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Episode 41: Trauma-Aware Yoga with Newtown Instructor Aline Marie

Newtown Yoga Center instructor Aline Marie explains the fundamentals of trauma-aware yoga. We talk about the power of choice, maintaining boundaries, an easy technique to calm your nervous system, and Aline’s remarkable path to becoming a yoga teacher.

Show Notes

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Episode Transcirpt - Click to expand

Miranda: Hello, and welcome to Truth and Consequences, a podcast about trauma and its aftermath. We talk about what happens, what hurts, and what helps us heal. I’m your host, Miranda Pacchiana. I am a writer and personal coach with a master’s in social work and the creator of the website and online platform, The Second Wound.

My guest today is Aline Marie. Aline Marie has been teaching yoga for over 20 years and she is the founder of the Newtown Yoga Center in Newtown, Connecticut. Aline trained at the prestigious Kripalu Institute in upstate New York, and she is here to talk with me today because she specializes in trauma-aware yoga. Aline, welcome.

Aline: Thank you so much for having me.

Miranda: It’s such a pleasure. And this is really fun that you are in my home office with me, with my dogs cuddling up to you.

Aline: Love it.

Miranda: It’s the first in-person podcast interview I’ve done in more than a year.

Aline: Thank you so much. Thank you for the invitation.

Miranda: Yeah. So I will just let my listeners know that I have been hearing about Aline for years, only wonderful things um, about your yoga studio, about what a special person you are and teacher you are. We have many friends in common. So one of my friends, Neil DeYoung, recommended that I interview you a while back. And here I am finally starting the podcast up again.

So I, reached out to Aline last week and told her that I’d heard so many good things about her and asked her to come on the show. And she kindly obliged So first, let’s just throw it out there. What is trauma-aware yoga or trauma-informed yoga, I think is a more common term people hear.

Aline: Yeah. First of all, thank you so much for all the things.

Thank you for your kind words and shout out and thank you to Neil for connecting us. Yes. Thank you. Yeah. Thank you, Neil. So trauma-informed yoga trauma-informed, trauma-aware, trauma-sensitive. It’s, it is basically a choice-based way to experience yoga, asana, yoga poses, yoga practice.

And it’s offered with the understanding that everyone has been through life and stuff. And most of the time when we go through adverse situations, whether it’s, big, like a car accident, big, like a life event, like a divorce or a death or any kind of, abuse, we don’t have a choice.

We didn’t choose it, not consciously. And so with the trauma-aware trauma-informed yoga, the focus on choice is really powerful. The focus on boundaries is really powerful. And you had a chance to take a class with me the other night, which I was so glad we got a chance to do that. So you could see it in action.

A trauma-informed teacher typically is going to stay on their yoga mat. They’re not wandering around there. There’s no touch involved in it. There’s a big honoring of personal boundaries and there is a lot of you could try this and you could try that and see how this feels and a lot of times what I’ll do is I’ll say let’s see if the shoulder says that’s okay if you want to move the arm that way.

Let’s try it out. So there’s a lot of curiosity, experimentation, exploration and that can be terrifying for a lot of people, especially if they’re coming into a practice, being like where do I put my foot and where do I put my hand? And am I doing it right? And are you going to yell at me? Or am I going to get hit?

And that may not be coming out of their mouths, but there could be a lot of internal processing. So that’s a. a big reason why it’s important for the teacher to stay on their mat, as often as possible. That’s also a big reason why consistency is so important.

So I might say, you could put your foot over there and then you put your foot over there. And I say, not like that. I don’t do that, but if I did, I know am negating that invitation and saying yeah, you can do whatever you want, but not like that. And

Miranda: I could see how that could happen in a different kind of class where the teacher with good intentions is really just trying to get you to do the pose in the best possible way that aligns with how it’s designed.

Aline: Totally.

Miranda: But, It can be received very differently.

Aline: And depending on the state of somebody’s nervous system and where they are in terms of level of hyperarousal, comfort, that’s going to also determine how they interpret the cues.

We have different learning styles. So some people are auditory, kinesthetic, visual, combinations thereof. I know for me when I’m a yoga student, I am a terrible listener and if you’re doing your right leg and I’m looking at you, I’m probably doing my left leg cause I’m watching what you’re doing and you might say something and it might not land. I know that about myself. I also with the trauma-sensitive yoga and what I’ve understood over the years and learned from working with folks is I don’t use a lot of flowery language.

I’m not going to tell you to blossom your heart to the sky, although that’s gorgeous. I’m going to say, turn your turn your ribs towards the ceiling. Where’s your, I use a lot of anatomical language. Place your right foot towards the top of the mat. If you can’t figure out the right foot, place a foot up at the top of the mat.

You might have heard me say the other night turn your back toes towards the outside of the mat. So I, right left is helpful, but it’s also, I don’t know who’s got dyslexia. I don’t know who’s not listening. I don’t know who’s in their body, who’s not in their body. So a lot of times using locations or landmarks can be really helpful for spatial awareness.

We had a class this week where one gal was facing the opposite direction and what we were doing. And I was like, don’t worry about it. We’re going to do the other side and we’ll catch up on the way over. So there’s a lot of permissiveness and invitation to be a goofy human.

Miranda: I really felt that when I took your class. And I approached you afterwards to tell you how powerful an experience it was for me, and I honestly didn’t expect that. I don’t know why. I’ve done a lot of yoga at home and different levels. I know a fair amount. And. I think when I go to an in-person class, I tend to assume that people are looking at each other to see how they look in their yoga pants, and are they doing a better job than me, and that maybe the instructor is, again with good intentions, checking to see if you’re doing it right.

I didn’t have any of that experience at your studio, but what I did experience was with a very simple approach, I came away feeling like more in touch with my body and like I’m okay. My body’s okay. I’m not going to do anything wrong. I felt like, and I think it’s going to sound almost trite if you haven’t experienced it, but I felt validated, like just generally.

Aline: That’s gorgeous. It was. And that’s the point. That’s the point I love. Thank you so much for that generous share.

Miranda: Oh, that’s Scout complaining because Aline stopped petting her for one second. Yeah.

Aline: Total honor. Total honor.

Aline: Thank you. That, that is That is, that’s the point of it is to come in and be like, let’s just, it’s hard to be human.

Let’s just be in a body and see what we can do. And I want to speak to also, there is a facet within yoga practice where there is alignment principles and there is

Miranda: Okay, yeah

Aline: There is within functional movement you want to keep the joint safe and you don’t want to overstrain strive or harm your body in any way.

Of course. And that’s, It’s called the trauma sense of yoga. It’s actually a very advanced style of yoga in that you have to be very interoceptive and that’s really what it’s building.

Miranda: I don’t know that word.

