Different Experiences with Yoga with Lisa Sack on The Healers Café with Manon Bolliger
In this episode of The Healers Café, Manon Bolliger (facilitator and retired naturopath with 30+ years of practice) speaks with Lisa Sack, Āyurvedic Health Coach, a Somatic Movement Coach, and A Yoga Therapist
Highlights from today’s episode include:
always I think what we have to try to do as healers is to it’s not it’s it’s what it’s, I have a to teach us that we all have the wisdom within us to heal. It’s just that sometimes we forget it. So we can help somebody remember and tap into that wisdom.
Manon Bolliger 12:45
…is working with the healing force, but you have to exactly. Remind yourself that it’s there.
– – – – –
I’m seeing it right in front of me, is the connection in that person’s body with this fear, this emotion that has inhabited them, this idea that has taken hold, and watching them release that
ABOUT LISA SACK:
Lisa Sack, C-IAYT
E-RYT 500, Certified Yoga Therapist and Viniyoga™ Therapist, Āyurvedic Health Counselor, Student-in-Training of Hanna Somatic Education®, Certified Clinical Somatics Exercise Instructor
I was born and raised in NYC and currently live in Brooklyn with my partner of 30 years, our dog and 2 cats. We have 2 children in their mid-twenties, one of whom just graduated from college and is living at home. I had a very peripatetic life before coming to the healing arts–I studied Comparative Literature at Princeton, then studied in England, where I became a Licensiate of the Royal Academy of Music, I worked in theater and production management until my early 30s, then went back to graduate school at Columbia University for an MFA in creative writing. I married at 34 and was a geriatric mom–had my kids at 38 and 40, so my mid-40s were the time of juggling job, at that time, working for a medical marketing firm and parenting. Various factors brought me to my current profession as described below.
Core purpose/passion: What am I NOT passionate about, understand that from the Ayurvedic perspective, I have a great deal of fire in me, and fire is ALL about passion. I am passionate about helping others learn to live with ease, grace, and authenticity. I believe that everyone can change, and that everyone has the knowledge within them to find health, well-being, and contentment. All that’s required is to take one small step in the right direction, and then another, and then another. To paraphrase Carl Jung, we are not what’s happened to us We are what we choose to become.
About Manon Bolliger
As a recently De-Registered board-certified naturopathic physician & in practice since 1992, I’ve seen an average of 150 patients per week and have helped people ranging from rural farmers in Nova Scotia to stressed out CEOs in Toronto to tri-athletes here in Vancouver.
My resolve to educate, empower and engage people to take charge of their own health is evident in my best-selling books: ‘What Patients Don’t Say if Doctors Don’t Ask: The Mindful Patient-Doctor Relationship’ and ‘A Healer in Every Household: Simple Solutions for Stress’. I also teach BowenFirst™ Therapy through Bowen College and hold transformational workshops to achieve these goals.
So, when I share with you that LISTENING to Your body is a game changer in the healing process, I am speaking from expertise and direct experience”.
Mission: A Healer in Every Household!
For more great information to go to her weekly blog: http://bowencollege.com/blog.
For tips on health & healing go to: https://www.drmanonbolliger.com/tips
About The Healers Café:
Manon’s show is the #1 show for medical practitioners and holistic healers to have heart to heart conversations about their day to day lives.
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Welcome to the Healers Café. Conversations on health and healing with Manon Bolliger. A retired and deregistered naturopathic physician with 30 plus years of experience. Here, you will discover engaging and informative conversations between experienced healers, covering all aspects of healing, the personal journey, the journey of the practitioner, and the amazing possibilities for our own body, and spirit.
Manon Bolliger 00:42
So welcome to the Healers Café. And today I have with me, Lisa sack, and she’s a certified yoga therapist, are you vertic health counselor and well has done you know, continue to do extra certifications and accreditations and I guess the most important thing is she is passionate about what she does. So, welcome to the to the podcast. And I guess my first question to you is, how did you get into? Let’s call it the healing arts because sometimes what we choose to do come secondary, but we first get interested in the whole field of healing.
