Isidora is a Registered Massage Therapist, provider of Medical Contemporary Acupuncture, yoga and Pilates teacher based out of Toronto. She holds additional certifications in FRC and Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization. Her yoga teacher training program which we discuss in this episode and other educational offerings are through Modern Yoga Method. We’re cross pollinating podcasts with this interview as Isidora recently interviewed me on her podcast, Bent Over Wellness.
What’s covered in this episode?
- Can you combine physical therapy with other practices like acupuncture and massage therapy?
- What are the benefits of a multi-practice approach to injury treatment?
- How is physical therapy different from other exercise programs like yoga or pilates?
- How does breathing affect your ability to heal from an injury?
- How can I tell if a course of treatment is right for me?
- Do I have to be touched by someone when seeking physical therapy?
- What are the guiding principles of physical therapy?
- How can I tell if I’m ready to start physical therapy treatment?
Caitlin: This is the Practice Human Podcast, multidisciplinary movement therapy, and contemplative practices for modern life. If you’re a lifelong learner who believes in the inseparable quality of body and mind, a movement specialist dedicated to helping people live better lives, or a rogue explorer bucking the status quo, you’ve come to the right place.
I’m your host, Caitlin Casella. Welcome and thank you for joining me on the Practice Human Podcast. A couple quick announcements before we get started today with my interview with Isidora Romani. Uh, I’m teaching a new queuing workshop with my good friend, Laurel Beavers. Dorf. It’s happening very soon from when I’m putting out this episode.
It’s called Why though Own What You’re Saying. It will be live on Zoom Wednesday, August 12th, from three to 5:00 PM Eastern Time here in New York City. Um, you’ll also get a download of the complete. Recording of the workshop, so it’s yours to keep and refer back to forever, uh, whether you attend live or not, if you’re a movement teacher.
Why though own what you’re saying will provide a roadmap for developing your own teaching language. So our aim is to set you up with tools for understanding the rationale behind the cues that you use through a combination of lecture, discussion and some experiential practice. You’ll learn how sensory motor learning and task-based activities foster a student-centered environment and prioritize autonomy and exploration. If you’ve been following my work and laurel’s work for any amount of time, um, you know, that autonomy for our students and exploration, uh, beyond the aesthetics of what something looks like on the outside. But, uh, moving into more of the rationale behind sensory motor learning is really a big passion that we both share.
If you wanna check out more of our work around this, um, we’ve been sharing quite a bit on our Instagram pages on, uh, laurels at Laurel, beavers, Dorf and mine, and Caitlin Cassella. So you can take a look at some of the, the why though, uh, queuing, uh, post that we’ve put up recently. And then one other announcement I wanted to make is that my mentorship Cross-fade is opening again for the fall.
The registration opens on August 10th and the news cycle begins on September 10th. I also wanna make it clear ’cause I think it’s important at this time as our situations are so complex and unique during this time of covid for anyone experiencing financial hardship at this time, there are six sliding scale spots available from a mentorship.
They’re all on a three month payment plan and add a first come first serve basis. So if you’re interested in checking out my mentorship, um, get on my website early to check out those sliding scale spots, they will probably go very quickly. My website, kaitlin castella.com, has all the details for both my mentorship Cross-fade and my queuing workshop.
Why though own what you’re saying with Laurel Beversdorf. So, uh, I hope to see you either in a, in a class on the connective, the site where I’m teaching my, um, monthly series right now. Or in this workshop with Laurel or my mentorship in the fall. And now I’m gonna tell you a little bit about my guest today on the podcast, Isidora Rini.
I learned so much in this talk with Isidora about ways that she combines her multiple modalities. Uh, for treatment in seeing the whole person. She talks about how she emphasizes breath across all aspects of her work. We get into the topic of protocols, when protocols might be helpful and when it might be more useful to shake off some rigidity and leave space for change in our minds.
Um, and setting a new course in the way that we work with an individual based on, uh, everything going on in that individual’s whole system. And then finally, I think it kind of lends itself well to this discussion of multiple modalities and breaking away from protocols. We talk quite a bit, really a lovely nuanced discussion around scope of practice and when it’s appropriate to refer out.
Isidora is a registered massage therapist. She’s a provider of medical contemporary acupuncture, yoga. Ann Pilates teacher based out of Toronto. She holds additional certifications in functional range conditioning and dynamic neuromuscular stabilization. Her yoga teacher training program, uh, which we discussed a little bit in this episode.
And other educational offerings are through modern yoga methods. And, um, we’re cross pollinating our podcast here with this interview. Isidora recently interviewed me on her podcast, Ben Over Wellness. You can find links to Isidora s uh, podcast, Ben Over Wellness, her website, and um, her Instagram in this show notes.
And I hope you enjoy this talk with Isidora as much as I did.
Hi Isidora, thank you so much for joining me. It’s really great to have this opportunity for a longer, more in-depth conversation
Isidora: with you. Thank you so much for having me. This is great. I mean, we had a, you know, conversation on my podcast, but it’s nice to be on the other side of the mic.
Caitlin: Yeah, yeah. And if anybody listening, just, um, I’ll, I’ll probably drop some info on this in the show notes, but Isidora has a podcast called Bent Over Wellness, and uh, she interviewed me on there probably, I don’t know, a month, two months ago, something like that.
And, um, and then we got into a really interesting side discussion at the end. I, this always happens. I know, I know. It happens for me interviewing people and it probably happens for you too after you hit stop recording and you’re done. There’s always like this amazing conversation that comes after the mics turn off.
Isidora: And every single time I’m like, damn, I shouldn’t have hit stop.
Caitlin: Yeah. Yeah. Sometimes I just let it keep going and then I ask permission to grab a few snippets of that and weave it into the interview. But then it’s like all this kind of editing to try to work it in and, but that stuff always comes at the end.
But we had this, this interesting conversation about, uh, treatment protocol and, uh, treating the individual and how um, you can’t always stick to such tried and true rigid maybe, um, uh, recipes when looking at a person. So. Mm-hmm. We’ll get into all of that a little bit more in depth, but, um, First, I’d like to start by hearing more about your multidisciplinary approach.
So we love that here on Practice Human, uh, crossover and weaving together different disciplines. Um, so maybe you can start by telling our listeners about all the areas of your expertise and what sparked your interest to shift focus or pursue training in all these various areas. Like what made you kind of transition from one to the next to the next? ’cause I know you have experience in a lot of, a lot of modalities.
