. And, of course, again, for various reasons, we’re all designed differently that way and who knows why, you know,
Irene Lyon 54:53
but we don’t know. I mean, we can know me don’t know. I mean, sometimes a person is like, Hey, I always get a flare on that joint. because that’s where I had that injury when I was young. And it’s just got a little more weakness to it. I’ve got those joints all over my body, right, just from breaks and sprains and strains and impacts. Yeah. And that’s where having a bit more awareness around this is so important, and then knowing how to work with it, because as you mentioned, at the beginning of our talk, like it can be easy to just go to manual therapists, and they just like friction, the heck out of that tendon that sore, let’s just say and tight. And maybe you just need to put some hands on your gut, or your your heart space, or these diaphragms where your lungs are, because there’s so much tightness. And that’s causing that old injury to flare in, say your ankle. And you’re trying to treat it with, you know, a well intentioned physical therapist. But man, what if there’s something that’s holding on that’s making that tense somewhere else,
Courtney Townley 56:03
I just need to release, it
Irene Lyon 56:04
just needs, it needs breath, it needs ease, it needs the system to not be fighting. And it might have nothing to do with that joint, it might have to do with something else. Back to the issues and the tissues. It’s like, well, the issue is in that tissue, but maybe the issue of stems from holding it of anger or holding out of tears. Yeah, or a grief that you just, it’s just too hard. You don’t want to feel it. But it’s ramping the system up and stress.
Courtney Townley 56:32
It’s so interesting, my son came home, I don’t know, this was earlier this year. And he said, Did you know that drunk drivers are actually far more likely to survive an accident than people who are not drinking? And I was like, well, that kind of makes sense, right? Because when you’re not drinking, you’re anticipating that collision, everything is tense. And then of course, that doesn’t bode well when you need your body to be a little bit relaxed to to withstand an impact. And the opposite being true for someone who’s been heavily drinking, it’s true. In my own life, I think that I can definitely relate so much to that anticipatory protection, right that I and I approached my training that way, too.
Courtney Townley 57:17
And that’s why I said at the beginning that I think training for a lot of people that I have worked with in the industry, certainly other trainers and movement experts have had the experience at some point of movement or exercise programs being traumatizing to their systems, because we aren’t extending ourselves the grace of kind of oscillating our training or kind of giving some flexibility to it when we’re handling higher stress loads. Yeah. And Case in point, you know, when I had my son a few years after I had him so many things going on in my life, and I was training twice a day, seven days a week, super intense. And then I started entering perimenopause, and it was just like the soup for disaster going on. Right? Yeah.
Courtney Townley 58:02
And then I started backing off, you know, giving myself that grace to sort of approach my exercise program differently. It’s not that I don’t do intensity, but I don’t do it as often. And I’m really calculated and checking in with myself about where my system is to be able to handle this. And I definitely feel, I think softer, both like internally and externally. Like it’s not a bad thing. When I say that word. Like for me, it’s it’s it’s what needed to happen in order for me to get to a place where it’s like, I can still train. And I really need to gauge how often I go to those intense places. I still go there.
Irene Lyon 58:42
That’s intense training twice a day. Yeah, yeah, well, time.
Courtney Townley 58:46
And I think when you train with someone who is male, all they do for, you know, in and I’m not saying I have a male trainer right now who I absolutely adore. So I’m not definitely not a sexist comment. But I think sometimes men aren’t necessarily experienced with the fluctuations that we go through in a month. Certainly what what childbearing does to the female body or perimenopause and menopause due to the female body? And I think when you’re experiencing that, so often we are getting loud and clear those messages to back off, or to approach it in a different way. And when we don’t give ourselves that permission. Yep, we get really injured.
Irene Lyon 59:26
Yeah. Yeah, no, it’s true. The, I mean, you know, this, but the male has a 24 hour cycle, and we have a 28 day cycle when it’s healthy. Right, right, in terms of hormones, and it really that that’s been something I’ve had to really grapple with. Yeah, is it made no difference when I was in my 20s where I was in my cycle and training because I was frozen, I was functionally frozen. And it’s taken me some time to be okay. When I’m in those first say seven Days of the cycle to be like, not doing anything gonna go for a walk. Yeah, you know, and it took a while to be like I should be I should be doing I should be going to the you know, gym. And same with like if you’re feeling a little sick or rundown like back in the day I just keep going I but now it’s like not my body needs to get my system needs to rest and it needs to recover, it needs to repair and throwing it a 40 minute even low intensity aerobic session is not going to help those immune building pieces do their job, because there’s going to be this added stress that doesn’t need to be there.
