Lauren Walker is the founder of Energy Medicine Yoga, a highly intuitive, simple healing method that marries her extensive studies in yoga with the transformative power of energy work. She is the author of two books: Energy Medicine Yoga: Amplify the Healing Power of Your Yoga Practice and The Energy Medicine Yoga Prescription, and she also has a new book on the way: The Energy to Heal. Lauren has been teaching yoga and meditation since 1997, and now teaches EMYoga across the United States and internationally, both general courses and training teachers on her method.
Today, she tunes in from her home in Northwest Montana, and we cover a topic so relevant to what we’re facing on a collective and an individual scale: trauma. This conversation aims to be a safe and open container where we unpack and give context to the word that’s become so common in mainstream vernacular. We explore trauma, not from an intellectual stance, but from the lens of how our bodies relate to and process experiences that are deemed “traumatic.” It’s incredibly subjective what constitutes a trauma, and Lauren walks us through the physiological cascade that occurs when one does experience an event that changes their lives.
Most importantly, we talk about how to get out of what she calls the trauma field—the phenomenon when you or someone you know continues to attract chaos, pain, heartbreak, unhealthy relationships and drama—a feat she only began to understand once she met Donna Eden and added energy medicine into her yoga practice.
Lauren’s brilliance is apparent as we weave through complex subject matter, but her gift for simplifying and translating is just as impressive—thank goodness! She graciously leads us through 15 minutes of practical ways to touch, massage and hold points on your own body to help you release pain, move through challenging events and process emotions. Things that you can begin doing today with no prior experience. It simply works because we are all energy. Remember E=MC²? Don’t worry, we break that down too.
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Andy Vantrease 00:17
Welcome to the Dandelion Effect Podcast a space for organic conversation about the magic of living a connected life. Just like the natural world around us, we are all linked through an intricate web, and never-ending ripple that spans across the globe. Here we explore the ideas that our guests carry through the world, remember who and what inspired them along the way, and uncover the seeds that help them blossom into their unique version of this human experience. This podcast is a production of the Feathered Pipe Foundation, whose mission is to help people find their direction through access to programs and experiences that support healing, education, community and empowerment.
Hi, Friends. Welcome back to another episode of the Dandelion Effect Podcast. I’m your host Andy Vantrease, and today I’m talking with Lauren Walker. Lauren Walker is the founder of Energy Medicine Yoga, a highly intuitive, simple healing method that marries her extensive studies in yoga with the transformative power of energy work. She’s the author of two books, Energy Medicine Yoga: Amplify the healing power of your yoga practice and The Energy Medicine Yoga Prescription. She also has a new book on the way. The Energy to Heal. Lauren has been teaching yoga and meditation since 1997. And now teaches EMyoga across the United States and internationally, both general courses and training teachers on her method.
Today, she tunes in from her home in northwest Montana. And we cover a topic so relevant to what we’re facing on a collective and an individual scale – Trauma. This conversation aims to be a safe and open container where we unpack and give context the word that’s become so common in our mainstream vernacular. And we explore it not from an intellectual stance, but from the lens of how our bodies relate to and process experiences that are deemed traumatic. It’s incredibly subjective what constitutes a trauma, and Lauren walks us through the physiological cascade that occurs when one does experience an event that changes their lives. Most importantly, though, we talk about how to get out of what she calls the trauma field. The phenomenon when you are someone you know continues to attract chaos, pain, heartbreak and drama, a feat that she only began to understand once she met Donna Eden and added Energy Medicine into her yoga practice.
Lauren’s brilliance is apparent as we weave through complex subject matter. But her gift for simplifying and translating is just as impressive, thank goodness. She graciously leads us through 15 minutes of practical ways to touch, massage, and hold points on your own body to help you release pain, moves through challenging events, and process emotions. Things that you can begin doing today with no prior experience. It simply works because we’re all energy, remember, E= MC squared. Don’t worry, we break that down too. Without further ado, please enjoy this conversation and help me welcome my friend Lauren Walker.
I had Jean Shinoda Bolen on the podcast last week, and she said something that really resonated with me, that was just so real. She said something like looking forward, your life is just happening. And it can feel chaotic. But it’s when time has gone by, and you look at your life backwards, that the pieces start to connect, and you can really make sense of your path. And so I always like to start podcasts with asking guests, if you’re reflecting back on your life now, at this age, after all that has happened, after, you know, doing the work that you do today, what were some of those major formative events that shaped your life?
