Welcome to another inspiring episode of A Voice and Beyond. This week, we are honoured to have Nicole Byars, the owner and founder of Honest Yoga, join us. Nicole is not only passionate about yoga, personal growth, and her signature backwards hats, but she also has a profound personal journey with trauma. Diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, Nicole has navigated the complex emotions of shame, sadness, and embarrassment, ultimately finding a sense of relief and healing through yoga.

In this episode, Nicole shares her journey of transforming pain into purpose by establishing Honest Yoga, a sanctuary designed to help others heal from trauma in a supportive community. Her studio is a testament to the power of yoga in fostering recovery and growth, creating a safe space where people can feel a sense of belonging.

Nicole addresses common misconceptions about trauma, explaining that it is often associated solely with extreme events like war, natural disasters, and abuse—what she refers to as big ‘T’ trauma. However, she emphasizes that little ‘t’ traumas, which are more everyday experiences, are just as significant and impactful. Nicole believes that everyone has encountered some form of trauma, and recognizing this is crucial for healing. A key part of her philosophy is the importance of feeling a sense of belonging and that a foundation of community is essential for mental health.

Join us as Nicole Byars delves into these insights and shares her expertise on how we can all better understand and heal from trauma. Tune in to this heartfelt and enlightening conversation.

Are you ready to embark on a transformative journey that blends logic and intuition? Dr. Joyce Anastasia, an intuitive consultant with a PhD in quantum natural medicine is here to guide you. With her unique approach. Dr. Joyce bridges the gap between the intuitive and the logical, creating a paradigm shift that amplifies your impact on the world. Visit www.leadbywisdom.com and unlock your full potential today.

Are you constantly battling with food cravings, struggling to resist temptation, and feel like you just can’t break the cycle? My dear friend Dr Glenn Livingston has a transformational new book that you can read for free as a listener of A Voice and Beyond. Visit  www.DefeatYourCravings.com

In This Episode
0:00 – Sponsored Ad: Lead by Wisdom with Dr Joyce Anastasia
6:41 – Nicole’s journey to yoga
15:18 – Trauma, easting disorders and using yoga to heal
26:14 – Sponsored Ad: Free Book ‘Defeat your cravings’ by Dr. Glenn Livingston
36:29 – Trauma and it’s effects on mental health
49:03 – Trauma, yoga, and community connection
57:39 – The power of setting intentions and living a yoga lifestyle

Find Nicole Online

Ready to reach a global audience with your product or service? We offer multiple opportunities for advertisement sponsorship on A Voice and Beyond. Email info@drmarisaleenaismith.com or visit the sponsor page to learn more.


Putting yourself first is important because it allows you to prioritize your own needs and well-being, which in turn can help you be more productive, creative, and fulfilled in all areas of your life. By taking care of yourself first, you are better equipped to care for others and contribute positively to the world around you.



Visit the A Voice and Beyond Youtube channel to watch back the video replay of this guest interview or to see my welcome video.

Episode Transcription

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  00:00

Are you ready to embark on a transformative journey that blends logic and intuition? Dr. Joyce Anastasia, an intuitive consultant with a PhD in quantum natural medicine is here to guide you. With her unique approach. Dr. Joyce bridges the gap between the intuitive and the logical, creating a paradigm shift that amplifies your impact on the world. Through her Wisdom Teachings and effective natural processes, Dr. Joyce evokes your greatest strength and unlocks transformational possibilities. Her services include quantum and remote healing, past life regression, divine intuitive sessions, Dream exploration, and ethical manifestation from vision to reality. Imagine shifting from feeling oppressed and controlled to embracing vulnerability and authenticity, transition from fear to courage, from overwhelmed to peace of mind, feel empowered to make those formidable decisions to create optimal outcomes with no harm. Dr. Joyce helps you identify and overcome limiting beliefs through integrative works that span many traditions, recognising and celebrating the uniqueness in each one of us. In a safe and confidential environment, Dr. Joyce provides support for those in high levels of leadership and academia. With her guidance, you can drop the need for control, make powerful decisions and to have the courage to discover what’s possible for you. Take responsibility for your life and find peace with Dr. Joyce, Anastasia. Unlock your potential and start your journey towards a more conscious and empowered life today. So if you’re ready to drop the control file, go to www.leadbywisdom.com and unlock your full potential.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  02:34

It’s Marissa Lee here, and I’m so excited to be sharing today’s interview round episode with you. In these episodes, our brilliant lineup of guests will include healthcare practitioners, voice educators, and other professionals who will share their stories, knowledge and experiences within their specialised fields to empower you to live your best life. Whether you’re a member of the voice, community, or beyond your voice is your unique gift. It’s time now to share your gift with others develop a positive mindset and become the best and most authentic version of yourself to create greater impact. Ultimately, you can take charge, it’s time for you to live your best life. It’s time now for a voice and beyond. So without further ado, let’s go to today’s episode.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  03:44

