1. What's the difference between SBSM and the 21 Day Nervous System Tune-Up?
1 - SBSM’s neurosensory exercises are geared towards working at the stress organ level. For example, you learn how to work with the kidneys and adrenal glands, as well as the gut and brainstem interface, two essential areas for restoring safety and regulation to the nervous system (especially when early and developmental trauma is present).
There are also more advanced Feldenkraisian ‘awareness through movement’ lessons that work directly with improving skeletal movement patterns, enhancing the quality and capacity of breath, and tonifying the global nervous systems.
There are a total of 36 neurosensory exercises in SBSM (compared to 9 in the ‘21-days’).
2 - Live Training (lecture) Calls with Irene provide added psychoeducation that go beyond what’s taught in the Biology of Stress Video Training. Anger and healthy aggression, the differences when working with shock trauma and developmental trauma, and what it takes to heal toxic shame (hint: it’s working with the emotion of disgust!), are just some of the key topics taught.
3 - Curated Q&A calls with Seth Lyon, Irene's husband and colleague, will give all members an opportunity to dive deeper into their understanding of the autonomic nervous system, somatic healing, and the varied levels of integration that exist when we really focus on capacity building and building safety and regulation.
Plus, you'll still get the same kind of professional support from my team of nervous system experts that is available in the 21 Day Nervous System Tune-Up (but from the full team of eleven rather than just the two who moderate the Tune-Up), and lifetime membership, which means all future rounds of SBSM will be free for you, including all additions and improvements.
2. How is the program laid out?
There are ten weekly ‘Labs’ which are the course modules. Each Lab has its own video introduction to walk you through it, and, on average, four lessons, (some weeks have one less or one more). These lessons will either be Neurosensory Audio exercises (this forms the bulk of the content), Video Trainings, Interviews, or written educational content. Each Lab also has its own FAQ section, and there are weekly training calls that go with every Lab.
There are also a whole bunch of extras that get rolled out over the course of the program, everything from book recommendations to original music composed by Seth Lyon to support your education, personal process, and integration. Another bonus are the Movement Lessons taught by Elia Mrak, Irene’s co-teacher for the Up & Down Workshops.
There are live curated Q&A calls every week that new content is released. In addition, you will have access to text-based support from Team Lyon professionals within the program site. All Team Lyon pros are trained in a variety of somatic-based trauma healing modalities such as Somatic Experiencing and Somatic Practice. Finally, as part of your membership, you'll receive four extra weeks of text-based support after we complete the 12-week program proper.
We begin the SBSM journey with an additional week of 'orientation' that provides time to get familiar with the program site, ask questions about how the things work, as well as introduce yourself (this is optional) via our Program Site Introduction page.
3. What do the Neurosensory Exercises look like?
The Neurosensory Audio Lessons vary greatly in terms of the ground they cover, but they all share some common themes. All of them are designed to help you get into your body and nervous system in a gentle, often profoundly different, kind of way. They all encourage development of both attention and intention – two of the most powerful tools we have for working with our system. And they are sequenced in such a way that they all build on each other, to support the greatest possible growth and change.
They support you in exploring such things as the Body-Mind-Environment-Connection, various bodily systems, such as the joints, and what we call ‘diaphragms,’ as well as helping you get in touch with and express things that may be hiding in your system, like anger, grief, and other common emotions associated with unresolved trauma. That only scratches the surface though – there is a LOT in these exercises.
The Neurosensory Exercises vary in length from eight to 45 minutes. Here is a vlog of mine with more info about the Neurosensory Exercises.
4. Is SmartBody SmartMind™ your own invention?
Yes! And No! Let me explain :)
I have had a LOT of great teachers and mentors over the course of more than 20 years of study. For my full bio and credentials, CLICK HERE.
All of this learning informs this program, so there is education and practice in here that stems from many sources; most notably the work of Peter Levine (Somatic Experiencing), Kathy Kain (Somatic Practice), and Moshé Feldenkrais (The Feldenkrais Method).
These three main methodologies form the base of the work presented in SmartBody SmartMind™ and they compliment each other. Together they present a holistic approach to healing trauma and restoring regulation.
My gift is putting all these very complex elements together in a way that is easy to understand, sequenced in the right way, and in an online format that is easy to use. So, while the content of SBSM – the video lectures, articles, live training calls, and Neurosensory Audio lessons that you will receive – are informed by all I have learned, they are my unique creation.
5. What if I can’t make the Live Calls?
No problem. All Live Training Calls and Curated Q&A Calls are recorded, and available to watch at your convenience.
6. Is this program all I need to heal?
It’s not possible to give a definitive answer to this often asked question because everyone is uniquely different! For some people, through dedicated application of the education in this program, it can be enough.