Aline: So interoceptive is what’s going on inside of you? Are you hungry? Are you thirsty? Does that hurt? It really plays along with proprioception and proprioception. Where are you in space and time, what’s the texture of the fabric? Proprioception and interoception are really good friends because there is an emotional element to it.

So if I were to have you, I do this in teacher trainings, I’ll have everybody hold up their arm for a really long time and I’ll be like, okay, we’re strong. You can hold up your arm and your body’s aware that the arm is extended and then all of a sudden you start to get agitated. You’re like, man, when can I put my arm down? And it’s nope, you got it. Wait. And so all of a sudden now there’s a frustration and an impatience and maybe anger might come up that you’ve got to hold your arm out.

And so that’s where proprioception and interoception lay side by side. Interoception might be like, wow, this is making me uncomfortable. How do I feel about that? And that’s another facet to the interoception. The trauma-informed yoga is that tightness is muscular. It’s habitual. It’s how you get in the car.

It’s how you sit. Tension is emotional. Tension is chronic tightness held over time and it’s a very highly developed trauma response. It is ancestral. If you have to run from saber to tigers all day long, your muscle tone is going to stay. In that type of place. Scout, you want a little belly rub? I know.

Miranda: She will live if you take a break.

Aline: That’s okay. This is a very high compliment that she wants, some love and to be a part of the conversation.

Miranda: Scout is a trauma survivor herself. We adopted her at three months and she, she had been picked up by animal control. The picture on Pet Finder was of her perched looking behind the shoulder of a person wearing an animal control red jacket. And apparently, I probably shouldn’t tell a sad story, but she had a hard time. And like the neighbor next door asked if her owner would like some relief from the dog and like them to take her to the pound. And they did. And so I think there were 150 applications for her. And I called up the place and talked them into letting my daughter adopt Scoutie. And that was 2012. Sorry, it was, I think it was early 2012. And then the tragedy happened within that year and she became a little therapy support dog.

Aline: Wow. Talk about timing.

Miranda: So she probably felt the trauma of the tragedy as well.

Aline: Oh, absolutely. Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. These guys are dialed. They’re dialed in.

Miranda: Absolutely. Yeah. She was a real comfort. Yeah, she still is. She’s our baby.

Aline: She hit the jackpot. 150 people. You got these guys. So lucky.

Miranda: So let’s go back to what we were talking about, so many of us, especially who grew up in homes where we felt unsafe, where we had trauma tend to have that hypervigilance that we carry around with us. And, many people like myself didn’t realize for years that I was armoring myself up by tensing my body all day, every day. And of course, that’s an area where yoga can be very valid, very helpful. But also I’m thinking about this idea of interoception, is that what it’s called? That, especially when you dissociate as a coping mechanism, as many of us do, and it can be a very effective and helpful coping mechanism when you need it, you lose touch with that voice that says, I feel this. I feel that I am hungry. I need a rest. It’s hard to listen to that voice and to honor it and feel like you, like your voice and your needs are worthy of honoring.

Aline I love that you brought that up. And that ties in again with the trauma-sensitive yoga and also the proprioceptive interoceptive component.

A lot of times you’ll hear me say in practice notice the texture of your yoga mat underneath your hands. And you might hear the sounds of the building and you might be thinking about what you had for lunch earlier or what you’re about to have for lunch. And so I try to tie in what’s happening right now that could be felt or seen or heard to get folks to come in. I watch folks dissociate every single day.

Miranda: Really?

Aline: Oh my gosh, totally.

Miranda: How can you tell?

Aline: A lot of times, I can tell when they’re like, they’re not in their bodies. Mind wandering. I can see…Oh my goodness. Come on over. Come on over. Come snuggle buggle. You coming over? Yeah. I’ll see, not following along with the cues when maybe I’ve worked with them before and I know that they can follow along with cues.

I’m very fortunate at the center, I work with a lot of the same people. I’ve worked with a lot of the same folks for years. And so I know their stories. I’ve seen them in action. I know what’s going on. It’s very unusual. It’s a gift to be able to have that kind of relationship and to say, okay, like this person is off today, and with practicing yoga for a long time and I want to speak to also what you said about the hypersensitivity when you grew up in an environment that’s challenging.

And it’s very skillful to be aware of everything. And you have to be able to see through walls to see what’s coming next so that you can survive. It’s, it is the brain and the nervous systems very wise way to adapt and survive. Yes. So it, it can be a liability or it can be an asset depending on the skill sets that we have.

And a lot of us didn’t get a lot of skill sets to deal with this stuff. And we have a lot of generational trauma that’s been passed down and nervous systems that have been passed down. So when folks walk through the door, I don’t know their histories. and it’s not my place to ask. All I know is that let’s just be here together. And how can we feel safe and how can we be in the body and how can the body be not a bad time?

Miranda: Yeah. And I’m remembering when you said those things in the class when you would say, pay attention to the texture of your mat and listen to, it was cute. You called it a water feature. There’s a sump pump because your studio has dealt with some floods. It actually was a very nice little trickling babbling brick sound.

Aline: It’s the flush that gets me.

Miranda: Oh yeah. I don’t mind that. But I do remember feeling how powerfully that worked. Again, it’s so simple that it was mind-blowing to me to feel really powerful effects of that class when, again, your interventions were so simple. But I think that we go through life not staying centered, not feeling, how things feel on our fingers and what our chair feels like, just redirecting our attention that way can be so soothing to the nervous system.

Aline: Absolutely. And I feel like at this time in history, we’re mammals we’re animals that happen to have opposable thumbs, and maybe a very functioning prefrontal cortex, I hope.

Yeah, hopefully most of the, most cases. And look at how multifaceted, you could be talking to seven different people at the same time while you’re doing six different things on these smart devices and our nervous systems are being taxed in a way that I don’t know if they ever have been.

In addition to being privy to information that may or may not be our business. And some of it is really important because we get called to different causes and supporting different things and wanting to have empathy for what’s going on in the world.

Miranda: And I think we don’t get nearly enough of what probably years of evolution have adapted us to, which is needing the peace and quiet of being outside and just settings that are more natural.

People might not like nature, but I think that our environments are so sort of artificial now that that probably contributes to our nervous system as well.

Aline: It’s very interesting. And then I’ve been watching this kind of, it seems slow, but it’s actually very fast. This evolution of the AI and the VR goggles.

And I’m a little bit like, I don’t know how I feel about this. And again, like with all that stuff, it could be used for good or it could be used for not good. But to go back to the nervous system and keeping things really simple, life is really complicated. Our lives are very complicated. They’re so dynamic. The stories that we have, the stories that we have with other people it’s a lot to process and figure out where to put it. And so if we can take, I call it a little yoga staycation, if we could just be in sense and touch and sound. And that’s really nourishing for, for the nervous system and also for the psyche to take a break from everybody else’s nervous systems and stories.

