Chronically Living and how to make the most of it

Movement for Chronic Illness with special guest Tania Clarke

May 31, 2021 Kelsey, Tania Clarke Season 1 Episode 49
Chronically Living and how to make the most of it
Movement for Chronic Illness with special guest Tania Clarke
Show Notes Transcript

My guest this week is Tania Clarke, the founder of Move Deeply Wellness, who is here to share with us the benefits that movement can have for everyone, including those of us with chronic illness. 
In this episode we talk about:

  • clinical somatics
  • Move Deeply Wellness
  • different reflexes
  • how movement can help you

Guest Bio:
Tania Clarke's personal journey through years of chronic shoulder pain brought her to restorative movement education. She is dedicated to helping her clients tune into their bodies and unravel their persistent tension and pain, through gentle, methodical movement.
Tania is a Level 2 Certified Somatic Exercise Instructor. She has trained as a yoga, fitness and Pilates instructor and is always experimenting with movement. She believes a diverse movement practice is one of the best routes to a long, happy life, and is here to help others find their own passion for movement.
Her online business, Move Deeply Wellness, is committed to creating restorative movement education accessible online, with accountability tools and regular inspiration to help students stick with their practice and make it a life-long habit.

Check out here website: Move Deeply Wellness
Follow her on Instagram @MoveDeeplyWellness
and on FaceBook: Move Deeply

Kelsey Harris:

Welcome to the chronically living and how to make the most of it podcast. I'm Kelsey Harris, a chronic pain warrior here to inspire hope and strength to the spoonie community, get ready to lift each other up and find ways to live the best life possible. Hey, everyone, thanks for joining in to this week's episode of chronically living and how to make the most of it. This week, I had the privilege of sitting down with Tania Clarke, who is the founder of Move Deeply Wellness, you're going to probably have noticed the theme with movement recently on the show. And I think it's just an important one because movement has so many benefits for chronic health issues, definitely for mental health, even cognitive health, health preventing dementia. So if you've if you're noticing this theme, you're like, oh, man, like I'm not really getting this movement thing. Or if you're being really hesitant on incorporating more movement into your, into your life, then I think these are good episodes for you guys to kind of listen to to consider maybe adding some more in. So like I said, Tania is going to talk to us about her company and her philosophy really about movement and how it can be helpful for the chronic illness and chronic pain community. So here it is. Hi, Tania, welcome to the show. And thanks so much for coming on.

Tania Clarke:

Thanks, Kelsey. It's great to be here.

Kelsey Harris:

Awesome. Um, it's really interesting, because I have actually had a lot of professionals Come on lately to talk about movement, and like how that's so beneficial for different illnesses or just people in general. So it's like, great to have someone else on again.

Tania Clarke:

Yes, that's, that's awesome. Yeah, it's such an important part of staying, you know, healthy and mind and body.

Kelsey Harris:

Yeah, exactly. Um, so let's just start off with like, What got you interested in this line of work?

Tania Clarke:

Um, yeah, for me, it was, I think, as it is, with many people who get into my field, I came from a point of my own chronic pain with my shoulders, I had bursitis for years, and both my shoulders, which is an inflammation of the bursa, which are like little kind of pads between your your bones. So they can get irritated for various reasons. But mine ended up being postural, because I did a lot of desk work for years as a designer and a graphic designer, and then also working in Education Office. So I felt like I was at a loss to know if I would ever get over it. But I did start to train as a yoga teacher just because I loved yoga and movement. And I was trying to think about new career paths. So it started off as a yoga teacher taught for a couple years explored also group fitness. And Pilates. Pilates really helped a lot because it improves your posture quite a bit by correcting sort of your back body muscles and stuff. But eventually, my mom invited me to a somatic yoga class, because I was still having a lot of problems. And I decided to take a break from teaching because I just felt like a fraud teaching when I was hurting, but like, I need to know why I'm hurting, and I want to be able to help people. So that really changed how I could feel my body was getting different through the somatic yoga practice. And then I started researching cymatics more. And also, that teacher taught restorative yoga with her somatic yoga, and she basically inspired me to pursue it more. And that led me to where I am now. And I realized that my true calling I think, is to teach restored restorative movement for people and help them come out of long term kind of issues that they may be encountering. So yeah, it's my

Kelsey Harris:

Yeah, and it makes sense because most to get into like a lot of these like health care type lines of work. It's usually from personal experiences, right?

