What is Interoception and how can we use it in our Yin Yoga practice?
So interoception is a word that I never heard until I took my Yoga therapy training. And Although I now use it a lot when I train teachers it seems like unless you’re in the Therapeutic circles, people don’t know what this word means.
And in my opinion, Yin Yoga is especially good at cultivating interoception.
Due to the quiet stillness and the time in the poses, Yin Yoga is the Ideal (in my opinion) style of Yoga to learn about and practice Interoception.
Interoception very simply put is a sense that helps you understand and feel what’s going on inside your body.
The felt sense of what is going on inside of you is crucial to well-being, health and a responsive nervous system. It’s rarely taught or practiced in our culture.
So how can Yin Yoga help us cultivate and practice Interoception?
I thought I would have Pamela Crane come on and talk about interoception with me. Because I know it’s a big focus of her work.
Here is Pamela’s official bio.
Pamela Crane is a certified Yoga Therapist with a master’s degree in Yoga Therapy. She is a certified International Association of Yoga Therapists, and she’s also an experienced registered Yoga teacher at the 500 level.
She provides group and individual mindfulness and Yoga Therapy services to businesses and organizations specializing in yoga for military members, and dancers. And those with confidence and self-esteem issues, she has presented stress management seminars at the U S department of health and services, the U S department of education and the U S P S headquarters to name a few.
She’s presented nationally and internationally at symposiums and conferences for yoga and integrated medicine. And she’s also a film and commercial actress. A former broadcast journalist. And the host of the Yoga Pro podcast, where she discusses current trends in the field of Yoga and integrative health.
My Interview on Pamela’s Podcast – The Yoga Pro Podcast https://www.theyogapropodcast.com/therapeutic-yin-yoga-with-nyk-danu/
Pamela’s website: https://www.interoceptiveperformance.com
Follow Pamela on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/gratefullypamela/
Yoga Teachers: Join The Waitlist for my Therapeutic Yin Yoga Training at the bottom and top of the Page
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Hello friend. Hello. Welcome to a yin yoga podcast. I’m so excited that you’re here. It’s such a lovely little switch because of course, I’ve been on your podcast. And to now be able to hear your whole story is going to be awesome. And I’ve already introduced you, so the [00:05:00] folks will be familiar, but in your own words, briefly, just let me know who you are and who you work with.
Oh, thank you. Thank you so much for having me. I’m so excited to be on this journey with you now as well. And I know you came on my podcast in the beginning, in the first year. So I’m so excited to be able to return that, that experience back. Yeah, I’m a certified yoga therapist, I’m a mom, I’m a dog mom, I’m a, Oh, all the things, right?
. I have such a, uh, what I feel like is a long life, 57 years of so many different things. I’ve done so many different things in my life. I’ve been a dance teacher, I’ve been a journalist, I’ve been, uh, everything.
And so I think that’s where I got to this place of, tell me who you are. I don’t even. Sometimes I don’t even know who I am, I have so many different [00:06:00] interests and, and aspects of me that, that, yeah, sometimes I find that to be a hard question. It’s a very hard question. Yeah, when I get asked that too I’m always like, can you give me some parameters?
And, I have such varied interests too, and that’s. That’s another thing. You know, I consider myself to be a multi-hyphenate. I love to act. I love to be in movies and plays, but I love sharing yoga because it’s such an important part of my life and, it’s something that means so much to me.
Well, Yoga sounds like a great place to start.
Maybe let’s start with, before we dive into today’s topic, which is interception, let’s just get a little bit of a framework of how did you find yoga, and what brought you to yoga. Yeah. Yeah. I found [00:07:00] Yoga at a time when I needed yoga and I was in the space of my life. I was It’s suffering greatly, a lot of pain, a lot of depression, and anxiety, and just don’t think it’s fair that you can have depression and anxiety.
You think they would kind of come together and just make you have that balance, but they don’t. That’s not how it works. And I. I just was in a place. I was not in a good place. I didn’t want to live. I thought if this painful Existence is the rest of my life and I’m in my early 30s You know and I had been suffering since my 20s and I was just to this point where if this is it I don’t want to be here and I started going to a $5 class in a gym and I had a daughter and that was I think the thing that kind of kept me looking for something because I just, [00:08:00] you know, I’ve got this part of me that if I checked out, you know, what would happen to her and, I started going to a $5 class in a gym, local gym, drop in 5.
You can go take yoga. I had been a dancer. So of course I go into yoga and I’m now I’m air quoting now. I’m good at it, right? I can do the postures because my body could do certain things, even though it hurt to do almost everything, I could do them and I started. Through that physical part of yoga, right?
But I just started noticing, because we did the breath work, there was a little meditation, Shavasana was my favourite, and I, I started noticing, after some months of going, and I would go about twice a week, and after some months of going, I started noticing I was starting to have more good days than bad days, [00:09:00] because for the most part, It was mostly bad days.
And then when I would have a good day, I would be so excited. I would do too much. And then here we go again. But then I started noticing I was having more good days than bad days. And then it continued and continued. And then I realized, oh, I think it’s the yoga. I think it’s the yoga here. That’s the difference, right?
That’s the thing that’s kind of making me feel less anxious. And it was months and months. It’s not like I went to yoga and was healed. It was months. What I came to realize for myself, and this is not a scientific study, this is anecdotally for my own personal self, is I think my fibromyalgia was triggered and exacerbated by my anxiety.[00:10:00] Always being in a sympathetic nervous system state, always nervous, always on guard, always ready for whatever awful thing that was coming down the pike, right? And I know now, later, that comes from like childhood trauma and things like that. So, for me, Once I figured that out, and I figured out, oh, this yoga is helping with the anxiety.
And I zeroed in on that, and I was like, oh, okay, yeah, yeah, yeah. And for many, many years, I managed my fibromyalgia and some other autoimmune stuff with yoga, mindfulness, meditation, and breathing. You know, all of it. It’s all yoga, but I say that so that for those people who don’t really understand and mindfulness, meditation, breathing, ethical principles, it’s all part of it and the awesomeness.
And so [00:11:00] for me, until the last couple, few years, the last couple of years, I started back into a big flair and I’m still managing very well with yoga. But yes, I still have a lot of pain and I have a lot of issues with my body and you think, wow, I feel like my body’s failing me. And then the yoga comes back and you go, okay, I’m letting this go.
