Read the transcript of Healing Through Ancient Wisdom and Modern Science (with Kathy Clark) Here
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Benay: [00:01:16] This week we’ve got Kathy Clark on the show. Kathy is the co-owner of Quantum Rehabilitation and she’s been in the health and wellness industry for over 26 years now. She’s always been into sports and fitness and she’s got so many degrees, diplomas, and certificates that I won’t even go into them. But one curious thing, when I looked at her CV, was she actually represented Canada in the 1995 World Aerobic Championships, which is pretty cool. But the thing that really attracted me to Kathy when I first met her was that on the top of her amazing understanding of how the body works at a scientific level she has this really spiritual and gentle side to her and it rubs off on everybody she comes into contact with. Now I think she gives quite a lot of this credit to her 15 plus years as a yoga instructor. And I think there is even more to it than that. Anyway, through her exercise therapy and yoga fusion that she’s really passionate about, she’s really helped me to start to listen to my body more, Which I am so grateful to because it’s been a catalyst to so many wonderful things that I’m sure that you guys will get to join me on as I go forward into my Coaching Journey. Anyway, I’m so proud to have Kathy Clark on the show today to talk a little bit about ancient wisdom and modern science.
Benay: [00:02:47] Hello Kathy and welcome to the show.
Kathy Clark: [00:02:50] Hello Benay. So lovely to be here with you.
Benay: [00:02:52] when we first met and we planned the topic concept for this podcast, which I love, it’s all about ancient wisdom and modern science. It really emerged right at the very end of our meeting when you had to rush off to another thing and I really loved how…but I really loved how it all just kind of came out right at the end. And once that idea came out of your mouth we both knew that that was the topic we’ve been looking for. So I just thought it would be really really cool for our listeners if you could just kick off the show by talking about why that concept is so important to you.
Kathy Clark: [00:03:35] For sure. I’ve been in the health and exercise industry for 27 years Benay, and just over all of those years really gathered a lot of information and knowledge and techniques. And as we’ve gone through the years just as a clinic and as a health professional, I found time and time again that if I can ground some of this ancient wisdom that’s been around for 2000 plus years and really tied in to today’s modern research and science, then suddenly that information that people might scoff at, it gets really validated and suddenly they’re going, ok well there’s probably something here, if it’s been around for 2000 years. And it’s only now just been validated with science. Maybe I really should try to ground this into my every day.
Benay: [00:04:29] Cool, that is a perfect segue way too. So can you tell us a little bit about what ancient wisdom you do use in your work?
Kathy Clark: [00:04:39] So my training is as an exercise therapist and as an exercise physiologist. And I always have been fascinated with the human body and anatomy and physiology. And then in my later years have tucked into yoga. So finding this really amazing ancient modality that’s been around for, I think at least 5000 years and finding that if I start to integrate some of those practices and knowledge base I could enjoy an exercise at least when I’m seeing different people. And so specifically you know using things from the Yoga sutra or the Upanishads or even tapping into Stoic philosophers such as Seneca. So just, yeah using those ancient texts and those ancient philosophers just in a grand…into…
Benay: [00:05:47] OK, that last one just broke up just a tiny bit. I think I think what I heard you say was just using those ancient philosophies and tapping into those texts and combining that with your physiology and therapist work that really has been making a difference for your clients.
Kathy Clark: [00:06:05] Yeah, and to give you like a concrete example of the that. So in yoga we use something called Mula Bandha. So Mula Bandha is simply engaging your pelvic floor muscles and I’ve even been in yoga teacher training sessions where people are running sessionals of that you know, this thing called Mula Bandha, what we know now came out of the University of Queensland in the 1990’s was you know, Mula Bandha which is pelvic floor, we now know is like co-control access with your transversus abdominus, which is the foundation for our spine and our core. So that’s a really concrete example of what they knew then, we are now just beginning to validate and just really beginning to understand the importance of some of those things.