Miranda: Yes. Yeah. And how does it work with someone who has severe trauma or recent trauma and they come into your class?

Aline: It depends on there’s big T trauma, little T trauma, right? And so it depends on how I’m going to use the word fresh, how recent it is what kind of support systems they have.

So there’s a lot outside of the classroom that plays a role in it. When they come in and I might say, let’s do a private session before we get you into a group class and sometimes just finding out their story, what’s going on, how is this showing up in the body, what exactly are you here for yoga, like how do you think yoga can support you, is usually the information I like to get ahead of time and then decide which class might be appropriate for that.

And, Oh, my love.

Miranda: I told you she’s relentless.

Aline: I love this. My dog only likes to snuggle on his terms. So yeah. And only with food. He likes to be bribed for snuggles. So this is great. So

Miranda: You think about which class might be most appropriate.

Aline: So some people need to, I call it burning off the crazy. Some people need, and especially if they have an athletic background or they’re familiar with yoga movements or the practice, they might need a stronger practice than to burn off that extra energy if they’re dealing with high stress.

Other people might need the total opposite. Like the class that you were in, luxury stretch. Those are people that deal with high stress all day long. And that is the last thing that they need. Their nervous systems need a big waterfall of just down regulation, and oh my gosh. Thank you. We’re snuggling. Oh my gosh. I love this. You can probably edit the kisses or not. Yeah this is just great. So they, the practice needs to be tempered to their nervous system, to their athletic ability, to if they have any previous injuries or current injuries that they’re working through. I have a lot of cancer survivors at the studio, which is really incredible. really. Knock on wood, we have not lost anybody and my survivors are thriving. They’re doing great. Their nervous systems are healing. Yeah, it’s a big deal. It’s a big deal. Because that’s another trauma of especially with cancer survivors, the, feedback that I’ve gotten is they feel like their bodies have betrayed them. And I’m like, I’ve done all the things right, and why did I get this?

Miranda: Again, you feel out of control. I controlled all the variables that I could. And this still just came and happened to me.

Aline: Exactly. I love that you brought that up and said the word control. So that mindfulness practice, which is what that proprioceptive noticing that is another way to bring control back is that, Oh, I can choose if I want to listen to the sump pump or if I prefer to notice the texture of my yoga mat under my hands. So we learn how to redirect basically the vestibular system, eyes, ears, where you are in space and time. And we get to redirect what you want to place attention and energy on.

And then that translates into, that conversation really bothered me. I’m not going to carry it. I’m actually going to go out and go put my feet in the grass and I’m going to feel the grass on my feet and take a break from it. So we get to, slowly over time, choose, that focus and that is a sense of control.

Absolutely. You know, But it takes a while. It’s the yoga practice, mindfulness practice, it’s cumulative. It takes a while to build those neural pathways and have that become more of a pattern and a way of living versus like just reacting and being sucked into, I’m gonna call it contrast, when we go through tough things or other people’s things.

Miranda: And the choice that you continually offer in the class, you can do this, you can do that. You can do whatever feels right to you, do what feels comfortable to you. And I kept listening to that and it was fun because you brought a lot of props in that day. So we had bolsters, we had our legs up on bolsters and blankets and again, there was something about that that felt like, you know, your needs and your opinions matter and you get to make this decision. We’re not going to tell you what to do.

Aline: Yeah. Thank you for that. I love that you got that from that. Yeah. Yeah. That’s a big deal because how many times do people get bullied in life? Bosses, family members, just even bullied, I know the social media thing is huge right now with kids being bullied online, social constructs, you have to do this, you have to wear this, you have to drive this.Yeah, to be able to be like, no, I get to choose. Yeah. Yeah. That’s a big deal.

Miranda: And there’s no right or wrong.

Aline: Yeah. You can’t you can’t be wrong. Yeah.

Miranda: That’s awesome. So what other types of populations do you specialize in or do you work with?

Aline: I mean I work with humanity in all of its facets. Anybody that walks through the door. And I, I teach mainstream classes, just regular everyday folks. And then I do a lot of with private sessions and in certain classes, especially with teacher trainings as well, I do specialized work. Like I have a gal I’ve been working with, this incredible woman cancer survivor, significant other passed away from Alzheimer’s um, chronic bone injuries, and we’ve been working on strength, inner strength. We’ve been working on adaptive yoga practices so that they can stay strong and throw the garbage out. We’ve been working on mindfulness practices to just feel at ease in their body. And I try to teach everybody little things that they can take into outside life.

So that you don’t have to go to the studio at a particular time and spend an hour and do the things you could be in the car and you notice that you’re starting to get tense and maybe a panic attack might be starting to come up and you can feel the warning signs. And now, okay, let’s pull over and let’s go take a couple breaths. And so it’s like things like that.

Miranda: Noticing, breathing.

Aline: Yeah, the breath work. Um, Yeah. I do a lot of functional movements of with this particular person, taking out the garbage was really hard. They were in a lot of chronic pain. So we worked on the muscle systems. We worked on strengthening the muscle systems to build up the core strength so that they could stand upright. And we worked on the arm strength so that they could carry the bag of garbage so that they could throw their garbage out. That’s huge.

Miranda: It’s like a metaphor, too.

Aline: Yeah. Oh, totally.

Miranda: Working on core strength and having strong arms and chucking the garbage.

Aline: And the confidence and the courage that comes from that. And then all of a sudden when they shared that with me, they’re like, I threw the garbage out and I wasn’t in pain. And I was like, oh my God, that’s amazing.

Miranda: Huge milestone.

Aline: We high-fived. It was, yeah, it is a milestone because it’s independence, it’s autonomy.

Miranda So Aline, how did you get into yoga?

So I have a quirky entry to yoga story. When I was in college, I took yoga as an elective and I didn’t understand any of it. I thought it was just like fancy stretching and I was out the day they taught sun salutations, which is like a particular sequence.

And so we had a yoga test and it was like me and 70 people because it was college, because it

Miranda: It was a course.

Aline: I didn’t get it. I was like, I don’t know, 19 or not even 20. And they had all of us in a row doing these movements and I just started doing whatever yoga poses I could remember from the class and they stopped. They’re like, what are you doing? And I was like, I don’t know. I’m just doing whatever you taught me. And they’re like, you’re supposed to do it in a sequence. And I was like, I don’t know how to do this in a sequence. And they passed me because I showed up. It was really like, it was a little goofy.

Miranda: That is a funny origin story. It’s an anti-origin story.

Aline: I just I had no idea what I was doing and it was the late nineties. So it was really, it was just whatever it was. And then the real yoga came to me with a trauma story and a tough story to tell. I’m probably going to Cliff Note it because it’s

Miranda: Or you can skip it. Either one. It’s up to you.

