Intentional Well-Being Podcast - Dr. Gail Parker
Join myself and Dr. Gail Parker as I re-visit the journey of how we met, and talk about the importance of wellness in your life, before your yoga practice, and beyond.
Gail Parker, Ph.D., C-IAYT, E-RYT 500, is an author, psychologist and a yoga therapist educator.
She is the author of Restorative Yoga for Ethnic and Race-Based Stress and Trauma (2020) and is the current president of the Black Yoga Teachers Alliance (BYTA) Board of Directors. Her broad expertise in behavioral health and wellness includes forty years as a practicing psychologist.
Dr. Parker appears as a psychologist expert on local and nationally syndicated talk shows, including numerous appearances on the Oprah Show. She was featured as a health and wellness expert on the benefits of yoga and meditation, in a nationally syndicated PBS health talk show series called Feel Grand, hosted by Emmy Award winning actress, Jane Seymour. She appears as a psychologist expert on the acclaimed, internationally syndicated medical lifestyle show The Dr. Nandi Show.
Dianne Bondy Intro: (00:08)
Hey everybody, Dianne Bondy here. And I’m really excited because today I am talking to my mentor, my yoga teacher, uh, my spiritual advisor, an incredible educator doc, Dr. GA Parker. And you know what? I’ve had an ongoing relationship with Dr. Gail Parker for probably pretty close to a decade. And, uh, how I met Dr. Gail Parker is I used to practice yoga, uh, in Michigan, in Detroit. And I never saw yogis of color or teachers of color. And until I was in a class with, for Gale Parker, and I was trying to figure out how to meet her. I didn’t want to invade her space, but I started, you know, reading her blog and following her. And initially, maybe stalking her a little bit. We were both in the on sour world together. So a lot of times we would be in class together, but we wouldn’t have any real interaction.
Dianne Bondy: (00:58)
And then we went to a workshop at the Comar center in town, town, Detroit. We were seeing a very famous yoga teacher and I, I was in the change room and I saw Dr. Gal in the change room and nobody else was in the change room. And I thought, this is my opportunity. Cuz every time I would see her, she would be in conversation or she would be around other folks. And I would never get a chance to talk to her. And with all my excitement and exuberance, if you’re not familiar with me, I tend to be excitable. And Asub, uh, I ran up on Dr. Gail Parker and she was like, whoa, she didn’t know I had been stalking her. And that I had read written or sorry. I had read a, a blog about her the week before and I got a chance to meet her.
Dianne Bondy: (01:35)
And that’s how we came in contact with each other. And she was often one of the educators, my 200 hour teacher training program when I added a restorative yoga con um, component. And so we have been in each other’s sphere for a long time. She has, uh, recently written a book called restorative yoga for ethnic and race based stress and trauma. She has lectured on this. She’s been she’s um, talked about, you know, mental health and wellness as a psychotherapy for over 40 years. She’s been on Oprah like six or seven times. Like she’s very accomplished and I’m excited to call her friends. I’m gonna read a little bit about her bio. She is a C certified, um, international yoga teacher. She’s an, she’s a C I A Y T. So she a yoga therapist, an author, a psychologist, and a yoga therapist, educator. Uh, she’s the author, of course of the book.
Dianne Bondy: (02:27)
I just showed you, uh, restorative yoga for ethnic and race based stress and trauma. This book came out last year in 2020, which was really helpful cuz we knew all that was going on in 2020 around race based stress and trauma for the black community. Uh, she is the current president of the black yoga teachers Alliance, uh, board of directors, board of directors, her broad exp expertise in behavioral health and wellness includes 40 years as practicing as a psychologist. Dr. Parker is a lifelong practitioner of yoga and is well known for her pioneering efforts to blend psychology, yoga and meditation as an effective self care strategies that can enhance emotional balance and contribute to the overall health and wellbeing of, uh, their practitioner or its practitioners. And so I’m excited to have her on the intentional well out being podcast. And she’s gonna talk about how yoga, meditation and healing for race based stress and injury is going to help. Not only people of color, not only black and brown folks, but all of us on the path to healing and intentional wellbeing. I can’t wait for you all to hear and meet my friend, my colleague, my team, Dr. Gail Parker,
Dianne Bondy: (03:47)
Hey everybody. Hello everyone. Welcome to the intentional wellbeing podcast and I’m very excited, excited, excited, excited to share with you my mentor, my friend, my teacher, uh, my spiritual sister, Dr. Gail Parker to the podcast today. One of the first people, I guess, along with my mom who introduced me to being intentional in our practices around wellness and gave me a really interesting perspective on how to use yoga as a self care practice. And also as a peace practice, which I thought was really helpful to me because before any of this, I was always about power yoga. How can I get into a handstand faster, all those kinds of things. And I, I really did a 360 or 180, um, around some of the belief systems around yoga after practicing with Dr. Gail and reading her work. And I wanna welcome her to the podcast today. Thank you Gail for being here
Dr. Gail Parker: (04:47)
Thank you for inviting me to be here. It is always a pleasure.
Dianne Bondy: (04:51)
I love it. You and I, over the course of the last, I wanna say maybe 10 years or so have had different conversations. Like if you go to my YouTube channel, there’s a conversation way back, maybe eight years ago on YouTube, uh, on other podcasts that I’ve done, you know, we’ve spoken, I’ve always referenced your work. I quote you weekly. I’m just grateful to have you in my life. And uh, I wanted to start with the big question I ask all my guests. What is the difference between wellness and wellbeing? What does that mean to you when you talk about the difference between those two things?
Dr. Gail Parker: (05:25)
So I think that, um, wellness, when, when I think about wellness, I think about in terms of health and health has traditionally been defined as, um, the absence of disease or wellbeing is part of health. And it’s certainly part of wellness, but I think wellbeing is when every aspect of ourselves, our physical body, our breath body, as we say, in yoga, our mental, emotional body, our, um, intuitive sense of being and our spiritual wellbeing are all in alignment when they are, when we’re in harmony on that level. That’s when you experience wellbeing, how often does that occur? Mm, yeah, because, because it’s, it’s wellness is constantly changing. It’s not a static, um, place. It’s, it’s a dynamic place. And so our wellbeing is dependent on our ability and our willingness to adapt to external changes and the internal changes that are always ongoing. Wow.
It’s like being in balance. So this is one of the reasons I love, um, the yoga practice because, uh, if you’re standing on, uh, one foot, for example, if you lift a leg and you’re standing on one foot and in yoga, we might call that tree position. , uh, where you have your, the soul of, of, of the lifted foot is on your inner thigh while you’re trying to balance. If you’ll pay attention to that balance is not static. You’re not, this is not what is happening here. what’s happening here is the continual adjustment to maintain that sense of equilibrium, that place of harmony. So that’s what wellbeing means to me when we’re, when we’re paying attention to that sense of equilibrium and making the adjustments and when we fall because when we, we will, as we will, that doesn’t, it doesn’t even mean then that there’s no wellbeing. It means that that’s that’s though, when you, when you, as my mother would say, pick yourself up, dust yourself off and start all over again. Mm-hmm but we have all of these practices within the yoga, uh, uh, uh, Pantheon, I guess, of practices. For example, I’m thinking child’s pose now where this is, this is an embodied experience of beginning again. Mm. I love let’s begin again. I love it. So it’s that, it’s that, it’s that emotional, mental, physical flexibility, and willingness to go to go with the flow.