Lisa Sack 01:30
Yeah. So it’s a, it’s a, it’s a bit of a long story, I’ll try to shorten it as much as I can. There was a period of my life, I’m 64 years old now. And there was a period of my life in my mid 30s, into my 40s, where I just was very discontented. And that that showed up in many, many ways. So there was discontentment in my work at the time, I was doing work that I really wasn’t passionate about. I had been in the theater for many years. And I had loved that work. But for various reasons my dad had passed away and the skater life seemed a bit frivolous after he passed. And so I got married, I had children late, I had them when I was 38, and 40. And so I was working in a job doing medical marketing and I it had no purpose and have no passion to it. And I just found that I was irritated and angry a lot of the time. And I wanted very, very desperately to be more compassionate. But I just had no idea how to go about doing that. And then in this, so this is what this is 2022 now, so yes, it’s about 2020 something years ago, a yoga studio opened just a couple of blocks away from me. And I had been interested in yoga in my 20s. In fact, I’ve been really drawn to it and was about to go on a retreat in my early 30s. And then for various reasons that didn’t work out. And instead, I met my husband. So there’s a bit of a bit of fate, perhaps stepping in there, I didn’t get that thing, but I got something else that really fed my soul. And so I started going to yoga classes. And you know, at the time I was I was as inflexible in my body was in my personality, and just the doing of the postures because I think as for many people, I was drawn into yoga from the aspect of the movement part of it. But as I began to do the practice, I noticed that I was changing, I was literally getting more flexible in my body. But I seem to be getting more flexible in my Outlook as well. And and then in I guess about 2011, my, my mother had a stroke, a major stroke, and I was in a near fatal car accident. And those two things combined, just stopped me dead in my tracks. And I think as happens for many people, when we have a brush with with death, or we have a brush with the loss of someone very near to us, it wakes us up and shakes us up a little bit and makes us say, What are you doing? What are you doing here? What are you doing with your life? What’s important to you? If you only had a day or two or a couple of months to live, what what do you want to be doing? And so I I really I turned to yoga, to help me in my physical recovery. And at that time a teacher asked me to participate in a training and I at first I really dismissed it because I thought I’m not going to teach this is not who I am. But she was somewhat persistent. And I realized that I was already attributing certain changes that I was making in my life to my practice. So I decided to dive in and that’s really what got me started when I began to study yoga and truly study it. And I mean, you know, beyond the physical postures now we’re talking about the philosophy behind it the breath practices that accompany the chanting the making of sound, I just began to realize that it was it was a system for transformation, really on every possible level. And all that mattered was that one be willing to invest in it. And so at that point, I really never looked back, I did a 200 hour training. And then I heard about a teacher who was a yoga therapist who had had a brain tumor. And there was an article about him that described how he used therapeutic yoga to recover from his from his brain cancer. And I thought, I’ve got to study with him. You know, as the saying often goes, right, when the student is ready, the teacher appears. And so for me at that time, he was definitely his name was Gary craft, so and he was quite the right teacher for me, because he taught me that yoga as a practice was something that really should be adapted to each individual person. And the kind of the model that we have here in the United States of doing group classes is really not the way yoga was necessarily intended to be taught, especially not to adults. And so I became a yoga therapist and started working with clients and teaching them the tools of yoga. And as part of our yoga therapy training, we were exposed a little bit to iron VEDA, which is the sister science to yoga, Ayurveda, really, some people say that yoga picks up where I Aveda leaves off, because you know, Iron Maiden is very much focused on diet and lifestyle changes. And there’s a very famous teachers likes to say it’s hard to reach enlightenment when you have anemia. So the idea is that you need a robust physical presence, you need a body that where you’re not consumed by pain or by physiologic discomfort, in order to pursue the more subtle spiritual disciplines. And so I began to study iron VEDA, and it quickly became clear to me that I was really in my head, you know, I was very heavy, very intellectual approach to a lot of what I was doing. And so as I studied Ayurveda, that led me to doing somatic work, which I know is a particular interest of yours as well, in terms of the bowing technique. And, and as I began to study somatic work, that just opened a whole new realm for me, and showed me the possibility of really, we can enter and move towards this spiritual awareness, through our bodies, through our emotions through our minds. And really, you have to find the kind of practice that suits the person in front of you. So that’s why I kind of wear many different hats as a healer, because …
it seems to me that until you really sit with a person and know what they’re about, it’s hard to know what is going to be the thing that is going to spark them getting to make transformation. So, so that’s, I guess, kind of that that’s, that’s sort of how I got where I was going. And, you know, in that time, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve watched my own practice change. I’ve watched what’s important to me change, you know, so whereas 15 years ago, I would have said to you, oh, I would never sacrifice my physical asana practice. Now, I don’t, I don’t do much Asana, I do somatic movement, which is designed to keep my fascia nicely hydrated, and everything moving and all the channels open. But it’s my meditation practice, that is the most important part of what I do, because that’s what’s really created change for me. And the more I’ve been able to change the more I think I’m better able to really be with the person in front of me, having had the experience of change.
Manon Bolliger 09:02
Hmm, wow, that’s a very interesting life story. But so it caught me when you said the flexibility was changed, your mental flexibility was changed with in with yoga, which at that moment, I interpreted as physical movement yoga. Which that was the case, right?
