Today’s guest is Jen Haddix.

Jen Haddix is a certified yoga teacher, a self-love coach, and host of the podcast The Self-Love Yogi. In this episode, Jen shares parts of her traumatic childhood which led to her journey of healing, forgiveness, overcoming addiction, managing Bi Polar and ultimately discovering self-love. Jen tells us that she spent most of her earlier years trying to escape from the chaos, the drama and the vulnerability that constantly surrounded her, using addiction to things such as drugs, working out and dating to medicate herself.

Jen explains that she did not have the tools or the skills to overcome the shame, responsibility and guilt she felt as a victim of abuse. It was when Jen was at the lowest point in her life, that she discovered yoga and ultimately it was yoga that saved her. Jen believes that as a western society we have become so disconnected from our feelings, our minds and our bodies and she now uses her personal experiences and knowledge to empower others to connect to their authentic selves, discover their voices when they feel they are not being heard and to heal from the traumas they have endured.

This is an inspirational story of resilience, tenacity and the strength in overcoming adversity and I’m sure you too will be in awe of Jen Haddix, just as I was.

In this episode

1:06 – Introducing Jen Haddix

4:28 – Jen’s upbringing and early childhood experiences

17:01 – Jen’s turning point and healing journey

19:12 – Discovering Yoga and finding balance through yoga teacher training

29:52 – Jen’s favourite starting point for Yoga beginners

46:36 – Self love coaching and how Jen uses her experiences to help others

54:06 – Tips for those who don’t have a self care regime & how they can get started

Find Jen online

Episode Transcription

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  00:10

Hi 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  01:16

Our guest this week is Jen Haddix, a certified yoga teacher, a self love coach, and host of the podcast, the self love yogi. In this episode, Jen shares parts of her most traumatic childhood, which led to her journey of healing forgiveness, overcoming addiction, managing bipolar, and ultimately discovering self love. Jen tells us that she spent most of her earlier years trying to escape from the chaos, the drama, and the vulnerability that constantly surrounded her using addiction to things such as drugs, working out and dating to medicate herself. Jen explains that she didn’t have the tools or the skills to overcome the shame, responsibility and the guilt she felt as a victim of abuse. It was when Jen was at her lowest point in her life that she discovered yoga, and ultimately, it was yoga that saved her. Jen believes that as a western society, we have become so disconnected from our feelings, our minds and our bodies. And she now uses her personal experiences and knowledge to empower others to connect to their authentic selves, discover their voices when they feel they’re not being heard, and to heal from the traumas they have endured. This is a truly inspirational story of resilience, tenacity, and the strength in overcoming adversity. And I’m sure you too, will be in or have Gen headaches, just as I was. So without further ado, let’s go to today’s episode.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  03:24

Hi, Jen, and welcome to a voice and beyond. It’s so lovely to have you on the show. How are you? I’m good. How are you? I’m good. Thank you. Now we were having a little chat a moment ago. You’re in Nevada, but over there. It’s Nevada, Nevada, Nevada. But most Americans say Nevada as well, which I find so weird. I thought I always had the accent. Yeah, they do it to here. I don’t know why. I don’t know. Anyway, Jen, you are a certified yoga teacher. And a self love coach. You’re known as a self love yogi. And you also have a podcast called the self love yogi. And we’re going to talk about all these different aspects of view. And I’m so excited about having you on the show. There are so there is so much to unpack with you. There are so many layers. And I think we should start with a little bit of a background. If you don’t mind sharing your story that has taken you to where you are at right now in your life. But if we can start with you, Jen as a child and what you experienced as a child.

Jen Haddix  04:50

I’m gonna do my best to condense that so it’s a little bit shorter, the shorter version, okay, but my childhood was very traumatic. I grew up in a very chaotic environment. My parents divorced when I was three, and my mom was a very serious drug addict. And I, my sister and I lived with her until I was about 10. And my sister stayed with her until she was about 15. And there were just a lot of men in my house, there was a lot of moving, I went to three different elementary schools, there was the time at one point where the cops came in the middle of the night and took my mom away, because she got caught. Dr. hoppings, so she was going to different doctors and getting pills, and they caught her and they came and took her to jail. And just a lot of a lot of that kind of stuff. Anybody who’s grown up around drugs knows what it’s like. There’s just a lot of chaos, there’s a lot of uncertainty. There’s, it’s very stressful. And of course, I loved my mom. And so it was hard to watch her be that way. And I also didn’t feel very safe. I didn’t have a lot of safety or maternal anything in my life growing up, but my dad is wonderful. My dad is my favourite human. When I was 10, I got to go to court and tell them I wanted to live with my dad. So I went to live with my dad from about 10 on however, I was still involved with my mom and I got to see all of the chaos that continued there. I did theatre, I did musical theatre in my teens. And that is something that I think really saved me I really feel that the performance aspect of my life gave me something to look forward to it kept me from doing drugs that kept me from going down the same path that my mom was going down, that my sister has ultimately gone down. But it really that chaos translated into mental illness in my in my adult life. And I also have a lot of mental illness in my genetics. So my mom was clearly very mentally ill. My grandpa had bipolar disorder, I have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. And so I didn’t have a lot of healing tools. I didn’t have a lot of the things that help you get through things. You know, some people have loving childhoods where they learn how to deal with things as adults, and I didn’t really have that. So I drank a lot. And I just, you know, I kind of went through life. I’ve always been a decently successful person, people are always surprised to find that I went through such a hard childhood because I am so put together. But there was a breaking point, right? So all of that that’s the short condensed version that brought me to about six or seven years ago, when I got diagnosed bipolar, I was very depressed, I was suicidal, I got put on medication. And I always say this to my clients and on my podcast is that all of us, there’s a breaking point where you’re just tired of your own bullshit, and it’s time to change. And I was basically at my rock bottom, and I was just like, I cannot do this anymore. And this woman entered my life. Her name is Barbara, she is a Homoeopath. And she is still with me to this day, she calls herself my mom or my second mom. My mom actually ended up passing away. 14 years ago, she overdosed on oxycodone.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  07:53

I’m so sorry to hear that.