Welcome to another inspiring episode of a voice and beyond. This week, we are honoured to have Nicole Byers, the owner and founder of honest yoga join us. Nicole is not only passionate about yoga, personal growth and her signature backwards hats, but she also has a profound personal journey with trauma. diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Nicole has navigated the complex emotions of shame, sadness and embarrassment, ultimately finding a sense of relief and healing through yoga. In this episode, Nicole shares her journey of transforming pain into purpose by establishing honest yoga, a sanctuary designed to help others heal from trauma in a supportive community. Her Studio is a testament to the power of yoga in fostering recovery and growth, creating a safe space where people can Feel a sense of belonging. Nicola dresses common misconceptions about trauma, explaining that it is often associated solely with extreme events, such as war, natural disasters and abuse, what she refers to as big T trauma. However, she emphasises that little T traumas, which are more everyday experiences are just as significant and impactful. Nicole believes that everyone has encountered some form of trauma, and recognising this is crucial for healing. As part of her philosophy is the importance of feeling a sense of belonging, and that a foundation of community is essential for mental health and well being. So join us as Nicole Byers delves into these insights and shares her expertise on how we can all better understand and heal from trauma. So, without further ado, let’s go to today’s episode.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  06:27

Welcome to a voice and beyond, we have a very special guest all the way from Minnesota. And I don’t think I’ve had a guest from there before we have Nicole Byars. How are you, Nicole?

Nicole Byars  06:41

I am really good and grateful to be here. And I love that I am your first guest from Minnesota. I

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  06:49

know. Right? So you’ve setting the bar really high? You know that? idea. So, Nicole, you’re here because we are going to get into your work that you do with trauma informed yoga. So you are the owner and founder of honest yoga. And I love that you say that you are obsessed with yoga, personal growth and backwards hats. Okay, what does that mean? Is that like the hat way you wear it backwards? Or is that sort of symbolic of something? Yeah,

Nicole Byars  07:31

no, it’s not symbolic of anything. It is legit wearing my hat backwards. You’ll find me a lot if you come into the studio with my hat on, and a lot of times it’s backwards. And I don’t wear a hat when I teach yoga. But I do teach strength training classes. And so I have that backwards hat on. It almost gives me a feeling of like, it’s an edge. I don’t know. And so I kind of go with the backwards hat because it kind of gives me that little edgy

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  08:06

feeling. That’s a little bit of sass. Yeah,

Nicole Byars  08:10

a little bit of sass. So, I like my hat backwards.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  08:14

I should try that. I want more sass. Except my only problem is I don’t wear hats because I don’t like messing my hair. And you have beautiful hair. I could not imagine you with this hat on looking like a dude that

Nicole Byars  08:35

I wear I wear my hair in braids. So I’ll have my hair braids. And then I work my hat backwards. Yeah, amazing.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  08:41

Now, Nicole, we’re going to get into some serious business here because we have a very sensitive topic to talk about today that I’m really looking forward to discussing with you. But first up, how did you come to discover yoga? And what was that first experience like for you? Because most people that I speak to, they actually don’t love it straight away. So talk about maybe how you discovered it and then how it felt like for you straight up? Yeah,

Nicole Byars  09:17

so I too, came to Yoga very resistant. It was not something that I was interested in. And I was actually pretty much forced to do yoga back in 2007 when I was admitted into an eating disorder treatment centre, and it was outpatient treatment. And part of our daily practices was yoga. And it was a very holistic style treatment centre. And like I said, I didn’t really have a choice yoga was part of the treatment and part of the recovery. And I was a pound the pavement overachiever runner. That type of workout was was my jam, punishing my body, that type of stuff. So when yoga was introduced, I, like I said, was very resistant to it. But I had to do it. And so for the first couple of weeks, I really didn’t feel much, I just had to be there. It was like I was, my body was there, but mentally I was not there. And then two weeks into the programme, was when I had a shift. I had a shift one day in practice, and we were standing outside. It was a beautiful summer day in Minnesota. And we were we were barefoot, and we were standing in the grass, the sun was out, the teacher was guiding us to close our eyes. And we were just standing there. That’s all we were doing. We were standing in the grass, and she was teaching us mindfulness, she was guiding us into the present moment. And in that moment, it was the first time that I actually became present with myself. And felt this and it lasted for only 10 seconds about but just felt this like deep connection and love to myself that I had not felt for at least a decade. And so it was that blimp of that short 10 Second feeling that I wanted more of that I wanted to experience more of that. And so slowly, as I continued to go through treatment, and started to get a little bit better, I started to experience more of those moments. And not just when I was in a yoga class per se, I began to experience more of those moments outside of the yoga class. And that’s how my journey started resistant. But then it shifted into something that I fell in love with. Wow.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  12:07

And that eating disorder. And I say this with great empathy because I too have had an eating disorder. I was bulimic many years ago, and I’ve been in recovery now for 30 plus years. What triggered that? And I mean, for you to go into a facility, you must have been very unwell with that. Yeah.

Nicole Byars  12:35

So I was I was anorexic. And I was very unwell I was 26. When I went in, at the time, I thought, and this is part of it. Part of the eating disorder was control. Lighting, there was a lot of things I graduated college, I was working in corporate America, I hated my job, you know, if you think about it as a child, and then moving into college, you know, in high school, and if you choose to go to college, or university, everything is planned for you. And then once you’re done, it’s just like, there you go, this is the real world and you jump right in. And I was feeling very lost. And controlling my food was a way for me to find control. I had, you know, there was some family stuff, you know, as far as my parents and you know, just trying to it was always like, you have to look a certain way. And so there’s some of that. Yes. And so that’s what I thought was the main reason for the eating disorder. Well, fast forward maybe 10 years, because the eating disorder kind of comes and goes. It’s always there. It’s almost like if you’re an alcoholic, yes, you know, it’s something that it’s the voice is either quiet when I’m feeling grounded. But the voice can get really loud if I start to feel out of control and chaotic. But now I have the tools to help me quiet that voice again. But if we fast forward a decade, that’s when I had a memory of childhood sexual abuse. And that memory came like a tonne of bricks at the age of 39. And so from there, I did a lot of unpacking since I was 39. And I learned everything in my life, the eating disorder, the abusive relationships, my coping mechanisms, everything makes sense. Yes, I did, and engaged in those behaviours and that self hate and those punishing behaviours because of the sexual abuse was when I was 12. And so that was the true core wound of the eating disorder that I did not discover fully until I was 39. So, almost 15 years later, or 13 years later,

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  15:18

So had you brushed that under the like you had blacked that out.