Isidora: Hmm. Thank you. Uh, well, my designation is, uh, I’m a registered massage therapist, uh, here in Ontario, Canada. Um, I’ve been doing that for, uh, I’m in my 13th year now. Um, and getting into that, uh, I didn’t go back to school. I went back to school for that when I was 31.
So I had already, you know, um, I. Explored other professions. And I came to the point, at that point in my life, that I wanted to, I wanted to help people in some way. And so after a lot of soul searching and journal writing and things like that, massage therapy kept coming up. I was like googling randomly just words, plugging them into the computer.
And massage therapy kept coming up. So I decided to go back to school, um, which was a big shock to my system. Major shell shock, uh, ’cause I hadn’t taken any, si taken any science courses or anything since I was 15 years old and I dropped out of grade 10 science. So Right. This language, this realm was very foreign to me, but I was determined to do it.
So I did a lot of presetting and prepared myself for massage therapy school. Did that two year program and became a massage therapist, took my exams and all that. Um, Right after I finished massage therapy school, about not even six months after, uh, becoming registered, I took, uh, a contemporary medical acupuncture course at McMaster University.
Hmm. And I took that because, um, our therapist, Dr. Mike Priebe, who’s also my mentor, um, he’s a freaking genius. Um, he had always been the one to fix my husband and I when we were broken. ’cause we’re both very active. We cycle, we hike, we, we did all we did and do all kinds of things. And he’s the guy that we would, we would go to, um, to, to fix us when we were broken.
And he did this culture, and he’s also an instructor, um, for the program. So while I was in massage therapy school, he was like, you gotta take the course because you’ll, you’ll. Save yourself from, you know, ruining your hands and burnout. So, right. I took the course and I combined right off the bat. As soon as I finished that course.
It was a six month, six month course. Um, it’s not traditional Chinese medicine. It’s a more contemporary approach where we, where we, um, worked directly with the, the neuro neuromuscular, skeletal, uh, skeletal musculoskeletal system. Mm-hmm. So it’s direct, um, it’s very direct work. So as soon as I finished that program, I incorporated that into my treatment plans.
Right away I implemented the acupuncture with my treatment plans because I knew, I knew that it worked, it worked for myself, it worked for my husband, so that I knew that it would be an effective approach, um, for my treatment plans from then. Um, I didn’t take, I mean, I took a few seminars here and there and because as an R M T we are required to take continuing education.
Uh, but since then I got my, um, yoga teacher training certification and I’ve been doing that for about nine years. And then from there, I also got my Pilates certification with Scott Pilates, um, with EW here in Toronto. Um, and I’ve been doing that for about seven years. And I took the Pilates because again, from, it was through the advice of my mentor, my pre bag.
He was like, you’ve gotta get Pilates in your, in your toolbox because it’s, it’s great therapeutic exercise. You can give it as home care. And so I did that and I’m really, really grateful that I got the Pilates in there. Uh, ’cause it really, it certainly does help. Since then I’ve taken, um, FRC, I’ve taken the, um, functional range.
Um, Um, uh, approach to treatment as well. So I’ve done that and I’ve also taken, uh, a course, uh, uh, through d n Ss, through the prog rehabilitation school, a dynamic neuromuscular stabilization. Cool. And that, yeah, that has proven the D and Ss approach has proven to be hugely effective, especially when it comes to, um, the back and discogenic issues.
So for people who are having, you know, issues with bulging discs and things like that, um, to, to reestablish that neural pathway for trunk stabilization. And I have gotten incredible results implementing that into my treatment plan as well. Cool. So, yeah, it’s, it’s really, well, it’s great because it’s, it’s a really gentle approach to rehab and it, I found that, like it has never backfired on me, ever.
Not once. Um, and it’s really accessible in terms of the, uh, the treatment that you can implement through D N Ss, be using those principles and through self-care, everyone and anyone can do it no matter what your ability, no matter what your limitations are. So it’s, and no matter what your age, what you do, what the injury is, it’s, it’s amazing.
It’s absolutely amazing. So I use that quite frequently as far as, you know, home care and, um, and while people are on my table, because a big, a big portion of the, the D N Ss principles starts with breath. Cool. And, um, yeah, and we can talk about that more later, but mm-hmm. Um, breath is a huge proponent to, um, the body’s ability to heal.
Yeah. Uh, when there’s a, you know, there’s a healthy breathing pattern. Um, Yeah, so, so yeah. So I’ve taken all of that. And then of course with my yoga teaching and my Pilates teaching, I kind of meld everything together. Um, when I teach a yoga class, yes, there are the classic asanas in there, but I inject things like d n s, maybe a little bit of F R C, depending on the group.
Um, definitely breathing, and that goes along with d n s. Um, same thing with Pilates, right? I mean, Pilates, there’s, you know, the breathing and the drawing of the navel. And, Pilates has been a topic of contention for a while. Yeah. And when I learned, when I was going through the program with Stot, they were still using that q navel to spine, drawing the navel in, you know, um, uh, knitting the ribs together, things like that.
Not that it’s wrong, but it’s not doing what we think it’s doing. So they’ve actually, since then, um, they’ve changed their approach in, in which they’re, they’re teaching breathing and core engagement, things like that. So that’s nice to see. Interesting. Um, but yeah. Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. So I think I covered it here.
Caitlin: Thank you. I, um, I think it’s interesting what you said about, um, changing your approach to like a, a visualization or a verbal cue. And I think it’s so useful to have lots of different tools in the toolbox for different people. You know? ’cause different students will resonate with one thing more than another or one kind of visualization or queuing.
They’ll be like, oh, got it. And then something else, they’ll be like, I don’t know what you’re talking about. I don’t know how to do that. So it’s good to be able to weave in all those different ways I think.
Isidora: Absolutely. And you know, I mean, the benefit of using these tools on my, you know, on my treatment table is that people expect me to touch them.
Right? Right. So I can use the feedback of my own hands or they can use the feedback of my own hands, for example, when teaching people how to breathe well. Um, I can use my hands, I can place my hands on their belly. I can place my hands around their waist or, you know, underneath their lower back and, and get them to breathe into those spaces.