Aline So let me just, oh my gosh, thanks. You can tell.

Miranda: Yeah.

Miranda: She was like, I think she needs to be closer right now.

Aline: I think you can tell there’s a little stress here. Thank you so much, Ms. Scout. The best way that I can offer this is that I was in a very difficult place. I had no support I, I had no support and there was a lot of stigma around any kind of mental health challenges. And. I was at a place where I was so ostracized from everybody around me.

And again, I’m going to Cliff Note this because I just can’t get into the details of the story. But I didn’t want to continue on. So I was in a dark place. There was no support. There was no reason to go on. And I think, yeah, it was just, the circumstances at the time and I was what you could call luxury homeless I had been working at a restaurant so I had food. I didn’t have a place to live. I had a pickup truck with a cap on the back and so I mobilized. I put blankets in there and was living in the back of my pickup truck, sleeping in hospital parking lots and

Miranda: Oh, even in cold weather?

Aline: No, thankfully it was the summer. So like I said I had a luxury homeless experience.

Miranda: It’s not that luxurious but I get your comparison. Yeah, it was it was so good. It was definitely an experience and when I had some money, I had bought a gym membership. So I had a place to shower, I could eat at the restaurant and I was sleeping in my pickup truck at night.

Aline: And I was just ostracized. There was no support. Nobody understood what I was going through and nobody reached out to help. At all. In fact, yeah, it was a pretty, it was pretty awful. And so I had 10 bucks in my pocket and I could have gotten gas. I could have gotten a sandwich.

I was like, okay, this is my last day on earth. I, what can I do with this 10 bucks? And as I was driving from New Milford from the hospital parking lot down Route Seven, there was a yoga studio in Brookfield called Yoga Space. And I had driven past it a ton of times. Like I knew yoga was supposed to be good for you, but I was like, my college experience, I was like, I don’t get it. And so I drove into the studio parking lot and I said, my goodness if this is my last day on earth and I’m going to go back to God at least I’m going to take a yoga class and be like, I tried. So I went up to the door and it was closed.

So I waited in the parking lot until they opened and I handed over my 10 bucks. And I was like, I don’t know why I’m here, but like I’d like to try a class soon. And so the teacher was just, I don’t think her feet even touched the floor. Like she was just magical. She was just this gracious, incredible human being.

And I had no idea what I was doing. They had a yoga mat so I could borrow a yoga mat and I just blindly followed along. And when we got to the laying down part, she put her hands, on my ankles and my feet. And just, there was a benevolence and a grace that flowed through her hands and I just burst into tears and I ugly cried.

Like hysterical, like heaving, sobbing, crying, like I couldn’t control it. You can imagine the amount of stress that my, my little 20-something-year-old self was experiencing and then releasing. Yeah. And then releasing it. And the only other time I had felt touched, that loving and that safe was, I have a grandmother that passed and that particular grandmother, like she would rub my back and just put her hands on me and hug me. And there was just this outrageous, quiet love that would come through that was just understood, but I didn’t get it from a lot of places, When that teacher put their hands on my feet, my ankles I felt that same level of love that my grandmother had embodied.

And I was like, okay, got through the class. Thank you so much. Sat in my truck and I was like, okay, now what do you do now? What? I think I, It was the summertime, thankfully. It was my day off, so I just went to a park and hung out in a park and then for the night. I couldn’t remember all the things that we did. The only thing that I could remember was down dogs and lunges. So I had a towel and I just went to the parks and I just did down dogs and lunges over and over again until that better feeling came back in.

And that went on for a couple of weeks. And then one of my clients at the restaurant who I had been waiting on for like years and knew me fairly well. And they were like, Hey, we’re going away. Can you house it and watch our dogs? And I was like, yes, I can house dogs. Yeah. House and dogs. Yeah, absolutely.

And I was aware of the dog. So I had a house to stay in for a week. And then one of the gals at the restaurant had a roommate leave and was like, Hey, where are you living? And I was like, my truck. And she was like, no this person just moved out.

I’ve got a space to rent my house. Do you want to come stay there? And I was like, great. That would be awesome. And any spare money that I got, I went and took a yoga class because I was like, this did something. This helped in some way. Yeah.

And this is gonna sound a little heavy, but for a while it was, I’ll kill myself tomorrow. We’re just gonna get through today and there was a sense of control. Yes. That was really powerful, knowing that I couldn’t control anything. There was no love, there was no support. But if I wanted to leave like the big capital L leave, I could and that I clung to that. And I know that probably sounds sick, but like that was not at all, it was really understandable. It was really important and I’m grateful that I didn’t act on it. Me too. And I’m grateful that the yoga practice came in because what it was doing was, and I didn’t know it at the time it was rewiring my central nervous system and it was teaching me.

And I know this now, stress that you choose prepares your nervous system for stress that you don’t choose. And the yoga asana, and I was going to some of the more athletic style classes, gave me not only the muscular strength, but it gave my nervous system the strength to handle things that were uncomfortable.

And then also gave me the other side of that was, and then here’s how you come down off of the stress. Here’s how you take your nervous system down and here’s how you feel safe in your body. And here’s how you calm and relax, which I didn’t have the skill set for. I couldn’t articulate that at the time, but that’s what it was doing to my nervous system.

And it was also through the movements and strengthening my vestibular system. It was giving me more access to the front of my brain. So as I turned down the volume on my amygdala, which is fight, flight, freak out, and then turned on, Oh, let’s, maybe there’s a different way to look at this. Maybe there’s a different thought.

Maybe we can make a different choice. Maybe we can see this from a different lens or a different perspective. It gave me also the ability over time. It strengthened my ability to speak about what was going on because I really didn’t talk about feelings, didn’t talk about what was happening for me.

I just have a friend that uses the expression push pack, push pack.

Miranda: Yeah. Adam and I quote there’s some line from the Simpsons where they say like, just put it down down, down until you’re almost standing on it.

Aline: Yeah, exactly.

Miranda: It doesn’t work in the long term.

Aline: Yeah. And until you have the skill sets for it, right? It’s the only survival tool that you have. And so I was pretty much mute other than talking for my job and I have an art background and I had gone to school for art. And so with the yoga, all of a sudden the art became a voice and I started painting these images of how I felt on the inside. I couldn’t put it into words, but I could put it in color. And then the yoga studio that I was going to, they were like, do you want to have an art show? And I was like, Oh my God. Yeah, totally. And the restaurant I worked at the owner’s mother saw my art and she was like, do you want to put your art on the walls? And I was like, Oh my God.

And then I started selling the art, which were these ladies in these yoga poses with all these vibrant colors. And then I started painting yoga mats because I needed to have my yoga mat became this really sacred space. And I needed a visual prayer of what my heart was working on. And then I started painting yoga mats and there’s over 600 of them all over the world and that became a whole thing. And so the yoga, it was a last-ditch resort.