Nicole Byars  15:23

So there’s and you know, I know we’re going to talk about trauma, but there are, there’s a lot of studies out there that especially with childhood, Trump, sexual abuse and trauma, kids, your brain will protect you and will completely you will forget, you will forget and you will not remember. And it’s almost like, for me, once I hit that age, I started to get a lot healthier. And that’s when my body and my brain knew that I was in a place and I’m, this might be a little woowoo for some of the listeners, but that’s okay,

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  16:06

we we do here. Okay, people, there is nothing wrong with woowoo. Sometimes science just takes a bit of time to catch up with woowoo. Yeah.

Nicole Byars  16:19

Well, so it’s my body knew I was ready to process that memory to process that trauma, because trauma is held in the body. But there are study after study after study that it is not uncommon at all, I think it’s like 33%, or 35% of men and women that have experienced childhood sexual abuse. Don’t recall the memory until later on in life. Interesting. So it’s a real thing. Yeah,

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  16:51

yes. And, you know, I’m sorry that you went through that. And I just want to add here, that you say that it happens with children, and it happens with sexual abuse. And I just want to just mention here, because we are going to talk about trauma in a moment. My brother is in his 70s, my oldest brother, and he doesn’t remember the death of our father. My father died 30 something years ago. So my brother would have been either in Hughes, like, he would have been in his 40s, I would say, early 40s, late 30s. And he was there beside me and my mom, when my father passed away in hospital, and my brother to this day does not remember being there.

Nicole Byars  17:54

The trauma, the trauma, and the pain. And that is a that is a coping mechanism. That is a real coping mechanism. Yes. Where the memory is forgotten. Yes, because the pain is too unbearable.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  18:13

Yes. And interestingly enough, he doesn’t remember that happening. And my father passed away from cancer. He was very unwell. So it wasn’t a sudden death. It was a death that we knew was coming. So for my brother, it triggered, he doesn’t remember it. And for me, it triggered an eating disorder. And that’s when I became bulimic was the day that my father passed away. So it’s interesting how a trauma can trigger so many different reactions, based on how we need to cope. Yeah.

Nicole Byars  18:49

Because the eating disorder too, is a numbing mechanism. It’s a way for you to to not feel, yeah, some of those hard and awful emotions. And so then what do we do? We go to restriction we go to throwing up we go to the things that will just take us out of that awful, hard feeling. And so those are numbing and coping mechanisms. For

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  19:15

me, I was eating all this. I was binge eating, because I was trying to fit to fill a void that I felt that I had in the pit of my stomach. There was an emptiness there that I needed to feel. And that’s why I turned to food. And then I would eat so much and I would be so uncomfortable. And I would feel so guilty that I would then purge. Yeah, and this is something that I did for many years. We won’t go into that but I just sharing this because I completely understand everything that you’re saying and what people don’t realise with something like an eating disorder. For many, they believe that it’s to do with body image. But it’s so not it is about control. For me, it was about filling an emptiness. And in my stomach, I felt that emptiness in my stomach, and that loneliness and that grief. So you know that there’s more to an eating disorder than just vanity? I’m sorry to say, Absolutely.

Nicole Byars  20:30

And I will. I do remember when I was really sick. And this is no shame on my dad, I think men have a harder time kind of understanding, sometimes an eating disorder. I’m not saying all men, just the men in my life at that time. And I remember he took my arm and he’s like, You have to snap out of this. And I was just like, You have no idea. Like, if I if I, if I could just snap out of this, I would do that in a heartbeat. Because it’s how to be in this place. But you’re sick. You’re very sick and unwell. Like you said,

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  21:04

Yes. And it’s very painful. Going through that experience is really painful. Unlike alcohol. Unlike gambling. Unlike being a workaholic, you need to eat. Yeah. So it’s and so then you have to learn to re eat again, like a normal person would eat and coming to terms with the fact that you need to put that into your mouth.

Nicole Byars  21:37

Yeah, yeah, you can’t. Yeah, you’re right. You have to learn how to eat. Yes. Develop a healthy relationship with food, which to be honest with you. It’s a it’s an ever evolving process for me.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  21:49

Yes, yeah. I’m doing really well. But yeah, there are times there might be little habits that emerge that you think, Well, you know, I’m so routined and structured with food, and I feel that is my safe space. With food. It’s still controlling to a certain degree, but that’s okay. That’s alright to be like that. But how did yoga actually get into that? That mindset, like, what was it about it? That actually really started to heal you? And you realise that this is the thing that’s going to save me?