Tania Clarke:

Yeah. Yeah. It's sort of unintentional, almost, that you get.

Kelsey Harris:

Exactly. Um, so what is somatics? And and what is restorative movement, yoga?

Tania Clarke:

Yeah, so my focus as a restorative movement educator is mostly with clinical somatics. So it's also called Hana somatics, developed by Thomas Hanna. And it also it's what inspired somatic yoga. So that's the first thing I ever sort of learned as a student and then I decided to train in in clinical somatics because I kind of was interested in that originating field. So what it does is that it helps to retrain your brain, your nervous system to better sense and control your muscles again, because over time, as we get older, our bodies are, you know, in the same types of positions, doing the same type of types of things for a long time. And it just causes chronic tension in our bodies, that is a natural part of our bodies, you know, getting older, but at the same time, it's not permanent. So somatic exercise helps to reverse that by having a really slow, active movement that takes you through the whole range of motion. And that's what re educates the nervous system to be like, Oh, I don't have to hang on to these muscles so tight anymore. Okay, let's just let that go back to normal. And, yeah, it's a really fascinating practice that's been around for on some level for about 200 years, but it's only sort of starting to gain more traction in like the sort of wellness circles and movement and but a lot of physical therapists who have worked with athletes for a long time have brought it in to help them. So it's more known in that kind of area. But I'm trying to change that and be one of the there's lots of teachers out there also starting to spread the word and they've been around for longer than me, but they're my inspiration to to, to make it more common.

Kelsey Harris:

Awesome. Yeah, that's really interesting. Can you tell us about your philosophy when it comes to movement?

Tania Clarke:

Yeah, it's definitely changed over the years, I do actually come at it more from a restorative perspective now, because of so I think restorative movement, and especially cymatics is a great foundation, and support for all your other things that you do in life. So that's sort of my approach now is that I'll sort of go from Okay, well, how's my body feeling today? Do I have a lot of energy, maybe I can do more activity, like weight training, or whatever. Or maybe today, it's a bit more mellow, like yoga. And I just really think having a diverse sort of buffet of movement is really important. And kind of and always checking in with yourself daily and not worrying about, you know, oh, well, I said to myself, that I would do a hit workout or I would go for a long walk. And that's, I think it's nice to have sort of your options ready for you, versus trying to push through. Because that's how we end up hurting ourselves or staying in pain and that kind of thing. So

Kelsey Harris:

yeah, totally. It's interesting. You said that, because on Saturday, I woke up, but I always do a workout first thing in the morning, and I woke up and I was like, I don't like I don't have a lot of energy right now. Like, I don't think I can do a workout and then I just didn't do one.

Tania Clarke:

Yeah. And that's totally fine.

Kelsey Harris:

Like, and then like, I did yoga later in the day and stuff. You know, like, I just kind of was like, Yeah, I know. Like, maybe that's not the best thing for this morning.

Tania Clarke:

Yeah. No, it's important to recognize that good that good. You listen to yourself.

Kelsey Harris:

Okay, cool. So, um, so tell us about more deeply?

Tania Clarke:

Yeah. So I started, I wanted to create a more of a brand to encompass what my mission is. And so Move Deeply Wellness is my, my brand of restorative movement practice. And it's on, it's an online resource of programs and lots of free stuff on YouTube. But to get started, but basically, programs to help people learn cymatics and integrate it into their lives and make it a daily if possible, or frequent habit. Since it's sort of like tuning up your car, he kind of got to keep doing it for the car to run well. And so yeah, I've really tried to create a online platform that makes it easy and fun to start discovering the practice and that like video lessons and accountability tools and, and lots of sort of information to get to know how the body works together and understand what the exercises are doing for you. So well.

Kelsey Harris:

So what kind of services do you offer on there?