Irene Lyon 1:00:37
So that’s the other thing that’s interesting is when we become more interoceptive and aware of our system, we can tell when we’re a bit worn out and pushing it a little more than we should. And you can mitigate a lot of illness, if you catch it early. Yeah, that’s so true. It’s so true. And the way that I can, I can dodge a bullet so to speak, if I’m feeling that sore, scratchy throat that is often the sign that you’re about to get something it’s monumentally different than before be like, Oh, I’m sick, even that mindset, right? Yeah. But now it’s like, no, I need to not do this thing, I need to have a bath, I need to eat some better food. And I just need to just go into neutral. Yeah, with my system. And more often than not the next day I wake up and gone.
Courtney Townley 1:01:31
You know, this is gonna sound crazy. But I think one of the ways for me over and I know, everyone has different relationships with the scale. But when I because I have pretty consistent patterns in the way that I eat and the way that I sleep and take care of myself. And when my weight goes up. And I see that inflammatory response. I see it on the scale before I see it in my heart rate on, you know, doing some kind of cardio before I actually even feel ill in my body. Interesting. There’s just a pattern that isn’t normal. And so that’s my cue like I you know, maybe I should back off a little bit today. And if I don’t, I’ll get full blown sick within 24 hours. Interesting. It’s so interesting.
Courtney Townley 1:02:11
I want to ask you this, because I get this question a lot. Yes. Because what we’re really talking about is learning how to gauge the push in the poll. And I think that’s such a tricky space for people, especially when they have a dysregulated nervous system, but also when people have made a habit out of sort of negotiating discomfort, right. So they are always giving themselves permission to back out of discomfort, even though we need some of it. So how do we how do we navigate that?
Irene Lyon 1:02:43
That’s a great question, Courtney. Ah, so first thing, trial and error. Yeah, you’re not always going to get it right of the
Courtney Townley 1:02:56
Irene Lyon 1:02:59
The second thing at the beginning, let’s just say someone is like, Okay, this makes sense. I want to work on my nervous system. And I also want to continue to exercise Yeah. In whatever way it is for start, at the beginning, put more weight on pulling away. Yeah.
Irene Lyon 1:03:21
And listening, then, and by that, I mean, like, focus more on the gentler practices, building capacity, the things that I teach, that you know about, but then there comes I’m going to do this with my hands. For those that are just listening to audio. I’ve got my hand side by side, it’s like you want to, you want to move forward with the nervous system regulation first. And then when you know you’ve got some capacity, then then push a little bit with the intensive exercise routine. Yeah. And then don’t change damn thing for like, a month or two. Yeah, just keep doing the same thing. Even though there might be this, this temptation to do an extra thing or an extra just keep it so routine, like you’re brushing your teeth. Yeah. And then when you stabilize, and you find that it’s just like, walking your dog, no big deal. Yep. Then add a little more to that exercise. Push a little bit. But push with awareness. Yep.
Courtney Townley 1:04:25
And just because we push doesn’t mean we can’t pull, push and we can we can definitely if we find that that isn’t working for us, we can pull right back.
Irene Lyon 1:04:32
Exactly. But what this reminds me of it reminds me of something actually that one of my mentors Kathy Cain said to us and training one day. I think it’s okay if I share this. She was talking about because she doesn’t do private practice anymore. And so she had to refer all of her clients out to other practitioners, okay. And time goes on, and then those people would I check in with her, you know, checks in with them, how are you doing? I’m good. And she and they’d say, you know, while the practitioner I’m working with is great. I actually had more building and more healing with you because you actually pushed us, you pushed me over to the point where actually it was a bit of a disaster. But that push made it such that I realized I could handle it and I could recover. Now, this is very different than saying to someone who’s never done any deadlifts just go push and
Courtney Townley 1:05:36
deadlift. Yeah, well, the 500 pounds, right? No, no, no, you’re
Irene Lyon 1:05:39
gonna actually have some discernment here. But when it comes to the nervous system work, sometimes you do need to push it a little bit to see the capacity. And if I think about my husband, Seth, who I talk about a lot, and we do interviews together when I met him, he hated extra hate, like, despised it. He thought I was he thought I was mentally ill because of how much I liked to move. Yes. And Courtney, he was like, you have an addiction problem. I’m like, No, I don’t. Yeah.