Lauren Walker 04:10
That’s such an interesting perspective that Jean was sharing with you, because I’ve often thought about that as well, you know, storytelling is how we share ideas and transformation, how we encourage people to change and ourselves as well, and how we kind of bookmark things for ourselves. And it’s true that, you know, when you’re living your life, it does seem just chaotic and random in some respects. And when you look back, or I should say, when I look back, I can do it with a bunch of different perspectives. And so it’s like, what story do you want to tell yourself today, looking back, and how do you want to frame that. And you can do it, I think, really in a variety of ways. And the way that you do it, I think, reflects how you are feeling in the present moment. So, you know, that’s an interesting question to pose to me today, because I’m in the final edits of my book, The Energy to Heal. And it’s about healing, trauma and stress with Energy Medicine, Yoga. And I’ve been really steeped in this writing and editing of this book for, you know, over a year now. One of the leading trauma teachers in the country, Bessel Vander Kolk shared this on one of his podcasts, and it really imprinted on me. The premises that if you’ve experienced trauma in your life, and you don’t resolve that trauma, you draw more trauma to you. You enter into a trauma field. I think we all know those people, or many of us, maybe are those people. You’re just like, Why does one thing after another keep happening and keep happening? And so I wanted to unpack that for myself. And I did a trauma timeline. And I was really quite surprised at the traumas in my life, and how I really had been in a field of trauma virtually from birth. So to take it back to your question, my formative years were quite traumatic. So I was born. I was three weeks overdue. And they didn’t know if I was going to live. And so they immediately whisked me away from my mother, and you know, did all the tests and what, who knows, because I was zero years old. But you know, not just getting to go to your mother directly right after you’re born is a traumatic experience for a newborn child. So that was like the original imprint when I came out. And my parents were divorced when I was three. And my mother had a nervous breakdown and went to a hospital. And we stayed with my grandparents. So at three years old, before you have any context of self and other, I lost both of my parents. It was really astounding about how many quite poignant events took place in my life that I hadn’t really looked at, until I did that reflective piece. So as a child, I was very outspoken, some would say loud, very boisterous. I had a lot of energy and a lot of performative probably attention-getting, or attention-seeking actions in my life. And favorite grandmother, the one that cared for me, was an actress. And I went down that path and wanted to pursue that. And then I had a traumatic event at that theatre school, and I was sexually assaulted by a very famous photographer who was, you know, I’m going to make you a star. And, in essence, what he did was destruct my desire to be in film, or TV, or movie, or on stage, or anything. At that point now, now, I don’t want anyone to look at me, see me talk about me, anything. And it wasn’t long after that, that I found yoga. And it was really when I found Donna Eden and the energy work that she introduced me to, that I started to understand this field that I had been stuck in. And, more importantly than that, gain the tools to bring me out of that field. And that’s been the focus of my work and my life. Ever since then.
Andy Vantrease 08:34
How long have you been on that path after discovering yoga and then discovering Donna?
Lauren Walker 08:40
So, the teacher that I still hold in the highest esteem as really the person that brought me to the depth of understanding of what yoga is, and could be, and that’s David Life, the co-founder of Jivamukti. And I was in New York City at the time, and, and found yoga, and just dove in headfirst, feet first, all in, and to these practices. And that was 1996. So, I studied yoga intensely and deeply with many, many teachers. Then I kind of got to the, not the end of my studies by any stretch, but I came to a turning point where I was once again in crisis, because I was still in this trauma field and still didn’t have any understanding of field theory, or trauma theory, or anything. And my yoga practice was not bringing me out of that. So, you know, it kept me from really going under, but it wasn’t bringing me beyond. So, I thought at that point, well, either I’m going to have to find another teacher and go into another depth of, you know, practice. And, and so I thought, I’m going to have to go deeper. I’m going to have to do something else. And I was introduced to Donna Eden through two different people in two different countries in the space of a month. And I was like, Okay, I’m gonna check this lady out. And I checked her out. And that was really the pivotal piece. And that was in 2003, I believe. There has been no coming back from that. Thankfully, no coming back, only going forward only healing, and manifesting, and thriving. And then just by the grace of God, and the greatest of Donna, the beauty of this practice that I created of weaving those two powerful things together – the energy medicine work that I’ve studied with Donna and the yoga that I’ve studied before meeting her – to create Energy Medicine Yoga. And seeing how this practice has helped so many people who are also in similar places… I can’t tell you the number of people who have said to me, you know, I was done with yoga, I was bored, or it wasn’t working, or it was just, you know, becoming peripheral to my life. And I found Energy Medicine Yoga, and all of a sudden, everything has changed, and everything has shifted.
Andy Vantrease 11:11
I want to back up and just say thank you for sharing about your life and sharing today’s view of your story, because I think that the stories are so important to voice. And there’s all of these ways to look at our experience here in this body, in this vessel, that transcend the story, knowing that these events in our lives are paramount to how we understand who we are and how we move in the world. And then also, it’s just fascinating to hear you say like putting the yoga and the Energy Medicine together, and learning about that energetic field took you to another level, that was able to get you out of, kind of that stuck-ness that a story can perpetuate sometimes.
Lauren Walker 12:02
I love that you’re talking about transcending your story, because I think there’s, you know, a couple of things that can happen. And it seemed like I had a pretty powerful traumatic event about every seven years. And before I looked at that, I never would have said to you, you know, I’m a traumatized human being. I mean, I just didn’t think of myself like that. I just thought, wow, I’ve had some crazy experiences, like kind of operatic experiences, that, you know, definitely were bigger than a lot of people I know. But then, of course, I know a lot of people have had also massive traumatic events that you also were kind of like, well, that’s rare. You don’t hear about that so much. But I don’t think I still would have considered myself, certainly not a victim. Certainly not, you know, a traumatized being. But when I looked back through the trauma lens, it was, Wow, there’s a lot here. I can’t believe I’ve never looked at all of this before.
But at the same time to transcend that story, to get past your, your story. I mean, this is a huge piece of the work of trauma, that your story still is your story, right? Like my parents got divorced when I was three. That’s, that’s never going to change. That’s the truth of what happened. But to be able to just have that be a part of the story, as opposed to a PTSD response to a story, which is that as I start to tell it to you, I get choked up. The, you know, the cortisol, the adrenaline start to flood the body, again. I get clammy. I get short of breath, which is what happens if you haven’t started to or completed your your healing process around a particular trauma.