I’m releasing my attachment to the outcome. I’m sitting with this, I’m sitting with the discomfort and using interoception and we’re talking, we’re going to talk about that later to really tune into my body. And try to find answers and have curiosity. Having said that, sometimes I think… Being too interceptively aware can work against you because you feel everything and [00:12:00] then sometimes you can go into this catastrophizing and, this rumination about, Oh, what is that?
What is that? So there’s a double-edged sword and you do you have to. To have to have discernment there too. So when you first started going to the gym and taking these drop-in classes, you wouldn’t say it was like an immediate kind of thing with yoga where like, right after the first class, it was kind of this trickle effect.
So what do you think kept you going back after the first class? I think the reason I kept going back, it did feel good when I went. The stretching, the breathing, and after having a whole lifetime of being a dancer, I finally learned how to stretch. And I felt so cheated. Where was this when I was younger?
How come no [00:13:00] one helped me understand that, if I went into the stretch on the exhale I would be able to really get a better stretch, right? Or I could feel how come no one explained to me how the breath affects really everything about our bodies in a field where your whole instrument is your body.
So I think that’s what kept me coming back was it did feel good. And. I didn’t feel that feeling that some people feel in their first yoga class, where they feel defeated like everybody’s doing this posture and I can’t balance or I can’t do this. So I didn’t have those feelings. Now I know that I shouldn’t have had any kind of feeling.
around that part of it. But at that point in my entry-level, coming from a field where the way the pose looks [00:14:00] matters, I felt some amount of success. And I think that was one of the reasons that I kept going back. Obviously, I know now that wasn’t a success. Even in yoga, I pushed myself too hard in the beginning couple few years and did things that I would never do.
Now that I know how to listen to my body and be in my body, and I don’t know how much we want to talk about trauma, but there was so much dissociation that I had that once I learned to feel my body, once I learned to feel into it was just like, oh, mind blown, right? Right. Yeah. I find that that happens a lot.
I hear with people that are quite flexible, like dancers and stuff that, you tend to go too far. It actually took me years to go too far because I came from the opposite body type. So I was a bodybuilder. And so I was like, [00:15:00] Condensed and tight, you know? , and so I, I was able to go to my, I’m doing air quotes here.
The full expression of the pose for years, right? But I could do it safely for years because my full expression was not very big, you know, cause I was so tight. It wasn’t until many years into Yoga that and still practiced with. The mindset that I started to be like, Oh, right. I’ve lost all sense of containment here and I’m just like, splayed out everywhere, but yeah, it took time.
So when did you, how long did you go to that class before you started to think, maybe I would like to do this, maybe I’d like to teach this. It was a long time from the time that I started that class to when I decided I wanted to be a teacher. Having said that. I, let me, let me back up. It was a long time before I decided that I wanted to go to a yoga teacher [00:16:00] training to be a teacher of yoga specifically.
So I was teaching dance in a high school, public high school. I taught dance in public school for 17 years and I started using these techniques with my dance students. I didn’t say we’re going to do yoga. I would just say, let’s do this. Let’s do that. Let’s. Also, I had seen a hypnotherapist many years before that and had learned how to do a body scan through him.
And so I would put them in Shavasana, you know, especially high school is a really tough time and energy feeds energy and they would come in just kind of, you know, the whole, the whole vibe would be like that. So I would put them in Shavasana, turn the lights down, would do a body scan. They loved it. [00:17:00] And then teachers would say, what is y’all doing dance today?
Cause so and so was Very relaxed or sometimes even the kids would come in and. I’m stressed out Can we just lay on the floor and do that thing? So I think that was the beginning of my yoga teaching even though I hadn’t done yoga teacher training I was sharing what I was learning and what was resonating with me And I think that’s a big tip that I would give to anyone who’s starting out teaching yoga.
Do what resonates for you. I see so many people asking questions. Oh, how do I teach this pose? How do I teach that? How do I, what’s resonating with you? And how does that come out of you? And that to me is, I think when you become the best authentic teacher, when you’re teaching what, It’s working for you and, and feeling like this fills me up.
This heals me, this whatever, whatever, [00:18:00] whatever, and then sharing it in that way. And so that’s how I started teaching yoga. I didn’t call myself a yoga teacher. I just started sharing these tools and the mindfulness and the breathing and those kinds of things, teaching them how to breathe, how to stretch with the breath.
Of course, at that time, I didn’t know, I didn’t know. And we still were kind of breathing to the edge and getting, stretching probably more than we should have because that’s what I knew at the time. And I have to give myself grace around that, right? I think it’s, I also taught before I became a yoga teacher.
I used to teach advanced hair colour techniques in theory as a hairstylist. So I think that is such a gift actually, that you were teaching before. You became a yoga teacher and the same for me because there was so much that I already knew [00:19:00] and was comfortable with. And then it was just taking that information, you know, like I already knew how to read the room and to see who was understanding what I already knew to like teach to the different learning styles.
I was already comfortable standing in front of people. And I think it makes a really big difference. I remember in my very first teacher training, just watching people. Be so petrified, even to just stand at the front of the room and just feel so much compassion for them, you know? Mm-hmm. , yeah.
Coming up, that coming up to the front and their voice just kind of like a little, because they were like so nervous. It was, it was heartbreaking. Yeah. So what a gift. Yeah. Yeah. I agree with that completely. When I did my teacher training, I remember seeing people who had never taught anything that same thing, like a kind of deer in the headlights.
They. They weren’t, it wasn’t just about learning the content and trying to share it. It was. Full [00:20:00] on, I don’t know what I’m doing here, I don’t know, is everybody judging me, and then I don’t know about you, but people would say to me, you look so comfortable. How do you, how do you do that?
And I would just say. I’ve been teaching dance since I was 18 years old and off and on in my whole life. So don’t compare your first experience being in front of people trying to teach something that you’re just learning to my experience of being a teacher, you know, teaching dance my whole life. And being in front of people my whole life, it’s a completely different thing.
