PP 016: Suncana Selimovic, Yoga Tune Up Teacher

In this episode, Suncana Selimovic and I discuss the importance of breathing and posture to maintain balance in your day-to-day life, athletics and entrepreneurial endeavors. We also chat about how finding a style of yoga that works for you will magnify your overall experience and results.

.@suncanabco & @thekimsutton discuss the benefits of #yoga and breathing in #smb: http://www.thekimsutton.com/pp016Click To Tweet

Episode Transcription

Kim: Well, thank you so much for joining us on Positive Productivity. This is Kim Sutton. And today, I’m thrilled to have Suncana Selimovic. Did I get that right? I’m so bad…

Suncana: You did. That’s great!

Kim: OK, great! Joining me today, Suncana, is a Yoga Tune Up teacher, and upon speaking with her a little bit further, I love that she’s a health and body nerd who helps powerful people become body smart. I would love it if you would expand on that a little bit.

Suncana: Yeah.  So, I teach, I mean, Yoga Tune Up as well as other modalities and it’s movement-based therapy basically. I work with quite a few athletes, and they like that, and they’re already very, very, very powerful. But a lot of the time, we don’t, and myself included, when I first discovered this method, I didn’t realize that there were so many things that I was doing that I thought were “easy”.  In turn, I was just compensating with my strengths instead of knowing where I should be focusing where my weaknesses were so that I could turn that up a notch and become a little bit more balanced so that I can avoid things like injuries.

And, you know, and that doesn’t just apply to athletes.  That applies to people everyday life, even those people that work out at the gym or even people that don’t. It’s overuse injuriees a lot of the timee that are the most common ones, and overuse is a compensation most of the time. So if you can’t do things evenly and you can’t… you don’t know where your body blindspots, as we call them in Yoga Tune Up are, you can’t really fix them.

Kim: Oh,and that plays right into the small business and entrepreneurial community.

Suncana: Oh, for sure. I mean so many people that I meet are so excited to do things like a quick, because when you exercise, I mean, such an influx of creativity and things like that. But then if you end up sidelining yourself because you not really figured this stuff out, and you’re not in tune with your body so you’re not body smart, you don’t know your body connections and then you sideline yourself for two weeks, it’s very hard to get back. And I mean I personally find the most creativity and all that stuff goes right down the drain when I don’t get any movement in my day.

Kim: Exactly and I’m thinking about it more and I’m loving the parallels though between knowing how to get your body in order and take care of yourself and I know that especially for the people that you’re working with, the diet needs to be good – I’m not saying that they can’t have junk days – over and proper care of themselves including sleep and all of that is coming right into small business owners and entrepreneurs as well. I cannot say that I am good, I can’t even say I’m great coz I can’t say I’m good at that.

We push ourselves so hard though, and athletes as well, when they’re trying to achieve greatness. So, they’ll overextend, not thinking about the consequences later down the road.

Suncana: Oh, 100 percent, and I mean the other really big component of Yoga Tune Up is that we have a hashtag called #selfcareshealthcare.  And it’s all about taking care of yourself and being able to down regulate and up regulate your body and create that resilience. You know when you wanna jump out of bed and go and do things, be able to up regulate yourself to go do them. And then when you want to calm down for the night and wanna have a good night’s rest, or you know you need… you’re getting a little bit of an anxiety-induced situation. Being able to down regulate when you need it so that your body isn’t in like a constant state of fight or flight where it’s just losing its shiza the entire day.

Kim: Oh, can you expand on both of those more, both the rising up and the winding down?

Suncana: Yes. So basically, you want to do, I mean, in a very simple, simple terms but obviously a lot of other things contribute, your breath is in itself is like a regulator of your body and you can down regulate or up regulate. So you have two different nervous systems. You got the rest and digest and the fight or flight.

What I find personally with athletes, entrepreneurs, all of those people, we tend to spend – Because we want to be creative and we want to be on the move and we want to do all the stuff – We tend to be in this fight or flight state all the time. And that means your body never gets that safe feeling. And eventually, that’s where, you know, things like burnout happen. Or, I mean, how many soccer players do you watch just in the middle of a field end up ripping something in their bodies that, you know, you thought like he’s done that a million times and there was nobody around them.

And that kind of the way that things happened and because we burned out our bodies and we burned out our muscles and their ability to do what they need to do. And we haven’t fixed those weaknesses, and we’ve never given them proper rest.