Now that one was so long ago, and it’s not conscious in my mind at all. And that is also a thing that happens to people that have had trauma, pre-verbal, pre-cognitive, that they have trauma responses, but don’t know what is actually triggering them, because the traumatic event that happened we’re so far in the past. And so there are ways to heal and release those energetic traumatic imprints, without having to go into the story at all. And I think that’s a powerful piece for people to learn. Because the power of story is huge, but it can also keep you stuck, as you’ve been saying. You can get stuck in your story and not be able to get past that. So I think it’s important to, to see both the power in a good way of your story and the limiting aspects of that as well.
Andy Vantrease 14:55
Right. Let’s talk about how trauma lives in In the body. I think there’s a huge conversation around mental health right now and about normalizing therapy and normalizing a lot of this healing work. What I’ve been learning is just how much intelligence the body has. And how it’s like an archive of every single thing that has ever happened to you. I want to see if we can talk about the body from that energetic lens, and how these patterns and these trauma patterns live in the body. And then we can get into working through those and moving through those and what that looks like.
Lauren Walker 15:41
You know, I think you really got to the heart of it, when you said that the body is an archive for all of our experiences. And Candace Pert, who is the first person to discover and teach us about the “molecules of emotion,” there is a scientific energetic, excuse me, molecular pathway to our emotional experiences, said that the physical body is the unconscious mind made manifest. And I thought that’s quite powerful and astute to, to look out and talk about in that way. I think one of the things that is so fascinating to people that start to study Energy Medicine Yoga, or any energy techniques, is that energy is the primary. That is the first thing that exists, and actually the only thing that exists. And I’ve been, you know, spending years trying to find ways to make that idea concrete, because we see things in concrete ways. Like, you look at another person, and they are a solid being. And you look at yourself, and you, you know, you touch your arm, and that’s a solid thing. And this table is a solid thing. And so it’s very hard for the mind to understand that it’s actually energy. And that we all and every physical thing on the planet arises from a field of energy. And that field of energy, essentially spins into physical matter. But that physical matter is really just energy. And so if you think about the one equation that pretty much every single person, or most people on the planet know, it’s E equals MC squared. And what that means is energy equals mass times the speed of light twice. So the physical body, you have a mass, is really just energy moving really, really, really, really fast. And so if you start…
Andy Vantrease 18:07
So wild to think about.
Lauren Walker 18:08
Right, it really is. It really is. And I mean, I always, I have to, you know, re-look at the science every time when I’m going to teach about why we look solid, and why we feel solid. And, you know, it’s the reflection of light, and the pressure of your electrons against other electrons that are pushing against each other and magnetically pushing apart. That’s why you can’t put your hand through your arm or a wall or… The mind just kind of crunches down on that, but, like it doesn’t make sense. I don’t understand it. What do you mean reflected light, and it does, you know. But that really is the truth of it all. And so when you understand that premise to be true that you are energy, then of course, it makes sense that any experience that you’ve had is also energy. And if you release that energy, soon after the event has occurred, then that energy is just released in free and the story remains but the energetic imprint doesn’t, the charge of that doesn’t. But if you don’t release that trauma, or that stress, it essentially gets condensed down, becomes denser, and resides primarily in your tissues in the muscles in the fascia, and in the very delicate tissues in the brain, the little threads in between the plates of the brain. It’s called Tarpaka Kapha in Ayurveda. Its this form of, placement of trauma into the brain. This is where those traumatic energetic experiences densify and live in the body. And talking doesn’t get to the energetic somatic experience. It’s simply an intellectual experience. And so a lot of times, you can actually keep the charge of the traumatic event alive by continually talking about it, if you don’t also do some kind of physical or energetic release of whatever that experience is.
Andy Vantrease 20:33
And I have a view that like the body’s response to what it’s experiencing, whether it’s something traumatic, whether it’s something joyful, whatever it is, the body is always right, in what it’s doing. And so when I think of some of these releases that I’ve had, in more somatic modalities, there’s no intellectualizing what happened. It’s this release. It’s something that my body is able to let go of, and work through. And even if you have something traumatic that happens, your body’s response is to do a particular thing to protect you, or to get through it, or to do whatever it can do to keep you alive and going.