Irene Lyon 1:06:12
Now, he’s shifted to the point where he can take himself into our little gym, and do a workout and do all the things I would have his own free will. And he knows how to push his intensity. But he had to build up to that by having a trainer by me literally pulling him out of the house. Like he was a five year old. Yeah, let’s go for a walk. Yeah. And so I share that because I had to actually poke him to the point where he he didn’t hate me. Of course not, you know, but he was pissed. Yeah, he was resistant. And that is maybe a game that you might need to play with your own psyche. Maybe you don’t have a partner, but you got like, okay, let’s just let’s just try this. Yeah. So the discomfort has to come, I think in very calculated doses, it shouldn’t be to the point where you’re harming yourself. Yeah. But it is this trial and error, because if you don’t push your capacity will not build. Yeah.
Courtney Townley 1:07:14
I want to share this with you. The other night, I went to, you know, a big Latin dancer, it’s like my soul food, love it. And a friend of mine was teaching sort of in this, we call it Karis Park, it’s this big outdoor park. And she was offering a public class, anybody could come. So I asked my son who’s 13, right? To come with me, and we dance all the time at home. But to watch him in that environment, it’s like he froze. And he was so uncomfortable and angry, like, he didn’t want to be there. And we just I made sure that he didn’t have to partner with anybody else. Like, I was looking for ways to make him feel comfortable. Of course, we danced together. And we kept practicing to the point that he started, he got pushed out of his comfort zone. Yeah. And then on the other side by because I told him, You don’t have ever have to come with me again. But you have to get through this class. Yep. Good for you. And like halfway through the class, he said, I’ll come with you again next month. And he was like, totally moving and grooving by the end of the class. And it was just because I created a container, where I was like, You are safe, you are with me, I’m not going to make you dance with anybody else. But we’re going to stay in this because we committed to it. And then you can make a decision afterwards and to see what blossomed in him in just that 45 minutes was
Irene Lyon 1:08:31
huge. It’s huge. That is a great example, for personal process, but also those who have kids, because I think there’s become this situation where we’re afraid to make our kids a little uncomfortable. Yeah. And it’s actually really important. And I find that it’s just not happening to the degree that it was when you and I were growing up. And so that makes me so happy. Because someone might be saying, Oh, well, he’s following his impulse. And so this is where it gets confusing for some people where they’re like, Well, you say that the kid should learn how to follow their and that the, it’s like, true. Yes. And then this is a social thing. This is this is, this is beyond the first three years of life of nervous system learning, co regulation and self regulation. Because we do need to push a little bit in those contexts because we’re not we just won’t grow and learn, right? And I’ve
Courtney Townley 1:09:27
seen him in private how he behaves. And then to know that we were in a public arena, where all his skateboarder friends go by and he was like in this sort of fishbowl observing I think that’s what freaked him out. Yeah, you know, and so once we just stayed with it, and he got past all of that he had a great time with
Irene Lyon 1:09:46
fun. Yeah, and he’s got a call mom.
Courtney Townley 1:09:49
Oh, well, I don’t know if he thinks so. But
Irene Lyon 1:09:53
go back if you if he didn’t think Mom was cool, but But yeah, that’s that’s such an important story because that that shows us how that discomfort in that mindset and that fear for many people will keep them from pushing the envelope. Yeah. And you know what? Maybe he gets there. He’s like, I hate this.
Courtney Townley 1:10:14
Right. And I was open to that. Yep.
