Somer Nicole – “It’s about getting quiet enough to listen, intuitively.”
I grew up in an environment where people ran around 90 miles an hour. I partied a lot, I drank a lot, and smoked a lot of pot before yoga. My nervous system was very ramped up. That’s what I was used to and that’s what I thought was normal. I was on overdrive. I was maxed out in fight or flight and anxious but I would calm myself down by going out and partying.
I was very unbalanced. I would experience a lot of anxiety and not really know what to do with it. That’s why I would go walking on the beach or to the gym. It was awesome to me when I found out I could do 20 minutes of yoga or even 10 minutes of yoga and throw my legs up the wall and it would calm me down.
There’s a part of me that doesn’t inherently trust things. It’s the shadow part of me. I would doubt love – whether love was real. There’s another part of me that didn’t have very good boundaries. It’s the part that didn’t have enough self-respect or think I was good enough to treat myself better.
If I’m operating from my shadow side, I’m very un-trusting. I would doubt almost anything anybody says. If I see somebody holding hands I wouldn’t see the love that exists there. My mind will start telling me everything opposite of that or reasons why that can’t be good. If I’m seeing through shadow eyes, I’m seeing through the eyes of a negative mind that doesn’t necessarily believe in love and doesn’t really even trust a lot of what people are saying or what’s in front of me. Trust has always been a big one for me.
After having developed a yoga practice, if I feel out of balance, I have to get really still. So I sit, close my eyes, and I begin to use my diaphragm to breathe. If I’m feeling anxiety or something like that, I will go directly into the anxiety, and tap into what that feels like for me. It’s similar to a Somato Emotional Release process. I’ll ask myself, “What adjectives describe what I’m feeling? Where is that located in my physical body?”
I’ll just focus on it for 20 minutes sometimes and I use that process with some of my patients. It’s always super useful because you can think of it as the opposite of disassociating, or mentally checking out. It’s just diving directly into what you’re feeling, which is ultimately what works through emotions. Emotion is energy in motion. Ultimately that process allows emotions to move through the body. The more we ignore it, the more we repress it, the more we try to not look at it, the stronger it becomes. So I sit really still and if I need to do that process, if it’s anxiety or sadness or anger that’s coming up for me and I want to get some intuitive insights into why I’m feeling that way, I’ll take myself through that process.
At this point in my life, my personal practice varies. Every time I sit to practice, I’ll just tune into what my body wants to do. Sometimes that’s just meditation, sometimes just pranayama, sometimes I want to do a Kundalini practice. Other times I want to do my Hatha standing poses and get really grounded.
Every single morning when I get up. I’ll sit for a few minutes before I have to do anything, and just tune into what my body needs and what my mind needs.
On any given day it’s always different. I’ve always been a big advocate of variety in my practice. I’m not one that likes to do the same type of practice everyday. It’s why I really like Kundalini Yoga. There’s thousands of kriyas that you can do for any ailment or anything that you can imagine. For me, it’s about getting super still, being quiet, listening and asking.
It’s about getting quiet enough to listen intuitively.
To be continued…
1st part of the interview series with Dr. Somer Nicole in Cardiff-by-the Sea, CA.
Interviewed and edited by Jack Greene.
Photo credit: Somer Nicole
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