Leslie Huddart is a licensed acupuncturist, medical herbalist, and spiritual guide with over a decade of experience in natural health. She is here today to talk about what she coins, “answering our bodies’ phone calls” as well as how spirituality and religion differ.
Leslie Huddart L.Ac. is an acupuncturist, medical herbalist and spiritual guide with over a decade of experience in natural health. Leslie has a clinical degree in acupuncture and Asian medicine from the top rated acupuncture school in the US and takes a mind-body-soul approach to stress, headaches, digestive disorders and women’s health. She is a longtime meditator and seeker and has extensive personal experience in the yogic sciences, qigong and Tibetan spiritual practices. Her clinical work in influenced by Chinese herbal medicine, homeopathy, biotherapeutic drainage, applied kinesiology and somatic therapy. Leslie teaches healing professionals and empaths the subtle body skills they need to take their practices and patient results to the next level.
In this episode, Leslie:
You can find Leslie on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram.
It’s winter now in the Midwest and there will be many gray days, days that invite slowing down. It’s the perfect time to embark on your inner work as Leslie mentions. How, do you ask? We can find the answer in the eight limbs of yoga . The eight limbs are a path to living a life of purpose. Each limb leads to the next. They are yamas (codes of conduct), niyamas (self discipline), asana (physical practices), pranayama (breath), pratyahara (withdrawal of the senses), dharana (concentration), dhyana (meditation), and samadhi (bliss). You can go to the show notes for the link to read more.
I would like to focus on pratyahara, going inward and away from external stimuli. It is here that we focus on our thoughts, habits, and patterns with an objective eye to discern that which serves and that which no longer serves us in our lives.
The first two listeners who email me at firstname.lastname@example.org will receive Leslie’s 30 Days to a More Grounded You course. I will announce those lucky recipients on Social media.
YOGI MD: Welcome to the YOGI MD podcast. It's Nadine, yoga teacher, health coach and retired doctor here to bring you and your body together, not in sickness, but in health. Thanks for taking this time for yourself. Today, my guest is Leslie Huddart. She is a licensed acupuncturist, medical, herbalist, and spiritual guide with over a decade of experience in natural health. She is here today to talk about what she coins, answering our bodies phone calls, as well as how spirituality and religion differ. Hello Leslie. I'm so happy that you're here with us today.
Leslie: So excited to be here. Thank you for that lovely intro, Nadine.
YOGI MD: How are you?
Leslie: I'm feeling great, I love I love doing this and you know, in our connections earlier, I really just was appreciating your vibe and your work. So it feels like fun collaboration.
YOGI MD: Yes, absolutely. So let's dive right in. And can you please tell us about your work?
Leslie: Yes. Well, you know, I, I work with folks at this intersection in between the the woo woo and the practical I will sometimes say. So this aspect of ourselves that has to do with the non physical parts, whether we call that spiritual or the depths that we go to healing, we've all sort of most of us on a personal spiritual growth path, acknowledge that there's more to life and to our humaneness than just what meets the eye. And the problem is that because we don't always have a framework for working with that, especially if we're not folks who belong to a particular spiritual tradition, or things that have rules about how to work with those things, that sometimes we can feel stuck, then we get, actually, you know, I sort of had this I would call it like an outrageous belief that actually the things that go wrong in life, our outer world problems, whether that's problems in relationship or our confidence at our job or feeling like we're just stuck in life, that actually those are really inner world problems, how our mind body spirit system is working or not working well, the thoughts that we think about ourselves, our deep kind of beliefs that are often unconscious. So in order to make our outer world better, actually, the quickest way is to work from the inside out.
YOGI MD: Okay, I love the way you said that. We'll definitely dive more into that because that is a lot of work you're expecting us to do to start from the inside out. I'm sure well, as everyone knows, my listeners know very well. I'm not one for small talk. I love deep juicy conversations. So
Leslie: I like that about you, baby, go for it.
YOGI MD: I can't wait to dive in a little more. But before we do that, how did you become interested in your field of work? It is not the most common path, let's say.