Benay: [00:07:00] That’s something that I’ve definitely learned by working with you. Pelvic floor, pelvic floor. ha ha.
Kathy Clark: [00:07:11] Posture and pelvic floor. ha ha.
Benay: [00:07:11] Yeah we’ve got a lot of coaches listening to this show. So what advice like what could you tell coaches about pelvic floor, is there anything they can use just with their clients about just knowing to engage this core through…
Kathy Clark: [00:07:23] Yeah definitely, like I mean the number one cause of most aches and pains, believe it or not is posture. And probably with your coaching clients, if they’re doing a lot of work behind the computer. We’re not meant to sit. So just encouraging them to move as often as they can throughout their day. But in addition to that, into the foundation of your posture, its concentrated from your pelvic floor. So when you gently engage your pelvic floor, so please forgive me, but the feeling is stopping urine flow or the feeling of must needing to go to the loo. those muscles co-contract with your corset, your transverses, and it’s the foundation of good posture. And good posture is the foundation of moving, um moving well.
Benay: [00:08:13] OK, that’s awesome, I’m sure everybody listening too, is trying to engage their pelvic floor too, are thinking, oh ok…
Kathy Clark: [00:08:18] Certainly sitting tall, chin in and shoulders down.
Benay: [00:08:22] That’s funny too, I started this conversation sitting down, I’ve got one of those desks that moves up and down, and as we started, I like… The impact you’ve made on my life, Kathy. Fabulous. OK. Let’s switch gears now. We’ve talked a little bit about the ancient wisdom that you know you used in your work. Let’s talk about the science, so people can see the other side too.
Kathy Clark: [00:08:48] OK, for sure. So a lot of the research that has come to us in the last 15 to 20 years we have access now to of course ultrasound imaging. We also have access to FMRI’s. So in relation to the FMRI’s we can now see what meditation does to brains. We know within a two month’s time frame of consistently doing even just something as simple as five to fifteen minutes of meditation or mindfulness, we can see on these FMRI’s that the amygdala, which is our fight or flight center of the brain, it physically shrinks so that people are not always in that highly combative, highly anxiety situation. And it also really enhances the hypothalamus, so we can see sort of the benefit of meditation in real time. Yeah and the other side of the coin with what’s called EMG Feedback, so it’s a way for us to really delve into muscles, so they use fine needles, which sounds horrific, to test different muscle groups and that’s given us some really great insight which muscles are the stabilizers, which muscles we tend to really overwork and which ones tend to become injured more easily and based on that information how to be able to treat people more effectively. So just two examples of the science that sort of come to light.
Benay: [00:10:33] And I just want to just quickly touch back to you to, you spoke quickly about meditation or mindfulness practice and that five minutes really makes a difference. I kind of I kind of paraphrased that into shrinking my inner fear.
Kathy Clark: [00:10:46] Yeah, well your shrinking your amygdala
Benay: [00:10:50] But can you just for people who don’t know the difference between meditation and mindfulness. Is it the same, is it different? Can you explore that just a little bit for us?
Kathy Clark: [00:10:58] I think probably in meditation in terms of yoga, there is an eight limb branch that it is connecting you to yoga and meditation is sort of in that final stepping stone. We use the other stepping stones just to simply to quiet the mind and then we can sit and meditate. But there is no real difference in the sense of, if you are focused in the moment, if you are connected to your breathing, you’re practicing meditation, your practicing mindfulness. more specifically to meditation of course are things like mantras- and a mantra is if we translate the word, just means vehicle for the mind. So a mantra is used to give the mind something to anchor to. So for a lot of us just sitting and trying to just create this blank screen is really impossible so we can use the mantras to give their minds something to do. So that we can begin to transcend into a deeper and deeper places within the mind. Mindfulness practice is more so just really looking at what’s coming up, learning not to react to it, so creating a space between response and stimulus, or stimulus and response I should say. So I think meditation is more deeply connected to the yoga world in terms of what people’s expectations are. And I think mindfulness is probably more of a user friendly term for people that are Worried about getting too into the yoga stuff if that makes sense.