Lauren Walker 21:21
So again, back to that energy. So we arise from a field of energy, but those boundaries of us and the field are not as strict as we would like to think. And, you know, you said something really interesting there, you know, the body just keeps going on, and it just wants to keep you alive. And that is actually true. And you actually have an energy system in the body. It’s called Triple Warmer, and it has many, many roles in the body, but its primary role is to keep you alive. What happens when you have some kind of experience, if you don’t deal with that experience, you can compartmentalize it in the mind, so you can keep on especially if it was harrowing, right? And you can’t deal with it in the moment, right? Or maybe even your feeling is that you can’t deal with it ever. But you don’t want to deal with it. It’s too ugly to look at. It’s too scary to look at. It’s too everything to look at. So you compartmentalize it in the mind, but it also still goes somewhere in the body. And Triple Warmer also maintains your habit fields. And so if you’ve had an experience that’s knocked you off your center, but you’re still alive, that’s going to stick, that’s going to stay, and you’re going to stay now in this new whatever normal you’ve gotten to. You survive this. Even if it’s just stress, I mean, just stress that’s one of the biggest, you know, killers in our in our world right now. But you survive your stressful experience. And this is now your new normal. And you’re not back to your really clarifying center line, that balance plays, that homeostasis. You’re kind of knocked off that but you’re still doing okay. I think about it, like if a log falls into a river, right? And then the river is forced to carve a new channel so that it can keep going downstream by going around the log now. And that’s what happens to us energetically. So the log, that’s your trauma, and it’s fallen into the river. That’s your life. And now the water pass too, that’s the flow of your life. Now it has to change the path. And it carves a new groove. And now that’s the new channel of your life. And that new channel might not include all the things that were in that original channel, your dreams, your hopes, what it you know what, just the work that you were doing in the world. But now you’re in this new channel, and you actually have an energy system that holds this new channel. It’s not invested in you clearing that trauma and going back to your original channel, it’s just you’re alive. And that’s all it’s invested in doing. So you really do need to learn how to basically take the log out of the river. And you’re not ever going back. You’re going forward into the calm, into the peace, into the joy of your life, into the ability to maybe you’re now having to recreate new dreams because this trauma might have been such that the dreams that you had before aren’t available to you anymore. So you have to find new dreams. But all of that has to take place after the energy of that trauma is resolved. And you have systems in your body that resist that. So it’s really important to work with these energy systems so that you can overcome and get out of that field of trauma and come into the field of magic.
Andy Vantrease 24:49
I want to take a pause here and unpack the word “trauma,” because we’ve said it 50 times already and it’s such a buzzword right now. A lot of times the word garners the response, that it has to be something massive, like life-destroying, and just disastrous. But we evolved with our stress response to be from like physical danger. But the body doesn’t know the difference between the physical danger and the mental emotional threat of everyday stress that we’re experiencing.
Lauren Walker 25:35
It’s definitely becoming a more of a topical word, and PTSD used to be called “shellshock.” And that came out of World War One, when people were noticing that the soldiers were having these really disembodied experiences after coming off the battlefield, where they were having nightmares, and inability to sleep, anger, all of these kinds of things that we now associate with PTSD is sort of where that idea began. Of course, it existed for millennium. But that was when it was first named, and became sort of part of our vernacular with trauma. And trauma is usually considered something that is disruptive to your life, that things no longer are, as they were. Then from there, you really go into a very wide pathway with this. And there are some disciplines that distinguish and they they actually use this language, big T trauma and little T trauma. When you’re in a car accident, or you some kind of physical or sexual assault or, you know, something like that, that’s big T trauma. Little T trauma, maybe your dog gets lost or stolen or hit by a car maybe, or, you know, your parents get divorced, when you’re really little that could be considered little T trauma. But the physiology, which is so fascinating is that the body doesn’t make any distinction. And what we’re seeing now in the literature is that it really is very subjective, your trauma. So something that, for me, might not be traumatic, for you might be incredibly traumatic. And it’s not up to me to say to you, Hey, Andy, that wasn’t traumatic at all. I’m fine. We’re fine. You’re fine. That’s gaslighting, first of all. And second of all, right? If you are having a traumatic response to it, and we’ll unpack that in a second, then it’s traumatic. And that’s, that’s it. That’s the end of that conversation. It’s very subjective.
The subtitle of my book is find lasting relief from trauma and stress, because stress in the body reacts the same way physiologically as trauma, big T, little t, big S, little s, they all react in the same way physiologically in the body. So first, you get a dump of adrenaline, at some event that happens. Your computer crashes, or your boss says, You know what, you did a really bad job on that report. I’m super bummed. I thought you were better than that, Andy. I’m really bummed. I have to like, reconsider, if I want you to keep on this job. That’s stressful, right? And so what happens first, you get a dump of adrenaline. And if you don’t do anything with that dump of adrenaline, because what that dump of adrenaline is telling you, you fight or you flee. That’s what the body is getting you ready to do. So that’s leftover from being a physical response. So you’re going to fight or you’re going to flee. But you don’t do either one of those. But the stress continues. So then you get another phone call from the boss under the boss who says, Wow, I just talked to the boss and heard you did a really bad job. And you got to come in for, you know, an interview about this. We’re super bummed, blah, blah, blah…so now the stress is continuing. Now you get a dump of cortisol through the body. Your heart rate increases. You’re sweating. Your mouth is dry, and you’re still body is getting you ready to fight or flee. But you don’t because you’re in your office and you’re not going to run and you’re not going to go punch somebody or yourself. And so that cortisol and that adrenaline starts to eat away at the physical body and deplete your stores of those chemicals, those hormones, which are incredibly important to have in the body. We need cortisol. It’s our friend. It’s what wakes you up in the morning. You think it’s a cup of coffee, but it’s actually cortisol that says, Hey, time to wake up. Cortisol as well, let me say helps you be able to digest your experiences and your emotions. And emotions, at this point in our lives right now, emotions and unprocessed emotions is the number one cause of stress that most people have in their lives. So now your feelings about your boss. You know not liking your work. Now you have an emotional response. To that, that’s your stress. That’s your stress response. And if you don’t release that in some way, now, you’ve depleted your stores of cortisol and you started to break down the physical body, and that stress is now living somewhere in the body.
So now maybe you’re going to start to get headaches. Or you’re going to start to get stomach aches? Or you’re going to have chronic high blood pressure. Or that old knee injury that you thought was healed up starts hurting again. All of these things are because you haven’t released that energy of that experience. And that happens, if you’re in a car accident, or if someone cuts you off in traffic, or your boss yells at you, or you have a fight with your partner. That physiology is the same. When you’re talking about healing, there isn’t a distinction between big T, little t, big S, little s, they all require the same energetic intervention to release the energy, release the charge from the story so that you don’t keep getting that flood of hormones through your body every time you think about that same thing again. That’s the path of healing.