Leslie: Yes. And I still struggle sometimes when people say what do? I usually say, well, you know, how we just sort of carry stuff in our body, we got this old baggage that we know we shouldn't have, but we're still stuck there. That's what I do. I help people get rid of that heaviness and really, to be their own selves. So I, I think the long story very in a short way is that I always knew that I was on a healing path. I didn't know what that really meant in my own life. In my 20s, I was someone who my whole life had really and the outer world had things together, came from like average middle class family, had a great education, went to college was a super overachiever, you know, gave my graduation speech spoke with the governor, blah blah blah. Like outside I had a lot of accolades, and in my early 20s, I really started to notice how much my inner world was a frickin hot mess. Like I had gotten into yoga and I was drawn to spirituality and I was still struggling with a decent amount of anxiety that if you would have asked me at the time, I'd be like, I'm not anxious. I just think a lot about stuff and I worry constantly like, but it really was anxiety. I had an unbalanced relationship with food in terms of like emotional eating and kind of addiction to sugar. And so I knew enough at that point in my life, as I was sort of on my path to being a natural health expert in my early 20s from my own study, and just intelligences interest that stuff wasn't right. And I was living in Japan for a couple of years teaching English as a foreign language. And I was studying Shiatsu which is an Asian form of body work with a teacher. I had gotten a Reiki teacher. I had been studying Reiki and Shiatsu, and I would bike every Saturday like up this side of a mountain really in Japan, you don't have to go far to find a mountain and would go to her to tatami mat, small room. And as we were learning shiatsu, she would say, Okay, now use your empathetic imagination, which nobody ever explained what the heck that was, and know where this person needs to be pressed most in this moment. And my east coast and I'm a Pittsburgh, East Coast kind of kid, my inner sort of critic would be like, yeah, lady, okay. I'll let you know when I get a telegram from their qi, their qi. But the thing that happened was at some point, I had the experience of Holy crap, their qi is really telling me to go left here. I had the experience of connecting with whatever we call this innate intelligence of the body that I could follow in interact with in terms of giving someone a body work treatment. And that experience really changed my world. Up until then I had always had good experiences with natural medicine. I thought I might go to chiropractic school. But in that moment of really understanding that qi is a real thing, that energy, yes, qi is the Asian word for like the vital energy of the body, the animating energy of living things. So in Japanese, they call it Qi and Chinese they call it qi in Ayurveda Sanskrit, they call it Brahma. So whatever that is, I was like, wow, I'm having an experience in relationship with this. And that set me on the course to really understand how does she work? How does that how does that affect the human system in a real Mind Body way? So I say to people, sometimes, you know, we talk a lot about the mind body connection, and modern research now iterates that Yeah, there really is a mind body connection, but there's not a lot of mainstream knowledge about how that actually works on a technical level? And that is what I do. *MUSIC BREAK*
YOGI MD: What are the joys and challenges about your work? I can imagine some of the challenges would be, as you said earlier alluded to, What on earth are you talking about? How do people come and find you?
Leslie: Amen. Yes. So one of the big challenges is that this is quite different, and it's not for everyone. So I mostly work with folks who already get it a little bit. You know, I think everybody can get helpful information. You know, my message for the masses is that you are a soul with a body. There is a non physical part of yourself and getting to know that in the way that you feel called, is part of being human. And for those folks who want to go deeper are already, those of us who already kind of feel like yeah, I'm committed to this mind body connection. I want to know what my soul wants. I want to see how that shows up. And I want Understand how my mind body system works on a technical level so that I can really walk the path of self mastery. So the challenge is that that's not a mainstream thing and it's hard to you need a language to talk about it which is not a mainstream language and even sometimes you know I work mostly with healers, people have already done some yoga teacher training, have done nutrition school are health coaches are life coaches are physical therapists, acupuncturists, so they're already on that part and now they need the deeper level of how the subtle body system works because bold statement. Your subtle body, your mind body connection on a technical level, the way that that's working is the determining factor for the speed and ease with which you can heal and grow personally. *MUSIC BREAK*
Leslie: The joy for me is really seeing people make major breakthroughs in their life people. I've had people that will say, like, I've done therapy for 10 years, and we just got over this thing. And I can feel different in my body in a matter of hours, days and weeks. So for me, that is a super joy of feeling, and seeing people in a really embodied practical way, become their actual true selves, feeling naturally confident connecting with deeper intimacy with themselves and others, and just really shining their light to use kind of a woo woo phrase that I think really makes sense in the world. That is just the super joy of my life. *MUSIC BREAK*
YOGI MD: In researching the work that you do, I was very intrigued by a phrase that you use, you coined, answering our bodies phone calls. What does that mean?