Irene Lyon 1:10:17
Right. And so the difference there, because this is where we get childhood situations where it is abusive, it’s like, no, you have to do this again. Exactly. And so the choice is super important, but it’s just, it’s just like food. It’s like, just try it once. Yep. As opposed to I don’t like that. Well, you haven’t tried it, just try it. Right. And you never know. Right? Or
Courtney Townley 1:10:40
no, You never know. I love it. Okay, so I just want to share with listeners, because we’ve covered a lot here. And you are gearing up to do your next launch of smart body smart mind, which is a 12 week guide. It is guided and self guided. But it’s also that first 12 weeks is guided with you and Seth and your team. Yep. We’ll just share a little bit more about that with listeners sort of the opportunity that that is, yeah, well, it’s called
Irene Lyon 1:11:07
smart body smart mind. It’s been around for quite a while now. This fall this autumn. It’ll be the 14th time we’ve run it amazing. And it is I like to call it more these days, Courtney. It’s a 12 week curriculum. Love it because people get a bit worried that. What if I can’t finish it in 12 weeks? I’m gonna say right now I haven’t met anybody who’s finished it in 12 weeks? Yeah. yourself included, I believe.
Courtney Townley 1:11:35
Yep. And never have access. So you don’t have a timeline.
Irene Lyon 1:11:39
And you can get in. And the reason why I state that is because we need to titrate as we’ve been talking about small doses, baby steps. Someone might say, Well, I mean, if it takes longer than why don’t you just have it be longer? And the thing is, is every one is different. Yeah. And so we would just be chasing this end point. That never happens. Yeah. So we go live in semester for 12 weeks. It’s really in the end close to 16 weeks because there’s extra moderation in our forums from my team.
Irene Lyon 1:12:13
It is a full comprehensive online curriculum that teaches deep education like deep education, the level that I would have gotten in my training my trainings, I call them neurosensory exercises, practical exercises that are a combination of my background and Feldenkrais, somatic experiencing and working with early trauma, developmental trauma. And then there are training calls with me. That happen each week, there are q&a calls with my husband, Seth, who’s also a colleague. And it is, from what I’ve seen, probably the gold standard for online courses for restoring regulation to the nervous system, which then gives you the person the opportunity to work on traumas that are stuck. So we don’t ask you as a participant, what are your traumas to share? Right?
Courtney Townley 1:13:11
Irene Lyon 1:13:12
there’s no none of that, if anything that’s not even talked about, unless you ask a question to us about something specific. It’s it’s really about building capacity, growing education, and learning how to be a master of your body.
Courtney Townley 1:13:29
It’s self healing,
Irene Lyon 1:13:30
it’s self healing. Is it everything a person will need? Probably not. But for some people, it is. Yeah. Like, myself personally, because of all my orthopedic injuries, I got to see some osteopath and Cairo’s and massage people because of all my tissue. But not everybody had that history. And so it’s it. We’ve had people from all walks of life. They’re 20 years old, up to 80 years old, people who have no understanding of their body, they dive in, and they just get addicted to learning about themselves. And it’s really cool. And
Courtney Townley 1:14:11
I want to pause here to say one thing. Yeah. Because, and I think largely credit to due to the work that you’re doing in the world. nervous system health is becoming more of a hot topic, right? And I mean, I look right and left every day and I’m seeing all these programs I think I saw one the other day that was like exercise based like nervous system work. I don’t even know what it was but it just the the advertising and the marketing of it just made me really feel like they just packaged these words over something that has nothing to do with the nervous system. And so I just want to be really clear that the level of nervous system work that you do is so top notch and so much deeper and thorough than 99.9% of the programs that are out there. I always say this. I’m very honest about it. I am an affiliate for your program. I have been through the program multiple times. I have known you and been interviewing you on this show and elsewhere for I think we’re going on like eight years, seven, eight
Irene Lyon 1:15:12
years. I know.
Courtney Townley 1:15:13
I have I’ve so many students who have been through your program. And yeah, I’m just thinking I’ve really big believer in the caliber of what you offer.
Irene Lyon 1:15:22
Thank you, Courtney. And you know that it’s taken me some years to really own that, because at the beginning, I didn’t know right, it was it was an experiment. Sure. I put stuff online, because it was very clear to me in private practice that me being with someone for an hour a week. It was nice. But man, we need way more than that, more than I can give and more than a person can afford. Yeah. Like there was there was the height of my private practice career, I had some clients that had been seeing me for three to four years once a week without fail. Yeah, we have the math, the tuner dollars a pop before tax. And so I will address that, like the cost of smart body smart mine is just under $2,000. Us, it seems like a lot, it is a lot if you can’t afford food. So don’t do this if if you can’t feed yourself. But if you look at it in the grand scheme of what a person would put towards constant therapy constant other things, it really, it doesn’t compare because you you keep doing this over and over again.