So, yeah, I don’t know if you had that same experience, but I did too. And I also though, was keenly aware that when I was at the front of the room teaching that it wasn’t about me, that like, I was just a conduit for this information. And so if I could keep my head clear. And my eyes open to what was happening [00:21:00] in the people in front of me, then I was more likely to be able to see if somebody needed something extra, or if somebody wasn’t understanding my words.
If I was standing up there worrying about what people thought of me as a person, no wonder it’s petrifying, right? But it’s not about me. It’s about yoga. And I hope that my voice translates what I’ve learned in a way that people can relate to it and connect with it. And if they can’t, I’m noticing that because I’m present.
And then I can find another way to say it or show a different example. So I think part of it was comfort with being in front of people. I also used to sing as a kid and did some singing competitions and I would not say I was comfortable in any of those, despite the fact that I did well.
But again, I think it was the same thing. It was like, I was able to just remove my personality from what I was there to do, not in a like dissociated way, but just in a, like, this isn’t about my way, this is about what I’m about to do, what I’m [00:22:00] about to offer. I talk about that all the time when I’m working with people on confidence.
That’s one of the first things I say. If you’re scared to be on video, focus your attention on what they’re getting from you. Focus your attention on the value you’re bringing someone. Focus on them and what they’re getting from you and how excited they are going to be to get that. And yeah, maybe not everybody is going to resonate with you, but the ones who are, are going to because you’re focused on them.
Yeah. So absolutely. To me, it’s, it’s, I look at it as a service, you know, like I’m being of service and so it’s like, it’s not about me. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. That does make, so if anyone’s listening and you’re a new teacher and you’re still in that really squeamy, terrified phase, just remember not about you. Yeah.
Yeah. And we all started somewhere, right? I mean, the first time I taught a dance class, of course, I was nervous, what were they going to think of me? I don’t know. You know? [00:23:00] Yeah, it’s, that’s a normal reaction. So it’s normal to feel nervous. And even when you’re experienced. When you change the game, the level of the game, sometimes those nerves come back again, but you have the tools, hopefully, to kind of rein yourself back in.
And yeah, that happened to me a few years ago. I presented at an online conference. 500, 000 people signed up for it. A thousand presenters. One of them was Alanis Morissette and Stephen Levine. Yeah, I mean all, all these big-name people, I was nervous. I was like, you know, I had a little imposter syndrome. , am I okay in this space?
And you know what? I took some breaths, I used some tools and I was okay in this space. And my topic was overcoming fears and imposter [00:24:00] syndrome. Awesome. So I had to practice what I preached. Right. , but yeah. Speaking in a room of 50 people is no big deal. Comfort, fine. Speaking in a bigger crowd can be intimidating.
But I got back to that space of what am I offering and if one person hears what I have to say and learns it changes their life the way people have changed my life. If only one person resonates with me. I’ve done my job. It’s so funny you say that because I have told myself that for years, the one-person thing.
It’s like, even if just one person resonates with this, yeah, we’re done. Yeah. Yeah. Wonderful. For sure. So you’ve been going to these yoga classes at the gym. Are you still going to the gym at this point? Or have you started moving to studios or when you start incorporating this with your dance [00:25:00] students? I was mostly going to that.
And I was very lucky that I had some amazing teachers there. And the one teacher that I had, her name was Jennifer. She was the first teacher. And she was so female empowering, but not in an angry kind of way. And I think I needed that in my life. And, it was simple things. One day she said something about.
How we always cross our arms in the front, you know, when we’re standing around or whatever and how that’s such a guarding and heart closing way to, to stand, she said, what if when you’re standing around, you just held your arms behind your back, hold your elbows with your hands. And that shifted so much for me because of my past and things, the way I held myself [00:26:00] was very shoulder forward, heart guarding.
That meant so much to me and that was yoga, right? Another teacher, Wesley Pilcher, is in Little Rock, Arkansas, he has a studio and a co-op. Kind of studio now and, he would break things down in such a way that even if you didn’t feel confident you were going to be able to do it, you found yourself doing it and you found yourself kind of making strides that you didn’t think you could do and not in a competitive, Oh, look, I can do this kind of way, but more in a, I can do more than I think I can do kind of way.
And yeah, I had some really great teachers and then I started going to a studio there and taking classes. I started practicing on my own though. Because there were certain things [00:27:00] that really felt good to me and resonated with me. And so had my own practice.
And to me, that’s where my focus is with my clients how can I help you develop your own practice?
What tools am I offering you that feel amazing to you that you’re going to take and incorporate in your own life in a five-minute practice, in a 10-minute practice, in a 30-minute, whatever, when you can grab it? Because to me, yoga isn’t something I do an hour a day on a mat in a certain place. I do have a space in my house that I practice in, but it’s not the only space. Mm hmm. Agreed. So how long did you do that before you decided, maybe I want to teach this? Maybe I want to go to a teacher training. Years. By the time I went to a teacher training, I didn’t know that [00:28:00] I needed that training.
And, I don’t really want to say too much about that teacher training, the 200 hours. It wasn’t really until I did my Master’s in Yoga Therapy at MUIH that I think I up levelled to, really learn so much. And then, I think I talked about this before we hit record, but once I did that, then I realized how little I knew.
And, and still know because there’s, it’s so vast, right? There’s so much to know and just always feeling like you’re a student, you’re always learning, you’re always on this path. And I think if you ever feel like, you know, everything is when you’re kind of shut down to [00:29:00] me. Agreed.
So it was. Oh, gosh, at least 10 years of going to classes, practicing on my own, maybe even more than that, that before I thought, Oh, maybe I should get a yoga teacher certification, and again, when I went, I had been practicing so much and learning so much. And maybe this, maybe it wasn’t the teacher training that I should have gone to, that’s really all I want to say about that.
And so I don’t even know if you did your 200 and then how long was it for you to decide to do your master’s of yoga therapy? Probably about six years, yeah, something like that. And then once I decided to do the master’s, I didn’t know I was going to do a master’s. I was looking for a yoga [00:30:00] therapy training and, we were living in California.
I was looking at LMU and they have yoga studies, a master of arts degree, and then they have yoga therapy training. And so I was kind of looking at that. We moved to Virginia. So then I started looking around in the Virginia, Maryland area, and I found MUIH. And when I realized that I could get a master of science degree and the yoga therapy, CIYT, it was a no-brainer.