Jen Haddix  07:55

and it’s okay, though, like it was hard. But when it happened, it was really hard. But I almost felt relieved. It was weird. I was very sad. But at the same time, it was like, my mom was so ill. She didn’t want to be here. She had such a hard time being alive. And I felt this relief that she finally got to be free. So it’s kind of this weird turning point in my life. But I of course was still in my own self hate, which we’re going to get to about self love, self hate all of that. But Barbara calls herself my second mom, we believe that we were actually like mother daughter in a past life. Yes. And, and, and she helped me get off of medication using homoeopathic remedies, and she kind of catapulted me into my healing journey. And I feel like that is my turning point when I finally started to shift and change and slowly get to the version of myself that I am right now.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  08:48

So when you’re in that dark place prior to meeting Barbara, what was it that you were going through? In terms of emotional, physical, psychological? Were you aware you’re in a dark place? Or was it just had it just become a way of life for you?

Jen Haddix  09:11

Maybe a little bit of both? Actually, that’s a really fascinating question. Because I think part of it was a way of life because I had been drinking a lot, right. So I was pushing down my emotions, I was doing all kinds of things to distract myself, but I also recognised how dark I was because I knew that there was mental illness in my family. And my dad really didn’t know how to help me. And, and I just, I would lay in bed and just stare at the wall for hours and just feel very empty and helpless. And I know people go through this, people don’t talk about it, but there’s a lot of people that go through these bouts of depression and then I’m also I have bouts of mania. So because I’m bipolar, which I would love to talk about in greater depth if that ever comes up in this podcast, but I do believe it’s it’s manageable. Bipolar, feels like a death sentence when you get it. It’s feels like you’re crazy. But I really think it’s just a matter of managing your emotions and learning different tools. And so at the time, though, my mania was very high, my lows were very low, and I had no set centre where I felt good.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  10:13

no middle ground all never get old. How old were you when you started to feel this mania and this, these highs and these lows,

Jen Haddix  10:23

I think I’ve always had it a little bit, which would make sense from the chaotic childhood. Like when I look back, I think a lot of it is nurture. Some of it is nature. But I think a lot of it is just how I grew up. I noticed it a lot in my mid 20s. And then the turning point for me, I was probably like 2930 years old, when I got diagnosed. And so I was just really, really high really low alcohol does not help. And so it was just this constant, trying to bring myself to centre but the wrong way, because I

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  10:51

didn’t have the tools. Right? And what kinds of things are other than alcohol? And prior to meeting Barbara, were there other things that you were trying to do to help yourself?

Jen Haddix  11:05

I think I was very, I mean, I always exercised a lot. I’ve always been into fitness and exercise does help my mental state however, I’m very, we talked about this before the podcast, I have a very addictive personality. And like you were saying a lot of performers, a lot of creatives, we have very addictive personalities. And so yes, I was addicted to working out to the point where I would make myself sick, I would be addicted to dating, I you know, data, a bunch of men and just have that be something that I focused on.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  11:33

And that would make you sick if you dated a lot of bad men. Bad dates can

Jen Haddix  11:40

one bear? Yeah, you can’t especially if you’re not in a good mental state, you’re like No, like

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  11:45

you would be attracting all those guys that you don’t want in your life to.

Jen Haddix  11:50

That’s a powerful thing to say too, because that’s what when you’re that low, you’re attracting low, you’re not attracting the high energy people that you want to be around.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  11:58

No, no, you’re attracting those that are the worst type for you in that moment in time. And as a child, and maybe at that time where you started to feel that, you know, life wasn’t so great. You had all this trauma going on around you. Did you try to speak up? Did you ask for help? Was it something? Did you feel silenced?

Jen Haddix  12:25

That’s nothing you realise in my adult life, because at the time? To be honest, a lot of my memories were very fuzzy from that time, I think that there’s some suppressed memories that are trying to come out lately.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  12:37

That right, yeah, you have to understand.

Jen Haddix  12:40

Yeah. But looking back, I realised that my mom was so chaotic that I stayed very small, so that I could be out of the way so that I wouldn’t get hurt so that nobody would come bother me. So I would just stay tiny and try to keep her happy. And so I do think I did not have very much of a voice as a child.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  12:59

Did you feel at that time in your life? Obviously, you know, you’re trying to suppress your feelings. But did you ever feel like you’re a victim? Or did you feel angry? Or did you feel shame or, like, I can’t imagine what you must have been feeling. Going through all this.

Jen Haddix  13:24

Looking back, especially like I hold a lot of shame. There’s a lot of shame in my body. And I believe that I have a lot of shame from that time, there’s a lot of guilt because you feel like, it’s my fault that mom is doing what she’s doing. She used to do this thing. So my mom was really addicted to pills, she really liked oxy and any painkillers. And so she would, I was like seven and she would sit down and just mix all of her pills into this big bottle and just take handfuls of pills and tell me all of her problems. And I was like seven years old now she’s like, I don’t know, I’m sorry, Mom, I love you. But so that instilled a lot of shame because she wanted me to help her. But I didn’t have the capacity to help her I was a child. So that definitely, you know, made me have a smaller voice made me stay inward because I felt so ashamed of just not being able to make it better.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  14:14

I completely understand that. And I think with that comes a lot of responsibility. You were given way more responsibility than what you had the capacity for. And I had a childhood that was very similar where my mum put a lot of responsibility on me as well. I was actually born with the job, which we won’t go into now because this is about you. But my short story is that my mum was suffering from depression and was heading towards having a nervous breakdown. And the doctor suggested she had the baby to take her mind off herself. So my job was to take keep my Mum My mom’s mind off herself. So if ever anything went wrong, it was my fault. So my responsibility from the moment I was born was to take care of my mother. So I 100% understand instead, it’s, it’s that sense of responsibility. I never felt shame, though. I never felt shame, but I probably had a lot of fear. Did you have fear? Were you scared a lot of the time?