Leslie: Thank you. Yeah, you know, it's what we don't realize is that we have this inner friend and guide like a super best friend that's been with us our whole life since the moment we were born, maybe even conceived probably a little bit after that. And it's like having a best friend that we never talked to. Our body really is this next to us best friend who was always calling and reaching out and communicating to us and whose calls we're always swiping to voicemail. So people can relate that with this, maybe if you just think about your... The truth is that your body speaks in sensation. So a sensation can be anything from a slight little feeling, it can be almost on an intuition, it can also be a physical sensation. So what most of us do when we have a sensation that comes up is we sort of say to the body and direct or indirect ways, shut up, stop doing that you're bad and wrong. So imagine that if you had a friend sitting next to you at a cafe, and every time they said, Hey, what about and you just turned to them and said, Shut up, you're dumb sit down, you're bad. So that's sort of like the relationship that many of us have gotten into with our bodies. And the the difficulty of that is that it's really like living with one arm tied behind our back. It cuts us off from a deeper level of knowing that naturally comes through the body, because the body and the unconscious parts of our somatic or feeling experience, have access to knowledge that our brain does not have access to.
YOGI MD: As you were talking, and you and I talked about this on our chat before we started the interview. My experience before I left medicine was one of a lot of physical discomfort. Because I was practicing physician trained in the western way, I always attributed my physical sensations to very clinical, causes or Okay, so this symptom has a solution. That was kind of one thing after another and I kept explaining those things away, because I had that mindset and because I was not paying attention to what was going on, mentally and emotionally with me, which was profound unhappiness. And in retrospect, the beginning of a grieving process, because my career was not working out. But then there were unbalanced ways I was dealing with my stress. In order to alleviate my stress, I was controlling that by exercising twice a day. And I mean intense workouts. Okay, where, I was just killing it. So would you say that in that time, I was living in a way that I was very disconnected from what my body was telling me, and what my emotions and my mental state were telling me?
Leslie; Well, I felt curious. In your story of what did you notice after you made a life shift with those physical things?
Leslie: What was it like on the other side?
YOGI MD: Years later, they're not problems anymore.
YOGI MD: I mean, Yes, I have. I wear glasses. So.
YOGI MD: You know
Leslie: Sometimes you need a new prescription. Yeah, right.
YOGI MD: And so that does change, but it wasn't as drastic. It didn't feel it. Nothing has felt like an emergency like it did before.
Leslie: Yeah, yes, you what you just pointed at, I had this sensation that was uncomfortable and I felt like I had to fix it quickly. This is one of the the major things on any personal and spiritual growth path is the ability to be with discomfort. What normally happens that we don't have, and we're not as not trained into us in our Western societies is that a stimulus comes in. So either I get something from outside and I want to fix it, or I feel something from the inside and I want to fix it and there's a reaction right away. So what I would offer to everyone listening is to ask the idea of anything that comes up in your life, especially the what we say quote unquote, negative things, is the question. How can I be with this right now? How can I allow this right now and get curious. Part of the healing of the mind body system is that we have to really see the depth of what's going on. And so that means that we have to sit and stay with discomfort for a longer period of time and train ourselves to react to things in a observer type mind way, this is a key tenant of most spiritual, especially Eastern spiritual practices. So I think, too, when you share your story, I would say that you weren't wrong. In a way you were in tune with your body at the level of knowing that in order to deal and process with the things that were building up, you needed to do a ton of exercise to stay balanced. That's great. That was a really connection that you had with your body that you were paying attention to your needs. What it seems like happened for you is you started to hear and to listen a little bit more, you started to increase your ability to be with the discomfort in a new way and to ask different questions. And that inner guidance when you started to listen to it in a new way and give it space, led you to this place in your life where you now feel more balanced and aligned with your deeper self. *MUSIC BREAK*
YOGI MD: Not everybody listens to those calls necessarily.