I was like, yeah. I went and visited the campus. I was in love. And I just, I said, okay, yes, I’m doing this. And, uh, we lived there for two years, the program was two years and then we moved back to California. I actually had to fly back a few times to finish up, but yeah, that program was life-changing for me.
And [00:31:00] I always say that a $5 yoga class in a gym saved my life, but my yoga therapy training is what really enhanced it. With the practices of yoga and philosophy and that’s where I really got a lot deeper into the philosophy aspects Whereas before I was more in the breathing and meditation and asanas, of course, so that deeper study into the philosophical principles was huge for me and Really kind of diving into the pathology of disease and how yoga can help particular issues that people are dealing with and which Things maybe that we don’t need to be doing with people because everybody thinks, oh, if you’re this, go to yoga, but they don’t realize that stimulating breath work [00:32:00] might not be the best thing for someone who’s suffering from anxiety and someone suffering from anxiety might not be able to take a deep breath.
. I think it was that realization that it’s not a one-size-fits-all. Everything you offer is going to resonate and be perfect for everything that someone’s going through.
So that was a really beautiful learning experience for me to realize that, yeah, these tools are beautiful and they’re amazing. And they can be done with someone who’s in a hospital and cannot move. Yeah. And you have to know which ones, to use. And to be open, I think too, to connect with who you’re working with on that.
Right. It’s very client-centered. Yes. I know that there are, um, breath techniques that are touted. You can see it all the time on social media and it just makes me cringe like the breath. To help you with anxiety, which always cracks me up. Like there’s only one thing that’s going to work for [00:33:00] everybody.
And it’s actually totally the opposite. Like Box, breath is one that they always recommend. And if I do box breath, no, it’s like the worst one. We have to have the tools and then check in. Right. How, how was that for you? Okay. It wasn’t a fit. Well, let’s try this instead. You know, yeah. And what about that didn’t work for you we know why it didn’t work.
Then we know where to go next or what to offer next. Yeah. So, yeah, it is so individualized. And it’s also important for us to realize. That it’s not personal. You’re not a bad teacher or yoga therapist. If you offer someone that triggers them, some, someone, something that triggers them, you’re not, you’re not, not doing your job right.
You offer. They get triggered. Okay. Let’s ground. Let’s see what we can do to ground you back. [00:34:00] And then that’s information. Okay. That type of thing didn’t work. So let’s try this. Oh, this feels a little bit better. Okay. Then we’ll keep going in that direction. And I think that is the hardest thing, right? Is to take our ego out of it.
And realize that not everything we offer is going to be sunshine and roses and light and love and, you know, sometimes we’re going to trigger people. Yeah. And it’s our responsibility to be open to the idea that, okay, something may have triggered someone. How can we ground them back? Yeah. Ask them what they need.
Do you know what you need at this moment? They may not know. Can we have compassion, can we invite compassion into this space right now? Because Yeah. Then if they don’t know, then they might feel like something’s wrong with them because they don’t know what they need. [00:35:00] Agreed. How can we bring in grace and compassion?
So for me, I work with the military in a mental health clinic in an IOP. And they get triggered and sometimes things don’t work that you think will work because it’s worked for every other person that you’ve worked with, with this situation.
And then that one person comes up and it doesn’t work. And so giving ourselves grace and having curiosity are the, to me, the biggest tools that we can employ. You know, we can know all of the. We can know all the yoga, but if we don’t have that curiosity and that compassion and that willingness and openness to hear from them why this did or didn’t work and why they got triggered and, you know, how we can bring them back.
Cause that’s, you can’t know everyone’s trigger [00:36:00] no, you just can’t. I mean, you can say something that’s completely innocent to you completely innocent and then be like, Whoa, wait, what happened here? Yeah. You can be as trauma-informed as the day is long. You’re not going never trigger someone. Yeah. It’s how you handle that trigger.
It’s how you, and, and I’ve not always handled it perfectly. So just, if anybody needs to hear that at work in a clinic, and I don’t always handle it perfectly, and I think too, but I do the best I can. If you’re approaching your work with your students and your clients with, uh, like you said, curiosity, right?
So if, oh, that didn’t work. Okay, well, what do we try this? But also I think in order to have that curiosity, you also have to have humility. Mm-hmm. Because if you think you know everything, and if you’re going by like your textbook, Then you won’t have the humility to be curious and to do that inquiry with them and to check in with them and say, what is it that you’re feeling?[00:37:00] Absolutely. And sometimes the feedback will surprise you. The things that they say, and some, you know, we’re talking about interoception today, so I can share this story. A week or so ago, there were two people in the group. We have anywhere from six to eight, but that particular day there were two.
So I did a yoga nidra. Feel your left thumb, your left pinky, your left whatever, through every single little bitty part of the body. It was a very long yoga nidra. And I knew that both of those people had a lot of pain. And so, we did this yoga nidra, and then I had them go through the body and find space in the body where they’re not feeling pain.
Find the space that feels kind of warm and cozy or cool [00:38:00] and light or, you know, all these different descriptors. Find, find someplace in the body and then let that feeling move through the body and kind of go through all of the rest of it. And some people respond really well to that if they have pain.
Some people respond well to that because they, the part that feels good kind of spreads through and eases and it doesn’t always work that way. And then after the fact, they said, well, one of them said, and then the other one agreed. Yeah. That kind of feeling in every part of my body didn’t really work for me because I have pain in so many different parts of my body.
And so that interoception for them, that really kind of deep noticing every single body part was more painful triggering than it was soothing or [00:39:00] easing. Mm hmm. So, having that feedback, obviously, the next time I go in. I do something completely different. And so listening, having curiosity being humble and realizing, okay, just because this works for some people.
It doesn’t mean it works for everyone. Just because this works for me, yeah, I can lead with that because I know that it works for me, but also having that ability to go, Oh yeah, I need to switch gears.
So if I get feedback in the middle of the thing, then I might pivot right there. And, you know, we can go in with plans, but we have to be willing to pivot and move to a different space or different direction if needed.
I think that in our circles, this word gets tossed around like confetti. Yeah. So it’s a buzzword now that I like triggered doesn’t mean [00:40:00] you upset me, you hurt my feelings.