Jen Haddix  15:29

Yeah. Well, there’s fear. Because, you know, we were constantly moving, there was always, we were in weird men’s houses all the time, my mom also had a lot of sex in front of me, that was a very cool thing. We, she, she met a man in a van that was ended up being her third husband when I was like six, and he lived in like a motel. And there are two beds side by side, and me and my sister were in one and her in the member and the other and they just didn’t care. Like it. She just had no awareness of me at all. And so it was just, I don’t know, my dad has more memories of it than I do. So he’ll share things with me that I don’t remember, like, our room had no nothing on the walls, it was just a mattress on the floor. And you know, we were also starved a little bit as children because she used all of the child support for alcohol, like it was just a really chaotic thing. And so, and I want the listeners to know that I do not feel sorry for myself at all. As I tell you this story. I have no regrets. I do not wish anything differently for me. I am not like I do not feel sorry for myself. And so I people, I tell them the story. They’re like, Oh my God, but it’s not. It’s okay. It’s not

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  16:32

Yes, yet. I you know what? That is that is someone who has healed. When someone when someone has healed, they don’t have regret, because you wouldn’t be the person you are right now. If you didn’t go through all of that. I mean, you would be so resilient, you would have tenacity, you would have so many qualities that you wouldn’t have had you not gone through all that. Exactly. But let’s start talking about your healing journey. And Barbara, because obviously, she was the person that came into your life. And that was the start of your turning point.

Jen Haddix  17:13

Yes. And so something that she did that was very, completely invaluable. She held space for me, almost like she was my mother, which is something that I it’s funny because of what I went through. I’ve looked for a mother and almost every womanly person I’ve ever met, like, I always want other people’s moms to adopt me. I always wanted that maternal energy. Yes, provided that she really would just, she’d let me cry, she would let me feel my feelings and she would put me on remedies we actually got. So I was on lithium and Klonopin, which are two very serious drugs. And she got me the homoeopathic versions of them, she sent them off to a lab, they created a homoeopathic version, and I weaned myself off of medication that way.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  17:55

That’s incredibly cool. That was incredible. And listening to you talk about Barbara, I think what she did for you, she created a safe space for you. So it was not just the motherly instinct that you were looking for. But I think maybe you may have been looking for somewhere where you felt safe.

Jen Haddix  18:17

Yes, and I talked about that with my clients and on my podcast is that most people are looking for a safe place. And when you start a journey, what you need is somebody who doesn’t have any opinions about your life or is not going to tell you. No judgement, no. Vice almost even like you just need to hold space for you. Yes. And process your life.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  18:38

Yes. And allow you to speak and to have that voice. Yes, very much. And, and all they all you want for them is to listen. And so you want to be heard.

Jen Haddix  18:50

I want to be heard very much. And I wasn’t heard for a long time. And so I know, people probably feel the same way. I’m sure there’s many people who struggle, speaking of feeling hurt and feeling like there’s a difference.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  19:02

We’ve come across that in this podcast. It’s amazing how many people have been silenced and felt that they haven’t had a voice in their lives. And so you’ve discovered yoga. Was that through Barbara?

Jen Haddix  19:16

No, actually, I had taken yoga years before I met Barbara and I actually did not like it the first time I took it I thought it was super boring. I had a really hard time sitting with myself I really wanted to run and move and distract myself and I went to yoga as well. I didn’t like that at all. And then it was around the same time as Barbara but she is not into yoga like I am so I just started taking it. So I used to be a competitive bodybuilder. And at the time. I know it’s kind of a weird area of my journey but addiction.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  19:49

Now you take a shin I would say anyone that does bodybuilding, that is your whole life that becomes happy every every second of your life. Around bodybuilding.

Jen Haddix  20:01

So it revolved around food and exercise and alien, everyone in my life. But at that time, I started taking yoga at the gym, because I was like, oh, I need to stretch and I’m working so hard. And, and it’s this is something I love to tell people, I didn’t even realise it anything was happening. Because you go to yoga and part of yoga is you move with your breath. That’s like the main thing as you breathe. And as you breathe, your body moves with your breath. And that is how you connect everything. And so I was going and I was doing it. And I’m like, Oh, I just want to do the headstand and the hard stuff and whatever. But over time, it started to change me. And I didn’t even know. Like, it just started to shift how I felt. And it was a very slow process. But eventually, it led me to going into yoga teacher training. And that’s kind of how I got into that.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  20:44

Okay, I want to back back a second here. Yeah. Because there may be people that don’t actually know what yoga is, what it does, or what it’s meant to do for you. And the origins of yoga, can you just give us like a little Yeah,

Jen Haddix  21:02

so and I will say that I am not the best yoga historian. But yoga is rooted in ancient Indian practices, and it has been around for 1000s of yours. Most people in the West believe that yoga is stretching. So they look at yoga, they’re like, Oh, you’re just stretching. Like, I just think I’m going to go to yoga and stretch. And I’m not flexible. So I better not go to yoga. That’s like what I hear almost all the time is that people are not flexible. Yoga. My advice to you, Amy.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  21:29

Is that you? I do Pilates, and I’m getting slightly better with my flexibility. But my balance is improving. So I have no balance due to Virg. Vertigo. Oh, yeah, so I have. So I have problems with balance, I have problems with flexibility. And I’m always the most uncoordinated person in class. And where I go, they all know that I’m really what we say in Australia, unco. So the teachers or the instructors are always keeping an eye out for me, and making sure that my legs and my arms and everything is in. And we have a laugh about it. And they go Oh, yeah, well, of course, you know, it’s Marissa. She’s one. That’s a little bit all over the place with with her moods. But anyway, this is about you