Andy Vantrease 31:16
I’m so glad that you brought those up – the big T little T – because I think there’s so much comparing experiences. At least that’s how I feel of on like social media and all the ways that we’re being flooded with information. Brene, Brown has the term “comparative suffering.” And it’s so interesting to me to bring that to the level of the body because we can’t say what is a traumatic experience for somebody else. Only their body can say that and then work on the healing of that. So I’m glad you brought that up. So much of this is reminding me of Qi Gong, Chinese medicine, and these just ancient practices. I have a teacher, a Qigong teacher, and when she’s explaining energy in the body, she’ll take a scarf, and she’ll just tie a knot in the scarf. And she’s showing that this knot is basically just a ball of really dense energy, like you’ve been explaining. These emotions, these experiences, if they’re not released, and they’re not able to flow, there becomes a blockage, or an area of density in your body. And so she’s like, all we’re doing is putting awareness to that sensation, softening, and leaning into the ways that we can unravel that scarf to allow that river to flow again, without the log, like you said.
Lauren Walker 32:49
Yeah, that’s a really beautiful metaphor that I would just agree with 100%. I mean, that’s one of the things that we teach all the time is that pain in the body is stuck energy, and you need to get that energy moving again. Now, this, it also is not entirely the whole picture, because energy is always moving. Right? So when you think of stuck energy, the metaphor that I like to use is a traffic jam. So everyone’s sitting in their cars, and they’re still moving. They’re batting on the steering wheel, sometimes getting out of the car walking around. They’re fuming, they’re fiddling, they’re on their phones, you know, and everyone’s having their own experience with what’s going on. Some people are angry, because there’s a traffic jam, some people are concerned, I hope that everybody’s okay, that was in maybe an accident that stopped traffic. Like there’s a lot of energy that’s still going on, but the energy isn’t moving down the road. That’s what causes pain. So the trick is to clear not the trick, but the experience is to clear whatever is stopping the flow of traffic to clear that out of the way so that the energy can then move along the pathways that it is prescribed to move along. Because, you know, the other thing is, is because it’s so hard for us to conceptualize that everything is energy is also hard for us to conceptualize it energy has certain rules. And, and it’s not just this chaos. And if you study chaos theory, and you you know, draw it out wide enough, you see that there’s actually patterns to what was previously thought to be chaotic. And that is the same your body is not just hot oil in a pan just jumping all over the place. Right? It actually has pathways and swirls and lines and patterns that it follows very, very specifically. And so what we’re doing in Energy Medicine and Energy Medicine, Yoga, is to repattern those beneficial patterns. And I mean at the root of it. It’s really that basic and that simple. It’s like we want these…You know, the meridians flow in a certain direction, and we want them to continue to flow if they’ve stopped. And you know, the aura is in a certain pattern, we want to make sure that there aren’t any tears and holes and the chakras spin in certain directions and locations. And we want to make sure that everything is moving smoothly.
So the practice is to optimize all of those flows of energy. And when you do that, then those traffic jams move away. They clear and there’s very specific techniques to clear them too. And I mean, the beautiful thing about Energy Medicine is, this is how we got to be where we are today. Like, we are alive because our ancestors did Energy Medicine. There wasn’t hospitals and doctors and all of that. There were no MRIs. It was just, you know, people trying to figure out what to do when they were not feeling well. And, you know, if you have energy in the body that’s stuck, and you’ve got pain, the first thing you do is just massage that pain, go really deep into massaging that pain. And a lot of times that really does it. That breaks up whatever is stuck and moves the pain out and the energy can flow again. Now if that doesn’t work, then we take it to the next level. And we do you know, a bunch of other things. But that’s really one of the first things that we do. And it’s something that we do continually. Because. so for example, there’s a technique called “clearing the gates.” We’ll get into a technique right here. So we’ll clear the gates on the hand. So it’s basically a deep massage, and you massage down from the heel of the hand up between the long bones of the fingers and pinch off in the gullies in between each fingers. So all of you guys listening at home, you can do this right now. I encourage you to take your rings off, if you have them just so you’re just working ground zero here. And you’re just massaging the flesh between the bones, and then pinching off in the gulley.
Now, a lot of people have soreness and pain in their hands. But if you don’t ever massage in here, you don’t even know that you have it. And that’s, this is another problem that we run into as well is that we’re not tuned into our bodies. We’re very separated from our bodies. And we do this same practice on the hands, we do it on the feet. And when people go to their feet, they start howling at the enormous amount of pain, especially if you pinch off in the gully between any toe. At least half of you, if not 75% of you are going to be yelling in pain. If you’re, you know, give yourself some pressure there. Don’t, you know, don’t just go over, but really give a pinch. Because these are turning points on the roads. Right? So we have these areas in the body that you think, Oh, I don’t have any pain. But if I gave you the whole map of what I wanted you to palpate in your body, I guarantee you would find some pain.