But in a yoga class, as, you know, another topic of contention about, you know, adjustments and assisting and touching people in class, I haven’t done that in a very, very long time, uh, in a group class anyways. So there are ways to get people to connect with that aspect of their practice, with their own hands and with their own touch.
Right? Yeah. And when you have. When you have those tools in your toolbox, you can translate it in such a way that people can, you know, either, like you said, either use visualization or use their own, um, tools, their, their external tools, whether it be hands, whether it be wrapping, you know, a stretchy band around their waist or around their rib cage, things like that.
There are ways to do it without ever touching people in your class. In private, it’s different because the consent process is a little bit more in depth. Right, right. So, you know, I will often, just as I do, you know, as far as treatments are concerned, I will touch somebody of course, if I get their, you know, informed consent first.
That’s really important. Um, but in a group class, yeah, there are ways to absolutely achieve what you need to achieve. Without laying your hands on people. Right.
Caitlin: Well, and especially, it’s something that I’ve been thinking about so much lately. This is gonna take us on a bit of a tangent, but now that we’re all in the online space and we’re working with our private students and teaching group classes where there is absolutely no touch, it’s mm-hmm.
I mean, some people see it as a drawback, but I see it as a really amazing opportunity to empower our students to do, for themselves, to give themselves adjustments, to put their own hands on their own body. Um, just because that sensory input, like that tactile input, both from your own hands and the place on your body, your own hands are touching.
You get like double input. Whereas if someone else puts their hands on your body, you don’t get the hands input, just the through the body input, you know? That’s right. So that’s pretty amazing.
Isidora: Absolutely. It is. It’s very cool. It’s very cool. And, you know, and I’ve been doing, I have a, you know, I have a good handful of people that I do privates with, um, you know, online now, uh, since the the covid thing.
Um, and I’ve, I’ve had no problem with the transition because I’m using the exact same tools as I was using before when I was teaching live classes. So I consider myself very fortunate to have all of those tools in my toolbox for sure. Totally.
Caitlin: Yeah. Yeah, it’s great. It’s great that you have all that.
Um, you’ve touched on it a little bit, but I’m wondering, I mean, you’ve touched on a little bit with breath and you tact, touch and sensation is tactile input, but would you say there are any other through lines, through your work that connect all of these, um, different modalities or like some guiding principles that for inform your work and your interaction with students?
Isidora: Great question. Um, a lot of it is watching, observing, and listening. That is a huge part of the way I approach my treatments and my teaching. Um, you know, someone’s holding patterns soon as they walk through the door. I. Right. You know, how are they, how is their posture? And I’m not, this isn’t a, this isn’t a posture discussion.
This is how are they holding themselves? Are they slumped over? Are they depressed? Are they upset? Are they angry? Are their shoulders up to their ears? Are they clenching their fist? Are they clenching their jaw? Like, what’s going on in the masser? Right? Is it popping out? ’cause someone’s clenching their teeth?
That will tell a great story just by watching and observing how someone walks into a room. Mm-hmm. How they sit in the chair in front of you. Um, you know, are they fiddling? Are they fidgeting? Are they restless? Is there a sense of unrest or are they totally relaxed? Right. Are they having an awesome day?
Um, you know, there’s, there’s so many things. Um, posture and which can tell you, right? Mm-hmm. And then, I mean, that goes for, and the yoga class. Absolutely. You know, and then there’s, there’s, you know, the listening aspect, discussion. How are you doing today? How are you feeling? Right. You know, just an open-ended question.
And you know, and that can range from I’m fine, right? Or it tells you a lot, right? It tells you tons. It tells you tons, right? Yeah. And just to be, and just to be that listening board, not to be there to solve any problems or anything like that. But a lot of the time people just wanna be heard and they wanna be under, that’s it.
So just by doing that, that can bring them down a level. Their nervous system could be so jacked up for whatever reason. And the thing is, whether it’s a treatment, whether it’s yoga or Pilates, Those things will not have a lasting effect if that person [00:20:00] can’t downregulate a little bit before they start.
Yeah, for sure. Right. I mean, I can, I can sit there and I can try and treat somebody for whatever, you know, for whatever condition they’re coming to me for. I can sit there and try and quote unquote fix them. But if their body, like I said, and if their nervous system is so jacked up in their body, in their mind, it’s not ready to receive any kind of treatment.
So that means sitting down, listening, letting them vent if they need to vent, because that’s all part of it. Right. Yeah. Um, then, and then beginning the treatment or then beginning the yoga practice or then, you know, beginning the Pilates session. Right. Because that way they can focus on their breath, they can focus on the activity that they’re doing, or they can focus on the treatment.
Right. So that’s a huge part as far as how I approach, um, you know, again, treatment or, or class. Mm-hmm. You know, as far as when, you know, back in the day when we were, you know, when we were teaching group classes, and even on Zoom, I, I am not teaching any group classes on Zoom, but you can often tell like the, the kind of the mood of the group overall, right?
Yeah. It’s not, sometimes it’s like, it’s almost like a collective mood that kind of settles in and, you know, being able to change on a dime and switch, you know, I may have had a plan. But that plan is going to be quickly changed. Like maybe I had something really high energy and energetic and fun and, but the group is just not showing that that’s where they wanna go.
Caitlin: So I’ve gotta switch it up quick. I think like that the phrase read the room is so important. Yes. And it’s something that I, oh my gosh. You know, I, I can, I can sense it I guess after so many years of, of taking classes and, and even with teachers, like giving, you know, I’m in PT school right now and a teacher up at the front of the room giving a lecture.
Um, you can really just feel it. So yes, strongly when someone is reading the room and when someone’s not reading the room, the room, you know?
Isidora: Yeah. Oh my gosh. Yeah. Are they, are they in their own little bubble or are they actually being observant and being Compassionate?
Caitlin: Yeah. Or being in some way in relationship to the people they’re teaching and the subject that they’re teaching.
And rather than just kind of plowing through with an agenda for sure makes such a big difference. Um, let’s, let’s get into this talk about protocol a little bit. ’cause this is what we ended up going, going off on as a tangent at the end of, of your interview with me. But, um, so how, how tightly, and this is, I know it’s like there’s, there’s no like, easy way to answer this question, but maybe we can get into it a bit.
How tightly do you adhere to certain protocols and when and how do you decide to, to change course or redirect your methods or kind of shake off some of the rigidity that you might have had? And I, I, I think this too, has an element of being a beginner. At a practice and then becoming more seasoned at a practice where like, it’s good to have clearer parameters at first and then, you know, learn your scales and then you improvise.