Miranda: It’s really an incredible story.

Aline: It was wild. I didn’t start teaching. I ended up teaching at a restaurant in Westchester County in Croton Falls.

And I had made it up to bartending and it was a beautiful restaurant. And one of the patrons that came on Thursday night was the human resources director for an alternative school outside in New York City. It was the Hawthorne Cedar Knoll School, which was a residential rehabilitation center for kids that had just been through outrageous situations.

And she knew my yoga story and was like, do you think you can help the kids? And I was like, I’m not a teacher. I don’t know. And so she, by the grace of goodness was like, let’s just try it out and see if it helps. So she set me up with six girls, a 200-pound guard in the room, got me yoga mats, so I had a big purple bag of yoga mats. I had a boom box and I had bought blankets and I just taught whatever yoga poses I could teach them. And then I had them wrap themselves in blankets and I sang them Sarah McLachlan songs.

Miranda: That sounds pretty moving.

Aline: It was really cool. And these girls had been through it. They were fierce and they just, I looked up and they’re snuggling in the blankets and they got up and they were like, That was awesome. So I started with these six girls twice a week and then that took off and then they had me working. They had two different high schools, one for kids with really severe behavioral issues and like criminal records.

And they had another high school for kids that were really severely traumatized. And they were all traumatized. These were very traumatized kids that also had maybe learning challenges and they were medicated. And so then I was working with both high schools, then they had me working with the boys, then they opened up an elementary school, they made me work with elementary school kids, then they had me doing after school stuff with they were seeing real effects.

Miranda: They were seeing, real effects.

Aline: The kids were having behavioral shifts. Then I started working with the teachers after school, and the teachers were like, we can’t wait for Tuesdays. It was, because the teachers were traumatized from what was happening with the kids.

There was a lot of violence. And Dr. Christine Casey, I want to make sure I name her, like that woman gave me the gift of a lifetime and she radically changed my entire path. So then the restaurant that I had been working at ended up getting bought, sold and bought and I was like, you know what? I think we’re done here and I went into being a I was a yoga teacher full time and then I was also working as a full-time illustrator and artist.

Miranda: Impressive.

Aline: And yeah. Totally. And I’ve always fallen back on the restaurant industry. Big love in my heart for it. And I learned a lot along the way from interacting with people, then using the yoga in that arena as well.

Miranda: Yeah. It’s a story of you opening up. That one day it’s like everything was tamped down or corked up and you chose to open it up. And then all of these people saw you and saw your gifts and your talents and kept saying, we want that.

Aline: Yeah. Yeah. That was terrifying.

Miranda: Oh, I can only imagine.

Aline: That was, That was really scary.

Miranda: It had to be. Yeah. And. things that terrify us, that leave us open and vulnerable are how we grow and make connections that matter. Yeah.

Aline: And being able to recognize those connections that matter and everything becoming more enriched and and then the practice gave my nervous system that space to say wow. What did I learn? What did I get from this? How can I help this person? And then that altruism, just naturally, that empathy naturally comes out. It’s it’s been quite the journey.

Miranda: It’s a really beautiful story. I did not expect such a profound journey that you shared with us. Thank you.

Aline: Thank you for asking. Thank you for listening.

Miranda: And it’s a beautiful illustration of the power of yoga and art and expression and I don’t take for granted what you said about how scary it is to try and figure out who to go to when you’re given those invitations and you have a history that tells you not to trust. And maybe it’s hard to know what your intuition is telling you, right? Yeah.

Aline: I love that you brought that up because it is hard to tell, like what’s intuition, what’s fear, what’s the nervous system’s wisdom, what’s a trauma response, what’s hypervigilance versus like pure intuition. That’s a tough journey to figure that out. Yeah.

Miranda: Absolutely. Yeah. Some days you get that feeling of like, is the universe telling me that this is a dangerous choice or am I just scared? Yes.

Aline: Yeah. And then how do you discern it?

Miranda: I don’t know. Practice. And there’s no guarantee either. There’s no guarantee. But I think what we do is we pay attention to the signs that it’s fear.

Aline: Yeah. Yeah. I like to look to the body for that for you. Like, how does that show up for you? Like, how do you discern like what is cause fear feels different for each of us. We all have different, our body holds it differently. What does that look like for you?

Miranda: More in the past few years, it’s very physical and I think, I’m in my mid-fifties, my body’s changing and I feel like in some ways the old hypervigilance has returned in a new form, even though I don’t feel hypervigilant, like I don’t see the world the way I used to, I’m, I have so much more strength and confidence, but my body can sometimes go into that mode.

And yeah, and sometimes I have those moments.

I remember one night my husband used to play in a hockey league and the games would start at 10 p.m. And he loved it so much. He ended up phasing it out during the pandemic when he couldn’t go. But he does other stuff now, but he loved it so much that he would go in scary weather sometimes. And so we would have discussions like, is it worth it if it’s icy outside and, he would try to balance his desire to go. And I just remember one night I felt really scared and I was like, what if this is the last time I ever see him. And I’m having this fear because I am an intuitive person.

I have many times had dreams that, were very specific that ended up coming true and a lot of things like that. So it really scared me and we talked it through and we realized it wasn’t too dangerous to drive and he was fine. But, I think we all know that feeling.

Aline: Yeah, absolutely. And that’s, it’s fear and it’s also outrageous love. I love this person so much. I can’t imagine them not being here.

Miranda: Yeah, there’s that. That’s a big one.

Aline: Yeah, absolutely. And that brings up, old stuff. This is my safe person. How do I keep them safe? How do I keep them precious? And then that clinging comes in and that, yeah. Yeah. And it is hard to discern that. Yeah. And I appreciate that you brought up like the body change. I’m 46. I’m in the beginning of what I understand is perimenopause. So I’m like, Oh wow, chemically things are happening differently and it absolutely affects the nervous system and it affects cognition and it affects how we process things and it’s very real.

Miranda: Yeah. And it occurred to me after I had my initial discussion with you on the phone before we set up our interview. I took a beat and I was like, I think I need this because the journey to dealing with the trauma is never-ending, but also just as you pointed out, we’ve all been through stuff. We all deal with a lot of stressors. Probably everybody could use this, but it does also fit with what I’ve been experiencing lately.

Aline: Uh, You mean the, just the body changes and…

Miranda: Yeah, more aware of how my body will go into the autonomic nervous system response just because I have a little bit of stress about something that I’m not even that concerned about.

Aline: Yeah. And then you have the years and the maturity and the cognitive maturity to say Oh wow, I’m noticing this.

Miranda: Yeah. True.

Which is Oh no, I wish I didn’t know.