Irene Lyon 1:16:31
And then some people ask, well, if it’s effective, why do you have to keep doing it over and over again. And my answer to that is, well, when a baby is born, you don’t just hold them once. To teach them regulation. Yeah, it’s this constant, caring, intending and practicing and being in attuning and teaching and learning. And then eventually, they become a full fledged little person who can handle their own and is regulated. But that takes time. And so if we didn’t have that growing up, and this is where everyone’s different, some people they might need the All they need is a year of the work intensely. And they’re good to go. others because of their severe history of abuse and neglect, and their chronic illnesses, they might be working with this stuff for six, seven years.
Courtney Townley 1:17:20
And we our life is dynamic stuff that’s being thrown at us that we never could have seen coming. So you could be regulated after this year after this round of this program. And then something comes at you next year that completely throws you off kilter. So to have the ability to circle back and embed yourself back into that community, I just think is immense, though we
Irene Lyon 1:17:43
have people who have said if it wasn’t for this, these are older, older alumni who saw what have been your genre? If it wasn’t for this, I would have been a mess the last three years. Yeah. And that just shows how important it is in our current times at least, to have internal regulation and awareness because we can’t predict what’s going to occur in the outside world. And that has nothing to do with world events. It could be you know the death of a loved one a an accident like shit happens mess. Yeah. So many and and how regulated we are unable to listen to our attune to ourselves, will give us the ability to know what steps to take, or when not to take a step. Yeah. So it really we’ve had 1000s of people go through this curriculum from all over the world. And I’m super proud of it. And it’s just it’s, it’s, I think, just supposed to be there and the world right now. And then, of course, if people have questions, we have tons of FAQs on the side and all these things. Yeah, and
Courtney Townley 1:18:50
you have so many free resources. So if someone’s listening to this and wants more information before committing, there are plenty of resources available. And I also just want to make a note to because I know there’s a lot of other coaches and professionals that listen to the Podcast. And that I just feel that it is a responsibility of ours as healers and people who sort of walk alongside people in their healing process to have this level of education. And so many people don’t I mean, so many there are so many wellness professionals that are highly dysregulated themselves because they they don’t understand this work. And then how they are actually teaching people to be well just blows my mind. So I would just invite anyone who is a wellness professional to really consider this not just for your own own healing and improvement, but to really help your clients on such a deeper level.
Irene Lyon 1:19:46
Yeah, it will it will up level and completely change how you work with another human or a group of people. And that’s why I got into this work is when I was doing Feldenkrais work it was so clear that If there was a big piece I was missing, and I was young enough to be okay, accepting that I didn’t know everything. Yeah. Or at least that was always my way. And so they’re there. How do I say this? I think that this this information and this practice, this isn’t a fad. Yeah. It’s like hand washing before surgery was implemented. It’s like, it just has to happen. And when we are working with people, and it doesn’t mean you have to work with trauma. Yeah. Right.
Irene Lyon 1:20:32
It just means you have the on understanding that this could be something that a person is dealing with. Because the amount of people Courtney that get dismissed by certain professionals, when they say I think this might be like from this old thing that happened to me when I was this age, and people will be like, that’s impossible. That happened a long time ago. There are so many people that work with even doctors are like that nurses, like Ah, that was in the past. There’s no way that’s impacting you now. Absolutely false. We know that is not true. And so it is important for us to as professionals, teachers, for instance, to know this stuff, so that we can at least have empathy and respect for a person’s experience.
Courtney Townley 1:21:18
100% I just had a student go through a finance course. And she said one of the big factors that she took into consideration was this person was trauma informed, they weren’t, they understood the nervous system. And she was like, sign me up, you know, because it’s not just for, you know, teachers in the wellness space, but teachers in general if you interact with people,
Irene Lyon 1:21:41
this fit your life. 100% Yeah, I love it. Well,
Courtney Townley 1:21:45
I adore you. I could talk to you all day long. I can’t wait to see what we talked about next time. Yes, yeah. Thanks so much for being here. Irene.
Irene Lyon 1:21:53
Thank you and you’re welcome.
Courtney Townley 1:22:02
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