But I’d just love to hear your ideas on this.
Isidora: Sure. Well, when I, when I grow, I mean, looking back in retrospect, when I finished my education for manual therapy, um, I learned more when I started actually practicing and placing my hands on real people, not my peers in school, right? Um, I learned way more, and I’m still learning.
I’m still learning, every time I took a course of some sort, um, it was almost like they, the, the message was this is the only way, this is the way, and this is the only way. And I, in here, I mean, here’s the thing. They’re all a business, right? At the end of the day, these courses are a form of business.
So I get it. I absolutely get it. But the mistake, I think that a lot of, maybe not a lot, but some massage therapists, and I’ve done, I’ve made the mistake myself. When you take a course like that, it’s almost like, you know, you drank the Kool-Aid for that course, and it’s like, okay, you get all enthusiastic and I’m gonna do this, and this is gonna be the way that I’m gonna treat for the rest of my life or for the rest of my career.
And you, you do that stuff and often it works, but then sometimes it doesn’t. And I’ve had that happen to me. I’ve had certain modalities backfire on me. Um, and I won’t say which ones, but I know that when I took one particular course, um, it, the information was amazing. There was so much take home knowledge.
It was, it was incredible. Um, But I went back with a lot of enthusiasm to my treatment table with my patients. And it wasn’t just one time that it backfired, it backfired a few times, it backfired a handful of times. Hmm. And that was actually relatively recently, like in the last few years. And that was my cue to, to get rid of the rigidity and the rules and, uh, the way I was approaching each human.
Mm-hmm. Um, I mean, you know, again, through experience like you, you were, you just mentioned, you know, it’s the experience that gives us that confidence to, to pivot if we need to as far as the treatment is concerned. Um, but when you, when you know, when you learn something new, you get really excited about it, and you wanna try it on everybody.
Right. And when it doesn’t work, it can be rather shocking. Um, and be like, oh shit, I made the condition worse. They call me the next day and say to me, I don’t know what you did, Isidora, but I am in absolute agony. I didn’t sleep at all last night. Mm-hmm. And when you hear something like that, you’re like, oh crap.
Okay. Alright. So I’m gonna go back to maybe working a little bit more gently, you know, letting my ego go a lot, um, and work, work with them. Right. So, and here’s the thing, we always, you know, there’s nothing wrong with making a mistake. It’s, you know, it’s the approach, okay, well that didn’t work. I’ve got something else that we can try.
Are you open to it? Let’s work together, kind of thing. Mm-hmm. Um, and again, putting the power back in, in their hands. Right. Not to come to me, to, to, to fix everything and be the magician and, you know, and sometimes not the magician, but you know, the devil. Um, but, um, You know, it’s, it’s that, it’s that experience through, okay, well that didn’t work.
What else can I pull from? Um, and then going back to the drawing board and going back to, you know, my original assessment. So first breath, how are they breathing? What’s their breathing pattern? Where are they breathing from? It’s really simple. Mm-hmm. You know, are they breathing up high? So for, for example, someone who comes to me with a shoulder problem, the first thing I do is notice where they’re breathing from.
If they’re breathing up high, chances are they’re using more of their accessory muscles mm-hmm. To, to breathe rather than their diaphragm. So maybe we need to work with that first. And right there, that’s gonna downregulate their nervous system. And it will reduce the tension in, you know, in things like the scalings, the s scms, cer, cla, mastoid, um, you know, all those muscles up high around the neck, the upper traps, the way upper traps.
You know, even the occipitals, um, all of those muscles that cause head, neck tension and shoulder tension, start with the breath first. And then, like I mentioned earlier, what are the holding patterns? How are they holding themselves? You know, what is their body language saying to me? What, how, you know, what tension and where is the tension being held in their body?
Mm-hmm. You know, starting with that. And then of course listening. You know, a lot of the time people will come in, sit down and I’ll ask them, okay, so how are you doing today? And they vent and they just bark out everything that’s happened since I last. Um, and that, again, that brings them down a few notches as well.
And then, you know, looking beyond this is, I learned this initially through the acupuncture course, um, to start looking beyond and outside the local paint. So again, you know, referring back to the shoulder, ’cause it’s the easiest one in my brain right now. Um, you know, someone coming to me for shoulder pain.
Well, is it the shoulder? Like is there actually something mechanically going on in the shoulder or is it something, you know, proximal or distal to that? Right. You know, often when someone comes to me for shoulder pain, yeah, sure, I’ll test the shoulder range of motion, passive and active, all that stuff.
But I will always go to the neck. Always. Um, especially if you think about as a society, how we sit and what we do. Especially now, because a lot of people are working at home and they’re, we’re in front of our computers more. So there’s that hyperextension in the neck. Maybe putting some compression somewhere along the brachial pl plexus, the roots of the brachial plexus and those who don’t know what that is, it’s basically, it’s a network of, it’s a branch of nerves that come out of, of the cervical spine, the neck from C four, so your fourth cervical vertebrae to C seven, and then supply the shoulder and the arm with the nerve innervation.
So if there’s something going on in the neck that’s maybe, you know, impinging a nerve, I know that’s a, a term that is loosely used, but to, to simplify it, if there’s, if there’s some kind of compression or impingement on a nerve somewhere in the neck, it can absolutely affect how the shoulders feel.
Especially when there’s, you know, especially if someone comes to me where they’ve had MRIs, they’ve had scans, they’ve had ultrasounds, they’ve had all these things and everything is coming up negative and it’s almost like it’s unexplained. Right. And so people get really, really frustrated, right? So look at the neck often, more often than not I’ll find something going on when I start poking around in the neck.
Um, so there’s that. And then another aspect to look at is, you know, the lymphatic system. That’s a huge thing when there’s any inflammation going on. And if the lymphatic system is sluggish, that will absolutely have an effect on how we feel globally through the whole body. Yeah. Um, I have a really cool story actually.
I had a woman come to me, this was a couple years ago. She’s a regular patient of mine. Um, and she came to me and I would treat her as a very active woman. Like she was a total badass. She did bootcamps, she did yoga, she ran, she swam, she did everything. Um, and I hadn’t seen her for a while. Excuse me. Um, I hadn’t seen her for a while and she came in and she was like, Izzy, you gotta help me.