Benay: [00:12:42] Okay I like I like that definition that you gave. Mindfulness is just being able to let things come up and not react. That’s really cool. I like that you’ve simplified that concept beautifully for me. Thank you.
Kathy Clark: [00:12:53] Yeah. And if we practice more regularly you know day to day basis, day to day practices then we start to see that roll over into our relationships and with our family members and with our clients where if somethings coming up we have a little bit more of a buffer zone, where we’re not instantly reacting to wat’s coming up. We’re able to sort of sit back and observe and then decide how we want to react rather than respond.
Benay: [00:13:22] Absolutely I know practicing mindfulness with my daughter for example, you know just don’t react, just breathe first Benay. It’s been great.
Kathy Clark: [00:13:29] Our greatest teacher is that for sure.
Benay: [00:13:34] Just One more point about meditation before we move on. Do you have a favorite mantra that you use?
Kathy Clark: [00:13:41] I really love the Soham mantra. It’s such a simple mantra but it’s… It simply means I am. So it’s that reminder of the eternal question, who am I? And in Yoga philosophy, that’s a really powerful question to ask yourself during your meditation. So every time you inhale, you silently repeat So, and every time your exhale you silently repeat hum. And you’re just using that question as your mantra.
Benay: [00:14:23] Fascinating. So It’s also an answer too. I am.
Kathy Clark: [00:14:24] It is, and that’s the and that’s the, um, what’s the word I’m looking for, the trick. You ask this question and if you get an answer you actually haven’t gone deep enough right? So If you keep asking the question, well I’m a mother – well no that’s not the true essence, well I’m a teacher- well, no that’s not the true essence. So when we get to that point, where we no longer have an answer, then you have found the answer, which is such a beautiful practice.
Benay: [00:14:51] Oh, I’m getting goosebumps.
Kathy Clark: [00:14:57] Yes, so So Hum, So Hum.
Benay: [00:14:57] Thank you for sharing that one with us so. Ok, so, oh wow, we need to get a move on. so many things to cover. Okay I do want to talk about fundamentals because I know you know from our chats that fundamentals and getting those right is so important to you. Can you just tell us a little bit about why…? About what the fundamentals you teach your clients are?
Kathy Clark: [00:15:26] For sure. I think no matter who you are and no matter what your intentions are, we have to really look at what other rituals and processes that we need to put into place on a daily basis to really bring that intention to life, which will make it a reality. It doesn’t matter how smart you are, how rich you are, if you don’t have the health to get up and pursue those ambitions, or those intentions, or those goals. Yeah just always keeping in mind that our health is our greatest blessing. So in terms of fundamentals I think, and they are so basic right? Fundamentals always are and we always kind of overlook what is, appears to be basic. But just, my fundamentals are eating, exercising, meditation, and just getting enough sleep. Which People really don’t think of as a fundamental. Like you used to be kind of a badge of honor, well I only have five hours of sleep last night because I’m working so hard. Well, you just…we know now, again anchoring back into research, that lack of sleep actually causes, well they think is now they link it now to heart disease, cancer, stroke. so all of those huge diseases that we thought were really only related to our stress levels and what we were putting into our bodies, well sleep is a huge component to your wellness.
Benay: [00:16:56] Wow, do you ever get to deal with people who have sleeping problems? I can meet a lot of people these days and they have problems sleeping, it’s not me at all, I’m like the world’s champion sleeper.
Kathy Clark: [00:17:05] That’s because you’re so active Benay, right?
Benay: [00:17:09] Maybe I don’t know.
Kathy Clark: [00:17:09] I Think that’s the secret to good sleep.
Benay: [00:17:12] Okay.
Kathy Clark: [00:17:15] Mainly being active in our day.