Jen Haddix  22:29

know, but that’s so actually, I love that you said that, because that’s the thing is in your head to you your story. And also probably your truth is that you’re uncoordinated. You have a hard time with balance, you have a hard time with flexibility. Something I like to tell people is it’s called a yoga practice. It’s also called a meditation practice. And there’s a reason for that. It’s not called a yoga perfect. So it is the practice of balance. It is the practice of flexibility. It is the practice of breath. And people, especially in the West, we expect ourselves to be so perfect when we go do something new. And if that’s not the intention at all Yoga is the ability to learn how to do those things. It teaches you how to do those things. And so for anybody who was scared of yoga, please don’t be it’s not scary.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  23:12

Yes. And I’ve also been to yoga twice, and I happen to share this, please. And well, both times I’ve gone to yoga, I’ve cried. It’s made me cry. And I figure, if I’m paying people money to go and do something, I don’t want to pay people to make me cry. So I kind of am a little bit scared to go back because I feel like I’m going to make a fool of myself. I sit there and I start crying. So I don’t

Jen Haddix  23:52

as a teacher, I love it. When my students cry, boy, they’ve hit something and that something has come out of them and all of that pain that I just told you about all of that childhood stuff has come out on my mat. So every healing opportunity, like how healed I am right now. I’m still healing I will always be healing but the amount of healed that I’ve become is because I was able to go to that safe place among my other healing modalities and cry and let it out and just feel because our society we don’t feel our feelings. We push our feelings down with alcohol, drugs, dance, entertainment movies, we like we have so many things like that. Yeah, right. chocolate, and chocolate, we’ll do it. That’s something else I could talk about forever as food and pushing down emotions, but we are taught in our society to push it away. So then when you sit with yourself in a yoga class, you’ve moved, you’ve breathed, you’ve connected. You’re laying there in silence at the end. Everything bubbles up to the surface. Of course you’re gonna cry. And it’s a beautiful reaction and no one is judging you and if they are, that’s their problem. That’s not your problem. Yes.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  25:01

And you’ve just touched on something about disconnection, not only we disconnected from our emotions, but also too don’t you feel that we’re getting to a point where we’re starting to feel a disconnect with our own bodies?

Jen Haddix  25:18

Yes. And I have thoughts on that, because I think that, um, and I will keep a lot of my super opinionated things to myself. But I do believe that Western medicine has done us a disservice, because they teach it that way. They say, Oh, the mind and the body, they’re separate. Like, you’re not feeling this in your leg because of your emotions. It’s totally a separate or like, they will even say that your diet does not affect how your body feels, which is ridiculous, because obviously the body like yes, it does. And so we are very disconnected we we tend to see things as this is my body, this is my mind, they are not the same thing. But your mind literally like I always use this as an example. But have you ever had to have like an uncomfortable conversation with somebody and you get a stomachache? Or you like that sort of reaction in your body?

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  26:05

Do you know I do get reactions around people? Weirdly enough, some people I feel really tired, after I’ve spent time with them. There are some people that I start to feel agitated within my body. There are some people that if I’ve had a bad experience with them previously, when I feel their presence coming close to me, I feel my body lock up. There’s situations where I don’t speak up and I get a sore throat. And, look, I could go on and on and on. Even if I have a sore, like a hip. It’s on one side, it’s me, to me it is that I’m wanting to take a step forward. But something is holding me back. I have all these things. Yeah, I don’t take any prescription drugs, I don’t need any. No. And I don’t even take painkillers because I found ways to remove pain to eradicate pain in my body without having to take anything yet, so I’m high part body aware. And to the point, okay. I’m not an addictive personality, but I won’t. But I am addicted to this. I have my phone. And I set alarm triggers during the day, four or five times a day where the alarm goes off. And that is my time to check in with my body and how I’m feeling physically love, mentally and emotionally. And I have words that I say to myself that as soon as I say those words, I go into immediate sense of calm. But what I check in with, where are my shoulders? Am I my shoulders up around by ear? How’s my breath? How’s my body feeling? Am I hunching over, which I tend to do if I feel that I’m carrying the world’s weight on my shoulders? So yes, I absolutely 100 100% I hear what you’re saying. And I 100% agree. And it’s a shame that people don’t have that realisation. Because that their, to me, I believe they’re not living their lives, to the capacity and to the quality of life. They could be living if they were more aware. And they don’t even know

Jen Haddix  28:42

most people are not even aware of the lack of awareness, right. So they’re just kind of, we come here and we think that things are happening to us. And we just kind of feel like the world is just throwing stuff at us. And we’re just reacting and the cool. So go full circle back to yoga. That’s one of those things that if you’re hearing us talk about this right now, and you’re like, Well, I don’t know, I don’t know, have any awareness of my body or I don’t even know what that means. Yoga is a really good way to start to do that without even having to try you don’t have to do anything. You just go. And you do the movement. And you start to find that body awareness slowly over time.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  29:17

There are different types of yoga. Obviously, as there’s different types of meditations, there’s different types of foods, there’s different types of everything in the world. Is there a particular practice that you believe would be a great one for people to start with? Or are there different ones that suit different people and their needs?

Jen Haddix  29:40

So this is a there’s so many different kinds of kinds that I’m not even familiar with, but there’s some mainstream that I can share and also ones that I teach that I I’ve seen different levels of different people come into and so one of my favourite things for beginners to do is restorative yoga, or yoga which is They’ve agreed, Oh, do you have you done in?