Nicole Byars  22:33

I think that there were, you know, there’s, there’s a handful of things that helped in the process. Yoga was part of it. I think yoga, played the biggest part in the healing process. It It wasn’t about the physical practice. It wasn’t about the warrior twos, or the down dogs that really helped me move through the eating disorder, that very dark time in my life. It was as simple as reconnection. I reconnected with myself again. Yes, for so many years, I was, again, just so much hate towards myself, which makes sense now, knowing the childhood trauma and hate towards my body, that yoga helped me feel again, it reminded me that I was alive, that I wasn’t this, you know, especially people that have gone through trauma, you you can walk through life, robotically, so robotically, and you get really good at either numbing, or dissociating, meaning kind of, not like on attaching Yes, from your body, and not really feeling. And I did that for so long. And so yoga reminded me that it’s so simple, but that I have a body have a body that that wants to work with me, I have a body that loves me that I want to love back. And so just that simple exercise, you know, that opened me up to so much of like, just standing in the grass, like realising that I have feet like it’s as simple as like even looking down at my needs, and noticing my toes. And just, it was it was like the very end and people with trauma and complex trauma like that is a big, big deal. When you start to connect back not with your physical body, when you notice your body when you can feel your body and yoga. Yoga did that for me. And so the more I began to feel, the more I began to Like actually notice that I have sensations in my body, that I have a beating heart, that I can feel warmth on my skin when I’m feeling warm, or sometimes I feel cold, like I can feel that, that started this journey of then also. Okay, so I have this body, but I also have a soul. Like I have a heart, I have a soul. And I personally believe that each and every one of us, we have an inner child, a little girl that is inside of that girl, that 12 year old for me, she’s still there, and I need to take care of her. And so just kind of that reconnection to self. And, again, it’s been such a journey. But it really started with just my body. Yes, and connecting with my body. And then it, it took me from there. And then to be honest with you now that I have been teaching for over 10 years, Yoga has become very therapeutic for me too, as a teacher, because I’m also as a teacher, I’m very present when I teach very present with my students. And so that’s been in a way can be very therapeutic as well.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  26:14

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Nicole Byars  28:57

Okay, so this is how I describe it. And this is, this is what I believe we’ve westernised, especially like where I’m where I live, and I’m sure you guys are too. Yes, no yoga was created 1000s of years ago, 1000s of years ago, and it was never a physical practice. It was never a physical practice. It did not become a physical practice until the 1970s. And so it was really early yoga with Yes, wow. Yoga was seated. It was paying attention to your breath, living in the present moment, being in the present moment. It was learning about yoga philosophy. So to me, I always tell my students, yoga is now and what I mean by that is, yoga literally just means being in the present moment. So if you’re riding your bike, and you have your feet on the pedals and you’re noticing yourself riding the bike, you’re noticing your hands on the handle Are you noticing what’s around you, the trees, all that stuff? That’s doing yoga? Sure, can you do a warrior two and you’re very present in a word, or two, and you feel your feet and your arms are out, and you’re present that’s doing yoga, sitting here and talking to you, and being really present with where I am and our conversation. That’s doing yoga. So I get asked to me is, that’s yoga, its present moment experience. So,

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  30:34

would you describe that then as mindfulness? Yeah,

Nicole Byars  30:39

I think you know, mindfulness. Yes, I would. Okay,

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  30:45

well, that then makes it far more accessible for people. And it takes the woowoo out. Yeah. Because people think that they have to put on their, you know, their active wear, go down to a studio, and, you know, go into all these crazy posers to do that. But then just that simple idea of, okay, you you’re on a walk, you’re taking in your surroundings, you’re acknowledging the things that you’re seeing, you’re taking a moment to appreciate what those things are. Yeah, taking a pause on life. That shirt is beautiful.

Nicole Byars  31:31

Yeah, and for people that want to, you know, as far as like moving their body, and if they want to experience a yoga class and and work on, you know, yes, there’s some great like, stretches that you can do in yoga, there’s some great movement that you can do in yoga. So they can, you know, you can explore that. But I always tell my students that I teach in my yoga class, like, you could be here in my class, doing all the poses that I’m instructing to do. But if you’re not present, then you’re not doing yoga. But let’s say you decided in my class that you just weren’t feeling great. And all you wanted to do during class, as I taught up here, was lay on your back and just be in Shavasana. That’s what we call that final pose in yoga. If you want to be laying on your back the entire time. And you’re there and you’re present with your breath. You’re doing yoga. So you decide what feels most supportive for you. Yes.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  32:33

So listen to your body. Yes, absolutely. Now you have a studio. And it’s honest yoga studio. Why the name honest yoga, because I see that everywhere in your marketing, honest yoga. So yeah. Why why that name? It’s so unusual.

Nicole Byars  32:59

So I’m gonna just means just honest to the practice, honest to what yoga is like we keep yoga authentic. At our studio, we keep it honest, we keep the community that way. You know, I think just the way that we teach yoga, I think there’s an integrity to yoga that is important to uphold, in my opinion, yes. And, and the way that we conduct our classes at our studio, I believe that we uphold that integrity of what yoga was created to be. Yes, there is physic. There’s the physical practice, because I mean, we’re a yoga studio. But we really weave in a lot of philosophy in the classes, because that’s a big part of yoga, and how do we live yoga off of our mat? Or how do we live mindfully? And so it’s really it’s like, super simple, but just it’s about just staying truthful and honest with the practice and what it was created to be.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  34:14

What style of yoga do you teach? Because I know there’s different styles. What philosophy do you follow with your yoga studio?