Dianne Bondy: (08:20)
I think that’s all hard for a lot of people to go with the flow. I think that was the, one of the biggest lessons that I learned, especially being a practitioner of Vinyasa yoga was the E and the flow, how it moves with the breath. And I’ve never thought of wellbeing as that balance. What a great analogy to be kind of teetering as I often do in tree pose and looking for that center. And I’ve always thought of that as the spinning plates, right. Or a spinning top, a spinning top looks balanced and steady when it’s spinning at its fastest and the minute it starts to slow down, it gets that, you know, that oblong kind of yeah.
Speaker 2: (08:56)
Walk you wobbles.
Dianne Bondy: (08:57)
Yeah. Yeah. But it’s still in balance, but it’s just trying to find its way back to that, that equilibrium. So what do you think are some of the obstacles for people, um, in accessing wellbeing and accessing, you know, that balance, what keeps people from pursuing that, especially especially black folks and people who have been historically excluded from most practices?
Dr. Gail Parker: (09:22)
Well, I would say that I’m gonna give you the big answer here. I’ll the big answer. Then we can narrow it down. The big answer for me is, is I think that awareness is medicine of health and wellbeing. Mm
Dianne Bondy: (09:39)
Dr. Gail Parker: (09:41)
And without awareness, we don’t have that experience because without awareness, you, you don’t necessarily know when you’re wobbling or when you, or that, or that being still in one place optimal. It isn’t, you know, it’s so it’s, it’s our awareness, especially our internal awareness. So most of us I’m assuming know what’s going on around us, but as a psychologist, what I learned over and over and over again, and it always surprised me is the lack of awareness of what’s going on within us and how that influences what’s occurring around us. Mm wow. So I think the cultivation, and, and when, when I teach again, it’s, it’s one of the reasons I love yoga because this is now an embodied experience. It’s not something that you’re talking about or reading about. Mm-hmm , you’re having an actual experience of awareness. Mm-hmm oh, this is where it hurts. Oh, this is where it’s relaxed. Oh, this is what wellbeing feels like, oh, this is what being tense and tight feels like. And with our awareness, when we can cultivate our mind as a tool of awareness, not a, not just a storehouse of information now we’re approaching wellbeing. Nice. Yeah. And that’s, I mean, that’s how I see it. And that for me, transcends race and ethnicity and culture, that’s just a human capacity. Hm. To cultivate self awareness, particularly. That’s what I’m, that’s where my focus always is self awareness.
Dianne Bondy: (11:25)
And I think that was the biggest lesson that I learned from yoga. It’s amazing to me how we can kind of just float through or T trudge through wherever you are in your life through life and have actually no self-awareness of how we feel, what our breath is doing, how people are reacting to us. You know, if we need to step more fully into our life, if we need to pull that prior to jumping on the call, you and I were talking about clearing our schedule and minimizing our calendars a little bit, and how excited, you know, you were, and I was for you to have a calendar where you’re not fully committed all the time. And I think for me last year, right after George Floyd was murdered, I spent the majority of my summer in conversation, mostly through workshops and all kinds of stuff in conversation with people who had no, no self-awareness of their place in the world and no bigger awareness of how people who are historically excluded or marginalized or underestimated have been moving through the world. So we both of us, because this is a lot of our work intersects. A lot of those places, both of us were like constantly on calls, constantly doing workshops and not, you know, I think for a long time, I wasn’t aware of how that was making me feel. And I felt like this summer was the summer of like, whoa, right. I’m gonna take a little bit of a step back and observe instead of constantly being a, in the mix.
Dr. Gail Parker: (12:56)
Yeah. And, and it’s that awareness that allowed you to
Dianne Bondy : (12:59)
Do that? Yeah, it was, it was time it’s, it feels weird because I feel like, am I stalling? Should I be doing more? Like, it’s, it’s that constant training, I guess, of the world that we need to be doing something, doing something, something, doing something. And one of my favorite, uh, quotes from you is actually relax and do nothing just because you’re not doing anything doesn’t mean that nothing is happening. And I, I just remembered that, especially when you were teaching restorative yoga. So can you tell us for the listeners how you came to be, uh, a yoga teacher and especially how you came to this modality? And in the introduction, I mentioned that, uh, Dr. Gale has a wonderful book, restorative yoga for ethnic and race based stress and trauma. This is the first installment, the first volume. And there’s a second volume coming out November, right?
Dianne Bondy: (13:55)
November mm-hmm yeah. In November. And we’re gonna talk a little bit about this book, life changing. My favorite chapter in this book, um, around self-awareness is chapter four. And I think if you could really like dive into chapter four, it will give you great perspective. If you are not part of, um, this culture or part of this ethnicity that we’re talking about, what are some of the stressors that lead us to need a practice like this? So how did you come to do this work? How did you become a yoga teacher, a therapist, like what inspires you to do this work?
Dr. Gail Parker: (14:25)
So, as you know, I’ve been practicing yoga my entire adult life. And when I started practicing yoga, which has been for, uh, gosh, over 50 years, really? Mm. When I started practicing the, there were no such things as yoga studios. I stumbled upon a class at, uh, the Detroit Institute of arts, where I was living at the time being taught by a man, if we could screen share, which I know we, we can’t, and we don’t need to, I would show you his picture, Mr. Black, his name was Mr. Black. And he wore a black suit and tie to teach us yoga. So we were not practicing the kind of yoga that is currently being taught clearly. Right, right. But it was a full practice. It was a complete practice, meaning it involved very gentle physical movements, mindful physical movements. Um, it involved breath, it involved, um, self-awareness self realization.
Dr. Gail Parker: (15:14)
It involved, um, uh, there was a, a deep spiritual component. So that was how I was introduced to the practice. So in, or, and I, and what ended up happening for me right away is I, I felt the sense of inner P that was very powerful. And that’s what kept me going back. And the class I only met once a week. And, um, so I kept going back to the class. Um, and over time I just continued the practice. I continued to teach myself how to do yoga, because that’s about all you could do with, and those days I think the class lasted for a year. And then I don’t know what happened to Mr. Actually, Mr. Black went up to Northern Michigan and founded a, a, uh, a, a retreat center. Oh, that’s cool. Yeah. Song of the morning retreat center, which is in Vanderbilt, Michigan, which is interesting.
Dr. Gail Parker: (16:08)
Anyway. Um, so I continued to, to teach myself yoga and continued the practice on my own until yoga studios began to proliferate, which was, I think, in the nineties. Mm. Yeah. And I was the first one at the door and enjoying these very active, uh, athletic, physical practices. Mm-hmm so it’s not that I did not do those practices. I did, uh, until I couldn’t anymore, which is only, only fairly recently. Right. And enjoyed every minute of it. I like many people I decide I was so intrigued by the experience and what I was, I felt inside myself, I wanted to learn more about what was going on. So I took a yoga teacher training and in that yoga teacher training, I was introduced to restorative yoga, which is, um, for those of you who don’t know restorative, uh, it is, it it’s a, a receptive form of yoga. It’s not an active form of yoga where you are using props to support your body and holding postures, stillness, and quiet for extended periods of time. It’s delicious and revoke the relaxation response, which is a real physiologic response. All right.
Dr. Gail Parker: (17:33)
So I didn’t know that at the time I’m just doing it. And, and, and what was interesting is my yoga tea, the woman who introduced me to, uh, restorative yoga would come, uh, while I’m, I’m supposed to be being still in one of these poses, I’m fidgeting. I’m Mo you know, cause it was hard to be still. Mm. It was really hard to be still. I have that problem too. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. And I remember one time she came over and she just put her hand on me, she said, stop it so, but I, I appreciated the practice. I got it. I really got it. I thought, for example, had she not put her hand very gently on me and said stop it? I don’t know that I would’ve noticed I was fidgeting. Mm. I mean, I knew I was, but I didn’t know. It mattered, you know what I’m saying? I’m just fidgeting.