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  30:02

Yes, I have. And they actually teach that at my Pilates studio and I want to go with their should go

Jen Haddix  30:09

because it’s so. So again and restorative tend to be much slower. Like when I teach a restorative class, I’ll teach five poses the entire hour. And so you bring in blankets and pillows, and you get cosy and you stretch and you meditate. But some people struggle with that, because their minds are so active. The first time I ever took a restorative class, I sobbed my eyes out because I couldn’t sit still. And I couldn’t like be with myself. And so I’ll see primarily men struggle with it. They’re always very fidgety, and they’re always moving around. But that is a really beautiful practice for somebody who maybe doesn’t feel like they want to do the athletic yoga, or maybe doesn’t have that connection with it. So restorative and Yin are very good for beginners. And then just depending, it’s hard, because a lot of studios call classes, different things. And yes, knees are not like the yoga name. So then you’re like, I don’t even know what this is. But if you see anything called like alignment, Hatha based, things like that, that’s going to be a little bit slower, you’re going to get into the movement, you’re going to feel your body, but you’re not going to have to go so fast. And that’s a good way for people who do like to move their bodies who feel like they want to be a little bit more exercising, because some people have very active minds. And then that’s like, for me, that’s you so and you like to work out. And so for me, like restorative was hard for me at first, I liked the really, really hard stuff, because my mind was so active. I meditated when I was moving, and so yes, well, that’s better. Yes. And then that you do that. Okay, so then there’s vinyasa, power yoga, that sort of thing. I teach a lot of that. And in my power yoga classes, specifically, I’m teaching our imbalances and headstands, and handstands and that sort of stuff. And so some athletes love that sort of thing. Some people just like you, and they’re like, no thing,

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  31:55

I would fall on my head.

Jen Haddix  31:57

He said, vertigo might be bad for you, but you’d be surprised. I try to teach my students from a very loving place of just curiosity and knowing that you are working past your limits. So if anybody listens to your podcast, they come to my Instagram, you’re gonna see me standing on my head, you’re gonna see me balancing on my arms, you’re gonna see me doing some really cool stuff. But for me, it’s not about showing off. It’s more about going, what do I think my personal limits are, and then transcending that. And so that’s like a really cool practice for people that are interested in that. However, you don’t have to do that to do yoga. There’s also one more that I want to talk about that I’m really afraid of, I don’t go because I’m scared of it. It’s called Kundalini. And it is so emotional, and so vocally challenging that I avoid it because I’m scared of what’s going to come out. Okay, you should look into, I feel like you might like Kundalini.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  32:52

Okay, so what do you do in that class? Why is it? What What? What do you do that’s vocal in that class?

Jen Haddix  32:59

Well, so there’s a couple different ones. So some Kundalini there’s one called Kundalini of sound. And it’s a lot of chanting and a lot of really strong breathing. And you do it’s more it’s, you do a little bit of movement. But it’s not the same at all as like what you see with my, my Instagram, it’s um, a lot of seated meditation, a lot of chanting, and there’s just so there’s something called the Kundalini is in the, in this theory, and this school of thought for yoga, is an energy coil, at the base of your spine, and it goes all the way up through your head. And when you do Kundalini, you activate that coil, and it brings everything up and out of your body. So if you’re holding trauma, which I am, and I have some that I’m scared to look at, some people feel that way. Like I don’t want to, I think there’s sexual trauma in there that I’ve pushed down. Yeah, and I’m waiting for it to show itself to me, and I’m very scared of it. Yeah, but, but chanting, as a singer, something you might really enjoy. And it might feel really good to you. And it might be something that I don’t have to balance on my head. And I can sit here and do this meditation, and chant and use the vibration of my voice. And it’s actually a really beautiful practice.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  34:08

So listening to everything that you’ve just said, What would you and talking about yoga in the way that you’re speaking about it? People may feel that, okay, what are the connections between yoga and spirituality? Some people may think this is all woowoo This is too woowoo. For me, I’m a very black and white person. So what are the connections then to spirituality? Or is that something that may not necessarily be for you, you don’t have to go down that spiritual path.

Jen Haddix  34:48

That is such a good question. And it’s going to be a very complicated answer because all teachers are different, and depending on so studios, yoga studios tend to be a little bit more on the spirits. Yoga side, they tend to focus on all the different limbs of yoga, not just the movement. If you do yoga at a gym, they’re likely only doing the breath and movement. If you do yoga anywhere other than a studio, it is likely to be a little bit less spiritual, right? However, I will say I’m a more spiritual teacher, I’ll come in and I’ll say my things, and I’ll talk about the universe and God and all this stuff. However, it is intended to be a very personal experience. So to me the difference between spirituality and religion is dogma, and that sort of dogmatic ideas about religion having to be a certain way. And if you are of a certain religion, you believe these things, and that is the end all be all and yoga. Yes, we talk about Hindu gods, yes, we talk about different things, but they’re all open for interpretation. My teacher always says, God, as you understand God, or insight, like it’s always about how you understand and interpret it, so it’s okay. But you have to be open minded to it. And some people who are religious don’t like it.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  36:00

So when you’re talking about God, or Hindu or any of those things, basically, and you’re saying, it’s, you’re leaving it for people to interpret, as they wish to interpret. But ultimately, what you’re saying is your it symbolises something higher than yourself,

Jen Haddix  36:21

right? And sometimes higher than yourself within yourself. So that’s kind of my teacher, she explains it in a beautiful way, like Christ consciousness. So not necessarily Jesus Christ, but Christ consciousness within the body, that Kundalini, the mother, Mary, it’s all inside. And that’s kind of how I see it. But I don’t sit there in front of my class and tell them, This is what the book of yoga says, and you have to fall it No, I’m like, here’s some stuff that I feel that I would like to bring into my teaching. And if you take it awesome, if you don’t, that’s okay. You can kind of take it or leave it, it’s very easy to cherry pick in yoga, the things that work for you.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  36:58

Yes. Okay. Now, I’d like to start going through some of your processes that you went through, and some of the things that I know that that you address, and one of them is you would have had to go through a journey of forgiveness. And this is something that I tend to find a little difficult. My mantra almost is I forgive but I don’t forget. And but being Sicilian, I come from a Sicilian family. With it, it’s almost in our DNA that we don’t forgive. And I find it very hard to forgive. We tend to, and at times, it’s like Don’t get mad, get even. And I always jokingly jokingly say, you know, I have the violin case, in the in the boot of my, of my my black car, and ride, or cement shoes in the Pacific Ocean will take care of that problem. No, I’m not like that. I think you understand, it sets the singing thing. Have you forgive had? What’s your take on forgiveness? Because you would have had to do a lot of forgiving. How did you forgive? And how, how can we forgive? When people don’t offer an apology?