Other people will need additional support such as individual sessions with a skilled Somatic practitioner, and/or the application of other modalities that can complement this work, such as osteopathy, craniosacral therapy, massage, nutritional or naturopathic support, or other methods. If you are uncertain on what level of support you may need we recommend you consult with appropriate healthcare providers.
One thing that is VERY important to understand is this: no matter who you are, what you’ve been through, or at what level of dysregulation your system is operating, we believe this education and practice is foundational. With this foundational work on board, everything else can be more effective. The somatic nervous system approach is the core foundation of well-being.
Another thing to know is that this work is not about ‘getting fixed’ in the way that we often think of healing in Western culture. Yes, symptoms can resolve and health can improve, yet fundamentally this work is meant to be a lifestyle shift that fundamentally changes how you relate to yourself, others, and the world around you all day, every day. It’s about learning how to live differently, and that can bring healing. And like any big change in how we live, it takes time and dedicated practice to really be effective.
7. Who is this program not for?
While it is not our intention to place limitations on anyone’s personal choice to take part in the educational content and experiential nature of the SBSM program, please be advised that this program may not be appropriate for individuals experiencing any of the following: diagnosed severe and long standing psychiatric disorder, suicidal ideation, suicide attempt, substance abuse, or addiction.
We have had people from all walks of life find success within SBSM, and if you are uncertain on whether this program is appropriate for you, we recommend you consult with appropriate healthcare providers before beginning.
8. How much time will I need to go through this program?
As much time as you need! Seriously, there is a suggested time table that we put out, but one of the first lessons in the program is about learning to follow your own impulse, and the reason we put that early on is because each person truly needs to learn to listen to their own system in order to determine how much time to put in and when.
Some people follow along with the program schedule just fine, others spend the whole 12 weeks just getting through the first couple labs. And all of that is ok. This work is meant to be a lifestyle change - to fundamentally change how you relate to yourself, others, and the world around you - and the time needed to do that will be different for each person.
So, that being said, here is a breakdown of the hours involved:
Total hours doing just the core content: 34
Total hours doing everything (core content + attending all the calls + doing all the bonuses): 70
Here’s a breakdown of the hours per week by both ‘core content’ and ‘doing everything’:
9. I’m still a little skeptical. Help?
A little skepticism and confusion around the whole concept and approach of nervous system healing is normal. For most people this is new information! So new, groundbreaking and revolutionary, that it hasn’t yet made it into medical schools and the majority of other trainings. Many medical and health care professionals remain unaware and uneducated in the nervous system regulation approach to health and healing.
Also, the nervous system, though incredibly powerful in governing our bodily functions and impacting our health and well being, is essentially invisible. It’s IN us in the form of electrical impulses and the neurohormonal, neurochemical and muscular actions those impulses direct. However, you can’t point to it on a chart and say ‘See, here’s your trauma, here, and also here.’ So, it can be difficult to understand how important it really is until you get into the education and practice, and experience it for yourself.
Many past participants have been skeptical and not sure it would work, or that it might help a little but not really be a game-changer, as one of our alumni, Amy, talks about in this video at the 1:32 mark.
Bottom line is this – if you feel in your gut that this is something you need, even if your mind is resistant, consider taking the plunge and checking it out! You have 30 days to get your money back if it doesn’t feel like a good fit.
10. Will I become certified in this approach after doing this program?
No. There is no certification associated with the program. The program does not certify you to practice this work with others.
However, if you are already a practitioner who works with clients, what you will come out with is a huge set of knowledge and tools that can change how you see and work with your clients. Alumni who are practitioners have almost universally said that they aren’t even necessarily trying to change how they do their work, it just happens.
This is because when we deepen our ability to connect with our self, we automatically deepen our ability to connect with others. Increased self knowledge and a greatly refined ability to sense both your internal world and the world around you, can impact how you work and live, in profound and beneficial ways for both you and your clients.
11. What if I get behind?
Great news! There is no such thing as ‘behind’! WE REALLY MEAN THIS!
Yes, there is a curriculum and a program outline of one possible way to go through the program, but that’s all it is – one possibility. One of the very first lessons is called ‘Follow Your Impulse,’ and that is SO important when it comes to how we move through this work. Even discovering how to feel what our natural impulses are can take weeks of practice for some people. And that’s fine! You have all the material for as long as the program runs, so you can follow your own rhythm.
12. Should I do this program or private sessions?
It depends, because everyone is uniquely different. For some people, this program can be all they need. Others may need additional support, including individual sessions with a Somatic Practitioner. One to one sessions can be a very beneficial and sometimes necessary adjunct to this program, provided the Practitioner is educated and skilled in this approach.
SBSM is truly a cutting edge program with a unique approach. Many Somatic Practitioners may be trauma informed, or even trauma trained. However, many are also not experienced in the education and experiential nature of Irene’s work. So if one is trying to choose between SBSM and private sessions, we suggest doing this program first.