Okay. So, just to be clear, you know, uh, triggered is. It’s actually a response to trauma and stress and PTSD. It’s not like a stimulus. Right. It’s not like, Oh, I read something on Instagram that disagrees with my opinion. And now I’m triggered. That’s the misuse of the word.
Like, there’s no way that you can. Not, um, upset or trigger people. You just have to do your best and then pivot when you notice that that’s happened. Where in your training did you do your Yin training? Tell me about that. So my training is fairly limited in relationship to a lot of other people, but I did study with Rena Wren who studied with Bernie Clark.
So that’s the lineage that. I have, and then in my yoga therapy training, obviously we covered yin, the mental health effects of yin, and so,[00:41:00] I incorporate a lot of yin in my work in the mental health clinic, and with dancers too.
Really understanding fascia is important for them. And so the yin kind of gives them that time to be very interoceptive, tune into what they’re feeling in the moment. And so those are the applications in which I use it.
And for anyone who’s listening who doesn’t know, so you took it from Rena Wren and then she took it from Bernie. Bernie was trained by Paul Grilley. A lot of people seem to not know that somehow. So maybe now would be a good time to start to talk about interception.
It doesn’t have to be a book definition by any means, a user-friendly definition of what it is. And, and then also kind of how, cause I personally feel, and I might be a little biased that of all of the styles of yoga that I have practiced and studied Yin is the [00:42:00] most suited for cultivating interception.
And I think it’s something to do with the time. In the shapes. And then of course, if the guide or the teacher is directing people towards that, um, but I’m going to let you introduce it, talk a little bit about it. I know that this is something that you really geek out about. So this is why I was like, I know the perfect person to bring up.
Let’s talk about interception. And if you were my whole business and Tara, exactly. And for those of you that are listening, that are teachers or, or the public that are like, what the hell is interception? We’re going to get there right now. But I remember when I. First heard that word in my yoga therapy training.
And then of course learned about it, but I will find that every time I teach people who are not yoga therapists, like just other yoga teachers, nobody knows what this word means. They’re like, what intro, what. So that’ll be a good, a good dive into it. Yeah. It’s a terrible name for a business. Because the only people who know what [00:43:00] it is are my colleagues, not my clients.
Potential clients don’t really, don’t really quite know what it is, but I called it that because I do feel so much like if we can’t feel, if we don’t know what’s going on in our body, how can anyone know, how can anyone else help us? And that’s, I’m very client-forward with my work. I don’t know your body the way you know it.
I know how to get you certain places, but, and I have tools to offer, but I don’t know your body the way you do. If you don’t know how to tune into it, that’s where I come in. I mean, I can teach you how to get there, but how would you define it? Yeah. Yeah. So interoception is that felt sense, that inner.
feeling of the body. So it’s things like [00:44:00] cues for hunger, right? That’s interoception. A lot of times when I, when someone doesn’t really understand I’m kind of asking them, Oh, what does this feel like in the body? And they can’t really understand. I’ll say, okay, let’s get really still. Notice your breath.
That’s interoception. Can you notice your heartbeat? Can you feel your heart beating in your temples, your throat, your fingers? Can you put your fingers together and feel your heart beating? Can you feel your blood moving? And then, of course, in terms of yin yoga, if you get in a posture, you notice, you, you may not know what fascia is, but when you start to tune in to what’s happening [00:45:00] and you realize that it’s not your muscles stretching, that something else is going on, something else is adjusting and moving, In such a minuscule way, that’s interoception and Yin is perfectly suited for cultivating interoceptive awareness and Yin yeah, you’re right, it’s The most interoceptive, in my opinion, the most interoceptive, I guess, a form of yoga, I do a lot of that kind of interoceptive work where I will, I’ll do a colour meditation like I was talking about earlier. And, and, you know, I’ll say, where does the colour red show up for you? Can you feel that in your body?
What does it feel like? Does it have a temperature? Does it have a texture? [00:46:00] Is it? Is it taking over? Is it, you know, getting smaller? Or when we think about an emotion, sometimes we’ll do a meditation where we pull up a time when we felt great joy. And I’ll say, you know, come up with a time when you really, you were in such a joyful space, something really great was happening or something fun.
What does that feel like? Where do you feel that in your body? What comes up for you? That’s interoception too. It’s not just about, oh, how do my muscles feel or, or how, how do, you know, how does my blood feel or my, my heartbeat or whatever. So it’s pretty deep, right? It’s, it’s just getting all the way in there, into the body.
Like, how does it really feel? Whereas proprioception is where [00:47:00] am I in space? Do I know where I am in space?
I often say that um, and I have a, I have a good graphic that I made. I’ll include in the show notes that, um, So extroception is like an awareness of what is happening on like the outside of your body, you know, proprioception. So those of you who are yogis listening, imagine that you’re standing at the front of your mat and the instructor asks you to step back into a high lunge, being able to do that without falling over.
That’s proprioception. And then introception is an awareness of what is happening on the inside of you. And I think… That it’s so challenging for people to do that, excuse me, because culturally we are not taught to drop in, we are taught to be so external, both as far as like just how we live our lives and as [00:48:00] far as like validation and, I find that, that I think that, yes, there’s benefits to FASHA, And yes, there’s benefits to the nervous system In Yin but I actually sometimes think that like the fact that somebody just spent 75 or 90 minutes cultivating interception is actually the biggest benefit.
Because then they’re able to do that when they’re not on their yoga mat, so I think it’s a skill that, um, is really missing. And I, and I think a lot of my students have had trouble with it. , I can’t count how many times I’ve had somebody ask me, am I doing this right? Oh my God.
And I always say, well, I don’t know. What are you feeling? Are you? Yeah. So, I mean, if you’re feeling pain, then no, not doing it correctly in this moment, if you’re injuring yourself, but I’m like, what are you feeling? , describe it to me. Where is it? I often guide people, uh, especially those that aren’t quite [00:49:00] flexible because if they’re in a yin practice, they sometimes aren’t feeling a sensation of stretch.
Because they’re, you know, they’re already there. But then, you know, there are other things that you can feel like, I remember one, one of the times that I studied with Paul Grilly, he asked us all just in a kind of round robin, it was very spontaneous to describe if we had felt this, if we hadn’t, that’s fine.