Jen Haddix  38:31

I would love to share something that I just noticed about what you just said. And I’d say the biggest place of love that you have these stories that you’ve already decided about yourself. So your stories are I’m Sicilian. We don’t forgive Well, I don’t really forgive Well, you’ve got these things that you tell yourself. And they become true because you continue to live them and I I don’t have that particular one. But I’ve other things that I’ve told myself for a very long time. That became true because I continue to tell myself them like mine. I’m a serial dater. I’m always breaking men’s hearts. And so I’m never gonna find somebody bla bla bla bla bla. That was my story for a very long time. And I just recently broke that. So something a disservice that you and maybe other people that are listening that identify with what you’re saying, which is I find it really hard to forgive people and how can you forgive people if they haven’t apologised to you? And how can I forget what they did? To me? That is a story that I would say you’d want to work on within yourself a little bit first, just by acknowledging it because the work is very different for everybody. But that’s that aside. One important thing to remember is that the forgiveness is not for the other person. You are not letting some asshole off the hook for hurting you. Yeah, mom did some really bad stuff. My mom did some terrible things. I’ve had other people do terrible things. And when I forgive them, it’s not like I’m like, Oh, well, you didn’t do anything bad. It’s okay. No, I’m forgiving them because I don’t want to hold on to that bullshit for the rest of my life. Like, that’s what like my sister is the exact opposite of me. She is very unhealed. She is very angry. She’s very upset all the time. and my mom is the source of all of her anger. And my mom has been dead for 14 years. And I’m like, Wow, do you really want to let a woman who left her 14 years ago continue to make your life miserable? The forgiveness is not for my mom. The forgiveness is for you. I mean, it’s for you to feel better. So if somebody hurts you just remember that that is their own shit. That is their own unhealed. I, I said this on a podcast last week, I really look at everybody, like we are unhealed children just walking around in adult bodies. And so everybody you meet has some crap that they went through that they’re trying to process that they maybe don’t have tools for. So sometimes, when people hurt you, it’s not really intentional. They’re just trying to figure out their little human suit and trying to figure out what’s going on. And so just remember that the forgiveness is not for them. It is for you. And do you really want to let somebody who hurt you continue to rule the way that you live your life?

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  40:56

Hmm. And in relationships too often, when people speak to up to us or they do something, it’s their own stuff. That set that set that’s talking, it’s not them, it’s their stuff. And sometimes when they hurt you, it’s not them. It’s their stuff. And that’s kind of the way that I’ve tried to process things. Does it help you? Yes, it does. Because it helps me understand the person. And it helps me understand that they must be really hurting, yes, to have the capacity to do that kind of thing to, to engage in that kind of behaviour, they must be coming from a really dark place and how sad for them.

Jen Haddix  41:45

Yes. And that’s what I think about with my mom, when I look back on my mom now. And I’ve done a lot of forgiveness work with her after she passed away. So I’ve had I have conversations with her. And you know, I’ve done a lot of that work after she’s gone. I just know she was in a lot of pain. And she was very sick. And all the things that she did, like my mom loved me, she just was really not well. And so why wouldn’t I forgive her? Yes. Why? Why would I hold on to?

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  42:08

Then why are some people? Why do they slip into a victim mentality. And then other people find their way out of that they they are not victims at all, because you’ve had all this stuff happen to you. I’ve had stuff happened to me my life, as we’ve talked about. And I’ve never felt a victim and I have not a lot of tolerance for victims. So but we’re all born the same when it’s all said and done. But but we all process things differently. So is it is it the environment that we grow up in, that affects the way that we react?

Jen Haddix  42:53

I have lots of thoughts on this. But I think I always say that it is much more nurture than it is nature. I feel like it’s 80% nurture, and maybe 20% nature. But I also think that I believe in reincarnation. So I think many of us chose to be here. And some of us have been here more times than others. And so some of us are having a more victimised experience, because that’s just the age of our soul. And that’s just how we chose to come down. But also, people I actually acted like a victim for a while. So I will claim that I was I had victim mentality for quite some time and we gained something from it. We have learned through our victim mentality that we will get bailed out of situations or that we will get comfort or that we will get on sorry, we’ll get something from it. And that is easier to continue to do that than it is to grow and find out what it’s like to take responsibility and see what’s on the other side. Because it is much better over here. But when you’re on the other side, you don’t know that. So you’re not sure what it’s going to look like to go, oh, everything in my life is my responsibility. But once you take that responsibility, everything is better. But when you’re on the victim side, you don’t know you just yet you don’t know. Like, yes. And that was

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  44:02

an interesting comment you made about reincarnation that we choose to be here. Because it’s what I found in life is that things happen to people who can deal with them. Most of the time, we’re given what we can deal with. I agree and and I mean, I see some people have massive reaction if they break a fingernail. And their reaction would be the same as if their animal died, you know, like, and I just go and then there’s other people that really can endure so much and don’t have the reaction of the person that just broke the fingernail. So I think we’re all kind of given what we can bear I so that equates with what you’re saying but I’ve never thought about it that way.

Jen Haddix  44:59

Just a thought it’s just an idea I have. Yeah, yeah.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  45:02

Yeah. And so what have you learned about yourself through this whole journey? What are the things you’ve learned the most about yourself? That I don’t know, anything.

Jen Haddix  45:13

That’s, that’s the most beautiful thing about this whole process is that I’ve learned so much. And I still don’t know anything. And I think that as long as I’m an open conduit for love, my life gets better. And I’ve learned that victim mentality does not serve me. And I still have it in places I can still see it. Sometimes I’m like, oh, there’s a little corner there where I still have that. Let me go ahead and work on that. I’ve learned a lot. So that’s kind of a loaded question. It just kind of depends on where you want me to take it?