YOGI MD: How does one prevent herself from crashing and burning?
Leslie: Yeah. One of the two things that we can do is to, knowledge is important knowledge isn't everything. We also need body to experience but knowledge can be a beginning. So what I would offer to people as what I would call and often teach people it's like a working hypothesis. You don't have to take it as truth with a capital T. But just try it out as if it's true and see what the result is in your life. So I will offer two things to use as working hypothesis hypotheses. One is the what I would say is a body wisdom or a subtle body truth is that my body has my best interest at heart. So I'm gonna give you two knowledge things and then the practical thing, I'm a practical gal of what to do about it. So number one mind shift that I would ask people to make is that my body has my best interests at heart. My body has my best interest at heart. So if the practical part of that is if I choose to believe as a working hypothesis that my body has my best interests at heart, then what I do functionally and practically, is that whatever comes up from my body, whether it's an illness or a disease, or a stabbing headache, I choose to trust in that moment, that for some reason, beyond my mental understanding, my body is bringing this up to me for my own benefit. And we can start to feel that if we come from that perspective, our listening, our reaction and our action steps will be different than before. The other aspect because part of what I hear people say like what I want everyone to know from my, you know, 10 plus decade years of working with people in healing and spirituality and natural health is that the body does not hold a grudge. And your body can need some correction and some, you know, remedial healing and coming to the table, but once you really turn towards it and you forgive yourself and your body I hear people say all the time, oh, well, I was a runner I beat up on my body, I punched my body and now my body's punishing me. That is a mind error. There might be something that's out of balance, but your body does not hold a grudge. So if you think that's the number two, my body does not hold a grudge. So if you feel like your body is holding a grudge, turning towards your body and say, "Body whatever those things were, please forgive me, I forgive myself. Forgiveness is for the purpose of giving myself freedom." If you are having pain, tension, difficulty in life, there is some holding that you are stuck with in some thing. So a lot of healing is about loosening the knots with ourselves about ourselves with what we think we deserve with our body. And just notice what happens. *MUSIC BREAK*
Leslie: What is the difference between spirituality and religion?
Leslie: Mmhmm. This is this is a big question for some people. I feel. I feel you know, it's always good to be cautious around people's religious beliefs especially Yeah, so I offer this to people you know, make a little invisible box and anything that Leslie says that just rubs you the wrong way you just put in that box and you don't have to deal with it. Take only the things that are helpful to you. So I would say that, you know, if we look up spirituality or spirit in the dictionary, even, it talks about very simply the non physical parts of ourselves. So we can call that a soul, we can call that a spirit. So in my mind and definition, spirituality is a little bit of an umbrella term, to describe the way that we understand the non physical parts of ourselves. But I would say in my worldview, that spirituality is a bit of an umbrella and religion exists under the umbrella of spirituality. Ideally, religious people, in my mind, ideally should also be spiritual people, because if you're if you're religious, but not spiritual, my mind says that you're a little more in the dogma- dogmatic kind of realm where you're just like, I just do the rules. And this is what the Bible said when really, the essence of all religions is to point us towards the essence of ourselves whether we think that's the essence of whether I'm a child of God or I am one with the universe or I am Brahman. Whatever particular viewpoint we have, the essence of that and religion is a is a cultural structure to help support people doing that work of going inwards of connecting with the divine and we always need, you know, rules and structure. So in my mind, there is not really a conflict in between spirituality and religion. Traditions are traditions for a reason. It's hard to really walk the spiritual path and the mind is very tricky in the ego. And I see too many people do what is now termed like spiritual bypass, where they just want to take some fluffy things from New Agey ness, it's all good. We're all loving light and not deal with the deeper *sound effect* underneath. And there is no spiritual tradition that I've yet to encounter that says, that's a great way to progress spiritually. *MUSIC BREAK*
YOGI MD: If I meditate, Leslie: Yeah, YOGI MD: it's quiet. And I'm making room in my mind.
YOGI MD: for bad things to happen, the devil to come in.