Tania Clarke:

So I've got a couple of I've got a 30 day kind of introductory program called discover somatics in 30 days, and so it's got a sort of trickle of content that comes out every week, and is released as you finish it. So that guides you through a few fundamental exercises over the course of four weeks, but it's a accessible for as long as the student wants because I don't want to, you know, people life happens you lose track of, you can't always stay on it. But it's designed to be completed within a month easily without pressure. But also to revisit or you know, take a little longer. So that's sort of my signature program. And I've got, like, opportunities to work with me one on one with like, bundles of online virtual sessions and somatics is a really great practice to do virtually just because it's very inward. You know, I ask my students to close their eyes and just listen to my voice. And it's, it's quite, the exercises are quite simple, which allows them to eventually be come independent. So after about four kind of one on one sessions, usually people can kind of go off and do their own thing for a while. But then I also have video bundles of past recording classes that I've done to support sort of a practice, if you're wanting to have more guidance, with just following along for half hour classes. My main thing too, is to not have anything more than half an hour usually, because I want people to be able to do it in a short amount of time, because we all are busy. So it's, it's important to be able to feel like you can fit it in your day. And then I've got my new program that sort of combines the 30 day course into a longer 90 day format, which is said to be the sort of the time you need to become a habit is the days. So within that, then there's also once a month, the student gets a one on one session with me. And then there's weekly live group sessions with people that are taking the program. So we can learn together for about half hour, 40 minutes and practice a few things and, and then there's access to all my other video classes and guidance throughout. So it's really, that one's really designed to help create a practice very efficiently in just a few months, where it can really change a person's trajectory and movements and their lives. So it said it's still new, but people I have in it are already showing really great progress. So it's pretty simple.

Kelsey Harris:

Um, okay, so tell us about who these people that take the classes are, what is your clientele like?

Tania Clarke:

Yeah, um, they're, they're kind of, they're mostly in middle age to retired. Because that's usually when we start feeling like our bodies aren't working so well. But so they're my primary clientele are women who have always been pretty busy, they work really hard, they have families, the kids are starting to get older, so they have a bit more time to kind of come back to their themselves and and they're just really wanting to not let time kind of get the better of them and, and get back to doing the things they really want to do and, and not feel like they're stuck in pain. But I also have a few younger followers, like in their sort of early 30s that are starting to notice that things. I mean, I had my shoulder issues stayed with me through my late 20s like mid late 20s to. So I was pretty young when I was getting. So um, yeah, I've I've really would love to reach more people that are looking for solutions at a younger age or looking to be more proactive as well. Because we don't know, and we don't tend to do things till it hurts, and that it's actually kind of not too late at all, but it's like, you know, there's ways of avoiding that and that the practice does train you how do you start detecting things in your body too, which is really great. So a whole huge part of it is building body awareness and being able to sense when like, Oh, that feels a bit off. I should probably work on that so or else I'll get a flare up or that kind of thing. Yeah. Okay.

Kelsey Harris:

Yeah. So I'm like most listeners of this podcast have a chronic pain or some kind of chronic illness and or some mental health problems, which I know movement is helpful for all of those things. Can you give us more insight into that?

Tania Clarke:

Mm hmm. Yeah, I mean, a big part I think of living with chronic pain as being not being afraid to, to do a little to do some kind of movement. Even if you're feeling you know, rough and Just want to lie down all day or something, or, you know, not do anything that might make it worse, if it's more of a sort of my case when it was more joint related, but the type of practice that I'm teaching is a great sort of place to start again, if you're wanting to start over or, you know, you haven't been able to move for a while much and, you know, there's a bit of fear around moving or something, then cymatics and restorative yoga are just a really great place to start and start unraveling the layers in the body that are potentially creating pain. But also sort of approach pain from a more curious point of like point of view versus it being a block. So just sort of getting to know what, what might trigger the problems more within movement, and how to sort of learn how to work with that differently. And, and, yeah, it's a like, it can really be supportive of all the other practices and that one might do, whether it's, let's say, you have to go to a chiropractor to kind of realign things, that resets your body, but it's not retraining your muscles to not go back to where they were before. So cymatics is a really ideal way to sort of, you know, take what the correction was, but then start to build a foundation of somatic exercise and movement to recognize how it's supposed to feel and get the muscles to relax so that they don't pull you back into the position that caused you to be in pain. So So yeah, it's, it's really, I think, a crucial sort of piece of the puzzle when it comes to living with chronic physical pain. Because like, even if we're in pain from other sea diseases or conditions, that creates stress and, and therefore tension in our bodies. So even if the original cause of the pain isn't necessarily, you know, posture related or anything, it's going to probably create things in the body that make you feel worse. So So I think this is a really revolutionary kind of background practice for everybody just have in their back pocket. And, and it's, it's so easy, you can just really easy to integrate them just because it's it's not like, you know, say yoga where there's all these different poses, and you have to make sure you're not maybe doing it wrong, or like, because it's a little harder to know if you're in the right position or something like that. And I love I love yoga, like it's it's definitely something I still do. But I come at it from a completely different side now with cymatics. And, and yeah, it's, anyway, so. So yeah, it's a it's a really powerful practice for just creating that foundation for for a really solid movement, practice and gaining more confidence with your, with your day to day, and being able to tackle more when you're when you're dealing with, you know, days where you're not feeling your best. There's just always this in your back pocket to come to and relax your mind and body and, and heal on some level. And yeah, awesome.