Nicole Byars  34:24

Yeah, so we teach a variety of classes, we have gentle we have restorative, that’s where you just kind of lay in these very supportive pastures. That’s where my practice is right now. I love that class. Very slow moving. We do have a Vinyasa flow that’s a little bit quicker. You move more like one breath to one movement. We have Hatha Yoga where you kind of hold poses for a little bit longer period of time. And some of our classes are heated and some of our classes are non heated.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  34:56

Okay, because I know that he did yoga is a big fed over here? What’s the benefit of the heat? Because I’m thinking, I don’t like that. I don’t want to be lying there all sweaty, when I’m already struggling to hold a proposal go into a pose. Yeah.

Nicole Byars  35:16

So you know, the heat. I think there’s a couple of myths around the heat. But there’s people that love it. And they’re very loyal to their heated practice. And a lot of people like how it opens up their body, it opens up their body more when you’re in the heat. So you become more flexible in the heat than in like a non heated room. Okay. A lot of people think that they’re sweating out all these toxins. That’s a myth. Because 70% of the toxins that are released from your body are released through your breath. Only 2% Wow, are released through sweat. And that’s a study. That is that is a that is a fact. So people think that you know, and hey, if that works for you, and in your mind, you’re like, No, this is what I’m doing. I sweat out my toxins. And you feel like that works for you then go with it, by all means. But really, the release of the toxins is through breath. So intentional breath, work, meaning breathing in through the nose, breathing out through the nose, or the mouth, even if you did that, like for three to five minutes. That’s a great way to release toxins in your body.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  36:29

So very interesting. I’ll share something with you here. And the last few months, there’s been a lot going on in my life. And I’ve been stuck in a highly anxious mode. And I’ve started to do hypnotherapy, which is been amazing. I don’t remember the last time I felt so calm. I was in this state of calm that I didn’t even want to come back. It was so beautiful. That’s amazing. However, you’re talking about the toxins in the breathing because there is a lot of breath, work involved. And twice now, over the last couple of weeks, I’ve had these physical, what would you call them? Like these physical reactions? Where I’ve had 24 hour episodes where I’ve been unwell. Yeah. Yeah. And my hypnotherapist celebrated that, like one time, I had a massive headache. I felt someone had clubbed me at the back of my neck with a baseball bat. I was vomiting, shivering cold, felt that my blood pressure plummeted, and it lasted 24 hours, not as intense as that the whole time. And then a few days ago, I had another 24 hour episode where I was unwell again. And it’s all that stuff, or I feel like I’m having these massive releases. So you’re sharing your woowoo stuff? Well, I think I just out woowoo

Nicole Byars  38:19

know that that’s a real thing. And yes, there’s trauma, the emotions that we don’t feel or if we haven’t released the trauma in the body. When you start to do that type of work. It is not uncommon at all to for people to feel worse before they feel better. I see why your hypnotherapist was celebrating that and you probably were like, Oh God, I just not feeling good that I don’t want to celebrate this. But yes, I did. It is it’s a good thing.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  38:52

What do you believe constitutes trauma because some people just go through a difficult time. And other people go, Oh, I was so traumatised by that. But what is trauma? Trauma

Nicole Byars  39:06

can be it can be two different things. And I do like to describe it as there’s the little T trauma and the big T trauma. Big T trauma is typically it’s a terrible event. And it creates an emotional response. So maybe it’s a car accident, it is the death of somebody it is a veteran, you know in combat or just somebody in war at war, just you know, any horrific event that somebody has been through that would be big T trauma. Yes. Now little T trauma. That is and I also want to say I’m sorry, just going back to just trauma. It doesn’t just even have to be one event for a lot of people it is something that happens over a period of time. So for a child you know if it’s with a parent or dealing with an alcoholic mom or dad, you know, there is a coping method Isn’t that a child will have to do just to survive in that environment. And so these traumatic, there can be a traumatic event, but they’re also going to be trauma that happens over a long period of time. So it’s longitudinal. And a lot of times its relationship is it’s the trauma that’s happening over a long period of time is usually with somebody in your circle that you should be able to trust. So let’s think about abuse, you know, or emotional neglect, or somebody that is in an abusive relationship with a narcissist with a narcissist, exactly. It’s somebody that should be treating you or somebody you should be able to trust. And it happens over a period of time. So there’s so there’s that trauma, and then the little T trauma, it can be anything that affects your emotional response. So trauma shows up as anxiety, prolonged anxiety, depression, prolonged depression, panic attacks, fear, anger, OCD, numbing, all of that those are all symptoms of trauma. And we’ve all experienced some sort of trauma in our life. I

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  41:27

100% agree with you, Nicole, we can sweep things under the rug, and pretend they haven’t happened. And I always like to say you can run but you can’t hide. And sometimes there may be something that happens in a day to day where your response and your reaction is so over the top, and so doesn’t match the incident. And to me, I think that is one of the signs of trauma. And that’s something that I have just discovered recently about myself too. And I had come across this little T big T way of describing trauma not so long ago. And this idea that we’ve all been through trauma, and so it made me reflect upon my own life. Yeah. And I started back to what I could remember, as a child, and when you start to do that work, there is so much to unpack, there is so much to unpack, and we don’t realise do we until we start to come to that point where we feel safe enough to invite those memories back in. So then we can start dealing with it. And I think that’s been part of my anxiety, because there’s things that have come back that I totally forgot about that were big T things that I’ve just gone. Well, this is a lot.