Dr. Gail Parker: (18:26)
And, and so it, it just continue to bring me into deeper inner awareness. And I, and all of a sudden the light bulb went on, went off, I’m a psychologist. I have clients who don’t know that they are, that, that they don’t have this awareness of the inner self. They may, until like I did, but they haven’t physically felt it. And I thought this is a perfect practice to invite people, to come into that level of awareness that is beyond thought and beyond language and beyond talking. So I never saw it as an either or proposition that you either do talk therapy or you do, uh, yoga therapy, for example, the yoga for a therapeutic reason. So I began to combine both. Um, now my clients were never coming to me to learn yoga. So I was not teaching them how to do yoga. Wasn’t teaching them yoga postures, but I understood the philosophy.
Dr. Gail Parker: (19:34)
I understood the, the potency and the impact and how breath and movement and just your body language are impacting what you’re experiencing. And so I would, you know, invite people into that practice in that way. So somebody comes in, their shoulders are up here. Their eyes are bugging out. You, I say, how are you? They say, I’m fine. yeah. I say, okay, well, let’s come on in, let’s have a seat. And before we get started, let’s take, let’s just do a little bit of breathing. I’ll do it with you. And so we would do that. And then I was, how are you feeling? Oh, I feel so much better. Mm mm-hmm oh, well, you know, that’s always available to you to, you know, when you notice that you’re feeling a certain way, you can always come to your breath mm-hmm and, and, and you can feel better. So that would be the way I would introduce it. And then over time, you know, I, I began to do, you know, and do more things like that. Um, and, and so it’s just powerful. It’s just effective. It was a beautiful addition to the therapeutic work I was already doing. Mm.
Dianne Bondy: (20:43)
I think it’s, it’s amazing. I run into so many, um, psychotherapists, like in the eating disorder world, they’ll be at a conference or, or what have you, and I’ll be invited to do some kind of practice. And because we’re in a conference room or, you know, we’re in a ballroom and everybody’s sitting on a chair, I will do something a little bit more restorative. I’ll do, I’ll start out with something really gentle so that people can get out of their heads and into their body. And then we’ll dip down into something that’s super restorative. And the amount of people fidgeting is always really interesting. I always take note of that, cuz I tend to be a bit of a fidgeter myself, which is why, um, I think the active practice spoke to me for so long. Cause it just like got all the fidgets out and then I was able to like, you know, really come deep down into that awareness, but it was amazing to me how many clinicians would say to me that, wow, this was really powerful in my own, you know, awareness of self.
Dianne Bondy: (21:35)
And I just thought to myself, this is a practice that maybe all clinicians should be, at least doing personally. And I always would make reference to you. And I said, you know, you know, a friend of mine, a very close friend of mine is a psychotherapist. And she uses these principles in her therapy with great success because we are like, I think perpetually disconnected from our breath and our body. I can’t tell you many times, you know, I look in the back of my hand and I see a cut and I’m like, what did I do that? Or I hit my elbow and there’s a bruise. I’m like, when did I do that? Like just so completely preoccupied with everything else in the world that I have no space for my own self-awareness mm-hmm . And I think through this practice is the only way I’ve come to realize that.
Dr. Gail Parker: (22:23)
Yeah. I mean, I, I agree. And that’s, and, and it’s more than, and the real is an embodied experience of it. Mm-hmm , mm-hmm, , it’s not a thought. Yeah. It’s, it’s a real physical experience of what we’re talking about and that can’t be, you know, you can’t, you can’t describe that to someone, you, you, you have to do it. You, you have to actually engage the practice.
Dianne Bondy: (22:53)
And I think people are maybe a little bit of, it’s afraid of being still a little bit of afraid of, you know, dipping down into their self-awareness. I’m watching a lot of social justice activists, um, out there in the world, doing all the things, all the things, all the, all the things. And I’m just wondering if they slow down and stop and take a few breaths, what will happen? Like what are they afraid will happen if they take their foot off the gas for a minute?
Dr. Gail Parker: (23:20)
That is a good question. Right? That’s a good question.
Dianne Bondy: (23:24)
Yeah. Like just for a second, if you took your foot off the gas and that’s kind of where I’m at this summer, you easing back, which brings me to your book, tell me the process, what inspired you to do this incredible, great piece of work? And I will link to it in the show notes where you could buy it and where you can. Pre-buy the next book I’ve already, um, I’ve already, pre-ordered my, my book. I need to have the box set because I, I think there might be a third , uh, it’s just such great work!
Dr. Gail Parker: (23:53)
You know, I’m like for the I’m I’m looking away because I’m looking for some notes that I took, not really for this interview, but that I think are relevant. Um, I’ll, I’ll , I mean, it, it, it started before this, but in, um, 20, when was it? When, when in 2014? Mm, Michael Brown was murdered. Yes. Yes. Michael Brown is the young man in, from Ferguson, Missouri. For those of you who need a reminder who was shot in, killed and left in the street for hours before any shot and killed by a policeman, uh, he was an unarmed young black man mm-hmm before anybody, um, came to even recover his remains. You know, it was pretty traumatic for everyone. Prior to that, we had been through Trayvon Martin’s murder. We had been through, uh, I think tare rice mm-hmm , uh, was murdered the same year as Michael Brown, uh, Jordan Davis, who, uh, was shot in his car for playing his music too loud.
Dr. Gail Parker: (25:02)
Mm-hmm , um, and murdered. And, and, and it was so Michael Brown’s murder, was it, it, it just made me realize I have to do something. I have to engage in this work, um, to support people who are just overwhelmingly traumatized by what’s going on, um, to support them in finding a sense of wellbeing. See, here’s the thing, even in the face, and this is what our yoga teaches us. And I’ve had the experience, even in the face of chaos, confusion, trauma, we can, there is a place within us that we can access that is that place of wellbeing, believe it or not. Yes. Believe it or not. Now we don’t, when you’re in the midst of trauma and you’ve never done this before, this is not a good time to find that place, you know, so, which is if you’ve had years of practice, what ends up and you know, that place, then that’s, that’s your refuge.
Dr. Gail Parker: (26:11)
That’s where you can go when everything is just seems so overwhelming. All right. So anyway, I was at, actually, I was at a retreat, a yoga retreat, uh, not a physical retreat, but it was a philosophical retreat. And the professor who was leading the retreat was enraged about Michael Brown’s death and murder. And he was on a rant. He’s a college professor. Also, he was on a rant about it and how, how offended he was by all of it. And I, I was the only black person in the room and the professor was white as well. And I’m looking around. And these were people that I, that I knew and had been involved with for a long time, everybody’s on their cell phone, or, you know, run through this or kind of looking, you know, you could sit waiting for him to finish, so they could get back to talking about, um, the mythology of, you know, what we were there to talk about is that yeah.
Dr. Gail Parker: (27:15)
Right. And I realized in that instant, I thought, you know what? This is my, I have to, I have to do something I have to do, so they don’t have to do anything. I have to do something and I have to bring it into the yoga world and community that I associate with, because these are practices that black and brown people deserve to know about and be introduced to and share. Right? So that was where it started. Mm-hmm in 2018, I was asked to be a keynote speaker at an international, uh, yoga therapy Alliance conference.