Miranda: But I think it would be a great tool in my toolkit. And it occurs to me to just ask you for those people who like the idea of doing trauma-informed yoga, but maybe feel nervous about it and don’t know where to go if they’re not in Newtown, in which case they can come to your studio and I highly recommend it. What would you say to them about where to go, like, what’s the first step?

Aline: Like how to find a practitioner in your area that is aware of it.

Miranda: And maybe to overcome the anxiety about it.

Aline: That’s huge. That’s huge. Let me take a pause on that and feel into some words on that. Cause I do hear that often, like, where do you start? Where do you start? Where do you go? There’s not a lot of trauma specific, trauma informed yoga studios. They do exist, but they don’t always label it.

If you are going to, consider going to a class in your area, I would reach out to the studio or reach out to the teacher and say, Hey, you don’t have to get into your story, but you can say, Hey, you know, I have a lot of high stress in my life. I’ve never done yoga before. I don’t know where to start. Can you give me some guidance? I need somebody who maybe has like a softer approach. I get a lot of emails like that. If I’ve never done yoga before, I have no idea what I’m doing. I have a lot of stress. What do I do? And I’ll offer, it depends on your financials and I’m usually work with folks with a sliding scale. If somebody can’t afford it, I don’t want that to, yeah, I don’t want that to stop them. Um,

Miranda: Well, you know from experience with your 10 dollars.

Aline: Yeah, yeah, and thank goodness yoga was that cheap back then, you know? So, I find out okay, if this is usually what I charge, what can you swing? Yeah. Let’s do a one-to-one, let’s talk about what’s going on. Let’s see, what class is best, or I can, most studio owners or managers will say, okay, this person might have a softer approach. They might know the groups that collect or the people that normally go to that class and say, okay, maybe start out with a gentle practice or start out with a slow practice.

One of the hardest things for people, and this is the difference between the trauma-sensitive and the mainstream yoga is the touch factor in mainstream guru-style yoga, the teacher can touch you and do whatever they want. And they can just suggest you and there is this Oh, you get to just touch me without my permission.

That’s never sat right with me. I mean, I think it’s really important to have a voice, especially generationally, you do what you’re told,

Miranda: What are you going to do? Speak up in the middle of a class and say, I’d rather you not touch me? That would take a lot of guts.

Aline: It takes a lot of guts. And then how’s the teacher going to react? Are they going to ostracize you? Or if you are nervous about disappointing other people? Oh my God, they’re going to hate me and now they’re going to treat me weird. So there’s a lot of layers to that and I think a little bit of the prep work ahead of time, even just with an email of hey, can I talk to this person ahead of time? Look, I’d appreciate it if you didn’t touch me or I’m just going to park in the corner and hang out here. If I cry, just let me cry, you know, but it’s hard to find that voice. And sometimes email can be a better way to do that. I’d say don’t get into big story. Just say, hey, I’m dealing with some high stress. I’ve got some situations happening. I need a teacher with a softer approach.

Miranda: And maybe some people would even invite the touch.

Aline: Exactly. Yeah. It might be really beneficial,

Miranda: But I think also when you do that, when you reach out, then listen to how it feels when they respond, because if they don’t really seem that responsive,  they’re not that sensitive, then maybe you move on to a different studio and reach out to them and try again.

Aline: Exactly. It might take a little while to find the right fit and the right person. Yeah. And I I haven’t done it in a while. Because I, I have an intro class at the studio, but it’s always people that they keep taking the intro class over and over again.

Miranda: That’s funny.

Aline: I’m like, you guys, this is an intro. They’re like, yeah, but we love it. We love the group and that’s great.

Miranda: They’re exercising choice.

It’s wonderful. And I love them. And when new people do come in, they make them feel very welcomed, which is gorgeous. Oh, wonderful. Years ago when I used to teach Intro to Yoga and I would have a fresh group of people, we would actually practice saying, no.

Oh my gosh. So I would, so I would talk with them and I’d say, okay, we’re going to just do a little mock set up here. And I want you guys to know that you don’t have to be touched by anybody. And if a yoga teacher comes up to touch you and you don’t want them to be touched, you can say no. And if they get mad, that’s on them.

So I would go up and I’d. I’d say, okay, who wants to practice? And they’d be like, I’ll practice. It’s okay. Okay. I’m going to say, okay, Jane I’m going to come up to you and say, hey, can I give you an assist in this pose? And Jane, you’re going to say no. And then we’re going to watch what happens and they’ll say, okay, hi, can I give you an assist?

And they’ll say no, thank you. And I’ll be like, okay. And I just walk away and they’re like, oh, cool. And so the whole group got a chance to see what that looks like in that modeling of, yeah, you can say no, and I’m not going to be mad at you. And it’s totally cool. And I’m actually going to respect you for voicing that.

Miranda: And then you can carry that out into the world. And even when people don’t respond well, which, like you said, that’s about them. It won’t feel great, but you can get through it and you can do it again because there’s so much pressure, especially on women to conform and be polite and be nice. And we get a lot of pushback when we push through the conformity and say, this doesn’t feel right.

And as a mother of daughters, I love this idea. I try to impart that to them too. So one question that keeps coming to my mind is, how has it been for you working as a yoga teacher in Newtown? Also, I’m curious to know if you grew up here, what your history is with Newtown, and I know that you lived here and were a yoga teacher through our tragedy in 2012, the school shooting at Sandy Hook. So talk to us about that a little bit, if you don’t mind.

Aline: Yeah. I just, all the questions you just asked just went right out of my head. So what was the…

Miranda: First of all, here’s a simple one. Did you grow up in Newtown?

Aline: Did I grow up in Newtown?

Miranda: How long have you been here?

Aline: Yeah. So I’ve had a foot in Newtown probably for over 20 years. I grew up in Danbury and I grew up in the Stanley rough area.

Miranda: Okay. So just for people who don’t live in the area, that’s the small city that’s about 25 minutes from here where you go to big box stores and car dealers and things like that.

Aline: It’s a very old city with a lot of history. I guess there was, I guess there was like the revolutionary war. They went through that. I don’t know. Yeah. I’m terrible at remembering that.

Miranda: There used to be hat factories

Aline: Hat factories and stuff. Yeah. It’s it used to be a very close-knit city and it’s gotten very big. And so it was very dynamic. So I grew up in Danbury. I grew up in a little suburb and I probably from the time I was in my early twenties, I became like kind of transient.

And so I’ve lived in San Francisco, I’ve lived in Southern California, I’ve lived in Arizona, I’ve moved in all different cities in Connecticut and I had friends in Newtown. So I always used to hang out in Newtown and still have those same good friends from when I was in my teens.

And then my mom moved to Newtown. She moved there with my stepdad in the early 2000s, I think. And so I always had a foot there with her. She lived there for, I think, eight or nine years. And then I’ve lived in Newtown a few different times. I lived in Sandy Hook for a little while. When the tragedy happened, I was living in New Fairfield.