I’m desperate. I’ve been told that I need shoulder surgery. I was like, whoa. She’s like, and I wanna do everything possible not to go under the knife. I’m like, alright, so let’s do this. So I started, you know, treating her shoulder and a few weeks went by, and this is totally my fault ’cause I didn’t check her lymphatics right off the bat.
I missed it. But after about a few treatments, she, I mean, she was getting relief and she was getting more range of motion and we were getting positive results. But it’s almost like we hit a plateau. And then I thought, Okay, let me check your lymphatics. Because her range of motion was limited. She wasn’t getting that pump in her armpit where there’s a like a, it’s like a grand central station of lymphatic, of lymph nodes underneath her armpit.
She wasn’t getting that limp lymph pump going. So I checked, I stuck. I very gently stuck my thumb into her armpit, and it was almost like a whole bunch of frozen peas that I could feel underneath the surface of her skin. And I was like, whoa, okay. There is some stagnant lymph going on in this area. So I started working on that.
The next time I saw her, she was like, girl, I don’t know what you did, but look. And her arm went. Her head she had, it was incredible. And it was just that one piece, that one piece of the puzzle that we were missing just by, you know, bringing attention and addressing the lymphatic flow, made a huge difference.
And after that, I saw her a few more times, and then she was good as new, and then she went back to her or her orthopedic surgeon because she had an appointment booked for like a pre-surgery, a pre-op, um, uh, appointment. And the orthopedic surgeon was like, I don’t even know what you’re doing here. You don’t need surgery.
So that was like one of my biggest successes, my most recent biggest successes. But again, just looking at all aspects of the body, you know, um, when there’s, because when there’s an injury, there’s going to be a level of inflammation. So we have to figure out what, you know, what can we do to reduce that inflammation.
Yes. Address the lymphatic system, but you know, how are they sleeping? Exactly. You know what, they’re stressful. What’s their diet like? Not a registered dietician. And I’m not a holistic nutritionist, but I can refer people to, you know, to those professionals if it’s a diet thing, right? So it’s, you know, it’s an all encompassing approach where, you know, do I just treat the shoulder or do I treat the entire human being?
Right? Um, there’s, there’s so many factors to take into account, and it depends on everybody. That’s the thing. Every individual is completely different from them, I could have the same, the same condition comes to me with five different people, and my approach is five different ways. Right. Depending on the person.
Right. So I don’t know if that makes sense or if that answered your question. I kind of went on a tangent there.
Caitlin: No, thank you. Totally. Well, I agree. And I think also it presents a good argument for, um, I don’t know. It’s kind of circling back to what you originally started with, like getting, getting into a method and it’s really focused and really one-sided and kind of black and white because in their marketing that’s what sells and that’s what’s really sexy and gets people excited.
But once you have that information, you have to put that in your toolbox with all the rest of your other tools and know that like every person requires a different kind of treatment. And, you know, and something that, uh, somebody who has really inspired me over the last few years is Greg Lehman, and he talks about how yes, he’s like, how is this, that you talk to one therapist and they do this and you talk to another therapist and they follow this, which is totally different.
And they both have patients coming to them that are getting better, that like these treatments work, these totally different treatments work from this person and from this person. And so it’s not, I mean, he talks about, has not like, just like the one treatment isn’t a panacea. That it’s like multiple things work for multiple people and what works for one person might not work for another person.
So I think that’s great. What you said about, uh, kind of picking and choosing based on, you know, all of, all of this data about the whole person and things that aren’t just mechanical as well. Totally. So important.
Isidora: Totally, and that’s the thing. I mean, you know, for somebody who, for example, and I’ll, I’ll, I’ll not name drop, but I’ll say, you know, the approach for somebody who, when, when their nervous system is jacked up, there is no way on earth that I’m gonna give them an F r C car protocol.
Yeah. I’m not gonna do that. I’m not gonna do that because it requires, even if I do, even if I give them level one cars, which is supposed to be the, the gentlest approach to controlled articular rotations, that may still be too much for that person because it’s too much for them to focus on. It’s too much for them to get Right.
Yeah. You know, and maybe I just need to start with, and maybe down the road I’ll introduce those, those cars maybe. Sure. And pales and rails and things like that. But off the bat, uh, no way. I need to get them down regulated. I need to get them sleeping better. I need them to get them breathing better.
Start with that. The really, really simple stuff that doesn’t, that that doesn’t feel overwhelming. Right. Because if I give too much for someone to do for home care first, they’re not gonna do it. Why would they, if it’s gonna take them 15, 20 minutes to get through, oh, you know, a movement routine and a rehab routine at home, most people are not gonna do it.
But after, if I can give them something that they can do in their car, so the breathing thing they can do on, in their car when, on their commute mm-hmm. They can do it in front of their computer, they can do it while they’re watching TV with their kids at night. Something like that. Or having a bath. Right.
That’s where I often will. Suggest someone to start connecting with their breathing and sit naked in a bath and watch your belly move. And that is simple. And it doesn’t take any time. All it takes is to direct the eyes down to the belly and watch. That’s it. And it’s simple, and anyone can do that. So, you know, um, you, we have to be careful in our enthusiasm, right?
Because maybe our patient or our student doesn’t share the same enthusiasm, right?
Caitlin: Yeah. Yeah. And, um, yeah, what you said about like, uh, the cars, it’s, it’s something I’ve had actually a conversa conversations with several people about is, um, you know, a system that asks you to hold tension and irradiate tension through your whole system for someone who’s already.
Always irradiating tension through their whole system. It might not be the best thing. Totally. No, I mean, I feel that it’s, um, yeah, it’s not, it’s not useful for me a lot of times. Um, ’cause I’m a pretty, like, high tension, high tone individual.
Isidora: Me too. Me too. I mean, you can hear it in the way we talk, right?
Like it’s, we’re, we’re go-getters. We’re type a’s we’re, you know, doers get things done kind of thing. And for, you know, the same thing for myself. I agree with you. Um, for myself doing cars every day is no bueno. Mm-hmm. I like the idea, but it’s, it’s, it’s no good for me because that will just jack me up more and cause more pain in, in the long run.
Because again, when the nervous system is jacked up, your cortisol levels are through the roof and you feel pain more. So I’m not dissing F R C. Right. Right. But seeing that not everything is for everybody.