Lisa Sack 09:29
Yes, at the time. And it was when I started to do meditation that I began to see the rigidity as it played out in my psychology. Got it. Okay, then what I needed to do to learn to be less rigid here. Yeah, I see.
Manon Bolliger 09:45
Yeah. So it’s like it’s one one led to the other but then was affirmed by the continuation of your practice.
Lisa Sack 09:53
Yeah, yeah. I know. I mean, I know you know this and I think a lot of people are beginning to realize it. but it’s it’s, I don’t think it makes much sense to make distinctions between body, mind and spirit. And that’s part of the reason I love iron beta so much because I Aveda sees us as a whole. And it encompasses all of those dimensions because, you know, we don’t exist us only one thing, we’re all of those things together. And the key is to figure out the way in, which could be through the body. It could be through digestion, it could be through the mind, it really depends on the individual. Yeah,
Manon Bolliger 10:32
I think it’s similar to the way when I was in practice, I felt like there’s many doors into the healing process. And it’s like, you know, as a naturopath, I had different modalities, I have favorite ones, as we all identify more with one than another. For me, it was Bowen therapy and, and homeopathy. But it again, it depends where the person is that because that start with something that doesn’t resonate. No, it’s
Lisa Sack 11:03
not about you, as the teacher or the coach, it’s only about the person in front of you. And that I think is the, that’s the real job of you want to call it, a coach or a therapist or a teacher is to see into what it is about that person in front of you that lights them up. Because if you can find the thing that lights them up, you know, that can be the back can be the path to change. I mean, I’ll give you a small example I was working with a client who had expressed a particular interest in Jyotish. Jyotish is is Vedic Astrology, where, you know, there’s looking at the planets and the influence of the planets on us. And, you know, he had an interest, but he’d never really done anything with it. And when I was working with him, yes, there were things going on for him physically. But I said, I’m gonna recommend for you that you find a way to begin to study Joe Tisch. And that lit him up and became the thing that he was like, he it changed him, because it came from him. You know, what, I didn’t go into the interview thinking, Oh, I know what’s right for you. This is the way we’re going to work. Because this is what I know works for people. It was about him. And that’s, you know, always I think what we have to try to do as healers is to it’s not it’s it’s what it’s, I have a to teach us that we all have the wisdom within us to heal. It’s just that sometimes we forget it. So we can help somebody remember and tap into that wisdom. The work is it’s not done. But it’s it’s moving in the direction we want.
Manon Bolliger 12:45
is working with the healing force, but you have to exactly. Remind yourself that it’s there.
Lisa Sack 12:52
Exactly. That’s absolutely right. Yeah.
Manon Bolliger 12:58
So so what I’m trying to think I’m imagining quite a few people know about yoga, and I’ve heard, so rather than go into depth about that, maybe share a couple of real, like examples, no names, obviously, or whatever, of something that surprised you, in consulting with somebody and realizing that this was one door in and then what what actually transformed, just so that it’s very concrete, and, and wider, because what I’ve noticed with many therapists is they define themselves by their modality, which is kind of normal on the sense of you display what you know, right? And then you think that people are going to come and go, I want that, which is why I’ll see you. But actually, the transaction is quite different. If you could just say, I, you know, I am a referral base, and some of the stuff I can do myself, you know, you would approach the world very differently, right. So sometimes when people come in, you’re the perfect fit. You’re absolutely what they want. And they may not realize it, because they may not even know what yoga or they’ve heard about it vaguely or whatever. So when I’m looking for it’s like, yeah, an example of something that’s surprised you or really, yeah, come out of the it could be your ordinary because it might be happening all the time.
Lisa Sack 14:43
Yeah, you know, I think to tell you the truth. I have a sense that things are moving in the direction that they should when there is that moment of surprise when something happens that you didn’t anticipate, and it’s Suddenly, either the client is revealing something to you that they haven’t, they’re tier two for revealed. Or things just go in a decidedly different direction from where you thought they might go. So I’ll give you a couple of examples that are the ones that springs to mind right away. So you know, there are a lot of people who definitely come to me specifically for somatic movement work, because they have pain, they’re very motivated, and they want to get out of pain, and they want to resume everything that they’re, that they that they were originally doing, they, they want their lives to go back to what they were before. And I had a client recently who, you know, that’s how we started, which was she said, I want to be able to do this, this, this, this, this and this. And she struck me as being a particular way, you know, and from the IRA Vedic terminology, which we would say that she had a lot of fiery personality and her and people have a lot of fire tend to be very ambitious and very driven, and that sometimes it can be perfectionist, and they, they really have a way that they think that things should go. And the moment we got down on the floor together, what was really striking was her breath. And the way that her breath was caged, is I think the way that I would put it, and just from listening to her talk, and from what she described, I didn’t anticipate that, I thought, yeah, she seems to have really good, you know, sort of awareness. And, and, and I thought, fine, we’re probably going to sail through some some things here. But we wound up spending, you know, probably the bulk of that first practice just helping her to begin to sense how she was holding in her ribcage. And you know, within the first week and a half, she said, I don’t know what we did. But so much has changed.