So then once we can teach people to use their breaths to up regulate and down regulate and connect in to things like the vagus nerve which is a big down regulator,  it creates so much opportunity for people. And then once they need the up regulation, they can then get into that fight or flight mode and get in that creativity and that movement a lot quicker than when they’re just constantly in it.

Kim:  So what would you say is the best recommendation for somebody who is in fight or flight mode in dealing with anxiety to… like, what are some immediate steps?  Do you have any that you could share with us?

Suncana: I always, I mean, all of my personal and private yoga clients, Yoga Tune Up clients, and things like that, I start most things with the breath. So your inhale is up regulating. So it makes your heartbeat speed up, and your exhale is down regulating, so it slows down your heartbeat. I mean, obviously, barring any serious complications.

And so then what I do is I try and teach people that in the morning a faster more in-in-in-breath is really a good way to wake yourself up and at night try to lengthen your exhale so it’s twice as long as your inhale right before you go to bed – barring everything functions properly – should put you in that rest and digest situation.  And I mean even before you eat, and even before, you know, just whenever you’re having downtime, make sure it’s real downtime.

And then from there, I work on things like… In Yoga Tune Up, we use Yoga Tune Up therapy balls and I work on massaging the neck and things like that and the belly as well as the big access point for the vagus nerve which is down regulating.  So, yeah, I mean those are the main things.

Connecting with your breath because so many people don’t even know when they’re breathing.  Because it happens so automatically, I always tell people that their… Your breath is your number one thing.  Your body knows once you stop breathing, you’re caput. So it will compensate in any way, shape or form to allow you to breathe. Because it wants to keep you alive. They’re so, our bodies are so resilient, especially people that sit at desks all day, everyday. You’re, you’re crunching the front of your body a lot of time. I mean, there’s proper sitting posture, but that shortens your… which is connected into your diaphragm which messes with your breathing. Yeah.

I mean, breathing, walking, variety of movements, it’s kinda what I start with with people.  And it doesn’t have to be aggressive, I mean, you don’t need to run at 20K.  Even just a five-minute walk every hour, or getting a standing desk, and switching between standing and sitting, instead of just sitting all day.

Kim: I am sitting here monitoring my breathing and trying to sit up straight.

Suncana: That’s great.

Kim: So, thank you.

Suncana:  So we’re we’re getting somewhere, right? I mean…

Kim: We’re getting somewhere, Yeah.

Suncana: And that’s what I think people really need to understand, is that you need to get in touch with your body so that you can understand what’s going on, and when there’s shift happening, you can know that something’s happened, instead of just waiting until your body has to send aggressive signals.

So, people that have really bad back pain – because they sit all day every day and they roll their shoulders forward and they’re constantly internally rotated – when you think about the amount of stuff we do, how often are the palms facing up and your shoulders back in unless you’re very mindful?  Not very many jobs.

I mean you write with your palms facing down.

You drive, most people don’t hold the steering wheel on the bottom of the steering wheel; they hold it on top. You shift gears, your palms down.

You eat, palm down.  So those are just very, very few palms up activities or jobs.

I mean, you type, palm down all the time.

So trying to reverse a little bit of that in order to get your body to function a little bit more properly because I personally didn’t understand. I mean I, I played sports and all those things growing up and I didn’t understand that. And it was mindblowing when I figured it out.  So I want to get more people to blow their minds, you know.

Kim: That’s awesome! So when do most people come to you?  Is that when they’re trying to be proactive or do a lot come after they face some type of scare and they know they need to change their life now?

Suncana: It’s kind of 50-50, to be honest. And a lot of it, to be honest is, I mean, people don’t…  Yoga Tune Up is growing rapidly, and it’s a big wide brand and awesome because it’s such a cool modality.

But a lot of people get really scared off with when you say yoga because they’ve done yoga once before, and it was just a lot of either really poofy which people don’t necessarily like. I mean I don’t mind the poofy portion of it, but there’s a time and a place for it.

And, you know, if you get into a group of professional athletes, they don’t wanna hear about their heart melting to the ground and connecting to their solar plexus chakra. They want to understand how that can affect their game and what’s gonna happen.

So either because of that reason, or there is… And I think yoga is making that shift – where we understand that not every pose is for everybody and not everything should be done the exact same way, and there’s movement things that some people just can’t do with stuff like that – but the amount of people that have gone to yoga as a result of something like back pain and then worse than this is actually shocking.