What does Chi feel like in our body? Just in our own words, and I was amazed to hear all of the different responses of what people felt like when they felt the energy of their body inside of their body. Now I do think that takes a pretty practiced state of interception, like you don’t move from, I don’t know where I’m feeling a stretch to I can feel the chi in my body, or I can feel the blood cells moving around, right?
Like you don’t feel that in it sometimes in one class, but, I think as, as a Yin teacher is something that we constantly need to be [00:50:00] just bringing them back to, like you’re not doing the pose wrong because there’s no right way to do it. How are you feeling in it? Yeah, that’s always the question that I ask.
How does this feel in the moment? Where are you feeling? What qualities are you feeling? That’s where that’s interoception. When they can go from, I feel a stretch, to Oh, that feels warm and light. That feels dark and heavy. Mm hmm. That’s interoception. Mm hmm. Interoception isn’t just, I mean, it, it is feeling the stretch and it’s more than that.
Yeah. It can, it can be. And you were talking about how we’ve kind of been conditioned out of interoception and it’s so true. So many of us are [00:51:00] dissociated from. Whatever traumas that we’ve been through and everyone has some and in our resiliency, how we react to those traumas also matters as to how much we’ve shut down or dissociated or numbed.
So, yeah, for, for a lot of people. They’ve been so numb, they don’t even know what feeling feels like. And so when you introduce this concept of what does this feel like, they’re like, I don’t know. I don’t know what anything feels like. Mm hmm. I’m numb as crap. Yeah. Oh, how would I know? And so cultivating that again with grace, And compassion, and helping them have compassion because, yeah, everybody wants to know if they’re doing it right.
Mm hmm. Mm hmm. And in my, my question is always, well, are you doing it? [00:52:00] Yeah. Then you’re doing it right. , there’s no right or wrong when we’re talking about feeling sensation in the body and cultivating interoception. It’s very, I think it’s very subjective. And I feel like, like when I’ve had people that really struggle, sometimes I’ll get them to place their hand on an area of their body.
And then I start with that. Like, can you feel the weight of your hand on your body? You feel a warmth and then what’s beneath that and what’s beneath that. I do think that, it takes, uh, practice on the client’s or the student’s part, but it also takes skill as an instructor.
To be able to find words because the same words aren’t going to resonate with everybody. Right. Like I’ll often say, you know when you are dropping into that area of sensation. So now they’re at that point where you’re like, okay, I feel the sensation. What does it feel like? Is it a light, a shape, a colour, a sound, a texture, [00:53:00] you know, does it feel different on your inhale versus your exhale?
Does it feel different right now than it does? now. And I think the first is just to get them to feel a sensation. And then from there, I mean, it could just go and go and go and go. Um, but one of the reasons that I feel like when I was saying that I almost feel like sometimes this is the most important part of a yin practice is that if we’re living a life where we are cut off from our body, we don’t notice when things start popping up, like little nagging health things that if they’re addressed early are no big deal, but if you don’t notice them become huge.
Um, and so that’s one of the reasons and same with your nervous system or your mind., if you can take that time to kind of drop in and notice, okay, I’m feeling dysregulated right now. I’m starting to feel dysregulated before it, like I’ve totally blown up at somebody. Then you have that opportunity [00:54:00] in that moment when you start to notice it to do something.
And to me, that’s like the best benefit of yoga. Like, yes, we, stretch our bodies and we get stronger and we do all the things, right? But if you’re doing all that all the time. But you’re still not paying attention to yourself when you’re off the mat and you’re still being an asshole to those around you, like you’re kind of missing the deeper part of the yoga practice, which to me starts with interception.
Yeah. Yeah. I totally agree. I. Yeah. When you are tuning in to how you’re feeling, it can help you if you’re having an argument with someone and you can stop and go, where am I feeling this, am I feeling this in my throat? Maybe I just don’t feel heard. And I’m feeling this in my, you know, root chakra. Maybe I don’t feel safe.
I mean, like [00:55:00] you could just go on and on, right? About if you can know where you’re feeling something that gives you information, you know? Yeah. Yeah. So powerful. I know. Yeah. Yeah. It, really is to me, like you said, most important. And I, I feel that way that that’s why I named my business that again, which is not the best probably name, but I’m going to keep sticking with it.
It’s going to come around. I think people are going to start learning it. Eventually, it’ll be like the word mindfulness where everyone will have at least a vague understanding of what that means, even if they can’t define it for themselves. Yeah, for sure. Yeah. Yeah. And, and I think. When you explain it in terms of, uh, or what I’ve found to be, when you explain it in terms of, well, when you feel hunger, your stomach’s growling and you feel that, that’s interoception.
You feel that urge to go to the bathroom. That’s interoception. It doesn’t always have to be like this [00:56:00] woo-woo thing. It can be just as simple as bodily functions when you’re really paying attention to them. And like you said, when when you’re. You know, if you’re paying attention to your body and listening, you might notice, Oh yeah, my heart’s doing funky things or my gut is my, it’s changed and it’s, it feels different than it did before.
Yeah. That’s information. Or like, I feel this little weird tweak in my knee or where my back feels so tight on this, like these things, you know, and then when you’re more interoceptive, you’re less likely to be injured. Because, you find the edge before you’re to the edge, right? You, know that you’re getting close, so you don’t even just go there.
We don’t have to go all the way. We, we go kinda towards it, hang out there, and that’s where the juice is, [00:57:00] right? That’s where the good stuff is. When you’re more interoceptive, you’re gonna have more awareness about what, what is the perfect… Spot, what is the perfect place to be in, in this or that or whatever shape and that you’re going to get the most benefit because more isn’t always better?
And we know that it’s definitely not most of the time it’s not, yeah, a moderate amount is usually best. And that there are layers. Because I think sometimes people in yoga are so used to just going from where I am. I’m not in the shape to like, here’s my full expression at that.
There are so many little layers along the way there that you could stop and pause. And so I’ll have to encourage them to do that too. It’s like, okay, when you feel the first little bit of sensation, just linger there and watch what happens. Does it go away? Does it intensify? Does it just shift? Does it change?
If it goes away, then maybe you find another layer that doesn’t go away. You don’t need to go all the way over here to the end range, you know? [00:58:00] Yeah. Yeah. And it’s interesting you when you start teaching YIN. So I taught YIN at the Department of Health and Human Services in DC. The people who were coming to my classes were pretty, I hate to generalize, but there were a lot of kind of type-A personalities.