Dr. Gail Parker: (27:54)
About two months before that the Starbucks incident occurred where the two young men who were sitting Starbucks, mining their own business, waiting for a business associate to arrive were arrested for not ordering anything while they waited. And I remember using that in this presentation that I made, and it was a very powerful presentation. And after the presentation, um, actually, and, and the title of presentation was white as a color too, because this organization was a 95% white organization. And at the time I wanted, I thought, you know, what, if I’m gonna talk to white people about this, I want them to understand first that number one, this is a necessary conversation for us to have. That is the yoga world and actually the entire, but the yoga world becomes more racially and ethnically diverse. Mm-hmm we need to be able to have the conversation.
Dr. Gail Parker: (28:50)
Mm-hmm non defensively. Yes. That’s the word? Non defensively. Yeah. Non defensively and constructively. And so, um, and I thought that in order that, you know, in a racialized culture, which is what we live in mm-hmm, white people don’t include themselves. Yeah. As a race. Yes. I found that too. So I’ll get up. Let me just, this is a sidebar here about the DEI initiatives. Yes. Diversity. Yeah. I think inclusive inclusivity should mean white people should include themselves in this stuff. That’s I don’t think it means that white people should include black people. We know white people need to include themselves. That’s the inclusivity agreed that, oh, I’m a white. Oh, I, oh, oh. I’m I’m part of this conversation. I’m a racialized being too. All right. Yes. Oh my relationship to my own race and ethnicity, not how do I help? Not, not, how do I understand you? Black people or brown people and help you, but how do I understand me and my own and help me and my own
Dianne Bondy: (30:04)
Agreed. I think that’s
Dr. Gail Parker: (30:05)
Brilliant. Yeah. All right. So we all have our work to do. Yes. Anyway, after this presentation, I was approached by a publisher who said, you need to write a book. I said, a book said the talk, she a
Dianne Bondy: (30:20)
Book. Yeah, yeah. Like, pardon me?
Dr. Gail Parker: (30:22)
Book is a book. I said, nice. So I thought about, I was afraid actually. Yeah, yeah. To do it for a variety of reasons. It’s a lot of, um, but largely because of that ex my experience of the indifference to the topic that yes. A lot of in my experience, white people have displayed. Yes. And that is painful to me. Yes. Because it’s an important topic to me. Yes. It involves my experience of myself, my identity. Um, and I just didn’t wanna, it, my feelings hurt, you know,
Dianne Bondy: (31:04)
I really valid, valid. Nobody wants their feelings hurt. I realize
Dr. Gail Parker: (31:08)
Not, you know what? Yeah. You know, grow up, you know, you do this, you’ve been doing it forever. Cuz I had taken a break from all of this for a while. Oh yeah, yeah, yeah. You’ve been doing it forever. You know, just write the book. So I did. Um, and it was, it was, it was challenging. I, what I learned about writing books you’ve written. So, you know yeah. What I learned about writing books is that the, for me, anyway, the hardest obstacle I had in overcoming my resistance was that fear of criticism that yes, fear, it’s very, I’m gonna say the wrong thing. that I’m going to, so I had to dismantle my own internalized, um, critical thinking. Mm-hmm about kind of going off the farm to write this book that may not be well received. It was hard. It was really hard. I feel that, yeah,
Dianne Bondy: (32:06)
I get that. It’s it’s almost like a little bit of an internalized imposter syndrome. Who am I to be writing about this? What, this is what I believe. What if other people don’t believe it? Are they gonna like burn me an effigy on the internet? Like all the things, right? Well,
Dr. Gail Parker: (32:20)
Mine was a little different. Mine was, I don’t know if you, uh, ever saw the, uh, documentary they did on Tony Morrison just before she died. It was beautiful. Anyway, one of the things she talked about was how she and James Baldwin who were good friends, used to get together and talk about having to, having to fight what she called the white gays. And she said, you know that little white man who sits on your shoulder and criticizes everything you do. Yes. That that’s what it was for me. Mm. That, you know, that internalized critic that this isn’t good enough. Now one aspect of race based rest in trauma is the internalization of not being good enough. Mm-hmm you see mm-hmm so I had to bump, I bumped into my own and I think I write about it in chapter one where I say, I think that part of the reason, this was scary for me, the, the, the first chapter of the book is called, uh, the wounds heel, but the scars still hurt.
Dr. Gail Parker: (33:19)
Yes. And I think, I, you know, if you don’t mind, since we’re on the topic, it’s said, um, we retain a memory of our injuries, whether they are physical or psychological, even after the injury has healed and scarred over mm-hmm, where scar tissue has formed. We from time to time be reminded of the hurt. This is especially true of our deepest emotional wounds, writing on the topic of race based stress. And trauma is like that. For me, it scares me some maybe it’s because it brings up old wounds from my past that are healed, but scarred over, maybe it’s because I’m afraid an afraid of countering wounds that have yet to be healed. Racial wounding is painful and approaching these wounds risks, reopening them because race based stress and trauma linger, but our emotional scars are the marks that tell a story of times when life really hurt us, but didn’t break us.
Dr. Gail Parker: (34:19)
They’re in indicators of our strength and our resilience. We need not be afraid to approach them or show them true. Healing comes when you learn to face your wounds, not hide them. Yoga as a therapeutic healing, modality has an important role to play in helping us face and heal our emotional wounds. That is for black to brown, white, indigenous, Latinx people, Asian people, all races, all cultural identities and ethnicities. This is not just for black people or brown people. And that’s how this book was written. That also, that’s also what made it challenging to, right, from my perspective, as an African American woman, um, who is sometimes racially ambiguous mm-hmm , by the way, people don’t, especially when I was younger, people did not always see a black person when they looked at me and may not now. Yeah. Um, because black for lot of people, um, carries within a color. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. This space yeah. Or yeah, not this space. And so that’s also part of my identity that can be, has been wounding for me not being recognized. Mm-hmm , which I think is everybody’s wound, you know, but that absence of recognition of who I am and, um, on, on, on, on, you know, deeper levels of, of being so anyway, so that’s how I wrote the book, why I wrote the book. Um, I was absolutely stunned and gratified by how well received it continues to be.
Dianne Bondy: (36:10)
It is quoted probably weekly in my feed pictures, on my Instagram feed. People talk about, I quote it on the regular. I think it’s a very important book. I am grateful you are writing a second chapter or a second volume or you’re continuing the work. Yeah. I think it’s so useful. And you and I have done a couple of, I have workshops like you, you used to come in and do the restorative part of the 200 hour teacher for that. I ran and now you’ve done part of the 300 part. Um, I remember we were at Greentree yoga one time and it was in the beginnings. You hadn’t read the book yet, but you were doing these workshops. And we were at Greentree, um, yoga in California, uh, together mm-hmm . And I remembered, uh, we were doing this workshop and what ended up happening is that I think it was intended for brown folks and black folks to really get some deep restoration.
Dianne Bondy: (37:03)
And then we had a few white folks sign up and then there was that conversation. Do we pull back the conversation that was intended for a black or brown audience only? Or do we honestly put that information out there and see how it lands? And I loved how you very much, um, you know, engage the white folks in that room. But I remember initially the little bit of hesitancy we both had because we were like, oh, we had thought that this was going to be a space like that was going to be majority black in which it was, but we did, I think had three people who were white in the class, which I never usually have. It’s usually the flip, the classes, all white folks. And then there’s three black folks. And one of the black folks is me. I’ve often been the only black base in a lot of places.