Commercial Break 17:07
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Lisa Sack 17:50
And of course, in retrospect, I can look back at it and say, Oh, yes, of course. Because as you let go of some of that holding here, and allowed for more spaciousness, suddenly, aspects of healing where it’s like, I mean, I guess I would use a metaphor, it’s almost like, you know, that’s a constricted space and nothing can get in. And then when you open that space, all sorts of things can come in and things can release. And then a couple of weeks later, she talked to me about her fears about sort of becoming like her, her mother, who was very restricted physically. And you know, then you begin to realize, Oh, of course, I know this intellectually, but here I am, I’m seeing it right in front of me, is the connection in that person’s body with this fear, this emotion that has inhabited them, this idea that has taken hold, and watching them release that? Want to cry right now? Because it’s really so beautiful when it happens. And it’s, I think, the times when I feel like, you know, going back to your question about what surprises me. I’m always a little bit surprised when I feel like the teachings are just coming through me without my directing them. I mean, it’s really what I want all the time actually is just to be in that place where I’m with that person in front of me, and the teachings come through. It doesn’t always happen. Usually, it happens at some point. But you know, when it’s really there, it’s it’s like nothing else. It’s like nothing else. I think another example, I would say is I had a client who came in originally, because she was thinking she she was wanting to get pregnant and she had some long sort of term issues with with a kind of difficult relationship to food, which a lot of people have, you know, based on what happened in their childhood. And I was really wowed by how true the teachings for example of iron VEDA are in that case, which describes how, you know, when you have somebody who has a lot of air quality in them, whether it’s because they moved a lot as a child, or they had an unstable childhood or whatever, that that has a profound effect on someone’s ability to feel grounded. And so while she came in talking about very specific things that she wanted to work on, what became really instantly clear was this need to help her feel safe and secure, and able to let go of a kind of hyper vigilance that she had cultivated all her life from this just constant moving and not having security in her family. And so, you know, again, it’s another situation where I would not have looked at it and said, Oh, that’s, that’s where we’re going to be going. But it revealed itself. And I think I think that, really for all of us if we do a careful intake, and we stay open, and absolutely without judgment, and ask questions, and just encourage the person in front of us that a lot of things will be revealed. I mean, that’s really considered to be the heart of your Vedic counseling, which is that you listen completely without judgment. And I think then, again, you know, I’m going back to your question about being surprised. I’m always surprised when it happens, which is that just being listened to just feeling seen and heard, has a tremendous impact on someone’s well being. And people will say that to me time and again, after sessions, they’ll just say, I just I feel better and feel better because they were listened to their concerns were taken to heart. Yeah. Your question?
Manon Bolliger 22:17
We’re just having a discussion. But it but from that, it’s interesting, because I completely agree with you, most people aren’t heard in this world, and not by somebody that they believe on some level can help them. Yeah, I agree. And so there is a bit of authority happening there, you know, where they go to somebody that they believe has more than they do, even though we’re still a guide? We’re not they’re the ones doing the healing? Yes. It’s still set up for that, you know, and yet to, to be fully heard, propels the healing process entirely.
Lisa Sack 23:02
Absolutely. Absolutely. And it’s,
Manon Bolliger 23:05
it’s funny, because that’s the finger they, you know, people say, some people say, Oh, well, you know, it’s just placebo, because it didn’t do anything. It’s like, well, wait a minute here. Why are we negating what is the most the most natural, basic thing that people need? It’s like, touch, you know, it’s like, touch is basic to humanity. You know, there’s tons of studies that show that if you just functionally give a baby vitamins, and food and whatever, you know, that they’ll survive, but they don’t thrive, unless it’s a real mum with real touch. This is a monkey world. But nonetheless, it’s, this is the truth that it’s not the 3d stuff, only that we’re looking at. It’s the connection.