Kelsey Harris:

Yeah, that that makes so much sense, actually. So that's great. Um, so I was exploring your website, and I took the posture personality quiz. So can you tell us about like about the quiz?

Tania Clarke:

Sure. Yeah. Yeah, I sort of that was a fun thing to make it I based it on sort of main principles of posture that are identified in somatics. That then the exercises are used to target those problems. So there's three types of reflexes that are defined. And so those are things we do with our bodies as a reaction to say something that happens to us suddenly, but they're also just sort of a progressive thing that happens in our bodies with day to day life. So for example, the green light reflex is when we it's like the get up and go reflex. So let's say you're gonna suddenly run to go get something or you're being sort of propped into take the lead on something or it like we just sort of take this posture where the, the chest kind of puffs out more your lower back arches a bit and your chin goes up just slightly. And it's sort of considered sort of a power pose type a type, posture. And people who are more of that sort of personality tend to take that type of posture frequently. So it's goes beyond the reflexes just when something happened to happens to you momentarily. But the posture itself can keep happening when you're just always busy and standing a lot. And then the opposite of that is the red light reflex. So that's the reaction where, if it's just sort of the reflex action, it's if someone threw a ball, you all of a sudden, and you curl up and hunt your shoulders in and, and up, you know, wanting to recoil. So that can be translated into people who are a bit more maybe introverted. And, or, if you're going through time in your life, where you're where you're really, you're really stressed for a while. And we naturally just sort of recoil and a little bit, so our shoulders will round a little bit forward, and our head will come forward, and our tailbone might tuck under a bit with our pelvis tilted. But usually, we're a combination of these things. So there's not really a black and white, but there's certain things that are more dominant in others. So there will, if you do the quiz, you'll have the dominant character characteristic come up based on things that you answer, both within sort of your your life and your work and sort of tendencies that you might have, personality wise. So the one I don't cover in the quiz, which is a little harder to integrate is the trauma reflex. And that's when there's asymmetry in your right or left side, due to injury or some kind of imbalance in your body, usually an injury. So if you had a car accident where one side of your body got affected, you'll start favoring that, and the other side of the body starts taking on more. So basically, that covers all sides of the body. So these somatic exercises will target muscles, for each of those reflexes to help balance things out and bring you back to center. But yeah, the quizzes an interesting way to sort of explore that in your own body and what certain types of pain like lower back pain are usually associated with more of the green light reflux. And upper back pain and neck pain is more in shoulder pain is more of the red light reflex, and hip pain and knee pain on one side of the body would be more of a trauma thing. So

Kelsey Harris:

really interesting. So I like I really enjoyed taking the quiz. And then so I got the red light reflex, which makes sense because like I do, like carry stress and stuff more my upper body. And then when we're talking about the trauma reflex, just now I was thinking like, so when I was a teenager, I like really badly injured my right ankle. I definitely compensated with my left side a lot. And then a few years ago, I end up with a liberal hip tear and my left hip, and I definitely compensated with my way.