So what ends up happening is people will talk to me, and I say, you know, I teach Yoga Tune Up, and they say, “Whoa, whoa, whoa. I went to yoga already and I hurt myself.” And so then I kind of have to work in. And that’s why most of the time I say that I teach movement, because it’s a lot more user-friendly for every angle. And I mean, people, a lot of the time, stumble upon it by accident and then they realize – which is awesome because that is what I did, too, where I stumbled upon it by accident and I realized, whoa, had I continued doing stuff this way, it would have just been, I mean my body would have broken down in T minus one month. Yeah that’s kind of where it kind of comes in in both areas.

And Yoga Tune Up is getting recognized now where, actually there is some naturopaths and physios and things like that that are actually suggesting that as more of a care-after thing. But I mean it, it takes time to make that shift in the society.

Kim: I have to confess I haven’t tried yoga because I have two left feet and I can trip getting out of my chair. I’m just a natural born klutz. So I was always concerned about doing any of the poses and falling flat on my face.

Suncana: Well, there’s a lot of different approaches to that.  I mean, obviously I’m a little biased, but…

Kim: Right?

Suncana: I would still try and find a Yoga Tune Up teacher. I mean, there’s over 400 I think by this point. So we’re pretty prevalent in most areas and… in North America, anyway. And, yeah, I mean, a lot of the time I personally thought the same thing.

I mean, I ran and played sports and things like that, but you put me in like a choreographed anything and my feet are going hah-hah. And I kind of realized that that was actually a lot of lack of awareness in my feet.  And modalities like Yoga Tune Up actually try and teach you to be trained what we call proprioception, gain proprioception which is knowing where your body is in space. So if you close your eyes and you stick, you’re not in front of you, you’re not sitting there and don’t know hahaha I lost my hand, I don’t know where it is.  You know where it is. But we’re trying to do that on a smaller scale.

So even with feet we’re trying to get people to be able to spread their toes, and be able to drum through their toes, and move them around so that they understand what’s going on down there instead of just carrying your feet because that actually ends up costing you a lot more energy loss when you’re walking. So even walking can become easier by establishing the little muscle in your feet.

Kim:  Oh wow!

Suncana:  Yes it’s pretty crazy.

Kim: I would love to be a speaker someday, but, and I know that I’m not trying to not be positively productive. But I have a fear of walking up on stage and tripping, right? I think a lot of people may have that same fear. So I… I’ve honestly I already pulled up the Yoga Tune Up website so I’m going to have to take a look.

Suncana: I’m glad. Where are you located?  I might know a good teacher. Not that they’re not all good. But I just mean like ones that I personally connected with and I actually have seen their work.

Kim: I am actually near Dayton, Ohio, from southwest Ohio. not far from Columbus or Cincinnati.

Suncana: OK, I will have to get back to you on that because I want to look and see who’s in that area, and if I know anybody I’ll connect you with people going out, but I’m sure, I’m sure there’s somebody there. I mean there’s 400 teachers. And I think maybe 30 or 40 of those are not in North America.

Kim:  Right?

Suncana: Yes. So there’s, there’s got to be somebody somewhere.  If you have an Equinox, do you have an Equinox by you by any chance?

Kim: I do not.

Suncana: OK. Equinox and 24-Hour Fitness, I think, is the other one, actually run study Yoga Tune Up courses.

Kim: Oh we do have 24-Hour Fitness.

Suncana: I believe 24-Hour Fitness… it’s a newer thing for them, I believe. But, yeah, I think they run study at least once a day Yoga Tune Up courses, from my understanding.  We don’t have those in Canada.

Kim: So you said that most are in North America but I know that you’re traveling back and forth to Germany. So tell me about that, and how going back and forth is impacting both your life and those of clients in Germany.

Suncana: I am the only Yoga Tune Up teacher in Germany, which is really exciting because Jill Miller, the owner of Yoga Tune Up, just came for a huge 600-person summit in March. So the awareness of Yoga Tune Up is growing rapidly, which is wicked.

As far as myself, Yoga Tune Up ball, hah, heaven for flights. You just, I don’t end up with, because we travel so often. I always used to end up with back pain and things like that. And now that I bring my balls along and then, I mean I’m not the weird person that’s just like rolling around on Yoga Tune Up balls, and all the people are wondering what she’s squirming around in her seat for.