Dianne Bondy: (37:48)
And it’s in a lot of, um, yoga spaces where, you know, we speak about, oh, it’s, nonjudgment, you know, it’s no judgment here. It’s welcoming here, everybody’s welcome here. And you step into these spaces and it’s evident that you, you are not welcome here, that you are not part of who’s on the floor and it might not be the teacher or the staff behind the desk that treats you like you don’t belong here. It might be the other students rolling out their mats next to them. And that disembodied understanding of the yoga practice, where you can come and roll out your mat in a classroom, but can be completely hostile or indifferent to the person of color who’s in the room next to you. And to just have that, almost a feeling of open hostility, that yoga spaces or white spaces,
Dr. Gail Parker: (38:34)
Or, um, and I’ve had this experience and I’m sure you have too, or have seen it, or someone will you’re in, you’re in the yoga space and it’s predominantly white mm-hmm and a black person comes into the room. And, and then let’s say it’s crowded. Yeah. And a lot of space. Yep. And a black person comes to the room and nobody moves. Yes. Nobody move their mat. And the teacher doesn’t facilitate it. Whereas when the white person came in, just before everybody moved to make the space and the teacher facilitated it, it’s that. Yeah. You know, it’s that lack of awareness and re on the part of the teacher mm-hmm that this person is not being supported mm-hmm or, um, I love this story of, I sent a client, uh, to, uh, a yoga studio that I thought, you know, where I had practiced.
Dr. Gail Parker: (39:34)
I said, I think, and she loved you yoga. And I, and wanted to learn more. So I said, well, go to this studio. I’m sure it’ll be fine. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. She shows up in her brown skin. Mm-hmm her full body. Mm-hmm with her little yoga outfit on and her little yoga mat on her shoulder. And is green did at the reception desk with, are you here for yoga? Oh no. I’m here to get my hair done. Yeah. you know, it’s and, and now, so, and, and, and to challenge that, number one, you don’t wanna have to number one. Yeah. Number two, it always comes as a surprise. It’s never anticipated. You just don’t and you know, you just don’t. Um, and it’s not the only time it happens. No. And you recognize it for what it is. What do you do about that?
Dr. Gail Parker: (40:30)
What do you say? You know what I mean? It’s, it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s hard, it’s difficult. And so part of the, the, the, the book is written to, to support people in understanding that what you’re experiencing is real. It really is your experience. You’re not making it up. Yeah. You know, when you are being discriminated against or treated differently differe or feared, or, you know, whatever that is, the person who’s doing that may or may not be aware mm-hmm may or may not be aware, which is the eye in inclusivity, in that DEI. Exactly. You’re talking about. Yeah, exactly. And so I was, it was funny. I was talking to somebody yesterday who wanted me, who wants me to, uh, teach in her program and, um, and she’s white. And so I asked, I was saying, well, what’s the racial demographic, because when I’m teaching this aspect of the practice, you know, for ethnic and race based stress and trauma, first of all, nobody is coming to yoga to deal with race based stress and trauma. Yeah. True. They’re not, that’s not why they’re coming. Yeah. Nobody is right. However, yes, because of the transformative nature and sub nature of yoga, your stuff is gonna come up. Yes. Big time. It’s gonna come up. Yeah. And if you’re black, let’s say let’s okay. Let’s pretend you’re the person who comes in. Nobody makes room for you. Mm-hmm it hurts your feelings. Mm-hmm it makes you feel horrible, but you decide to stay anyway. Yeah. And let’s say the yoga teacher comes up to you afterwards and says, how was it?
Dr. Gail Parker: (42:20)
Can you be honest? can you be honest? Yeah. Can you be honest? Am I, you know, should I be honest? Do I dare risk being honest? Yeah. That in and of itself creates kind of stress. It’s not that the teacher shouldn’t ask that. Right. It’s that? So in the person who has felt mistreated, misaligned, MIS misunder, not recognized mm-hmm , you know, it, it, it, it, it brings stuff up. Yeah. So the teacher has to be prepared to hear the answer to that question. And I would argue that’s part of their awareness. Yeah. So, so you have as, as, as a white person for exam, not all yoga teachers are white, I’m talking. Right. But as a white person, if you’re going to you, you have to be prepared. Mm-hmm to hear some things that you, that may be unfamiliar mm-hmm , that may be shocking.
Dr. Gail Parker: (43:17)
Mm-hmm that may cause you to feel defensive mm-hmm . And am I able to stand in my own awareness of self and be present for you in your time of need mm-hmm you need to be honest with me. Yeah. Can I receive your honesty? That’s that’s the work, um, instead of getting the pushback and the, I didn’t need, no, it didn’t happen or explaining why you made that up or, you know, all of those things that, that we do, um, as , I mean, that that’s, that’s the work, you know, that’s the work and it’s, and for, uh, the person who’s been, who feels, who has experienced being othered. Yeah. Injured actually treated differently. Mm-hmm , um, um, injured, injured in that moment. Yeah. How do I, how do I deal with my own internal experience of what has occurred? Do I ignore it? Mm. Do I keep on pushing? Do I, um, withdraw and sink into a, a, a place of immobility? You know, H how am I responding to my own internal experience of the injury and what is, and how do I find my wellbeing in that moment, when you, when you’re racial stress and trauma are so common in this culture that we learn to ignore it, we learn to adapt. Right. We adapt.
Dianne Bondy: (45:02)
Yeah. How else would you survive?
Dr. Gail Parker: (45:04)
Yeah. And some of our adaptations are maladaptive.
Dianne Bondy: (45:09)
So just to backtrack a little bit, we talked about that adaptation we make, when we encounter that initial, you know, othering, or I called it that injury, like to me, that’s injury. Right. I, um, my friend, Keisha and I, as to, um, very black women show up to, uh, a yoga class was running a little late, cuz she was coming from work. I was ahead of her. So I rolled out my mat and I didn’t put a place folder next to me because I wanted to see, and this was a really busy class prior to the pandemic. I wanted to see if anybody would roll out their mat next to me. And the class got fuller and fuller and fuller. And yet that space next to me remained unclaimed. And then when she ran a little late, like for Keisha running a little late means she’s only five minutes early.
Dianne Bondy: (46:01)
Generally. She’s like 20 minutes early, like running late for her five minutes. And it was about two minutes after the, um, the start of the class, the class started at seven 30, it was about 7 32. Uh, and then finally at 7 32, this person came in and rolled out their mat next to me. And I could say to them, I’m actually saving that space. But it was amazing to me that in 2020 or 2019 at the time that this was still going on, that people didn’t wanna roll out their mat next to me and were fully, I think, unaware of that in a yoga space. And you know, I seen people like get physically uncomfortable. Like I don’t know what people think is gonna happen practicing next to a black person.
Dr. Gail Parker: (46:42)
Well, I, first of all, two things, I’m not sure that people are unaware of that. I think they would’ve claimed that they were unaware of that. Mm-hmm I don’t think people are unaware that. Hmm. I really don’t. I just the claim they’re yeah. And number one, number two. I think that these are conditioned responses. If all, as my brother put it many years ago, if all you knew about black people is what you saw on televis. Yeah.
Dianne Bondy: (47:15)
Dr. Gail Parker: (47:16)
It’s true. You live in segregated communities. Yeah. If you are not engaged black people are most of the time. Yeah. So many of us are, so we know that culture. Yeah.
Dianne Bondy: (47:31)
Yeah. We D know us. It’s true.
Dr. Gail Parker: (47:34)
And my question is, are you willing to get to know us? Yeah. You know, frequently the question is asked, how do I get more black people to come to my
Dianne Bondy: (47:44)
Yoga classes all the time? That’s the number one question
Dr. Gail Parker: (47:48)
Into the communities of people that you claim you want in your space.
Dianne Bondy: (47:54)
Dr. Gail Parker: (47:55)
Do you engage? You know, just because you want, um, black and brown people around you. Okay. That’s nice. How do it, it, it doesn’t happen by magic.