Full engagement in SBSM can promote increased regulation and self-awareness. This can support all aspects of your life, including your capacity to choose the “just right” Somatic Practitioner should you decide to include this in your personal process of healing and regulation. We often see that clients who go through SmartBody SmartMind™ first get better and quicker results from private sessions, than from private sessions alone.
13. When are the live calls?
There are two kinds of live calls: 1. Training (lecture-style) Calls with Irene Lyon 2. Curated Q&A Calls with Seth Lyon
There are 9 live Training Calls and 10 curated Q&A Calls throughout the 12 weeks.
The Training Calls take place at 11 am Tuesday mornings Pacific Time. The Q&A Calls are at either 10 am or 3 pm on the Thursday of each week we are in session (not counting the 'catch-up weeks').
The exact dates and time of all the calls will be listed on the SBSM website, including a calendar that you can sync with your own online calendar. All calls are also available for replay afterwards, so there is no need to be there live on the call, as you can watch it at a later time that suits you.
14. What if I have a chronic illness (chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, autoimmune condition)? Can I do the program? How can I do the program?
To help answer this question, first know this: The majority of chronic health issues are functional disorders, referred to as “syndromes” or autoimmune conditions. Syndromes mean that a collection of symptoms has grown into what we name a “syndrome”.
Hence, fibromyalgia syndrome, chronic fatigue syndrome, IBS, etc. Autoimmune disorders present as an inflammatory response where the immune system doesn't recognize “friend or foe” and mistakenly attacks healthy cells rather than germs, bacteria and viruses. Both syndrome and autoimmune disorders are representations of a dysregulated nervous system, with the common root cause of unresolved early developmental trauma and chronic traumatic stress.
The really good news is this!
There’s a multitude of people with these varieties of conditions that are SBSM Alumni, reporting good success. The truth is almost anyone can do this program: HOW one does the program is the important piece.
This work can be the missing piece, especially for folks with these conditions. However, it is absolutely necessary to go at your own pace and to seek out additional support if needed. The way to be successful in the program, and to affect change in chronic health conditions, is to learn how to pace yourself.
The lessons in the second week teaches you how to do this. It’s called “Following Your Impulse.” You will learn to know, from the inside out, what your genuine capacity is for doing a lesson. What you have energy for, and what you don’t. When to work and when to rest. This cannot be emphasized enough. The primary learning for folks with these conditions is to learn to notice and follow your impulse.
The goal is to fundamentally change the way you are in relationship to yourself, others, and the environment around you, and that is a process that takes time for everyone. If you are currently living with a syndrome or autoimmune condition, it will be very important to allow yourself extra time, and not pressure yourself to keep up, or compare your progress with other people. This program CAN help you and you CAN do it!
But you MUST go. at. your. own. pace :)
15. I won't have internet during part of the program. Should I wait?
If you will not have access to the internet for the entire length of the program, or a big majority of it, then yes, you should probably wait for the next round.
However, if it will only be a week, or a few weeks, then that shouldn’t be a problem. There are many circumstances that can arise that make it hard to get into the program anyway; internet or no internet, life happens! This is why everything in the program is downloadable.
Also, again! We highly encourage everyone to go at their own pace. So if that means downloading the lessons that have already been released onto your laptop, and doing them while away from the internet, that’s fine (in fact, repeating lessons is something that we have seen again and again to be invaluable, as you may find new and different things each time), and if it means putting the whole thing on hold for a bit and then coming back, that’s also fine.
16. Can this help with mental illness?
This program is not intended to treat or cure any disease or illness, including any diagnosed mental illness.
That said, anyone can benefit from increased nervous system regulation. A person needs to be well enough, and organized enough in their thinking to watch and absorb the education, and do the practices. So, someone presenting with a very extreme symptom like paranoid schizophrenia will not be able to benefit from this program, whereas someone struggling with a representation like OCD, anxiety, or depression, most likely will.
As long as one is well enough that they can show up, put in the time, and comprehend what is happening, they will likely benefit.
17. I work with clients, but I myself am struggling and unwell. Will this help me?
YES it can! There are so many helpers, healers, and practitioners out there who got into their work because they were unwell, and then managed to get better and wanted to help others, but who still struggle with persistent symptoms, low energy, or a tendency to burn out. Often, this is because the things they found to help them weren’t getting to the root cause, but rather were more based in symptom management. So they continue to go up and down in their health and well-being.
If this is you, then THIS can be the piece you are missing. When you do this work and restore health and well-being from the ground up by regulating your nervous system, your whole world can change. Not only can your health improve, so can the health of your clients, because you may naturally start to bring your new skills, increased knowledge, and your own nervous system regulation into your practice.
We truly can only help others to the degree to which we, ourselves, are healed. So start with YOU. This program can help you do that!