So the first thing is to start to establish this intimacy with the physical body, that it’s okay and actually required and a good thing to start to touch the physical body, to start to massage and palpate different areas of the body. So that you’re finding this pain early on, when it’s just a little bit of pain in the hand, or the foot, or the core of the body, or the thigh, or the arm. Not when it’s something that’s really serious, that’s then requiring some major kind of intervention. And what I say to people, it’s like checking for ticks and fleas. Right? So we’re coming into tick season now. And you go hiking in the woods and you come home. This should be one of the first things that you do if you come home, when you come home, is you take off all your clothes. And you go into the shower and you look over your whole body everywhere, in the little crevices. And you know, you search the hair on your head, because these ticks get in and you don’t necessarily see them, or feel them until they have blown up and then you’re like, Oh, that’s, now that’s a problem. But if you explore and look all over your body every day, then you see the tick crawling before it’s even latched on, and you get rid of it. So that’s kind of this idea is that you’re doing like a little tick check on yourself every day to make sure that you’re kind of eradicating these problems before they even begin. We don’t massage ourselves or you know, or even look at ourselves really with that kind of clarity of vision. You know, if we’re looking at ourselves, we’re like, oh, how do I look today? Is my makeup on straight? Is my dress crooked? Do I have anything in my teeth? You know, like we’re looking at that. But we’re not necessarily looking to see is everything in balance? Is everything healthy? You know, we’re not looking at it with that kind of dispassionate eye.
Andy Vantrease 39:53
So, if somebody is going to start doing that, what are the sensations that they want to be aware of? Because I’m, I’m sitting here doing a little pinch in between my fingers and my toes, and I’m going, Oh, yeah, that is really tender. And you know, I have a really good friend, that’s a chiropractor. And every time I see her, she’ll touch a place on like my skull or place on my back. And I’m like, Whoa, that’s a hotspot, something’s going on there. So I understand that there’s a communication of what we call pain or tenderness. Is that a marker of an area that needs to be more paid attention to?
Lauren Walker 40:35
I mean, that is, that’s like the first line of defense 100%. Like, there should be no pain in any part of the physical body. Period, end of story, ever. Okay, so there’s your starting point is being pain free. So if you have any pain in the body, that’s your body giving you information. And it’s going to increase that level of information, and that, or the volume with which it shares that information until you listen to it and do something about it. And so that’s your first line of defense. And you talk about the back and the skull, there are so many points that correspond to emotional components and the entire physical body on the skull itself, and on the spine itself, and right next to the spine, and the channels next to the spine. And although there’s certainly an area in the thoracic spine, that it’s very difficult to reach on yourself. You can reach most other areas of the spine yourself. And you can actually get reference of the thoracic spine on the front of the body on the breastplate. And so there’s practices that we do call the “head scrub to a self-spinal flush,” where you’re massaging the head. And if you start to massage the head, you start to see that it’s not smooth, like a bowling ball, it’s actually got little divots and hollows all over the place. And each one of those little divots and hollows corresponds to some emotional or physical area of the body. As well as your entire endocrine system is referenced on the head.
And so those points that you feel that they’re sore if you actually massage them, it does a bunch of things. So the first thing it does is it moves the pain. But what is that? What is that moving pain mean? That you are speaking to whatever area of the body that that pain corresponds to, and triggering a similar response in that area of the body. So you massage one area on the head, and, or on the spine, and it triggers a detox in a particular organ. That’s, I mean, amazing that the correlation, that every part of the body has to every other part of the body, and how the body is in constant communication. And then this idea of holding is really, really important, especially in healing these trauma and stress responses in the body. It’s the most natural thing. And there’s been studies done, you know that, with children in orphanages, if they’re not held enough, they have really negative outcomes in life. They can form relations with people. There’s all kinds of issues that come up. As well as their immune systems aren’t as strong. Like, there’s major ramifications with not being healthy enough. And in trauma response, there are certain holds that we do in the body that start to mitigate those negative responses in the body.
So this one I’m going to share with you now, it’s my go to that I share with pretty much everyone I meet because everybody has stressed. Everybody has trauma. And you know, it’s interesting that Brene Brown, you were talking about the comparative trauma. I mean, there’s no need to compare, because we’re all suffering on some level or another. And you just see that in the world at large. If you look around you, and you see what’s happening, there’s a lot of suffering going on. There’s a lot of suffering. And if that suffering isn’t mitigated, then we cause other people to suffer, because we act out of our own pain and our own suffering. And the line that is so resonant to me is that hurt people hurt people. So the less time that you spend healing your trauma, the more you are visiting your trauma on other people. And some of its conscious and a lot of its unconscious. You know, we’re not even aware of the sort of slights and cruelties that we visit on other people because we ourselves are hurting. And you know, seeing the, the results of so many people who aren’t dealing with their own pain and suffering. But one of the easiest things to do and this is something to write down on a sticky note and put it somewhere, or put it in your wallet, or type it into your phone. Have it be your screensaver. Like something that you will remember this because. It’s so simple, but it’s sometimes as simple as things that we don’t remember. Next time you’re having a stress response, or a trauma response, or response that you just can’t even categorize. You’re just feeling off. You’re feeling weird. You’re feeling like yucky about something. You’re just starting to tremble. Something’s freaking you out. Take your hand and put it over your forehead. As if you’re taking your own temperature, or you’re taking the temperature of your child. Just put your hand over the forehead. You’re holding a set of points called the “frontal neurovascular reflex points.” And what holding these points does is when you have that stress response that we talked about, and adrenaline starts to run. And the nervous system starts to respond with that flood of adrenaline, that flood of cortisol. Right? The whole endocrine system lights up. The blood leaves the brain, because it’s getting you ready to fight or to flee. Right? So it’s going into your extremities. When you put your hand over your forehead, what it does is it magnetizes the blood into the forebrain, which is where you do critical thinking. And so the blood stays in the forebrain, it doesn’t leave the brain to fight or flee. It stays in the forebrain, so that you can think creatively and intelligently. And what it also does is it starts to interrupt that limbic loop system, that circular thinking that happens when we have a PTSD response. We get the risk, we hear the trigger, or we feel the trigger, or we read the trigger, and the chemical dump happens again. And that loop happens over and over and over again, and really starts to deplete us and is really debilitating. This interrupts that limbic loop so that you stop having that response to these triggers. It interrupts that trigger response. And it’s a way for you to start to take the charge out of these experiences.