Caitlin: Yeah, totally. Or not for everybody all the time, right?
Isidora: Right. Exactly.
Caitlin: Exactly. Um, yeah, I hear you a hundred percent.
I mean, I know when I started taking Feldenkrais classes, I was like, oh, this puts me at baseline now I know what like zero could be, you know, it’s like it takes that much like an hour of tiny, no effort, easy little movements with pauses and like mini Shavasana to observe my breath for an hour. Yes.
That’s what my body needs to come down from that high tone tent state to baseline. But for some people that’s gonna be like, they’ll just be asleep. They’ll be so drained and like a depressed system for the rest of the day. Like I would need more. Exactly. I mean, I know people who need more of that, like, you know, Up, up the energy, up the intensity.
Yes. Feel your muscles pumping, feel that irradiation. So, yeah. And, and on different days, diff different things for different days too.
Isidora: 100%, absolutely. Oh, for sure. For sure. So again, it comes back to, it comes back to reading people and just opening your eyes a little wider and, and pausing and watching, observing, listening.
It’s really, really important to get that feedback from the person in front of you. Otherwise yeah, things could just go, go get messy.
Caitlin: I have, uh, another question, just, uh, a side question off of what we’ve, we’ve been discussing, and maybe this is like a, where things can get messy, but um, in terms of treating the whole person and, and addressing the individual and addressing all these other systemic factors that aren’t necessarily mechanical, I’d love to hear some of your thoughts, especially ’cause you’re a teacher trainer, and I think this is an important thing for, for yoga teachers to hear teachers of any modality.
I just know you teach a yoga teacher training. Um, like how do we stay within our scope of practice and offer recommendations, offer referrals, help people with some of those issues on a more systemic level without overstepping our boundaries in terms of what we’re qualified to offer in our own expertise.
Isidora: Hmm, that’s a good question. Well, in my teacher training, um, I sound like a broken record ’cause I repeat it over and over and over again. No matter what lab, what lecture, what module we’re in, we, you know, as yoga teachers, it is not our duty to be a therapist, to be a counselor, to give advice that is, that’s way overstepping.
Um, and that’s getting into some really dangerous territory because as a yoga teacher, first of all, you, whether you, whether you like it or not, and whether it’s intentional or not from either side, your students are looking at you at a higher level than themselves a lot of the time. So that you’re, they’re looking to you as, um, as an object of or a person of authority.
And so right there, the, the, the playing field is, is a little off kilter right off the bat, right? Mm-hmm. So when, when that is a factor already, you have to really be careful with the kinds of things and kinds of advice that you give because, um, it, they can, they can take it as gospel, and then if it backfires, they can come back to you and then blame you.
I’ll give you a perfect example, and I thought I was watching my words with this person. So somebody had, it was a student of mine. This was probably about a year ago. She asked me about, um, what she just asked me, what I do for fiber intake. It was a really random question, right? Like, what do you do to get more fi?
She was a, she was a, a lady in her sixties, and her doctor told her that she needs to have more fiber in her diet. She’s like, so, you know, Izzy, what do you do to get fiber into your diet? I’m like, well, I eat a lot of beans and I eat a lot of greens. Like, that’s, that’s what I do. I just, you know, depend on, you know, I, I have faith in my body that it’ll clean itself out when it needs to.
Well, a few days went by and she came back to me and she’s like, because of you, I have the worst gas.
Caitlin: Yeah, I could see where that was headed.
Isidora: And I, at this point, I totally forgot about the conversation. ’cause it was just a casual conversation after class. And I was like, what? What do you, what do you mean?
She’s like, I’ve been eating beans and kale for the last three days and I am so bloated. It’s all your fault. And I don’t know whether she was serious or joking or a little bit of a combination of both. And I looked at her and I’m like, I didn’t tell you to eat more beans. She’s like, yes, you did. And it was literally like, because this is what she heard.
Right. That was her interpretation. Yeah. Of what was coming out of my mouth. I said that I eat lots of beans and greens. I never once said that she should do it too, but that’s how she took it, right? Yeah. So right there I was like, whoa, okay. That was a good reality check for me right there, you know? I think the best for someone to do, and I think this isn’t any profession when, if it’s something that you’re not well educated in, um, and that you don’t have either the certification or registration or whatever the, the diploma, the degree, whatever.
When someone asks you a question, what I will often do is, well, this is what I do, but I have this great holistic nutritionist that I think you should go see. She’s fantastic, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Mm-hmm. Or, you know, if something is, you know, in a, in a treatment, um, plan, for example, Or we’re hitting a plateau, and I’ve done this countless times, we’re hitting a plateau and I’m missing something.
And, you know, I’m thinking maybe a chiropractor, a physiotherapist, or, um, you know, uh, an osteopath would be able to help. Then it’s like, it’s one of those things where I have to set myself aside ’cause my needs are not important here. It’s what can I do for the person in front of me? So I have, I always, and again, going back to my teacher training, I always advise the trainees to start building a good referral list right off the bat.
Um, have a good massage therapist on your list. Have a good physiotherapist, a chiropractor, a nutritionist, uh, an osteopath, a homeopath, a nap, like whatever. Have a big list of people that you can refer people to, because, especially as a yoga teacher, like, okay, 200 hours. I’m not gonna cover that much.
You know, we do our best and I do my best to kind of give an overview of all the things that are necessary to teach an intelligent class, um, and give people a lovely experience. But that doesn’t mean that you can give advice on something that you, you know, that you heard in a lecture or something that you took in a weekend seminar, or you just heard something in passing.
It can get really, really dangerous ’cause you’re dealing with people’s health. Yeah. And so, you know, to be able to say, and be confident and be okay with saying, I don’t know. I’d love to answer that question for you, but I, I don’t, I don’t know, but I know someone who does. I know someone who can answer that question for me.
Right. And I think by doing that, whether you’re a manual therapist, whether you’re a yoga teacher, or a Pilates teacher, I think that gives you more credibility. And it can, it can, it can. Then cause people to, to trust you more. Yeah, they will. Okay. She was okay. So I trust her. And this is somebody that she’s worked with before or that has sent patients before or students to before that.