Tania Clarke:

Yeah. Yeah, definitely. It can really take a lot of time to undo those those things in our body too. Because even when the injury gets better, that compensation is still it stays there unless we address it in some way, which is a great way to deal with this practice. So and often you won't even realize till you start doing sort of the body scans and comparison before and after with your exercises like oh, yeah, I can tell that that was different. Right? Yeah.

Kelsey Harris:

So you incorpor te like things like body scans i to into, Oh, co

Tania Clarke:

Yeah, you always start with the body scan from foot from your feet upwards, assessing sort of left to right, and when you're first starting, you won't really you'll just sort of do it and be like, okay, that's how I'm feeling, I guess. And then, after you do a practice, even just one session, you start to feel a difference. So when you stand afterwards, and do a scan up foot to put the head again, you may notice that your feet are the pressure of your feet is different, maybe this they're standing more evenly because a lot of us tend to put more weight on the outside or, or inside. Or maybe your low back actually feels more sort of scrapes that kind of thing. So you start to learn those changes in your body and that goes with your proprioception, which is your ability To sense your body in space. So it's training you to better sense how you're moving your body. And also anticipate when something might be off, and that can help resist injury in the future and that kind of thing. So..

Kelsey Harris:

Cool. Yeah, like that. It's interesting, b cause I also like, as a therap st, I also incorporate body cans, especially with chronic pa n and homeless clients, bec use I think it's really import nt to like, know, what's going on in your body and just be

Tania Clarke:

Mm hmm. Yeah, definitely. Yeah, it's an It's a neat thing to sort of start with people and how they, they start to shift their ability to sense things. And, and, yeah, that sounds really important. Cool.

Kelsey Harris:

Um, is there anything else we should know about Move Deeply Wellness?

Tania Clarke:

Um, I guess, I've got right now I have a free five day program that I'm putting on my site for people to get sort of more of an introduction to my work. So I'm excited to have that up there. It's basically sort of like a mini format of my 30 day program. So and I'm always available to people, if they have questions, like, I'm always happy to, to help people choose sort of what they might need to get started. And I'm just really, you know, excited to sort of grow this business online more and, and be that sort of resource for building a foundation for mindful movement in your practice. And yeah, I want to be accessible to as many people as possible. So yeah, I'm always here for, for people to to find me. And, yeah, my five day challenge is linked on my homepage at moody play.com. So people can always check that

Kelsey Harris:

Sweet. That's awe ome. Um, my favorite question t ask all my guests is, how do you inspire your clients to make the most of their live ?

Tania Clarke:

Hmm. Um, well, I think, from what I've heard of my, from my clients, they just have really enjoyed sort of the, the way that I get them to think about their bodies on a regular basis through, I get them to do journaling, to assess their bodies each day, and also sort of reflect on at the end of the week, how things have changed or not changed, etc. And that's really created some pretty big shifts in their lives and has definitely inspired them to keep trying new things. And and they can, they're not as worried about their, their future with their body now, which is really inspiring to me. So yeah, I think I basically my, as I said, I guess before with a sense of curiosity, I think it's my own sense of curiosity, that I try to kind of teach to them that that inspires them to keep going and exploring movement in their own way.

Kelsey Harris:

Where can we find out more information about Move Deeply?

Tania Clarke:

Yeah. So yeah, my website is movedeeply.com and I'm also on Instagram @moved eplywellness. And those are pro ably the best places to find me Oh, and YouTube, of course. But there's links to my YouTube on my website through the vid os link and that kind of thing. o, but you can look at move de ply on YouTube, and I should how up. So

Kelsey Harris:

cool. I'll link those in the show notes for everyone as well.

Tania Clarke:

Yeah. Thank you.

Kelsey Harris:

Oh, thanks again, for all this amazing information about movement and somatic movement. I think it's awesome. And it's really lovely to have you on.

Tania Clarke:

Yeah. Thanks so much, Kelsey. It's been so great. Really appreciate it.

Kelsey Harris:

Alright, everyone, I hope that you guys were able to learn something this week. I love interviewing guests, because I feel like I always get to learn something, which is so cool. And I really just hope that you guys have a great week and keep making the most of it. Thank you so much for joining me today on the chronically living podcast. If you love this week's podcast, please subscribe, rate and leave a review. Until next week, stay strong.