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  45:39

Yes, yes. Okay. But your initial response was that I know nothing. So to me, I would interpret that as that learning for you is going to be a lifelong journey,

Jen Haddix  45:53

always. And now, oh, sorry. That’s what I tell my clients to because I’ll have self love clients that are like, Oh, 12 week coaching, we’re going to get to the end, and it’s going to be this amazing thing. I’m like, Nope, I am just literally one step on your ladder up to the next thing. Like it’s just the people that are I feel like doing the best in life and feeling the best in life are the ones that are comfortable with being uncomfortable. And just know that there is no destination, just enjoy it. Just let yourself heal. Let yourself feel shit. It’s okay. Like, don’t feel like you have to get anywhere.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  46:23

And also learning that the more you learn, the more you realise the less you know. Yes, that’s exactly yeah, yes.

Jen Haddix  46:35


Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  46:36

Now you are a self love coach. So can you tell our listeners what it is that a self love coach does,

Jen Haddix  46:46

I believe we’re all different. And I’m kind of a self proclaimed self love coach. So it’s much more, I’m not like a certified coach, and you don’t have to be certified to be a coach. However, I basically use yoga and meditation as my two main modalities to help you get to a deeper sense of self love. And I like to tell this on all the podcasts I’ve been on lately. And on my platform, yes, when I talk about self love, I mean it a lot more in a sense of self discovery. So we tend to think that self love is like bubble baths and cups of tea and, you know, taking care of yourself, I think of that as self care. What I do, is I have like a 12 week module programme that I take people through, that teaches them to connect with their inner child and teaches them to forgive past experiences that teaches them to go into the parts of themselves that need to be looked at that teaches them body awareness. It’s a comprehensive yoga meditation and like journaling module programme that gets to all these different ways that I’ve learned, in my experience, how to come to who I am, love myself better, and show up for myself more consistently.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  47:52

Mm hmm. Do you pay? Do you believe that people nowadays don’t love themselves? They don’t take care of themselves? Do you feel that there’s a lot of self loathing? Almost,

Jen Haddix  48:05

there is a lot of self loathing. And it’s kind of like subconscious. A lot of people don’t even know they have it. So they do things from a place of self loathing. So I’m and I’m not judging anyone. But I think a lot of the time, like modern dating, like we do things that are just out of that need for immediate satisfaction, because we’ve got a part of ourselves that needs that validation, or that needs that sort of quick, somebody gives me that affection. And that’s really from a place of self loathing, because when you honour yourself and you honour your body, you’re not going to just accept anyone. And I’m saying that because I used to do that all the time. So I’m not just like, totally get in there. And yeah, some people are very empowered in that. And some people are empowered. And that’s great. But there are so many facets of our, of our lives, whether it be zoning out and watching a show on Netflix for 12 hours, that is not really coming from a place of self love. It’s coming from a place of I want to check out because I don’t like myself. And I don’t want to spend time with myself. And so what can I do to distract me from me? There’s so much of that going on in our society. And so yes, I do think a lot of people don’t like themselves very much.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  49:10

So when you talk about checking out, then would you suggest that meditation is the best way to check in

Jen Haddix  49:19

one of the best ways I know that some people feel very intimidated by meditation. So something I would like to say is that I tell all of my students and this is my opinion, and and there are things to back this up, that it is not so much about stopping your mind because people sit down to meditate. They’re like, my mind won’t shut up. I can’t meditate. I just can’t. It’s not about stopping your mind. It’s just about learning how to coexist with your mind and change your point of focus. So all you have to do is just focused on your breath and your brains gonna blah, blah, blah, blah, blah the whole time and every time you hear something, you go, Okay, that’s cool. Inhale, exhale. Inhale, exhale. And that’s all you have to do. And that brings you back To centre it regulates your nervous system. It softens all the outside noise. But other ways are getting in nature, putting your feet in the grass quieting down in any way that you can is enough to check in you don’t have to meditate. It’s one of the best ways, but it is the only way.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  50:16

Yes, I have a full on morning ritual. So I wake up two hours before I have to leave the house. I love that. Yes. So I first thing I do is I meditate, generally 10 to 15 minutes. And I’m one of these people that I have a really busy mind. And I’ve learned not to be judgmental. And then there’s other times where the law I finally in the last minute, two minutes of the meditation, I go into that place where I switch off and that’s okay. But it’s always to be non judgmental. i That’s my approach, then I do some planking and that’s my way of moving my body. I do six minutes of planking. And because I believe motion is lotion. And if I have a niggle it always gets rid of the little niggle no matter what is going on in my body. That planking helps me tremendously to alleviate any tension, any pain, anything that’s going on anywhere. And then I write in a gratitude journal. So I feel that by doing those things that’s topping me up, like I have a full tank, and I’m ready to hit the day. And I get to work and I’m usually yo How you going and I’m really loud and I’m happy and people go, Oh my gosh, like you’re always in this really good mood. How do you have this energy? And I just say, it takes work.

Jen Haddix  51:56

It does.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  51:57

It takes work. But why do people so busy working on everyone else, but they’re not working on themselves? And if you feel not good for yourself? How can you be good for others?

Jen Haddix  52:09

What you said was so good, your tank is full. So then you can go into work and you can be happy. And that’s, you know, you see it with moms all the time you see it with people who work 50 hours a week, they’re just giving, giving, giving or like you said, performers and years and everything teaches Yes, singing teachers and even as a yoga teacher, I found when I first started teaching yoga, I ignored my practice for a while because I was so focused on teaching others and I got depleted really, really quickly. And so I have to make time for my own spiritual practice or else I’m not a very good teacher. So people just, we also our society does us a very big disservice because they teach us that you can drink a cup of coffee, take some pills, do something to get yourself to go all peppy, and you just put band aids on fans and looked at.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  52:55

Well, the problem with the band aid is it’s always got to come off. Exactly. And then it’s worse if you have a festering sore underneath. Band aids don’t work.