Nicole Byars  43:05

Yeah. And what I want to just point out here that the work that you’re doing the work, it is hard work. Yes. And it takes somebody that is strong, and somebody that is brave, that is able to to work through those things. There’s a lot of people that can’t, because it’s hard. Yes. However, you know, I’ve heard there’s a stigma out there. You know, like, if you need a therapist that you know, it’s a sign of weakness, and I always say, My God, if you’re seeing a therapist, it is it is a sign of strength, doing the hypnotherapy, doing the trauma work. All of this if you if you are going to sign up for this work, it is going to be hard. But it takes strength, it takes bravery and it is so worth it. On the other side.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  44:04

Well, it’s kind of like, Okay, you go through the pain barrier, but out the other side, you you’re releasing all these shackles, you feel lighter. You do sometimes though, the collateral damage along the way can be the relationships you’re in. And yeah, like right now my husband is struggling with some of the ways that I’m reacting to some of his behaviour, that prior to me doing this work, I accepted. And now I’m going this I have a boundary there. Now this is no longer acceptable. The person that was hanging on to that trauma may have thought it was okay because it was easy to pretend it wasn’t happening. But now as I release, I’m sorry, this doesn’t work for me any longer. It’s so sometimes when you do that work, it’s not on really hard for you? And it’s also hard for the people around you. Absolutely.

Nicole Byars  45:04

Because you’re changing, in a sense, you know, like setting boundaries, your husband is not used to that. And so there there will absolutely was certain people in your life be resistant to some of that change. Yes. But you are stepping into your own power into your own self worth and saying, you know, I’m just I have boundaries. And that’s so, so important.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  45:34

Are you ready to scale and share your products or services globally? Well, introducing a voice and beyond the podcast that reaches listeners in 99 countries across 2185 cities, ranked in the top point 5% of podcasts globally, a voice and beyond is offering you an exclusive opportunity to connect with an international audience. This isn’t just about advertising. It’s an exclusive and unique chance for businesses and individuals to amplify their message worldwide. So whether you’re a member of the voice community, a health care professional, and author, a budding entrepreneur, or an established brand, seize the moment to be heard where it matters most, you can email me on info at Dr. Marisa Lee naismith.com, or visit the link in the show notes to learn more about this extraordinary opportunity. Whatever you do, don’t miss out on reaching our global audience. Because your voice deserves to be heard everywhere. And in your studio? How do you create a safe space for the people that come in that have suffered trauma themselves? How do you do they speak up and talk about their trauma? Or do they know that it’s a trauma informed yoga studio? How do you create that environment for them? Yeah,

Nicole Byars  47:25

so we don’t I think most people that do have trauma? They don’t, they don’t like to necessarily talk about it. And or do they even know that they have experienced that type of trauma or whatever it is for them. So the way that we create a really safe space is in our classes is it is in the way that we facilitate the classes it is in how we use we’re very intentional with the language that we use. So the language that we use is it’s very Invitational, so maybe you do this, I invite you to do this. Apps, you try this. So for somebody that is experienced, especially complex trauma or PTSD, which by the way, there’s a lot more people out there than probably you think that have experienced that do have complex trauma or PTSD, a trigger for them as having it wouldn’t be coming into a yoga studio, per se. And having a teacher telling them what they need to do. Because it’s again, it’s it’s somebody’s in control in this room, and they’re telling you what to do. So for a lot of people that have PTSD or complex trauma, that is a trigger. And so they come to yoga in hopes to heal. But in turn, they’re being triggered by the language that’s being used in the yoga classroom. So we really invite we use very intentional, Invitational language. And then we also are very big on we offer choices. So if you think of somebody that has experienced trauma, a lot of people feel stuck. Yes, feel like you don’t have a choice. And we want to make sure that the students in our class feel empowered to make choices that feel supportive in their body. So we do that by reminding them that they have a body, like I was kind of talking about, you know how I reconnected with my body. So we are always reminding people to notice where their feet are. Notice maybe can you relax your shoulders a little bit more? Do you feel a warmth on your body? And that’s what’s called interoception is bringing people into the present moment by encouraging them to notice their body notice sensations in their body. And then based on that, make a decision make a choice. Remember that you have a choice and that you’re never You’re stuck. And you make that choice that feels most supportive in your body. So you’re empowering, you’re creating this like, personal agency in the classroom.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  50:11

So what you are doing, I get the feeling is that you are guiding people towards that choice of unlocking what they have been through unlocking some of that trauma, and the language that you’re using, essentially, in the way that you’re saying, how about we try, perhaps you might like to, as an instructor you are taking you are not making it about you? Yeah. Because that is kind of the language that I use as a singing teacher. Because when I say I would like you to try, I want you to your make making it about yourself, and you’re not making it about the person that’s there in front of you. Very true. And allowing it to be about them. Yeah. You talked about PTSD, and complex trauma, what’s the difference with those and say, little t, big T? Where does all that fit into those categories?