Dianne Bondy: (48:10)
Yeah. Or osmosis
Dr. Gail Parker: (48:12)
It, it it’s intentional. You have to make efforts to, and, and advertising about it. Isn’t the effort. No. Be willing to engage the, the people in the community. I mean, I, I,
Dianne Bondy: (48:28)
It seems obvious. Yeah. Yeah.
Dr. Gail Parker: (48:30)
Yeah. It seems obvious. And if you’re not, you don’t have to be. I mean, if you, you know, if you don’t want to that’s okay too. Yeah. But
Dianne Bondy: (48:37)
Don’t expect people to come to your class then like don’t initiate that conversation. The number one conversation I get in any of these diversity equity trainings is how do I get more diversity into my studio? I’m thinking, how are you engaging these other communities? And are you showing up with the white savior trope one for two a, you know, authentically, why do you want more diversity in your yoga class? Do you want it in your yoga class? Because this is a personal project for you. Like this is a person self, a project I’m going to better myself by engaging in other communities. And then have you done the work so that when you do show up in that other community, that you’re not further traumatizing that community, that seems to be the issue. Do are people of color going to feel safe enough to relax in your space because when that brown person or that black person walked into the space and know nobody moved their mat to make room for me, I’m holding onto that feeling for the entire practice.
Dianne Bondy: (49:37)
I came in here for a healing practice. The first three minutes into the practice I’m traumatized because nobody is willing to make space for me, um, to be in the room. And I’m just supposed to what adapt, ignore, or figure that stuff out on my own. And my mat then after class, the teacher comes up to me and goes, oh, welcome to the space. How was it for you? And I’m almost compelled in this moment to say, oh, it was a wonderful practice. I loved the way you did whatever, as opposed to it really hurt when I came into the space and nobody moved their mat. And you didn’t say, cuz what I usually say in these situations is there everybody move up because the minute you get everybody to move up space seems to magically find a hole in the center or off to the side like that.
Dianne Bondy: (50:21)
You didn’t have the awareness to see that I was, you know, struggling in this moment and come to my aid, which is basically your job as a teacher. When I’m looking out into the studio space, I’m looking at how I can make this practice as interesting and adaptable and inclusive and equitable as I can. And you miss that first pillar, that first calling of nonviolence, by not stepping up and saying, I see a situation happening. I’m aware of the situation happening. Yes, I’m uncomfortable. The situation is happening because that’s the job of your yoga practice is to sit with your discomfort, to be aware of it, to notice it and either do something about it. When that discomfort is disrupting the entire essence of the class and not just my own personal experience. And, and you didn’t do anything like what’s the point of the teacher to stand up there and call out poses because it’s so much more than that.
Dianne Bondy: (51:14)
Mm-hmm and I, I can’t, I can’t tell you how I just watched. It was just an observation. I’m not gonna put a placeholder here, cuz generally I’ll take a towel or a water bottle and hold space for somebody. I’m not gonna put a placeholder here and I’m gonna watch this. You yoga class that generally has 30 or 40 people in it, fill up and see how many people are actually gonna roll out their mat for me. And it was only under duress that somebody decided to roll out their mat, that they were just running outta space everywhere else. But I’m gonna roll out my mat next to the black person.
Dr. Gail Parker: (51:43)
Now here’s the responsibility. I think of the person who is being avoided yes. I think we have a responsibility to say something about it. I really do. I mean, I think now we may not be prepared to do that. You know what I’m saying? You just may not have it in
Dianne Bondy: (52:06)
You in that moment. Yeah.
Dr. Gail Parker: (52:11)
But I really do think that that is that’s where the responsibility in healing one’s own, um, suffering associated with these kinds of incidents. Mm-hmm important be, cause it’s empowering. Mm-hmm and can’t, it is an act of, you know, you’re you are a social justice activist actively doing that. Mm-hmm I, I am too, I guess, but in a different totally you are a willingness to step up and not have a fight with anybody. No. Yeah. But from a place of that equanimity, that, that balanced place of wellbeing, this is why we cultivate wellbeing so that we can come from that place of wellbeing to express in the moment who, what has occurred. Mm-hmm how it affected me and what I think ought to happen. That’s our work. Absolutely. That’s hard to do. It is. It’s easy to do.
Dianne Bondy: (53:22)
It’s actually scary for some folks, right?
Dr. Gail Parker: (53:25)
It’s well, no, it’s always scary. Yeah. That’s another thing I have with, we have to make a safe space. Well, yeah we do. Except that this is not safe work.
Dianne Bondy: (53:34)
Dr. Gail Parker: (53:36)
Yeah. This is courageous work. This takes, yes. It takes courage. Yes. Into that level of vulnerability and often, which by the way, for black and brown people particularly has been and continues to be a dangerous place to be.
Dianne Bondy: (53:53)
Yes, yes, yes. Yes. My, one of my favorite quotes is by DL Hughley, the most dangerous place that black people reside is in the imaginations of white folks. Mm-hmm . And so setting aside all of that stuff, right. To actually see the person who’s in front of you and interact with the person who’s in front of you and see how that person’s being treated in that space and step into that. That’s and
Dr. Gail Parker: (54:19)
That’s hard to do if you are conditioned not to do that, if you’re color blind.
Dianne Bondy: (54:24)
Mm yes, yes, yes. These are the things we have to do as practitioners. This is the self-study work that we’re talking about. This is the self-awareness that you mentioned at the very beginning and the onset of this podcast. Yeah. And I think it’s amazing we’re out there teaching yoga and have a deep disconnection to our own self-awareness I was out for dinner last Friday with a group of, um, my son’s, my son graduated from the eighth grade, you know, back in June. And we had like a get together with all the moms whose kids have gone from, you know, SK up to grade eight and you know, and we’ve been on all the field trips and we’ve done all the things together and it was kind of like a, it was the last horah for me. Um, I don’t know as women continue to meet together.
Dianne Bondy: (55:08)
So there are seven or eight of us, all of them, white. I’m the only black person there. And I sit down to dinner and of course there’s always a conversation around my hair, which I’m tired of answering. I’ve been answering questions about my hair since I was probably six years old. I’m 51. I don’t wanna have conversations about it anymore, but people don’t seem to understand that. Um, and we set, sat down and one of the women at the table said to me, um, Hey, I thought a lot about you last summer when George Floyd died in the black, the rise of the black lives matter movement. Now, do you think everything has changed?
Dianne Bondy: (55:42)
And I was like, uh, what exactly has changed? You, you painted in Washington square, wherever it is, black lives matter on the road that keeps being vandalized by fair, that keeps happening to be reinstated and vandalized. There’s been no change in legislation. There’s been no equity or equitable laws that have been changed to change anything. Uh, just a bunch of performative action. And then she tried to open her mouth to tell me that I wasn’t seeing it the way that, um, she was seeing it. And that change actually hap is happening. And I just felt like saying to her, and then when she was opening her mouth to say that, I just said, this has been my experience and my perspective and that closed her mouth because she couldn’t, she couldn’t say anything to that because I was speaking to my experience. And what is amazing to me is that willful ignorance that we think that these performative I’m embodied actions of social justice actually lead to change because I don’t believe that they do. It’s only an embodied practice. I think that leads to change. It’s only when you can actually see somebody else’s suffering and have some kind of awareness of that or feeling of that, that things actually change. What are your
Dr. Gail Parker: (56:55)
Thoughts? I think it’s actually, I think it’s, it’s only when you’re aware of and have dealt with your own suffering. Mm
Dianne Bondy: (57:02)
Dr. Gail Parker: (57:03)
Then be present mm-hmm for someone else’s mm-hmm mm-hmm see. And, and again, we live in a culture in the United States anyway, where,
Dianne Bondy: (57:14)
Dr. Gail Parker: (57:14)
Too. Yeah. So the, I think that the underlying belief is that in the dominant culture is that we shouldn’t have to suffer.