And it sounds like they’ve gotten great results. So I’ll give it a try kind of thing. You can direct people whether they go or not. That’s, that’s not your problem. Um, you know, you can lead a horse to water, but that’s about it. But to take on that responsibility of, again, being either a counselor, um, a dietician or nutritionist or whatever, that’s, that’s taking on a huge responsibility that you just don’t need, that’s just gonna add to your stress.
You know, teaching a yoga class can be stressful enough as it is. Right. You don’t have to take it upon yourself to think that you have to fix everybody. ’cause you don’t, you’re just teaching a yoga class. Guys. Like Yeah. That’s, you know, That’s the, like, let’s face it, it’s not to undermine yoga teachers because, you know, yoga teachers, there’s some yoga teachers out there that are absolutely phenomenal and give their students a, a, a very memorable experience every time they practice with them.
You know? But you, that’s it. That’s it. Leave it at that. Don’t think that you have to take on more responsibility ’cause you don’t. Mm-hmm. You really don’t. It’s just taking on too much.
Caitlin: Yeah. And I think it’s, it’s such a relief as a teacher and also I think it’s important to. Educate the general population that there are specialists and clinicians out there who, who you Yes.
Would want to go for certain things. So if, uh, if someone’s just coming to yoga and just expecting their yoga teacher or their Pilates teacher or their strength coach, or on and on, whoever that they’re going to for training or a movement practice. If they’re expecting that one person to be there for all, all their health and lifestyle needs, then they’re never understanding that there is a system of, uh, seeking out help from people who are experts at what they do in specific areas.
So I think even just giving people referrals, whether they go or not, just having the conversation about referring someone out to someone else sets the tone. Mm-hmm. That, that is, that’s just more worthwhile, more efficient and safer. We need to operate among all these modalities.
Isidora: I, I totally agree. No, I totally agree.
And I mean, and I think a big thing, I mean, it may not be so much, um, well, no, I’m gonna take that back. I just realized as it was coming outta my mouth, like the physical therapy part of things that, you know, things that, you know, students will often think that yoga teachers can fix their pain. Um, there’s that, but a big thing that I see is, you know, emotional pain.
Mm-hmm. Um, and, you know, students coming in and it’s okay to vent, you know, like absolutely it’s okay to vent, but I will often follow something like that with like, if someone is, when I can see that someone’s in some real distress and they need some professional help to take the stigma away from going to a counselor, going to a therapist, psychotherapist, you know, um, psychologist, whatever.
And what I’ll often say with that is, you know, are, are you seeing anybody professionally that you speak to? And right there you can see the shame. Settle in. Right. And I’ll always say, look, hey, I think everyone should have a therapist. You know, I have one, my husband has one. You know, my friends, all my friends have one.
You know, um, I’m not saying that you should go, but it’s something to consider. Here’s a card, somebody that I know that entrust. If you’re interested, you can give her a call, you know? Yeah. But it’s, it’s not that I make light of it, but it’s just like, you know, me too. I go too, I’m pretty screwed up in my head.
And if I, I’d be more screwed up if I didn’t have my therapist. How about that? You know? Um, and almost make, you know, make it normal. Make it normal. Totally. Because there’s still no matter, no matter what we say, no matter what we say on social media, no matter the campaigns out there, there is still a stigma attached to mental health.
And the need for help. There still is, whether we like it or not, whether we want it, admit it or not, it exists. So if we can normalize it more, because in yoga, That’s, you know, often people start doing yoga because maybe their doctor said to them, you’re stressed out. You’re, you, you need to calm down, go do yoga.
Right. And just kind of, you know, make it a blanket statement. And then someone comes to yoga and says, okay, I was told to come to yoga ’cause I need to calm down and reduce my stress. And so they’re depending on us as yoga teachers to do that when really all we’re doing is teaching a yoga class and we’ll do our best, but we have no authority on mental health.
We don’t period. Unless you are an actual psychologist or psychotherapist who teaches yoga. Right. Right. In which case you give them your card after, after class. You don’t give them a session right there. You give them their card and refer them to your phone number or email and book an appointment. Right?
Yeah. Um, But, you know, I dunno if that makes sense. And that answered your question.
Caitlin: Oh, Totally. Even that, you know, even that I wonder sometimes about crossover of, this is another thing that I think about often, and I don’t think there’s any one right answer, but like, crossover of modalities. And when should there be a boundary between, uh, seeing somebody for one thing and seeing something somebody for another?
So like, if you’re their yoga teacher and then you’re gonna start seeing them as a psychotherapist. Is there some kind of conflict in there that potentially they should go to somebody else for, uh, therapy and come to you for yoga? Just as an example, uh, I teach yoga lessons to a therapist who also does craniosacral work.
Okay. But she will not see the same person for both. She won’t do talk therapy and craniosacral on the same client. She has only craniosacral clients and only therapy clients. And that, like, to me, sparked this interest in like, Hmm. Like that’s a boundary that she’s decided is important in her practice because it involves touch and energy, and then it involves her psychotherapy work on the other side.
And she thinks there’s like a conflict of boundary there that she stays away from. Um, I can see. It’s so interesting to me.
Isidora: It is. Yeah. I can totally see that when it comes to psychotherapy because, you know, if I was, let’s say, let’s say I was a psychotherapist and a massage therapist. Mm-hmm.
I would probably have the same boundary because I don’t want my massage, my manual therapy treatment to be interrupted by Yeah. A, a therapy session. Do you know what I mean? That’s a really good point. Yes. Yes. Yeah. Um, I want the focus to be the mechanics and dealing with that injury. Not with solving, uh, solving an issue or problem that someone’s having at home.
Right, right. If, if, if that were, that was me. If I had those two designations, I would probably make the same boundary. Um, as a massage therapist and a yoga and Pilates teacher, I don’t have to make that boundary. I don’t feel, for me personally. Mm-hmm. I have a lot of students that are also my patients.
Yeah. Right. Because, you know, I can say to them, while I’m treating them on the table, I can say they possibly do this instead. Mm-hmm. Right. Or if you go to somebody else’s class, when you do, you know, when you do triangle or trisana, instead of going all the way down to the floor, I want you to do this instead.
And I’ll give them an alternative no matter whose class you go to. ’cause I can, I can tie in the two together and give them tools to take into their practice. Right. Yeah. So personally, I don’t see a need for a boundary between my manual therapy practice and my teaching. Mm-hmm. For me, that makes sense.
There may be people that feel completely different and that’s cool.
Caitlin: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Huh.