And I’ve used that with clients. I’ve used it with strangers. I’ve used it with, you know, with friends with family. I just use it recently. I was visiting this woman, and she fell in the living room onto a concrete floor and shattered her left kneecap and broke her right ankle. And it happened in a moment, she just fell down and it was like a shot. I ran to her husband. I said, get us ice and I went back and I held these points. I held the front of her forehead. And I also put a hand behind her head, which starts to release the fear response and the anxiety response. It kind of bridged those two which are on the back of the head. I kept her from going into shock. And when she got to the hospital, and they determined that she did need surgery and all that. The doctors were so impressed that she wasn’t in shock, and that they could then go ahead and do the surgery because she was in actually really good spirits at that point. Now, she just had what I would consider a major physical trauma. And yet, she did not go into shock. And she was lucid and calm. I mean, I was amazed. I’m still amazed. Every time I see these ???, I’m like, Wow, that’s so cool. I love that we have that.
Andy Vantrease 48:12
And it’s so simple. I don’t know that I ever have put my palm in my hand over my forehead like that and left it there. You know, of course, checking if I’m warm or have a temperature throughout my life. But this, it feels so good. Like it feels, like so primally feels good. What’s this spot on the back of the head for preventing that deep fear response.
Lauren Walker 48:36
So the fear response is at the very bottom curve of the head, so the very top of the neck and then the the skull starts to curve outwards. And so if you put your hand there, and that mitigates the fear response, but also helps to increase your courage, which is the balancing aspect to fear. And then if you go up a little bit higher, basically directly behind your eyes to the widest part of your skull, that releases your anxiety. And the longer you hold them, especially these the frontal points on the skull over the forehead there, you can really start to diffuse your triggers. So if you’ve got an experience that every time you think of you go into some response. Right? So for example, I had a friend who was killed. Right? And every time I thought of him, I would start to cry because it was so awful, the circumstances, everything about it. If I was talking about it, just anything, I couldn’t even go there because it was so harrowing. And I started to defuse that and hold my hand over my forehead while I thought about that. And I thought about every aspect of it, and I would talk about it. And the more I held it, the less charge that experience had in my body. And now, I mean, I’m talking about it with you. I don’t have my hand over my forehead, because I’ve completely discharged that emotional response. So that happened. And it was a horrible experience. And I’m so sad that it happened. And I wish it hadn’t happened. And it changed my life in massive ways, and it changed everyone in his family’s life. And yet, it is now just part of my story, it’s not something that will send me, you know, under the covers now for a week. And like you said, you can do a first second, but it’s when you hold it for a longer period of time that you really start to diffuse the charge in the body and start to come into its real power.
Andy Vantrease 50:31
That is incredible.
Lauren Walker 50:34
It’s so simple. It’s so simple. These techniques are so simple.
Andy Vantrease 50:39
You are holding this point when you’re thinking about something charged, and when you’re talking about something charged, and that is actually shifting the charge of what those words and what that experience has in your physical body.
Lauren Walker 50:56
Andy Vantrease 50:57
Lauren Walker 50:58
Lauren Walker 50:59
And in the moment, like my friend who fell to the floor and broke her kneecap, in the moment, it kept her from, you know, going into shock and dissociating and leaving her body, which would have happened. I mean, her body was certainly full of all of those stress chemicals. But my hand on her forehead kept the blood in the forebrain and calm that whole stress system down, because that wasn’t helping her at the moment. You know, sometimes we, we need that, you know. You need to lift the car off the child. So yeah. You need all the blood in the in the legs and the arms. Right? But most of the time, we don’t. Most of our experiences are not running away from the Saber-toothed Tiger. It’s an emotional response.
Andy Vantrease 51:43
Thank you so much for showing those tools. Because when we talked a couple years ago and discovering your work for the first time, I resonated so much with your story of yoga being such a big part of your life, and you having the experience of almost like a plateau, of I need to go deeper than this for some of the things that I’m going through, and how Energy Medicine Yoga has become that, I don’t want to say next level, but it really feels so accessible. Just these little movements and these little holds and things like that, if you can do that, in the moment, that’s a lot more accessible than breaking out into like a Warrior Two, you know, in some type of moment.