And at the time I was teaching at five different studios two in New York. Three in Connecticut and I was doing private sessions and I had been teaching at a studio in Newtown and the tragedy hit and I pulled myself out of all these other locations and I was, I drove 32, 000 miles in under 10 months.

Yeah. It was insane because when Sandy Hook happened, like I, how can I help? What can I do? I just, and I’m like, as I even just saying it, it’s I can see my nervous system floods.

Miranda: I get the same way.

Aline: Yeah. It was it was a lot and I wouldn’t have made any other different choices. I was honored to be asked to help in any capacity. I worked with some of the parents that lost their children. I worked with the teachers that lost their co-workers and their students, their peers. I worked with so many of the community members, some of the first responders, and what was interesting.

Oh, Miss Scout, you coming back up? Are you coming up?

Miranda: She said, you seem sad for a minute.

Aline: Yeah. Thank you for noticing. Yeah. Look at that jump. So prior to Sandy Hook, I had moved out to Antonidas, California in 2008 and I ended up going to massage therapy school in Southern California, a phenomenal school.

And this is, it’s a tangent, but it’s, it’ll circle back. It was like Hogwarts School of Massage Therapy. We built bodies out of clay, every facet of learning about the anatomy, and even though I had been teaching yoga prior to being out there, it was my first time really falling in love with the miraculous nature of the body and I ended up finding a modality called Thai yoga massage, clothes on motion squish stretching yoga on the mat.

And it was just literally falling in love with people’s bodies just souls and spirits and I was like, this is gorgeous. So I went to this massage therapy school. I got all these beautiful skill sets. I healed my body healed. I learned a lot about traditional Chinese medicine and came back to Connecticut with all of these incredible healing modalities and toolsets.

I moved back here July of 2011. And then a year later, Sandy Hook happened and I had the skill sets to help. I had an understanding of what was going on metabolically and anatomically in the body, which there was a group of teachers that I worked with they had been in the school. It was a very close-knit group of teachers. They were incredible. And we did trauma-informed restorative yoga workshop. I think it was like a three-week or a three-day workshop. I don’t remember the format of it, but we met a number of times together and I busted out the skeleton and I was like, here’s your first response to stress and here’s what happens metabolically, and here’s what happens cognitively when you go through big T trauma.

And they were like, thank you for explaining this. And I was like, okay, well here’s what it’s doing. to you from a muscular standpoint. And then here’s some skill sets of how to address the muscles. So we went to the trauma through the anatomy. Here’s how you release your psoas muscle, right? And the psoas muscle connects through tendons to the bottom of the diaphragm.

If the psoas gets tight, it’s going to pull on the bottom of the diaphragm and constrict breathing. And then anxiety goes up because now you have less oxygen. And when anxiety goes up, the amygdala gets stimulated. And then the amygdala overrides the prefrontal cortex, which tells you like, Oh, there’s not a tiger.

We’re not. But it starts from that muscular standpoint and it’s the autonomic nervous system saying we’re not safe. Pull it all in get ready to run and then that becomes your baseline.

Miranda: What a gift that you were able to give them practical ways that they could reverse that process.

Aline: It was a privilege, it was an honor and it was for me, like I learned it. Yeah. And I was like, this is healing. This is incredible. All you gotta do is lay on the floor, put your legs over an ottoman, and then put your hands in your belly and breathe. That’s it. You don’t need any fancy equipment.

Miranda: I’m gonna try that.

Aline: It’s awesome. Yeah, it’s awesome. There’s no cost to it. You can do it in a safe place in your own home and, here’s another skill set that you can use for when you are flooded, overwhelmed, paralyzed, shut down exhausted in analysis paralysis. And if you can just get that muscle to relax, you can shift your cognition. So the timing of everything. I feel like everything prepares us for what’s next.

Aline: And  I didn’t know Sandy Hook was coming. None of us knew. So here I am having these skill sets. And that was actually when I took the formal trauma-sensitive yoga training.

I had been given a grant to go to the Kripalu Institute to train with David Emerson. Dr. Besser Van Der Kolk had come in and he gave a presentation on the MRI scans of what yoga did to the brain with trauma participants and literally bring things back online but I had trained at the propellants to prior and it went right in line with the trauma-sensitive yoga because the Kripalu style was all inquiry. What do you notice? What’s over here? What happens if you put your body weight here?

It’s very curiosity based and then the trauma-sensitive yoga was like, Okay, let’s put a little more language to that. Let’s take the flower language away. Let’s be very gentle and specific, okay, no touch, and then here’s how you spot this. This is what this looks like. Here’s what you do when somebody dissociates, here’s how you support them and hold that container without being invasive or overbearing. It’s been wild Miranda. Like it’s, yeah, it’s cool.

Miranda: I’m struck by how highly qualified you are by trauma . I mean is it accident or is it it’s all your story and where it led you?

Aline: I think curiosity.

Miranda: Yeah. I love that word.

Aline: And wanting that spark that took the yoga class that said, I’m going to try this one thing. Just man, like I’m at my wit’s end. That spark got stronger and stronger. And that spark was well, let me see what can I learn from this? How can it be easier to be human? There’s no guidebook. No one is teaching me this, but there are, so many different tools that are out there.

Miranda: I’m really learning that here. And we know that there are so many modalities out there that people sometimes get overwhelmed to hear about EMDR.

Aline: There’s a ton. Yeah.

Miranda: Yeah. But I love this idea because it feels good to move your body anyway. And, you bring this whole level of like safety to it that I would imagine most trauma informed teachers do because that’s what they’re there for.

Aline: Absolutely.

Aline: Yeah. Big time. There’s a lot more in mainstream, I call it yoga land in mainstream yoga land. There’s a lot more language. for that trauma informed aspect, there’s a lot more positive press on it.

When you just mentioned about there’s so many different tools, like how do you know what to pick and then you get into the social media memes of, you should do this and you should drink this and you should do that and you have to get this. And then all of a sudden you’re overwhelmed because

Miranda: You’re like, now I’m failing at something else I should do, which is self care.

Aline: So thank you for saying that because yeah, it’s automatic failure. I can’t do this perfectly curated meme thing that they tell me I’ll be worthy that I do this and then I’ll be okay. Yeah. That breaks my heart. It breaks my heart. And it’s not available to everybody, especially if we think about socioeconomically, if I’m working six jobs, I don’t have the time or the bandwidth to do all these other things.

I’m just trying to survive. So a lot of these hacks, techniques, skills can be totally free. Before you go to bed at night, if you have anxiety and your head is racing, maybe just for a couple of minutes, put your legs over a couple of pillows or lay in bed and put your legs up the wall and just like breathe.