Isidora: You know, but yeah, it’s, it’s something to think about for sure. And I really think it depends on the person.
Caitlin: Totally. Yeah. Yeah. Um, that’s why I said I, I don’t think there’s any one answer on that, but something interesting to consider.
Isidora: Yeah. No, I think so. Yeah.
Caitlin: Mm-hmm. Um, I, I wanted to finish up today just by first hearing about what you’re doing. I’m interested in hearing about how you’ve transitioned into the online space since C O V I D in your work. If there’s anything you wanna add to that conversation. And I know you are bringing your teacher training online, starting I think soon.
I don’t know the exact dates, but I know it’s soon. September 16th, September 19th. Yeah. Yeah. cool.
Isidora: Yes, yes. Registration cutoff was, uh, August 1st. Mm. Um, And I’ll explain why I have that date as well. ’cause people might be wondering and maybe they’ll hear this podcast and it’s after August 1st. I’m not, I mean, August 1st is pretty solid, but it’s more like the first week of August Uhhuh that I’m making the deadline.
Um, anyways, so for the last several I’ve been to doing, being, I’ve been part of yoga teacher training since, actually, since I became a yoga teacher, because of my R M T background. I was taught anatomy and, and biomechanics and that kind of thing. Um, I’ve always been part of programs in the past. Um, but for the last five years, uh, I’ve been running my own and it’s always been in person.
So I had already in March when the lockdown happened, I already had a handful of people registered and enrolled for my September start. Got it. And I went into it. Yeah, I went into severe panic. I was like, what am I gonna do? There’s just so much uncertainty, right? I mean, I know I’m not alone here. There was so much uncertainty going back and forth.
And maybe it’ll only be a few weeks, maybe it’ll be a month. What if it goes longer? And so I was toying with the idea, ’cause my, my teacher training is, uh, two modules. Uh, the first one is like, runs for about seven weeks and the second one runs for six weeks. And there’s a six week gap in between. There’s a little bit of a break.
And so I thought to myself first, okay, maybe I’ll just do module one. ’cause it’s very lecture heavy. Um, there’s a lot of information. It’s a lot of anatomy, physiology, neurology, and pathophysiology. There’s a lot of that. So we understand how the body works. Um, there are some labs. So when I was doing it in person, each weekend would have a theme, right?
So one weekend would be the pelvis and hips. And so we would, I. You know, go through the lectures and then the next day would be a full day of movement, exploring all the movement and hips and applying that to asana. Hmm. So, yeah, so I was like, okay, so how am I gonna do this? Even if I want to do it all online, what do I do?
So I toyed with the idea of just doing the first module virtual and then waiting and seeing if things would open up and then do the second module in person. That didn’t take me long to realize, okay, I can’t wait and see. This is not, this is not an option. Because I was starting to get people that were showing interest from other countries.
Oh, right. So, Yeah. So I was like, Ooh, there’s no way that I’m gonna be able to do an in-person module two. All right, so it’s going all online. Here we go. You know? So since then, oh my lord, what a project. I took a line. Uh, so since I’ve been recording, Doing my, you know, doing the lectures, doing the videos and everything like that.
So now everything is ready to go. It’s 100% virtual, but it’s also got contact hours as well. ’cause we need that. Right? Yeah. So what I’ve done is made it, so every couple weeks throughout the modules, we all meet together on Zoom and we do the stuff together. We review, we practice, teach, especially in module two.
It’s very practice teaching heavy. It’s all practice teaching actually. Um, there are assignments, so things that, so assignments that I would, um, that, that I would give in person to people, for people to do right there on the spot. I’ve now switched to an assignment based. Uh, format. Mm-hmm. Where they work together with themselves, again through Zoom or FaceTime, whatever they wanna use.
They work with partners, so there’s still partner work. Um, so it’s virtually the exact same thing that I would do in person only It’s online. Yeah. So yeah, that starts September 19th. I’m really excited about it ’cause I think it’s gonna be pretty rad. Yeah. I’ve got a really wicked group. Rolled.
They’re so cool. They’re so cool. Awesome.
Caitlin: Yeah. And that is such a huge undertaking. I put that all online and I know a lot of people listening to this can relate to congratulations.
Isidora: Well, thank you. Yeah. So I’m doing that and I have my online courses as well. Like I have little bundles. I have a yoga bundle, I have a Pilates bundle.
I have a self-care bundle that’s, um, that’s available on teachable through modern yoga method. That’s my, that’s my educational school. Um, and yeah, so that’s what, that’s what I’ve been focusing on primarily. And then I have, I do have, like I said earlier, I have my handful of private clients that I see, um, virtually once a week.
So that’s keeping me pretty busy. I have to say.
Caitlin: Great. Well, I will link your, your website and your Instagram in the show notes, and I’ll just make a note about Modern Yoga Method being your, your training and your, your podcast bent over wellness. I’ll, uh, put a little note on that for the listeners so they can refer back to it.
And, uh, thanks so much, Isidora. Thank you.
Isidora: Thank you, Caitlin.
Caitlin: It was great to catch up and hear your thoughts. Um, yeah, I feel like there’s so many things that came up in this conversation that have been rattling around in my brain for, for the last few weeks, so, uh, oh. Yeah. So it was a good conversation to have right now.
Isidora: Yeah, I think so. I think so. Not to be afraid of having that conversation, right. Yeah. Because I think we’re, we’re often worried about if we’re gonna be judged and well Yeah. That, we’ll, that we will be judged by our peers and, um, you know, I just think that we, you know, I think it’s good to have these discussions.
Um, you know, what was once thought to be, you know, the perfect approach. We’ll often change. Yeah. Right. And that’s, Hey, that’s okay. It’s okay to say, Hmm, you know what, what I thought last year. Yeah. I don’t think that anymore. It’s okay to do that. You don’t have to, you don’t have to stick to your guns, and commit to an approach.
Caitlin: Absolutely. Yeah. We’re allowed to change our minds. That’s, it’s so important in so many arenas of life,
Isidora: I think. Yes. Oh my gosh, yes. Oh my gosh, yes.
Caitlin: Thank you for listening. I hope you enjoyed this talk. Again, you can find links to Isad Dora’s website and her Instagram in the show notes. And as always, if you’re enjoying the interviews here on Practice Human I’d really appreciate it if you leave us a rating and a review. It will help the conversation grow.