How do you go through, manage and overcome a trauma? There are those who resort to DIY, those to psychotherapy, those to therapeutic yogawho does all this together so that, working in synergy, the various methods give maximum results. Claudia Buzzetti, a yoga teacher for the management of trauma, meditation and embodied movement, has tried many ways, studied a lot, especially Somatic texts, a path of practices linked to the development of greater listening to one’s body, and has benefited from it. With a difficult childhood behind her and continuous physical and metaphysical work on herself, a year and a half ago Claudia felt the need to give voice to her own story by creating, a bit for fun, Self Tune Podcast, a podcast that tells everything she has tried in her long experience as a researcher to try to manage her nervous system, overcome the effects of trauma, improve stress and anxiety. With this podcast, the first in Italy to talk about post-traumatic growth, Claudia talks about how the podcast project is linked to the intention of disclosing what somatics are (somatics, in English) and the regulation of the nervous system, fundamental pieces for well-being tout court and for the integration of our traumas, for a better life. The podcast, which talks about everything she has experienced first hand and in which she always offers a short final practice, is also linked to a social initiative to bring embodiment practices into prisons, as tools to give people the power to transform difficulties, through an easy, accessible and above all free tool: the body. We met her.

When did your journey of spiritual research begin?
One Sunday in May 1986 my father had a car accident near Bologna where we lived. He was driving, the sun was on his face, he tried to overtake some cyclists without realizing that a car was coming in the opposite direction. He did a frontal. The person who was in the car with him, who was his lover, lost her life. From that moment my mother, an American woman with a very difficult past – she had been abandoned as a child by her mother – stopped speaking to him. I was eight years old and was used by my mother as a postman to bring unedifying messages to my father. She began drinking and being very verbally and physically abusive to me. I carried this story with me at the nervous system level which on the one hand marked me, but on the other pushed me to take certain paths. At a certain point I packed myself up and went to live with my grandmother who lived in the building opposite ours. I needed to look for something that made me feel good. I must say that this search is not over yet, if I stopped trying to feel good I would feel lost. As a child I began to understand that I felt good when I took refuge in church or in my mind where nothing bad happened and I felt safe. I have recovered relationships with my mother, it seems trivial, but I am grateful to her because her path and her difficulties led me to always seek and never abandon the faith that things can improve. I had to take care of her all autumn because she broke two vertebrae.

When did yoga arrive?
I approached yoga at the beginning of the 2000s. In 2005 I met my teacher, Yogrishi Vishvketu, who practiced a very spiritual yoga. While working in the fashion world and having two young children I experienced devastating burnout. I quit my job, I did therapy, I started practicing yoga, I took about 800 hours of training in India and I started studying to understand why I benefited so much from practicing yoga. So I discovered that most of the practices proposed in therapeutic systems of somatic psychology come from yoga and that in general how much working on one’s body is fundamental to being able to overcome many knots within us. Unfortunately in Italy cognitive-behavioral psychology reigns supreme while yoga is very physical and not very metaphysical.

Is yoga always beneficial?
Yoga is a discipline that is great for you, but not all yoga is beneficial when used as a therapeutic tool. It must be calibrated in the approach, in the language and in the proposal. When I worked for a year and a half with the young prisoners of San Vittore alongside two doctors from Doctors Without Borders, I asked these young people aged 19 to 23 to follow the meetings as and only if they felt like it. At the beginning they stayed apart, then, taken by the energy and co-regulation with the group, they got involved. The yoga I proposed to them was to experience the present through their body.

What is it about a meditative and sensorineural practice guided by you?
It is a journey to discover your body and your nervous system, the best dialogue window with your brain and your emotions. I invite those present to assume a comfortable position and to use the five senses. Initially I ask them to explore the space and the elements that surround them and observe what observing them does in them, then to feel how the fabrics of their clothes envelop their body, the smell they breathe and the sounds they hear, including my own. voice. After this snapshot I invite them to observe their thoughts without judgment and do a small body scan noting where there are tensions, discomfort or other sensations. If judgments appear I suggest they suspend them. I ask you to pay attention to your breathing and the energy you feel in your body. Then I invite them to open their eyes if they had kept them closed to do some small movements of the spine – extensions, push-ups, lateral bends and twists – then the salamander exercise, then to warm their hands by rubbing them together and then spooning them on the eyes by thinking of something positive and kind towards oneself and finally to bring them to a point of the body that may need them, for example the center of the chest or the abdomen. The practice ends with five bhramari, or five sonorous breaths that use the sound “m” feeling their reverberation in one’s ribcage, and with a greeting with hands clasped at heart level which is also and above all a kind thought addressed to oneself and to whom, according to whom is practicing, he might need it. Basically I combined yoga with some practices or concepts that I have learned over years of studying somatics and the nervous system. I mainly base myself on the polyvagal theory of Dr. Stephen Porges, a biologist according to whom the vagus nerve is fundamental to understanding the autonomic state in which the nervous system is found. Most of the methods that help rebalance the vagus nerve are actually all yoga practices. One above all is alternating breathing which is a practice of bilaterally connecting the two hemispheres.