18. Can kids do this work?
It depends on their age. Older kids, like age 14-18, probably could do this work if they wanted to, though not many teenagers are very interested in self-development! Younger kids, no, probably not.
What ALL kids can benefit from, though, is their parents doing the work! When we, as parents, start on this journey, and learn about our physiology – what’s going on inside us, and are able to understand why we behave, think, and feel the way we do – that can give us so much more insight into why our kids behave, think, and feel how they do. As we learn to work with our own body and mind in this nervous system-based way, we can learn how to help them.
And even more powerful and profound is the way that our own increased regulation can automatically increase our kids’ regulation. It just happens! As we become safer inside ourselves, they can feel safer around us. As our stress goes down, so can theirs. It’s really pretty miraculous how just one person doing this trauma healing work can positively affect their entire family system. For more on this, check out this video I made addressing this topic.
19. Will I get overwhelmed by my past trauma when I do this work?
This is another tricky question to answer! It’s important to begin with a mutual definition of “overwhelmed.” And to consider “past” and “present” time. Basically, overwhelmed means “too much.” It’s the most basic description of trauma: Something that was, or is, “too much” for our nervous system to process. Historically, this is the case with past trauma, as survival energies and emotions were too much to handle at the time, and became trapped energy.
We work very specifically and diligently in SBSM with Attention and Intention. These are two very powerful practices! We also build a solid foundation of “here and now” awareness. When we start turning our attention to our body, and more specifically, our nervous system, with the intention of healing our trauma, we may inevitably feel things that have historically been overwhelming. However with the SBSM education and practices embedded in awareness, you can be more prepared and able to avoid becoming overwhelmed now.
In SmartBody SmartMind™ we take many steps to prepare you for this with education, so you can understand what is happening in your experience, which generally makes it less scary, and by guiding you slowly from the basic, resource building work, to deeper investigations of the system. That being said, when you work with the nervous system, there’s no way to predict with 100% accuracy how different people (and nervous systems) will respond to each lesson. For example, some people may experience increased feelings of safety and presence from a lesson intended to support resource building and containment, and that same lesson may bring on high activation or shutdown for others.
This is why we will stress, over and over again, ‘GO AT YOUR OWN PACE!’
Discovering your own pace can be a rich healing and learning experience in and of itself! It’s a basic life skill that everyone needs to learn in order to work with their nervous system in a way that grows regulation and capacity with the least amount of potential overwhelm. Nervous system regulation work is a practice of getting to know your unique system and how to most skillfully support your system and with time, we can become better at knowing when something is “too much,” “not enough,” or “just right.”
SmartBody SmartMind™ is, at its core, a self-study program. Irene and her team of trained, nervous system and trauma healing specialists will be there to answer questions, and there are many opportunities for live curated Q&A. Ultimately this process is about becoming your own medicine. How you pace yourself on that journey, and what you discover on the way, is ultimately your responsibility.
Finally, as mentioned above in another FAQ, some members find working privately with a skilled somatic practitioner to be complementary to the learning and practice of this in-depth online program. Please consider this, if you are concerned about your capacity to be with the sensations and emotions that may arise.
Ultimately, it’s useful to be informed that part of the healing journey may include feeling things that have been difficult in the past to feel, and may still be difficult. We will give you education, tools, and support, as you learn to know and navigate your own unique system on the way to growing regulation and healing trauma.
20. Can SBSM help with early/developmental trauma?
Yes. This work works for ALL kinds of trauma.
With early/developmental trauma, one of the biggest things that gets challenged is our sense of safety in connection with others, the environment, and even ourselves. And often with this kind of trauma our authenticity is never supported, and so autonomy - the need to do it OUR way - can be very important.
Online learning like this is very well suited for this type of situation, because you get to engage with the material in the safety of your familiar home environment, at your own pace, when and how you want to. You can engage and be social with your fellow students in the private forum, or simply read what others have to say. This enables a safe, autonomous way to learn and heal which is very well suited for treating early/developmental trauma.
* As a SBSM alumni, you have lifetime and unlimited access, for as long as the program runs.
Testimonials or endorsements on this website have not been scientifically evaluated and results experienced vary significantly. Many statements outlined on this website are simply opinion.
CONTENT PRESENTED ON THIS WEBSITE OR OTHERWISE IS NOT A SUBSTITUTE FOR PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL ADVICE, DIAGNOSIS, OR TREATMENT OR A PROFESSIONAL THERAPEUTIC RELATIONSHIP. CONTENT PRESENTED IS INTENDED TO PROVIDE GENERAL HEALTH INFORMATION FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. IT SHOULD NOT BE USED AS A SUBSTITUTE FOR MEDICAL OR PSYCHIATRIC ADVICE, CANNOT DIAGNOSE OR TREAT ANY MEDICAL OR PSYCHIATRIC CONDITION, AND DOES NOT REPLACE CARE FROM YOUR PHYSICIAN.
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