Jen Haddix  53:06

No, they don’t. And that’s what we do a lot. And some of you have a self care regime. I’m kind of similar to you without the planking I’m like, I don’t want to play myself.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  53:16

Like we’d stretches that you do

Jen Haddix  53:19

your stretches. Yes. So I go into my meditation room I meditate for well actually, I open the space with my singing bowl, and I clear my energy with my my quartz. And then I pull cards and I kind of talked to my spirit guides with my cards, and then I journal. And then I meditate for 10 to 15 minutes. And usually when I’m meditating, I’m stretching, which I really like, because I’ve got a lot of pain in my body because I push my body a lot and I need to stretch and I need to soften. Lately I’ve been rolling, I’ve been rolling on some tennis balls because my spine is really tight. So I’ll roll on the balls, and I’ll meditate. And then gratitude. I definitely do like a gratitude list or an affirmation list. And then sometimes I like to chant, because I also sing and so I enjoy using my voice to connect to God and to spirit. So

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  54:04

that’s amazing. If you had to suggest just one thing, just say we have a listener who doesn’t do any of this stuff. There’s no self care regime. They’re busy people that they’ve they’re finding their tank is running low, or it’s just about on empty or on empty. What’s one practice that you think would really benefit them?

Jen Haddix  54:31

I would say Set a timer for 10 minutes, don’t have any expectation of meditation or anything but just get your phone away from you. And sit with yourself for 10 minutes. And if you want to be sitting outside if you want to be having a cup of tea if you want to be doing something but spend 10 minutes self every day. Yeah, just keep that because really for a lot of us. We’re not used to showing up for ourselves. So it’s very hard like you and I just described these practices that we have but I bet you took both have us a lot of time to create that as a daily habit, it took me a while to look for myself. Yes,

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  55:05

yes. Yeah. And and mostly people don’t start creating habits that serve them. Because until they run into trouble, and I feel guilty of that, too, you too, very much. So I had to I had to be in a lot of I was in a lot of trouble physically, mentally, emotionally, when I started all this, and I knew I had to find a way out. And that’s when

Jen Haddix  55:30

a lot of people get to that point before they do it. And that’s okay. And that’s the thing too, is if you’re that if you’re listening right now, and it’s gonna take you to get to that point to get there. That’s okay. That’s that’s the way that our bodies and Spirit works. It’s, you know, we’re here having this experience. And you will get there when you get there. And you’re going to your body will tell you that that’s how we get sick. That’s how we have diseases because we push our bodies so hard, and we don’t show up and we don’t take care of ourselves. And eventually your body is screaming, and it will tell you and you can choose now to try before your body starts screaming. And if you want to do that, just set a timer, 10 minutes a day. Don’t expect anything, just be quiet. That’s honestly the biggest thing be quiet. Listen, it’s so much time talking, we spend so much time doing, we need to listen. And

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  56:17

you were saying before about you singing? Do you find Do you believe that there are benefits for singers when it comes to yoga practice?

Jen Haddix  56:28

Yeah, so um, the breathing thing is really powerful. And I will say because I it’s it sucks. As a singer, I have a breathing issue that I’ve had for 15 years I can’t breathe fully sucks as a yoga teacher too. But the breathing practices are helpful. And then also the chanting. Vibration in chanting is very powerful. So from a very woowoo standpoint, if you’re trying to manifest things in your life, and you’re trying to create things, and you put your intentions behind your voice, it is much stronger than if then if you’re just thinking them, so you think them they’re powerful. You sing them. They’re even more powerful. You’re the universe’s respond to you yes.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  57:07

Because one of the things that I say? Well, I’ve been saying in leading up to some of the most recent episodes, I talk about manifestation. And I say whatever word you use after I am is what you will manifest in your life. Yes. Okay. So we’re just about to wind up. I have a couple more questions for you. This has been amazing. What are you up to now? What? What are you doing in terms of work in terms of your business? What’s happening with you?

Jen Haddix  57:44

It’s funny, because I was working with a coach that didn’t suit me. And I was pushing really hard. And I was like, on Instagram all the time, and I was doing and it didn’t feel good. I felt very out of alignment, I felt like I wasn’t offering the best part of myself. So I’ve actually been going inward a lot, spending a little bit more time getting into alignment and getting myself a little bit more spiritually ready to give to the people that are ready to have what I have to say. And so I’m shifting a bit more into being more serious about my podcast, because that is my favourite place to be. And I feel like I have a lot to say. So I’m spending a lot more time in the podcast. And then I’m creating a course I’m going to create an online course a three month online course that gets into a lot of the stuff that I just talked about. So a self paced course that you can do, where you can go through all these different modules where you’re learning, different yoga exercises, where you’re learning different chants, where you’re learning different meditations, where you’re learning how to forgive how to connect with your inner child, all this cool stuff. So I’m going to have this big programme. It’s gonna take me a while to create it. But that’s some Yes.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  58:45

Oh, that sounds amazing. And if you had to give our listeners one piece of advice, based on your experiences, based on your knowledge, where you’re at in life now what would that be?

Jen Haddix  59:00

Kind of what you were saying in your morning routine is without the judgement, I think that on any journey, when you start to realise that there are things that need to be healed, we tend to come at it from a very judgmental place. And we tend to feel very ashamed of the things that we’ve done or the things that we’re not doing the way we want to and anytime that you’re going to start looking at yourself, do it with as much love as you possibly can I try to, that’d be the easiest thing for me to say is that I know it’s hard. I know, there’s parts of you like I look back on some of the things I’ve done and I’m like, Oh, God, that’s, you know, but I have to look at that with love because it got me to where I am. So if you’re looking at yourself and you want to heal something, do it with love, know that you are an unhealed child and an adult body and you’re just trying to figure it out. You’re just doing your best you are where you are. And just do it with as much love as you possibly can. Oh,

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  59:50

I love that. That’s so cool. So so cool. Okay, Jen will look we’re going to share your links in the show notes to your website and where people can find you to your podcast. And so people want to learn more about you, they just have to check out the show notes. We wish you all the very best and hope 2022 is the most amazing year for you. And thank you so much for being on our show. Really appreciate your time. I loved it. 

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  1:00:29

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.