Miranda: We did that the other day in class. It felt really good. We put our legs up on bolsters.

Aline: So the elevation, and it just takes the weight off the low back. I feel fortunate and a lot of folks that come to the studio are fortunate in that we’re able bodied.

Miranda: Yeah.

Aline: We walked in. We didn’t roll in. We walked in with all our limbs and all our digits. So, there’s another facet of yoga that’s been emerging, which I love, and it is adaptive yoga for folks that are missing limbs, that, have, very severe cognitive challenges yeah, it’s great to see voice to it really great to see voice to it.

Miranda: This is so helpful. So Aline, this has been such a wonderful conversation, and I want to just throw it back to you in case there’s anything else that you want to add.

Aline: One thing I’d like to add is over the last, five months, I’ve developed an app.

Miranda: Oh yeah. We want to hear all about the app. We’ll put a link in the show notes too and maybe on social media. Tell us all about it.

Aline: So the app came to me in 2020 when the pandemic hit and I was like, okay, I got to get online quickly. And the phrase peace on demand. I was like, we need peace on demand. We need it immediately. All of us did. I started calling my online offerings that, and then I ended up trademarking the saying and I found an app company, finally, that could create this app in a way that was accessible to folks. I wanted people to be able to access a lot of free stuff on it.

It doesn’t totally work like that. There is a free seven day trial on it right now, but there are Yoga practices. There are trauma-sensitive practices. There are what do you do when you’re on fire? There’s also an entire list of hotlines and phone numbers of how do you find a therapist? How do you find, yeah suicide prevention, hotlines everything.

There’s also, I have soundscapes, naturescapes, visionscapes. Maybe you don’t want a guided meditation. You just want to look at a nature scene. I’ve added on there binaural beats, solfeggio frequencies, megahertz frequencies so you can listen and get brainwaves while you’re watching a visual image in different colors to support the nervous system.

There will be an anatomy portion where I’ll be teaching people about the body and, here’s what happens when this muscle gets tight and here’s how it affects your psychology. So that’s coming. It was supposed to be more built out, but the studio had two floods in three months. And I have been trying to put the studio back together while building this app out. But there’s a good heart of practices on there now in addition to, music and visual support. And sleep support. There’s a whole facet in there for sleep support.

And I’ve been getting some really great feedback on it. You can join the classes live, so you can join us in real-time, or you can do the recordings anytime. And it’s an app on your phone, so when you need

Miranda: What’s it called?

Aline: Peace on Demand.

Miranda: And is it out now?

Aline: It’s out now. It’s in the app store. I’ll give you a link to it. Yes. To the main page of it. And the idea was. If you’re in the supermarket and all of a sudden you start to feel a panic attack coming on, you can open up peace on demand, grab the panic attack, you know, talk through and I’ll be right there with you being like, okay, let’s go either walk outside or let’s find the feet or, because I needed that 20 years ago and it didn’t exist.

The technology didn’t exist. I needed something so that when I was on fire, there was a voice being like, you’re going to be okay. And yeah, what you’re feeling is real and let’s work through it and let’s see what’s available here. So there’s a lot of it that’s still being built out.

There’s a good chunk of practices that are on there. There is a lot of classes on there, all levels. And I wanted it to be a little, like yoga teacher training for the general public in your pocket with all these other different toolsets.

Miranda: Beautiful. And what does it cost?

Aline: It’s 24.99 a month. If you use the code PEACE WITHIN, you get 20 percent off the first three months.

And you can cancel any time. Yeah, you can cancel any time. It’s a membership.

Miranda: It sounds so multifaceted and great. I’m flashing back to one of my kids who developed a lot of anxiety in school after Sandy Hook and would call me. And I would walk her through the very kind of things that you’re talking about, but it would have given her more agency to be able to look up a whole variety interventions on her own she had you. You were the app. To have a caregiver know those skillsets and to be able to, A, she turned to you. Let’s start with that. That’s huge. That’s huge. And then for you to have. a survival toolkit to teach her. That’s also huge.

Miranda: I was so glad to be able to help, but also it’s complicated when it’s your own mom, because she was also at an age where she needed to be more independent for herself. So she had to push me away and need me at the same time. It’s hard. This is just one of the very, nuanced types of things that come out of trauma, right?

Aline: Yeah. She needs you, but she’s also pushing you away.

Miranda: Which is healthy.

Aline: Yes.

Miranda: We’re good. We’re good. I’m so proud of her. This has just been so informative and wonderful and full of gifts. Thank you so much, Aline.

Aline: Thank you for the gift of asking me and also holding that space and allowing me to just share my stories in a way that, I felt safe to share them.

And for even opening up the conversation to your audience, this is huge, and even if somebody never gets on the mat, if you just, if you’re overwhelmed, just put your legs over a couch cushion.

Miranda: There’s a lot to learn here about different ways that we can have choice and control and help ourselves and that we’re not just at the mercy of the things that have hurt us and the responses that our body and brain has today.

Aline: Yeah. Yeah. Absolutely. May I add , one last element? I have one gal that I work with who, she’s incredibly special and a lot of times things go back to metabolism. and how stress affects our magnesium levels, protein levels, electrolyte levels. And it’s not that there’s something wrong with you. There might be actually a metabolic deficiency you might be dehydrated.

Miranda: Well I have learned that myself. I take magnesium. It helps me prevent migraines. It helps me when I work out with my muscles, but also, and it helps me sleep. But also. I now take electrolytes every day because I have low blood pressure, and let me tell you, it makes a huge difference.

Aline: And does it make a huge difference for you in how you process stress as well?

Miranda: I don’t know, but it might. In fact, I had to stop a few days ago because I had switched to a sugar-free version and I didn’t realize it was like alcohol sugars and it was just inflaming me.

Aline: Yeah. Swelly belly.

Miranda: Yeah. It was bad. And I was like, why do I have stomach aches every day? And then finally I went ding ding. So I’m switching over to a different one.

Aline: Alcohol sugars affect me like that too. And histamine levels. So if we have a natural tendency to have a high cortisol response or sensitive cortisol response.

Yeah. Yeah. Same here. We’re going to have higher histamine levels, which means we’re going to inflame faster by things that maybe don’t inflame other people.

Miranda: That’s so helpful to know.

Aline: Yeah. It’s not always that there’s something wrong with you. It might be metabolic.

Miranda: And your metabolism changes as you age too. So many things. So many things to learn. And we have the Peace On Demand app to learn them from. And thank you Scout. Scout is now sound asleep, curled up on a little blanket near Aline. And she had her input here too. So thank you, Scout.

Aline: Yeah. Thank you so much. And thank you Charlie for holding space over there.

Miranda: And Charlie. He’s just sound asleep.

Aline: Quiet presence. Love it. Thank you so much.

Miranda: Thank you.

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