Leslie: Yeah, yeah. I would have to say that I think that is a mind incorrect view. And I'm saying that based on the fact that there exists contemplative Christian traditions that would also refute that. So this is really sticky territory. And someone could rightfully argue, you know, whatever position that I'm coming from, but I'll try to break it down where I'm coming from just to offer to people that within the essence of every spiritual tradition, Christian, Jewish, others, that we have to be careful as discerning human beings to evaluate for all of our spiritual traditions, is this the tradition of my experience of the Divine of Christ? Or is this also part of the structure that humans made up in the meantime?
YOGI MD: Sure, because it's such a personal subject.
YOGI MD: You always want to be so respectful of people's boundaries.
Leslie: So it might be helpful if someone is been walking a Christian path and feels particularly triggered by some of these things. You know, I offer that's why I offered the box at the beginning. If you don't like what I'm saying, put it in the box. Don't worry about it. What does Leslie know, go on with your day and feel peaceful. And you... people might be interested to check out the contemplative tradition and kind of see if there might be a different perspective coming from the Christ and Christian tradition that might be helpful for their path.
YOGI MD: Fair enough. We could talk about this for days, but I do not want to skip another juicy question.
Leslie: Okay, great.
YOGI MD: The one I love to end with.
YOGI MD: What is your personal definition of what it means to be healthy?
Leslie: Oh, great. My personal definition of what it means to be healthy is flow. There's a saying, in Chinese medicine, where there's flow just about pain, where there's flow, there's no pain, where there's no flow, there's pain. So I think to really be healthy in all levels of our life, we need to be committed to flow not just like an easy woohoo go with the flow, but to really turn towards the part of ourselves that are stuck. If I'm having physical symptoms, there's some something that's not flowing and usually there's also a mindset with that that is also stuck in solidified. My view of what it means to really be healthy and to be really on the path of self mastery is to let go of the things that I am clinging to and to really feel that I am in the river of consciousness, that life is moving through me, and I will be in healthy alignment and really aligned with my purpose, the more that I can let go and listen and be in tuned with what is versus holding and grasping or trying to brace against something.
YOGI MD: Thank you so very much for being here today. I enjoyed our conversation.
Leslie: Thank you so much Nadine, and I really I really admire your work and I hope I haven't caused too much controversy and people can feel my my love for them and and zeal for growth coming through.
YOGI MD: Is there anything else you'd like to any particular thoughts encouraging thoughts you'd like to leave us with?
Leslie: Gosh, I love I love giving things away. And if someone is listening and they have felt the curiosity about being closer with their mind body friend, I'd love to give away my audio course called, "30 days to a more grounded you" and it walks people through my three step process of how to start connecting with your body in this deeper collaborative way, which can help you with stress and anxiety or physical pain. I've had people start this and be like, wow, I wasn't even trying and I have 20% less physical pain and it's only been a week. So some interesting things can happen. I'd love to give away two of those to your listeners, however you deem is the great way to get them.
YOGI MD: Thank you for that. That is very generous. I will definitely I would definitely like to accept that gift and extend it to listeners. And I will put the links to do that in the show notes.
Leslie: Great. *MUSIC BREAK*
YOGI MD: It's winter now in the Midwest, and there will be many grey days, days that invite slowing down. It's the perfect time to embark on your inner work, as Leslie mentions. How, do you ask? We can find the answer? In the eight limbs of yoga. The eight limbs are a path to living a life of purpose. Each limb leads to the next. In brief, in Sanskrit they are yamas which are codes of conduct, niyamas which is self discipline, asanas, which are the physical practices that we typically associate with yoga, pranayama or breathwork that we typically associate with yoga, pratyahara withdrawal of the senses, dharana concentration, dhyana meditation and samhadi or bliss. You can go to the show notes for the link to read more. I would like to focus on pratyahara, going inward and away from external stimuli. It is here that we focus on our thoughts, our habits and our patterns, using an objective eye to discern that which serves us and that which no longer serves us in our lives. So, the first two listeners who email me at email@example.com will receive Leslie's generous offer of 30 days to a more grounded you course, I will announce those lucky recipients on social media. You can find those links in my show notes. Thanks for being here. See you next time. *MUSIC OUTRO*
Transcribed by https://otter.ai