So there was that, I want it to look exactly right. I want it to do the most. I can do my best. I can be and bring people back into that space, but how does it feel? How does it feel? Because I’m a recovering type, um, I, uh, I find that humour works really well with my base.
Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Cause there’s a, there’s such a sense of intensity with it. And if you can just bring a little brevity to the situation, you know, I remember I, so I’m kind of [00:59:00] a jokester. I like to laugh and be silly. And I remember somebody saying, I’ve never been to a yoga class. That was so fun. I didn’t know it could be like that.
And I was like, I don’t know how to be any other way. I’ve cracked jokes before and actually had students in the room, like several of them just kind of turn and look at me like, like in shock, you know, and I’m like, yeah, believe me, it’s okay to laugh in yoga. Yeah. Like you can have the utmost reverence for something and still find humour, you know?
Yeah. Oh, absolutely. And it also helps to relax people. If someone comes to yoga, it’s their first time and they think everything’s serious and they think everyone, and I’m not saying that for people who are super serious, that, that it’s wrong. I’m just saying that when someone comes in and they’re nervous.[01:00:00]
When you’re lighter, that makes them feel lighter. You may turn off some people. There may be people who are like, yeah, no, I need someone who’s serious and acts like they know what they’re talking about.
That those aren’t your people, it goes back to that feeling comfortable and confident too. Right. But most people are going to respond well to that. They’re not going to, they’re not going to be turned off. I don’t think you need to choose either. Like I have a good dose of both. You know, I can explain all of the anatomical benefits of constructive rest and I can crack a joke, you know, I can do both.
Yeah. Yeah. I think that is important for us to remember that just because we’re humorous or light or fun doesn’t mean we don’t know what we’re talking about. And I usually put a little bit of both in for both personality types, you know? Yeah. Yeah, for sure. So when, so you’ve, you did your master’s in yoga therapy.
Is [01:01:00] there anything, um, that you’re really focused on now as far as study? Cause I know, I know most yoga therapists, if they’re anything like me, we are super geeky and we are always like, Learning the more and the more and the more things, like you said, when I loved, when you said that, when you took your yoga therapy is when you realized how little you knew.
Yes. And I still realize that all the time I’ll hear, I’ll be listening to a podcast or something and I’ll hear a term and I’ll be like, what is that? And I’d like to go down a rabbit hole, of learning. So what is it that you’re kind of keen on right now? I think lately, I’ve just really been into chakras.
I’ve been,, reading a lot. Um, I interviewed someone on my podcast, Masooda Mohammadi. She just wrote a really wonderful book about the chakras. So I’ve been kind of exploring that a little bit more. I, I love learning more about the yamas niyamas and mudras. So those are kind of [01:02:00] the spaces I’ve been hanging out in probably the last six months or so.
But I go from place to place. I’m always reading mental health books, addiction, uh, because I know that almost everyone that we come in contact with has some sort of physical thing and some sort of mental thing, right? None of us are getting out of this unscathed. So the more, I feel like the more I know about all of the different topics, the better.
I came into my yoga therapy training pretty well versed in anatomy and physiology from my Lifetime of dance and dance training. And so for me, the more esoteric. Aspects of yoga therapy are, I think the things that are intriguing and in piquing my curiosity more these days. [01:03:00] Yeah. Yeah.
Wonderful. Yeah. And there’s, there’s so much new research coming out about breath work all the time. Well, really a lot of different aspects of yoga. There’s a lot of research that’s coming out and I love reading the research. I love digging into a new paper and kind of just really exploring. The way we know these practices have worked forever, right?
And we don’t have to have research to tell us that anecdotally for myself, I’m alive because I started doing yoga and I know that. I don’t have panic attacks anymore because I practice yoga. So I don’t have to have those things, but I do geek out on it. And I do kind of get off on when I see some new study and they did functional MRI and I, you know, it’s just like, this is [01:04:00] so cool.
So. Those are the types of things that I think get me going these days when I hear about a new study, you know, uh, I think it was back in December, a new study came out in the Journal of American Medical Association that said, Mindfulness meditation was just as effective as Lexapro for treating depression.
They both had 30% efficacy and I was like, y’all don’t sleep on meditation. This is where it’s at. And you don’t have the side effects. I saw a funny news story though. They were talking about this and they had their little graphic up and they had the pros and cons. And the con for meditating was that it takes time.
Oh, I laughed out loud because sometimes I meditate for five minutes and my whole day is different. So yeah, I’m like, if that’s the best you can do, [01:05:00] bring it. Yes, exactly. Well, I wonder if maybe we can just do a quick synopsis or review of just a very brief of like interception. And then I have some rapid-fire questions for you.
Okay. Okay. Yeah. Interception is what are you feeling inside your body. Yeah. What are you feeling? What does it feel like? And, and it’s anything else coming up for me? I’m going to add to that. Is anything else coming up around that feeling? Yeah. Agreed. And, and I think, you know, just acknowledging both to anyone who’s listening, who struggled with this or also teachers who struggle to help people with this, that.
Like this isn’t an easy thing to do for a lot of people because we aren’t taught to do it, you know, so be patient, have patience with yourself or I’ll embody your southernness and say, have grace with yourself. when you or your [01:06:00] students are challenged with it. It doesn’t mean that it’s not worthwhile
to go into your body. What’s going on in there? Yeah. Yeah. In group. I start each session with, tell me one word. How do you feel right now? And they go around, they tell me. One word. What do you want to feel at this moment? Mm. Yeah, and that’s their intention. Yeah
Yeah, but just yeah remember how that word you used at the beginning now, how are you feeling at the end? Oh, yeah, that’s nice Yeah, that’s nice when I was in yoga therapy school Marlisa Sullivan was one of our teachers and I feel so grateful to have gotten a study with her We were in meditation and she said, if your body could tell you what it wanted, what would it say?
Oh, I love that. Right? So of course I use that all the time. Yeah. If your body could tell you what it wanted, what would it say? I’m gonna, I’m borrowing that. That’s so good. Yeah. It’s, [01:07:00] it’s just the best statement because there’s no judgment. There’s no assessment kind of, it’s, it’s not like you’re feeling like you have to assess it.