What is salamander exercise and what benefits does it bring?
This exercise involves the vagus nerve, a nerve that extends from the cranial nerves to the intestine, responsible for many autonomous mechanisms of our nervous system including that of controlling the heartbeat, breathing and how we perceive noises. The exercise consists of looking to the right then to the left, then with your right hand move your head gently to the right and bring your gaze into the opposite corners of your eyes towards the left at the top and then exhaling downwards. Return to the center. Then with your left hand move your head gently to the left and bring your gaze into the opposite corners of your eyes to the right, up and then down. Return to the center. Your neck will now have much greater mobility than before and you will feel very calm and relaxed.

How did you get into podcasting?
Last year I stopped my collaboration with my teacher, I was in charge of communication and marketing for his spiritual organization based in Rishikesh. Three weeks later I lost my father. Being an only child I had to take care of his things. He was a medievalist philosopher and dealt with humanistic informatics, I had a library of 500 volumes. I felt the need to divulge what somatics are, somatics in English, and the regulation of the nervous system, fundamental pieces for well-being tout court and for the integration of our traumas, for a better life. My podcast Self Tune Podcast – available for free access on the classic Apple channels, Spotify, Amazon etc – is divided into thematic episodes in which I tell you about something I have experienced firsthand and at the end of each one I offer a 10-minute body practice linked to the topic covered. Working on the body was fundamental for me to untie my knots so I thought it could be useful to provide this same tool to those who need to transform difficulties. The perception of danger is not at a cortical level, it is not our cerebral cortex that tells us that we are safe, it is something that comes from parts of the brain that are linked to our nervous system and there is a perception of danger that is sub verbal and sub-linguistic, it is therefore not linked to conscious thought. When I suffered from panic attacks I wanted to find the locus amoenus that I could recreate in my mind when I was a child. I have had the privilege of trying various psychotherapies from transpersonal to Gestalt pravt, but many people do not have access to it or are unaware of its existence or potential. This is why I thought I’d talk about it in a podcast to let people know that there are various ways to be able to stay in touch with the negative things that continue to happen to us, but in a different way. Learning to be aware of what happens in our body here and now gives us the power to transform a difficult present into a present that I can even imagine being able to stay with. Last year, as I was saying earlier, I lost my father from one day to the next and this event was a testing ground to find out if everything I had tried was working. The answer is yes, I managed to stay in that difficult situation without letting myself be completely overwhelmed and overwhelmed. In September I started the second season of Self Tune Podcast which includes some very interesting interviews, first and foremost that of Lycia Sky, somatic educator of Afro, American and Japanese descent, bodyworker, artist, musician and CEO of the Trauma Research Foundation, of which she is co-founder together with her husband Bessel Van der Kolk, therapist, researcher and author of The body feels the blow. I also interviewed the writer Sally Bayley who did a meditative reading of a passage by her.

Who listens to your podcasts?
They are mostly women aged 25 to 35. I am a woman of almost 46 years old so I think I represent a different type of target, but they are the ones who follow me the most, teachers and/or yoga lovers attracted by Trauma Sensitive Yoga.

What practices are closest to you?
It all started in high school when I started following a group of Tibetan monks, then I practiced traditional Hindu yoga. Lately I have returned to Vipassana, one of the oldest Buddhist meditation techniques based on a process of self-purification through self-observation. I really like the concept of equanimity, compassion and its more practical and less imaginative aspect of Hindu culture in Vipassana.

Future projects?
I would like to do psychoeducation by creating content that has social value, which can help prisoners and young people. I really believe in the concept of redistribution of well-being!