Dianne Bondy: (57:25)
Yeah. I would agree with that.
Dr. Gail Parker: (57:27)
And, and so therefore we’re always trying to avoid it or be, or we’re mad about it instead of recognizing that no suffering is part of life. Yeah. And when we can deal with our own suffering mm. Our own suffering and take a deep dive into that and unpack that. Um, I think now we’re making some progress. I yeah. As I’m trying to manage your suffering. Mm.
Dianne Bondy: (58:00)
I can’t do my own.
Dr. Gail Parker: (58:01)
Well, first of all, I can’t manage your suffering. All right. Bear, witness to it again, isn’t that what our yoga and meditation practices teach us to bear witness, to observe, you know, we teach that a meditative mind. Isn’t a quiet mind. It’s an observed, it’s an observing mind observed mind, you know, I’m paying attention to my own thoughts, paying attention to my own suffering. I’m paying attention to my own indifference to your back. Yeah. Yeah. Whatever that is, you know, um, this is personal work. It’s
Dianne Bondy: (58:40)
Deep work. It’s hard
Dr. Gail Parker: (58:41)
Work. It’s hard work. It really is. That’s why everybody ISN doing it.
Dianne Bondy: (58:47)
Yeah. Understood. Like it, it goes back to what my mother always says to me, if it were easy, Diane, everybody would do it. She would always say that to me when we were growing up. So I wanna ask you just, as we’re coming up on the hour already, I wanna ask you about your next book. Can you tell us a little bit about how this work continues to evolve in this, in this second volume, if you will.
Dr. Gail Parker: (59:11)
So the next book evolved out of the first book and it came, it was an answer to the question that people were asking me over and over and over again in these webinars. Well, how do I do that? Right. Apply what you have learned. Yeah. And I’m say, yeah, yeah. How do, how do I do that? How do I shine a light on my own, um, pain and suffering, for example, mm-hmm, , mm-hmm . And so I realize I, I, I owed it to people to have an that question. . Dang it. Yeah. I can’t keep saying you have to do the practice, right? Yeah. People before I used to have a radio show called as a psychologist and I would, I named it stumped the shrink. I mean, so it was like, kinda that, the answer to that question was, I don’t know how to answer that question.
Dr. Gail Parker: (59:59)
Right. well, I took some time and I thought, okay, let me see. I, I, I have to answer this question. So the, the, the second book is called transforming, um, ethnic and race based traumatic stress with yoga, because I think it’s, I, I think it’s important that we begin to change the narrative. Mm-hmm that not only that we don’t remain stuck in our trauma mm-hmm mm-hmm , but we, that we recognize that it is possible to access that place of wellbeing in the midst of trauma. That’s the, that’s hard to do, because why, because first we, you have to go through really a darkened eye of the soul to get there, to get on the other side of that, to get to digest and process what has happened. I heard yet, you know, it was interesting yesterday. I was listening to some, one of the, um, black police officers who was, um, uh, traumatized and, uh, the capital, you know, uh, insurrection that we, yes, I’m trying to see if I wrote it down.
Dr. Gail Parker: (01:01:10)
It was so profound. Uh, what he said, he, but basically what he said is he said on top of I was being beaten and trying to save other people’s lives. People were calling me the N word. He said, you, you can’t process that kind of trauma in the moment it takes, it takes, it takes a while. It takes some distance to be able to process it. Mm-hmm he said, and to unpack all of that in, and, and to have to deal with being called the N-word while I’m trying to save these people’s lives, he said, it’s, I, I barely have words to explain. Oh, I can only imagine that is. And so, but, but, but he’s willing to unpack it. That’s what I found most interesting. This second book, it tells us how to do that. Mm-hmm this is how do, how do I learn to process? And I, the, the pain and suffering that I have not been able to heal that keeps me stuck in trauma. Mm-hmm keeps me stuck in maladaptive responses to these race related events. Mm. And, um, so I tell stories about how to do that. And then I, and then I about, about why it’s important and what it, what constitutes race based stress and trauma mm-hmm . And then I, you teach how to use various and affirmations to support the reclamation, for example of innocence, huh? Black and brown children lose their innocence so early.
Dianne Bondy: (01:02:48)
Dr. Gail Parker: (01:02:48)
So early you have to grow up fast when you’re grow, you know, racially hostile environment, and your parents know it. And you know, you, you, you have to teach your kids to grow up fast. So the reclamation of innocence can be found, I think, embodied in child’s pose.
Dianne Bondy: (01:03:06)
Yes. And when
Dr. Gail Parker: (01:03:07)
You say affirmations, that support that, you know, I feel innocent. I feel free, you know, while you really that’s how the book is written. So I, I think I offer 10 postures and 10 possibilities for reclaiming self-worth mm-hmm , um, self love. How to, how to practice patience, uh, transforming consciousness. I have all of that in there. It’s good. I like it a lot.
Dianne Bondy: (01:03:34)
I love it. I can’t wait.
Dr. Gail Parker: (01:03:36)
I just got the final proofs, uh, yesterday. So I’m re reading it before I send it in and it’ll be printed pretty soon. Um, yeah, it’s re it’s nice. It’s a nice companion guide to the first volume. The first volume is more, it, it, it lays out the theory and the science of talking about mm-hmm and this is the application of yes. All of that. And so it’s nice.
Dianne Bondy: (01:04:02)
Uh, it sounds divine. And I mean, having taken a couple of classes with you while you were in the process of writing the second volume, I see how that works and, you know, I, it, it, it’s very powerful. And I would, I would tell my, our listeners, if you haven’t had an opportunity, a to get the first volume of the book, buy it, any race, any ethnicity, any culture, I, it, it all applies. You will pull something out of it that will help you, you know, reconcile some feelings for yourself, help you understand your own, uh, humanity and your own feelings better. And then the second guide I, I feel is a must, because I think it gives from what you explain, it gives us really concrete practices that we can do on the daily. Not even if we’re in a restorative post, but we can relive or revisit that place on the daily.
Dianne Bondy: (01:04:56)
When we are smacked between the eyes often, it’s often you, you don’t see it coming, right. You don’t coming. No, it hits you between the eyes and you need that. You need that voice in your head. to help you go, okay, this is how we’re gonna process this moment. Right. And I think that companion guide that second volume is gonna be a must. I think both pose if, if you’re a practitioner or a teacher, I think both books are, unless, especially if you’re interested in this work, you can’t, you know, you have to learn about it. Yeah. You do. You have, you have to be in it. Right. And
Dr. Gail Parker: (01:05:28)
You have to learn about it from your own perspective, regardless of your own race and ethnicity. And that’s how both of the books have been written. It invite it’s written from my perspective, cuz that’s every book is, that’s
Dianne Bondy: (01:05:40)
The only one you can write. Yeah.
Dr. Gail Parker: (01:05:42)
But I make that clear, but all of this is applicable you. So if you can, as I said, the, the, the art is the application of mm-hmm, what you’re learning and the skill and
Dianne Bondy: (01:05:55)
That’s beautiful. I can’t wait I’m I preordered mine. So I’m excited. So I wanted to ask you a couple of rapid fire questions. So our listeners can get to know you, um, a little bit more personally, there’s nothing really personal in there, but I just, I wanted to do this little rapid fire. I did this on a podcast and I thought it was kind of fun. So I’m just gonna throw a, a there. And you, you just tell me, tear coffee, coffee,
Dr. Gail Parker: (01:06:21)
Dianne Bondy: (01:06:22)
All right. Sweet or salty.