Nicole Byars  51:19

So PTSD, is actually it’s kind of complex, but PTSD is in the DSM. So it’s in the medical book that doctors have, right? As like a, I don’t know, what do you I don’t know what you would call it, but as like a an illness or an illness or something. So it’s Pete, it is in the DSM Doctor manual. Yes. So when somebody comes in for you know, you kind of check the boxes, if you will, in a doctor’s office, you know, do you have this? Do you have this? How often do you have night terrors. And so if you get a certain score on this test, then typically, you know, they’ll diagnose you with PTSD. And then there’s certain services that you could qualify for, and things like that in the US. And I’m not sure exactly how it works in Australia, but I’m not sure. So they kind of put you in a box, I guess, in a sense, it’s like a diagnosis if the diagnosis and then it’s like, okay, well, here’s what you do. complex trauma is not in the DSM, it was in the DSM, I believe, for like a year or two. And in our world, that was really exciting, because then that also opened up more services and funding for people that had complex trauma, because it was in the DSM, and then they decided to take it out. So complex trauma is either you experienced traumatic event, or you’ve experienced longitude and also meaning you’ve experienced some sort of trauma, abuse, whatever it is over a long period of time with somebody that is in your close inner circle, right. So complex trauma is, in my opinion, like PTSD, but complex trauma just isn’t in the DSM manual. Right.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  53:14

So there’s maybe one box that’s missing. Yeah. And so doctors decide that that doesn’t belong in the family of Yeah, PTSD. Are there certain poses, then that you do in yoga, that either intentionally you incorporate them because you feel that they’re going to help someone release a certain emotion? Or do just allow the flow of yoga to be what it is, and just allow everyone’s experience to be as it’s meant to be? at their own pace? Yeah, so

Nicole Byars  53:52

that’s a great question. I mean, you know, typically, when I don’t think I’m not knowledgeable enough about what our emotions we’re certain emotions could be held and how to necessarily release them with certain poses. But I do when I teach a class, I have an intention of either, we’re going to work on opening up the hips today, and we’re going to do certain poses that support opening up the hips. And so I will structure a class based on different parts of the body that we want to be opening up, and then whatever is opened up, or whatever happens, I always say, the beginning of class, just kind of I am open to receive today, whatever it is that I need to receive in this class, trust that I’m receiving what I need to receive and I am releasing what I need to release because for every person, it’s going to be different because every person comes on to their mat comes to their mat with a different story, the different background with all that so just kind of let it be whatever it is, and

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  54:56

you’ll also be gone creating a sense of immunity. And I know that for human beings, we, it is a need for us to have that. And in fact, I was watching a documentary, not so long ago about the blue zones where there’s particular places in the world where they had the most number of centenarians. And one of the common things, all these countries where they had all these people that lived well into their hundreds, one of the things they all had in common was they had community, there had a sense of community and connection. So how do you create that within your studio? And how important do you believe that is,

Nicole Byars  55:45

I think that is, it is so important, we are the loneliest that we’ve ever been in this world. I agree. And what, especially from after the pandemic, to connection with people, and scientifically and I don’t know, all the but you know, there are endorphins or hormones like serotonin, I believe it is I’m not sure if it’s dopamine, I can’t remember, like, authentic connection with another person does create that feel good release. And we all need that. And so I at my studio, I believe it’s about the energy that we put out, again, a little woowoo into our community, the way that kind of the teachers that I bring in our team of teachers, I believe it starts with us. And we have a really strong bond as a group. And the way that we teach classes, there is an empathy, there’s a compassion, there is a true welcome and love that comes from not just me, it’s it’s a full blown, we got, you know, 14 people that create that, and what starts there, and then that kind of trickles down, and I leave a tract, I believe a lot of really amazing people that are there for very, there are a lot of like minded people that are there for very different, different reasons, but they’re all there for kind of the same thing. And that’s just to connect to not only connect with themselves, but to connect with the people around them. And is a lot of power in community and habit, I don’t know, it’s just an amazing group.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  57:38

Yes, and the world has changed, we are lonely, because now with social media now with texting rather than when when I was growing up, you wanted to speak to someone, you had to call them on the house phone, you had to go knock on their door, there was no other way to connect with anyone. So there was a lot more human connection. And people would create opportunities, such as going out as a family, things that we don’t do anymore. Yeah. And I love that you said that you set the intention. When you step into that yoga studio as an instructor as to the way you want that environment to be like and what you’re bringing, as the person that’s leading that class, I do something very similar the days that I teach, I write an intention of how I want my classes to go. And if there’s a student that, for example, may be a little difficult. Maybe there’s, they’re being a little challenging for whatever reason, it is in that moment in time, I set the intention that I’m going to create a space of love. And then I’m going to listen. And I’m going to allow them to be and I’m not going to respond until I take a breath. And then allow the words to come through. Yeah. And oh my gosh, there’s power in that because it always ends up being a great lesson with that person. So that it’s not woowoo. And, you know, I wish other people would believe in this stuff. There’s so much power and there is now science behind setting intentions to and visualisation, all of that. Yeah.

Nicole Byars  59:40

And what I would like to add is if anybody, if any of this is like, Oh, this is or if you don’t believe in it, or if you find yourself kind of like, oh, this is stupid or whatever. I would just encourage you to lean into that. Where’s that coming from? Try it. You know, and I know for me there’s for a long time I just I didn’t necessarily I I thought a lot of different things were gooey. And a lot of that came from my parents and I grew up in a very strict Catholic family. And and I, you know, so so it was, that’s where that came from. And so I would just encourage you to dig a little deeper, you know? And where is that resistance coming from? Yes.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  1:00:20

And I would say, I’ll take this a little bit further, and I’m going to be really cheeky here. Stop living in the black and white. There is so much fun in all the different shades of grey. Try leaving in the Shades of Grey and see I love that sound good. So, just in wrapping up, is there anything else that you’d like to add any other work that you’re doing a present anything you’d like to promote? Other than your fabulous studio? Well,

Nicole Byars  1:00:56

yeah, so I do have a book. That is yes, that is coming out on December 1, it is called Living yoga, beyond the mat. And it can be found on Amazon. And really, that book is all about. It’s an it’s a memoir, slash personal development. So it talks about I talk about very real and vulnerable stories about me and my life and the lessons that I learned and, and how did I apply some of yoga philosophy that any person if you’re a human being, would want to learn how to apply it to their life? And so I talked a little bit about that in the book. And then there’s breathwork, and there’s affirmations and some meditations in the book. So it’s, it’s a great guide for learning how to be your own source of love and support.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  1:01:51

Wow, what was the inspiration for the book?