It’s just if it could tell you what it wanted, what would it say? And then you do with that, whatever you can, right? And sometimes my students have very interesting answers. Like, you know, I get the usual stuff, tired, happy, grateful, anxious grief. Like I get all the human spectrum, but I have one student not always, but most of the time he’ll like, he’ll kind of say something where I’m like, like one time we were going around and I said, uh, a word or phrase to summarize how you’re feeling right now.
And he said, pistachio ice cream. Nice. Not like he wanted it. Like he was feeling like pistachio ice cream. I’d love it. The other, other day he said something else to something, strawberries, something. And I was just like, I just love how, his mind takes his feelings and turns them into flavours. Yeah
. [01:08:00] Into some rapid-fire questions if that’s okay. Okay. Some are light. Some are not.
Okay. The first one is coffee or tea? Okay. Favourite ice cream flavour? Oh,
I don’t, that’s a hard one I’m going to say, you can take a few breaths. I’m going to say lemon and chocolate gelato mixed. Ooh, that sounds like something I want to try. But coffee ice cream comes in a close second, which I know sounds contradictory since I said tea over coffee, but I don’t do caffeine.
So gotcha. So when you’re having tea, it’s decaffeinated teas like herbals, herbal tea. And most of the time it’s cumin, just hot cumin water, chamomile tea, valerian tea. Oh, Valerian is lovely. What [01:09:00] is, uh, one thing people get wrong about you?
Oh, one thing people get wrong about me.
Hmm. That’s a hard question. What do people get wrong about me? Like when people say, you know, I always, I thought you were, but actually.
Oh my gosh. I don’t know that I’ve ever been so stumped. We can come back to it if you’d like.
Or assumptions people make about you that aren’t true. Oh, I think assumptions people make about me that aren’t true. Um, maybe I’m dumb or not dumb, but maybe I’m not as knowledgeable. And because I have a Southern accent, because. I’m light [01:10:00] and humorous, so I, I guess would say that maybe people underestimate my level of knowledge.
Uh, a pop culture vice, something you, something you binge or love Survivor, uh, the boy’s reality TV, things like that. I don’t like the ones where people are always yelling at each other. You’re like them. Um, I don’t know. The ones where it’s just all people fighting. Mm-hmm. , but I love Survivor.
I wanna be on Survivor. I haven’t watched it, but I haven’t applied yet, so I don’t, I can’t really say I haven’t watched it in years, but, oh, the voice brings me to tears all the time. Oh my gosh. I love the voice. I love it. Um, when I’m not practicing yoga, I am, I’m not practicing yoga. I’m sitting outside either on a beach or.
In the backyard [01:11:00] or on the porch, you know, yeah, like to be outside one weird fact about you weird fact about me. I’m not very rapid. I’m kind of slow. Okay. One weird fact about me.
I don’t know if it’s weird but I take like two, two-and-a-half-hour hot baths. And I guess what makes it weird is that the water never gets cold because I started out so hot. Girl, you are preaching to the choir on the hot baths. Yeah, I start out very hot and then I just stay in there forever. And I put crystals and sometimes I put rose petals.
Sometimes I put clay. Um, whatever I feel like I need and all the essential oils and like, if I need something that’s grounding, I’ll put some Cypress and the [01:12:00] Roli, or sometimes I’ll put in lavender unless we’re in depends on what I need. A record-breaking heat wave. I start my morning every morning with a bath.
It’s like an essential part of my self-care. Yeah, I totally get it. Yeah. Yeah. I love a hot bath. I even got this, uh, little rubber ducky that tells you if the water’s too hot. And of course, he turns white immediately. So now it’s a game. How fast can he turn white? That’s so cool. I have a plastic koi fish.
That is by a company called Fred. So we just named him Fred and he lights up. Oh, that’s cool. That’s cool. All the baths. Um, okay. What the world needs now is. More gratitude. Good one. Good one. One thing I wish people knew about yin yoga. One thing I wish people [01:13:00] knew about yin yoga is that it’s not just stretching.
Because I think there’s a misconception that. You’re doing these long holds and you’re stretching.
Yeah. Yeah. Is there anything else that I forgot to ask you that you’d like to add? I can’t think. I mean, I feel like we’ve covered quite a bit.
I might just revisit what I said kind of earlier about the idea of interoception and how it can be so useful and how also it can be a source of pain for some people. So if you have someone and you’re guiding them and, they’re kind of going in, but maybe they’re finding things they don’t really, they’re not really prepared to deal with or ready to address.
Don’t be afraid to just come back out, don’t be afraid [01:14:00] to just do something a little more superficial and less invasive if you’re working with someone who’s dealing with a lot of pain or a lot of emotional pain that’s showing up as pain somewhere. Just don’t be afraid of interoception. It’s your friend and it, to me, it’s one of the most beautiful practices that we can have.
But also don’t take it lightly. If someone says that they’re struggling with it, you know, maybe find other ways to kind of ease in some things that are more superficial and yeah. And just give yourself grace. Yeah, of course. Always. , well, of course, I’m going to link to all your stuff in the show notes, including your podcast, but, just get, let people know where they can find you.
Yeah. You [01:15:00] can find me on Instagram at gratefully Pamela, and you can find me at my podcast, the yoga pro podcast. com. You can send me an email there. If you feel. If you have any other questions you want to ask me, if you feel inclined to work with me, if you want to be a guest on this show, send me an email.
I love hearing from people and answering questions. So definitely you can find me in those places and on my website interoceptiveperformance.com. So you can go there and look around, but. But yeah, if you want to get a hold of me, if you want to find out more about what I’m doing, then, you know, just pop me an email and ask, I do a lot of workshops, workshops for dancers.
I work with veterans and active duty military in a mental health setting, and I work with Teachers for confidence issues, overcoming fears and [01:16:00] putting themselves out there and getting themselves on video and doing those types of things that they want to do. So I’m a multi-hyphenate. I don’t have a little bitty niche and I’m okay with that.
Cause I feel like I have. I had these skills and talents in these different areas. And so I want to use them. So if any of that resonates with you, reach out to me and let’s chat. Okay. Thank you so much for coming on. Yeah. Thank you for having me. I always love chatting. Okay.