Benay: [00:17:15] So is that a message that you’d like to give out to any or any of the coaches there who are like oh you know; I do have a really hard time sleeping. Where’s the first place to look?
Kathy Clark: [00:17:25] I think the first place to look at is your rituals, your habits. So what are you doing 2 hours before you go to bed? So, if you’re on your computer, if you’re watching television, you know you’re just acting up your system again. So really looking at What are your rituals 2 hours before you go to bed. And we know consistently going to at the same time is crucial for creating good sleeping patterns. And Just having habits or rituals in place that really help you to wind down. So having a shut down time, where you turn off your technology, and then you know two hours prior, maybe you do a few stretches, maybe do meditation, maybe you read a good book. That’s Something that’s really relaxing and soothing. Music. and lighting is a big one too, in terms of the research, so just getting rid of in particular the blue light that we get from technology is really unfortunately horrific for our sleeping patterns. So turning off the technology and just creating a routine, or a set of habits and you find yourself in bed at the same time every evening.
Benay: [00:18:41] That’s really fabulous. Thank you. I know that I’m going to… I talked to somebody in my choir yesterday and she you know; I have problems with sleeping. I’m going to share this with her. That’s just…the Cool thing about this it’s so easy. It’s not like you know anything crazy or take medication or you know it’s like just look at your patterns.
Kathy Clark: [00:19:00] People Will take natural medication. Yeah just look at your patterns and in particular you know, looking at what’s stimulating you right before bed time. What time do you hope your last bit of caffeine? you know which is another huge for people, if you’re having caffeine in the afternoon than and I was like is the thing.
Benay: [00:19:20] Okay. That’s excellent. All right. Let’s see. I think, we’ve actually reached our 20 minutes, I have a whole bunch of other questions that might be a good indicator that we’ve got to have you back on.
Kathy Clark: [00:19:36] ok, for sure.
Benay: [00:19:36] I just want to keep Each Episode really short Kathy. But you’ve given us some real gems that I hope that the coaches can take away. And one of the big ones, because I know you know hand up, I have been really guilty of this in the past especially in the early days of my coaching career, but you know working those late nights not turning the computer off when it’s working stop time. So coaches, listen! Turn Your computer off, get good sleep because it actually does give you better ideas and better motivation and everything for making your coaching business a success. Is there any other like a parting message you’d like to give on this topic of ancient wisdom and modern science, Kathy? To our coach audience?
Kathy Clark: [00:20:13] I think just exactly what you just touched on. In order to really give ourselves in greatest service to the world, you have to take care of yourselves first.
Benay: [00:20:22] Okay. And we’ve got the list. Eat, exercise, sleep, meditation. Did I get everything?
Kathy Clark: [00:20:25] Yeah. And even if it’s just 15 minutest help your sleep, even 15 minutes’ exercise, maybe 15 minutes of meditation, or maybe journaling as part of your practice. But it Doesn’t need to be a great deal of time that you dedicate to these things. Best time of the day to dedicate those things is first thing in the morning. It’s the easiest time of day to control before the rest of your day takes off. And it really sets the tone for the rest of your day.
Benay: [00:20:56] that is excellent. Thank you so much Kathy. I mean that’s a good lesson for the coaches, and coaches for your clients too as well, as a reminder. I know that we all know this but it’s always good to be reminded. So Kathy if people want to learn more about your work or more about your business how can they find you?
Kathy Clark: [00:21:20] We have a Website of course called quantumrehab.net.au And that’s probably the easiest way to access us, because all of our phone numbers and contact information is on our Website.
Benay: [00:21:34] Excellent and for anybody who is in the Sunshine Coast in Queensland Australia, definitely check out Quantum Rehab and Kathy’s yoga class is awesome, too. So I’ll wrap it up there, Kathy. Thank you so much for being on the show today.
Kathy Clark: [00:21:50] Take care Benay, all the best.
Benay: [00:21:52] Cheers.