Nicole Byars  1:01:56

You know, I, because I’ve always owned a yoga studio. I’ve been a yoga teacher for so many years, I wanted to talk more about living yoga off the mat. How do we do that? And so that’s where this inspiration came from. And also in hopes of reaching more people outside of my little bubble in Minneapolis. Yes. To hopefully reach a lot more people to spread this this message. And

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  1:02:22

in you sharing your stories. Did you find healing in that?

Nicole Byars  1:02:27

I did, I did until the book was published. I I had so much vulnerability around the book being published. And these stories, I mean, some of them are about me drinking and partying and sex. And I mean, I didn’t realise I was frozen for a couple of weeks, like not telling anybody that it was out just like the vulnerability and the fear of being judged was so real. Really? Yeah.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  1:02:59

This sounds like there was a little bit of shame in there as well.

Nicole Byars  1:03:04

Yes, yes. And so I had to go through what I needed to feel it all I needed to write it all out, I needed to experience all of it, and then release it. And the hope is that, you know, if you can take a little piece of wisdom, or parts of it resonate. I just hope that, you know, I think us women, a lot of the stories in here, too, that I think a lot of women will relate to. And it’s almost sometimes validating, like, I’m not the only one, yes, thinks this or feels this way. And so I’m hopeful that it will resonate with a lot of people. It’s

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  1:03:45

so true. I mean, since I’ve been creating this podcast, and the things that I’ve shared with people on this platform, I would never have thought that I would do this in a million years. And once you start sharing a little bit, it makes it so much easier to share the next little bit. And then to the point, you’re finally Gobel I really don’t care. You know what, this is me flaws and all. I’m not going to hide the truth here anymore. And my husband and my children have found things out about me that they have. Yeah, yes. And that’s okay. And that, okay. And the beautiful part about this is, Nicole, is that I’ve had people come to me, or write to me and say, You know what, I can’t believe I’ve known you all this time, even students of mine. They’ve said I’ve known you all this time and the way you hold yourself in life, I would never have believed that you went through all that I’m currently going through this myself and you give me hope.

Nicole Byars  1:05:04

Oh, so beautiful. I know, right?

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  1:05:07

I cry for some of these messages. Because when you do this work, it is isolating. I’m here in my house. I have my cat here, Charlie. But if she would die, yeah, we don’t know who’s listening. And we don’t know the impact of our words. So keep doing what you drew. And I truly appreciate the vulnerability and your willingness to share your story today. It’s been truly inspiring for me, I’m so proud of you. And I’m so happy that you’re doing this incredible work. Are there any final words or a piece of advice that you would like to share with the listeners in wrapping this up? Well,

Nicole Byars  1:05:50

thank you for your kind words. And I have to share this final quote from Brene. Brown, because I think it really, yeah, I mean, it just was what we were talking about. And I it’s in my book, and I just turn to the page, because I have to share it. So I want to end with just kind of here this Brene Brown says, if you put shame in a petri dish, it needs three things to grow exponentially, secrecy, silence and judgement. If you put the same amount of shame in a petri dish and douse it with empathy, it can’t survive.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  1:06:29

That’s it. You know, Brene Brown is amazing. Yeah, I totally relate to her. So much of the things she talks about, totally relate with her. And one thing that was really interesting about her is in an interview somewhere she shared about how lonely she is and how she travels through life alone, because a lot of people don’t understand. Yeah, what she does, and when she opens up about who she is, and the work that she’s involved in, people walk away. Hmm. Very interesting. So very, yes. But look, thank you so much for sharing that, Nicole, and thank you for your time. In this interview, I truly appreciate you. I’m so glad that our paths met, even in the most random of ways, but you are you meant to be. And thank you, too, for being my very first guest from Minnesota.

Nicole Byars  1:07:33

Well, like I said, Thank you for having me. It was such a fun conversation, serious conversation, but it was real. It was honest. So thank you.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  1:07:40

Yes. And if ever I’m there, I’m coming to your yoga studio.

Nicole Byars  1:07:44

Yes, you got to come to the yoga studio. Absolutely.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  1:07:47

Take care, my friend. Thank you, you too. Thank you so much for listening to this episode of a voice and beyond. I hope you enjoyed it as now is an important time for you to invest in your own self care, personal growth, and education. Use every day as an opportunity to learn and to grow, so you can show up feeling empowered and ready to live your best life. If you know someone who will also be inspired by this episode, please be sure to copy and paste the link and share it with them. Or share it on social media and use the hashtag a voice and beyond. I promise you I am committed to bringing you more inspiration and conversations just like this one every week. And if you would like to help me please rate and review this podcast and cheer me on by clicking the subscribe button on Apple podcast right now. I would also love to know what it is that you most enjoyed about this episode and what was your biggest takeaway? Please take care and I look forward to your company next time on the next episode of a voice and beyond.