Dr. Gail Parker:
I love that ocean or mountains,
Dr. Gail Parker: (01:06:29)
Dianne Bondy: (01:06:32)
I all about that? Resting or active?
Dr. Gail Parker: (01:06:38)
Yik. I know. Right? That’s a hard one
Dr. Gail Parker: (01:06:43)
To be on active. I like active.
Dianne Bondy: (01:06:46)
I do. I active, like, you know, as the balance of stillness, right. Mm-hmm like, I don’t think you can truly appreciate stillness a hundred percent unless you know what, the other side of that coin kind of thing. Right? What is your favorite quote?
Dr. Gail Parker: (01:07:04)
My favorite quote, if you haven’t.
Dianne Bondy: (01:07:05)
Oh God. Yeah. If you have one. Oh
Dr. Gail Parker: (01:07:07)
No. Oh my goodness.
Dianne Bondy: (01:07:10)
What is a quote you’ve heard recently that you thought, huh? Well, that’s interesting.
Dr. Gail Parker: (01:07:16)
Stump the shrink.
Dianne Bond7: (01:07:18)
Iwin!. Yes. There you go. And I just did it. I just did it. I get a prize. Um, what’s your favorite book or what book are you currently reading? One or the other? Um,
Dr. Gail Parker: (01:07:30)
I love my favorite book is the Alchemist. And I, I love that book. I’ve read it many, many times and I just read a book of core is the name I cannot remember right now because I just read it,
Dianne Bondy: (01:07:43)
You know? Right, right, right.
Dr. Gail Parker: (01:07:44)
Yeah. Yeah. Actually it’s the scientific, um, it’s, it’s a therapeutic approach to, to alchemy how Al yeah. Yeah. It’s, it’s good. It was good.
Dianne Bondy: (01:07:54)
Interesting. Interesting. I love it. I like, I like alchemy. And do you have a mantra? Is, is there something that you say to yourself on the regular and you, I mean, you don’t have to share the exact mantra, but is there like a, something that lifts you up when you’re feeling like, oh, today’s gonna be a long day or I just need something to calm my mind in the moment. Is there something that you say to yourself that helps you? I
Dr. Gail Parker: (01:08:15)
Think, I think one of the things that I say all the time is growth continues.
Dianne Bondy: (01:08:20)
Ah, I got that from you. I like that one. Yeah. I
Dr. Gail Parker: (01:08:23)
Remember a client. You, my clients used to come, uh, to see me when I was doing psychotherapy. And again, I’d greet them at the door. How are you? And said, people would say it’s been a growth week.
Dianne Bondy: (01:08:34)
We know that we know what that means. Yeah. Yeah. It’s been my, my favorite Gale quote or mantra that I use is when I’m running late. I’m like I have all the time in the world. That’s the one I use a lot that you say, and yes it is. It’s in the new book. Yeah. It must be. I’m always like that. Yeah. I have all the time in the world. Yeah. So that’s
Dr. Gail Parker: (01:09:02)
Why say that? What difference does it make
Dianne Bondy: (01:09:05)
A huge difference? And what’s really miraculous. Is it opens up time and space. I don’t know why putting it out there. All of a sudden I’m not as concerned with, because I feel I have time and I always show up on time, even though I’m running late. I know. Isn’t, it’s amazing. It’s amazing. I know. I think it just like, I feel my shoulders peel away from my ears. I feel my grip on the staring wheel, relaxed. I feel the tension in my body ripped out a couple of deep breaths and I repeat that mantra and it takes effect in such an amazing way. And I show up on time. I’m not early, but , I show up on time.
Dr. Gail Parker: (01:09:44)
That’s the alchemy. So, you know, alchemists, the old alchemists used to turn lead into gold.
Dianne Bondy: (01:09:51)
Dr. Gail Parker: (01:09:53)
That’s our work.
Dianne Bondy: (01:09:55)
Dr. Gail Parker: (01:09:56)
Our lead into gold. That’s that place of wellbeing. That inner place that we all have, we just have to figure out how to, how to find how
Dianne Bondy: (01:10:10)
It’s like it’s deep and we have to get at it. Yeah. Well, I wanna thank you for this beautiful conversation. I am always in such awe, every conversation I have with you, I learn something. Uh, I am grateful for your teachings, your presence. And I loved seeing you on the front of yoga journal. I know you can’t still get that copy, but it was yeah. Show us the copy. Um, I have mine. I actually framed that. I framed, I pulled off the front age and I framed I’ll take a picture of it and send it to you because it was amazing to see that, right, because the front of that magazine has been lacking any kind of, um, diversity or what I like to think, like what an, an average everyday person can identify with, like to look at you in that they did a beautiful job with the cover.
Dianne Bondy: (01:11:02)
They did a beautiful job, and it really speaks to the essence of who you are when the minute I saw it, I felt like that is how I see you in my mind’s eye. So I was really grateful for that. I had heard, I had talked to the, uh, editor in chief prior to that magazine coming out. She didn’t tell me that you were on the coverage. And she goes, she said to me, I can’t wait until you see who’s on, you know, the next cover it was, was it the February or March cover? May it June the June. Yeah. May June issue. And we spoke, I think in April. And she said to me, um, I can’t wait for you to see who’s on the cover. I can’t tell you, but your mind is gonna be blown away. And I just started going through the list of people that I thought needed to be on the cover. And you came to mind and I thought, okay, well, I’m gonna wait and see, I’m not gonna ask cuz you can’t tell anyway. But, uh, I was thrilled to see on the cover and I I’m, I’m happy for this change. I’m happy for this work and I’m happy for the way that you’ve impacted, uh, this community and this culture. And I just wanna thank you for that.
Dr. Gail Parker: (01:12:03)
Dianne Bondy: (01:12:05)
All right. So where can people find you if they want to get your work, I’m gonna share a link to your books, but where can they find you? Um, what site
Dr. Gail Parker: (01:12:14)
Is, um, easy, Dr. Gale
Dianne Bondy: (01:12:16)
Parker.com. There you go. Perfect. And I will link to that in the show notes as well. I’ll link to where you can preorder the book and where you can get, um, the current book, which you can buy everywhere. But if you can, I always like to support a local independent book seller, but you can get this on Amazon mm-hmm , um, and other places. So thank you very much for your time today, Gail and as always growth continues, right? Continues. Thanks for
Dr. Gail Parker: (01:12:40)
The invitation, Diane. I appreciate, I appreciate you and everything that you do, all that you are and all that
Dianne Bondy: (01:12:46)
You do. Thank you so much. All right, everybody until next time let’s make our wellbeing, our priority.
Dianne Bondy: (01:12:57)
Hello everybody. I hope you enjoyed that podcast. I hope you learned something. I hope it felt embodied. And I’ll share with you in the show notes, all the places that you can connect with Dr. Gale Parker, um, and be a part of her world, right? And quite frankly, you can hit her up on her website, Dr. Gale parker.com. I’m excited for you to explore her work, to buy her book, to do all the things. Thank you so much for listening to the intentional wellbeing podcast. We are excited that you are here, but can you do us a small favor if you get a chance and if it’s in your heart to go ahead on apple podcast and rate us, subscribe, like, and share, it really does help the podcast get out there into the world. And I’m excited to share with you, the people that I meet and our path together, two intentional wellbeing. I’ll see you next time.