Lauren Walker 52:32
And I want to say to that it’s a both and. So all of these techniques can be done independently, depending on what you need, anywhere that you are. You know, these are techniques that I learned from Donna and studying in Donna’s school for many years. And then the value of putting these techniques into a yoga practice, then exponentially increases both the power of the energy techniques and the power of the yoga techniques. So for example, something like this with the hand to the forehead, we’ll do after a pose that is created to introduce stress into the body. So maybe a back bend or something like that, that is stress inducing. And then we do these poses to release stress. The body starts to increase its resilience, its idea of what it can hold before it goes into a stress response. And these techniques are woven through a traditional yoga practice. And so they are very accessible, but what they do is increase the power of both. And so you’ve got this movement, this creating space in the body. And then there’s replicating of these energetic patterns throughout a more traditional practice. And you talked about Warrior Two. And we do oppose and Warrior Two, that reprograms the nervous system and starts to create the ability to align the conscious mind with the unconscious mind so that you can manifest what you want in your life. I’ve never done that in a warrior pose before.
Andy Vantrease 54:05
No, or at least known that I was doing it.
Lauren Walker 54:08
No, I guarantee you’ve never done it in a yoga class before because these techniques weren’t taught before in this way. To be able to weave these together, really speaks to both sides of the coin there. And it really does it really takes it to the next level. So whatever it is that you’re trying to do. For me, initially, it was releasing trauma. And from there it was about manifesting. Because once you’re three of your past, then you want to go boldly into your future. But you also have to then have a bit of a recapitulation with yourself because, you know, the things that like I said that that trauma might have interrupted in your life, now you have to go down different pathways. And depending on what your trauma or your stress was, it can interrupt your ability to even know what it is that you want, or think you’re worthy of asking what it is that you want. And so all of these things come into the Energy Medicine Yoga practice. The healing that you need, specifically in any given moment, which is different as we go through our lives, and even our days, and then charting your pathway forward. So healing your trauma, getting healthy. You know, it’s not only trauma, but we just have the little things that happen to us all day long. And some people have sickness or illness, and whether it’s a mental illness or a physical illness that needs to be worked with on an energetic level. And then you move forward to co-creating with the universe, the life that you want. I really resist the idea of, you know, you create your own reality, because that’s simply not true. We need to understand that in the sort of quote, New Age world, because it disempowers a lot of people. If you think you create your own reality, and then you look around and you see this is the reality. And you’re like, Wait a second. This is not the reality I wanted.
Andy Vantrease 56:03
What’s wrong with me?
Lauren Walker 56:04
Andy Vantrease 56:06
How would you? How would you say that? You say a co-creation? Is that how you view it?
Lauren Walker 56:13
I do. It’s a feedback loop. It’s a feedback loop, which is what the universe is. So we feed our experience into the universe, and the universe feeds back through us our individual-specific experience. And then we feed back what our desires are, what our view is of things. And then the universe feeds back to us. So it’s a feedback loop. And that’s how consciousness arose originally, it’s like the more information that a system has. And the more organized a system becomes, the more conscious it becomes. And we are no different than that. You are part of a system. You are not the ruler of the system. It takes that pressure off that you’ve created something that’s not good, and it’s your fault, then. And, and then that eases the pathway for then you to understand how you can co-create and come into a place that you want. And we’ve opened up a million bags here that we could explore.
Andy Vantrease 57:13
I love it. I love it. And I want to give you a chance to tell people where to find you. I mean, this has been a phenomenal conversation and I’m feeling energized. I’m feeling just really excited about the work that you’re doing. So if other people are interested, how do they get involved and get in touch with you?
Lauren Walker 57:33
So you can pretty much find everything that I do on my website, energymedicineyoga.net. Generally, I teach every summer at Feathered Pipe Ranch. Who knows if I’ll teach this forever. But right now I’m teaching a course on the chakras. And the chakras are actually the hard drive of your whole energy system. So when we’re talking before about where your stress and trauma responses are held, they’re held in different chakras. And I’m going to go out on a limb and say it’s really easy to release those imprints from the chakras. More and more, we’re putting our, our course material online. And we are launching a four-year master’s program, advanced-training program. Find out about that on the website as well. My third book, The Energy to Heal will come out next spring. And a lot of what we talked about today will be there. So yeah, I look forward to helping more people access their own internal power.
Andy Vantrease 58:49
Lauren Walker, brilliantly delivering a powerful reminder that the scientific is the spiritual. As you heard me at the end of our conversation, I’m feeling so energized, so empowered by all the information Lauren shared. I’m grateful for her path, being brave enough to look at her trauma timeline and continue to find ways to grow stronger and more resilient. Not in suck it up and deal with it kind of way, but instead, following the body’s language and creating simple and effective tools to move out of those patterns that keep us stuck. It will never cease to amaze me that we’re all just balls of energies swirling so quickly that the force makes up our bodies and all other visible objects for that matter. But it makes all the difference to be equipped with tools to navigate this energetic world and the felt sense of our experiences, our emotions, our thoughts, our actions.
Andy Vantrease 59:39
For more information on Lauren and her work, visit energymedicineyoga.net. There are still a few spaces open for summer retreat at the Feather Pipe Ranch, and you can find registration at featherpipe.com.
A special thank you to Matthew Marsolek and the Drum Brothers, whose music you hear at the beginning and end of this podcast, as well as Dr. Jean Shinoda Bolen, who first turned us on to the phenomenon of the Dandelion Effect and how ideas move through the world.
This podcast is a production of the Feathered Pipe Foundation, a 501c3 dedicated to healing, education, community and empowerment. If you’d like to help support this project, please visit FeatheredPipe.com/gratitude or leave a review on Apple podcasts and share with your friends. Be sure to tune in to our next episode in two weeks. We cannot wait to share another amazing conversation with you. Until then, have a beautiful day.