Lisa Sack 24:01
Correct. It’s the relationship that healing and I think, you know, part of the reason that I think sometimes people comment are so grateful is that, you know, the the world of, of, of allopathic medicine, it’s wonderful for acute situations, right? I mean, there’s, there’s no question that there are times when it’s very useful. But when a lot of it is predicated on you get 15 minutes with a provider, what can they possibly really learn about you in that time? And what can you be except anxious to feel like am I making the most Did I forget something instead of really being able to settle into the things that you need to share? And so I think that that I agree with you completely. It’s a hugely powerful part, just the belief that that there there is possibility of change is in itself powerful, because
Manon Bolliger 25:05
that’s the the underlining negative aspect of conventional medicine, medical practice in chronic disease, which is what we’re all the time. Basically, it’s like, we’re not going to cure you, you’re not going to change, but we’ll manage your symptoms, it will be easier for you, you know? And it’s like, wow, that is such a low level goal.
Lisa Sack 25:36
Bar. Exactly, exactly. And that’s one of the beauties of fire VEDA, because Iron Maiden is all about let’s identify the root cause. Because if we remove the root cause, then oh, boy, you know, things will really change. Yes, we’ll, we might give you something to manage a symptom. But, you know, it’s part of the education process, I think, to in our work, or certainly in mind, is to make people understand that we’ve gotten used to the silver bullet idea. And a lot of us really, when we get right down to it, we want something fast and quick, that’s going to work. But truly patience and faith is required to make long lasting change. And there really isn’t any way around that. And, you know, it’s, then it’s a question of How Much Does somebody want it? And obviously, I think the more extreme their circumstances. So for example, somebody in pain generally really wants to change that somebody who’s in an extremely stressful situation that’s impacting their health really wants to change that. But that’s going to be part of it. Is that that that will and willingness and readiness to make change has to be there to, you know, to a client?
Manon Bolliger 27:00
Yeah, no, but I do think that there has to be something that they can see. And usually, you know, tell people, you know, I always say, book three appointments, you know, by the second one, I’m expecting that they’re gonna go, Huh, that’s funny. My shoulder pain isn’t gone. But strangely, I’m not having any digestive problems, you know, and it’s sleeping better. And it’s like, oh, you know, so how relevant Do you think that is to the totality?
Lisa Sack 27:31
It’s everything, it’s everything. I agree, I agree. And it’s why, you know, as focusing on lifestyle issues become so hugely important. Because just, I think, teaching people the importance of sleep, as you just said, and I’m prioritizing sleep, so that our systems have a chance to repair, and so that we get enough not to be emotionally labile. And distracted, the next day can go such a long way, towards making people feel different.
Manon Bolliger 28:05
Yeah. And that’s the thing too often, when people have been trained to think of their bodies as compartments, you know, which is 15 minute thing, because you can’t talk more than one symptom, and 15 never see the whole, right. But, but it’s also not understanding how the body works as a whole. You know, and I know and I vertic medicine, there’s a philosophy of understanding as there is in homeopathy as well, which really explains how the body heals and the stages of this and, and to think that, you know, these ancient, and I vertic is even more ancient, you know, modalities really understood what I believe, more and more people are coming to realize is needed. Because even if you get a quick fix, and you take your gallbladder out, right, now, you’re gonna have another
Lisa Sack 29:07
problem to deal with. Exactly, exactly. Things are there for a reason.
Manon Bolliger 29:13
Exactly. Otherwise, we have a problem solution problem solution, you know, which is what we’re seeing, you know, in great evidence, in the last years, you know,
Lisa Sack 29:22
or as I like to say, you know, yes, you can replace some of your body parts. But do you really want to do that? Because, you know, really, if you’re having problems with your knees or your hips, chances are it really relates to the way that you stand and move and your habitual ways of holding yourself and you might replace that body part, but if you don’t change the larger picture, your new body part might not last, but you’re opening get well. So let’s check again, it gets to the root cause let’s deal with the root cause. And then see what happens to the way you feel.
Manon Bolliger 29:59
Yeah, So we’ve got like a minute left. Any last comments you’d like to make?
Lisa Sack 30:11
Oh, you know, I just said would say that I invite everybody to just think about, you know, what’s it what’s holding you back what holds you back from living the life that you want to live? And then to have the courage and the faith to examine what it is. And for most of us, it’s really our thought patterns, right? It’s that negativity that you alluded to before, and learning to see how we sabotage ourselves with the way that we think the way that we judge the way that we’re critical and cultivating more compassion and kindness and empathy for ourselves and for others can go a long way to helping you change. Well, thank you, Lisa. You’re welcome and on. It was a pleasure to speak with you.
Thank you for joining us at the Healers Café with Manon Bolliger. Continue your healing journey by visiting TheHealersCafe.com and her website and discover how to listen to your body and reboot optimal health or DrManonBolliger.com/tips.