But I end up not having back pain, not having sciatic issues. It’s awesome. And then as far as clients and things like that so it’s a growing trend here. But it is rapidly picking up speed, which is pretty wicked, and I’m  hoping that by September next year, fingers crossed, I will be teaching the ball certification. So they have kind of two different sections of Yoga Tune Up where one is… I mean, balls are involved in all of them but not all.

But one has more focus on exercises and strengthening and things like that. And then the role model method is specifically is to do with the balls. So I’m hoping to be teaching pros and personal trainers the Yoga Tune Up, the role model method, with the Yoga Tune Up balls so….  That kind of a plan for next September. Fingers crossed.

Kim: That’s awesome! Congratulations and I wish you all the best on making that go forward.

Suncana: Thank you. Thank you. I’m excited. It’s a really exciting time to be in this field, because I think we’re making full, like, world shift towards understanding that what we’ve been doing isn’t working. So we need a little bit more awareness in our bodies.

Kim:  So how do you see mindset and yoga or Yoga Tune Up going hand in hand?

Suncana: Oh it’s huge.

I mean just empowerment all on its own bringing someone… Even like myself personally, where you know I thought I had to… T use the previous example to my feet. And then I realized that it was just lack of awareness in my feet, and lack of knowing which muscles are working and lack of proprioception.  And walking, I feel like, wow, I can actually, if I get a little bit more sliding glide between my muscles and my joints, and I get a little bit more fluid in there, I can actually run faster.

I mean, I’ve been a runner my whole entire life, but I can run faster, and without as much dead weight carrying me – like dragging me down – and it’s just so crazy because people do come in and might think, “I need somebody else to fix me.”

And once they realize that they can do their own thing, and they can fix themselves, I mean, obviously, with limitations –  there’s always gonna be use for doctors and chiropractors and PT’s and all that stuff – but within limits, having the power to within themselves feel things and change things – it creates a whole different mindset shift which is what I’m kind of after.

Kim: So I found that when I get out of my house, and I’m working on an idea, or trying to get a product out, or do anything for clients, when I’m sitting at my desk, let me back up… when I’m sitting at my desk I can get into the mind funk where everything seems blocked, and then I realize that I when I go out, and I start moving… I start getting ideas. So I have to carry a notebook with me.  But it sounds to me like participating in Yoga Tune Up would free my mind, free my body, for more.

Suncana: Yeah. Isn’t that like mind-blowing that that can actually make that much of a shift in your business? In all the things that you do? I mean being able to create both, like, I mean, we talk about it metaphorically as like creative juices, or realistically…

Our entire body is like… Just we’re what, 70 percent water or something ridiculous. So being able to get those juices flowing and all of that right, circulation where your body doesn’t have to think about, like, you know, my doctors and this is like why can’t I feel this tall, and that’s all happening on a very, very small scale. Where we don’t even realize that our body is kind of stressing out about things that we don’t understand.  And then, once you get the movement going, and once you get that blood pumping, and the lymph nodes moving, and all that stuff, you can actually end up creating a much bigger change, and a much bigger difference in your business, but then also affecting other people past that and past that, right?

Kim: That’s huge. Yeah. And this is probably not totally appropriate, but I’d have to find, you know, a little pen that I could put into my bra or something so I could write down my ideas right after class.

Suncana: I did… I do a lot of my own, obviously, classes and things like that where I do… I teach myself a class, or I kind of move where my body wants to move. I don’t necessarily go to a teacher all the time. And even this morning I did a whole… Even just a set of like a constructive arrest, like a shivasna at the end of. And that’s where a lot of you would get that super huge benefits from, is being able to actually give yourself permission to shut off. But after shivasna I kind of like popped up and was like, “Oh my god, I have 10 ideas to write down right now.”

So, yea! Have your phone right by you. Have, whatever, to get those ideas out there because actually we need more of, right?

Kim: Right. You’ve totally inspired me.

Suncana: Thank you. I appreciate that. That’s what I’m here for, whoo!

Kim: I can hear my husband thinking behind me that I should go check out the yoga studio that’s downtown in our little town.

Suncana:  Yeah.

Kim: Yeah, he said.  He already said it.

Suncana: Yes, it’s awesome. Because you’re getting so much more out of things and… You’re… Yeah…

It’s just mindblowing to me because it even still shocks me. I mean, I’ve been doing this for years and years now, and it still shocks me every time it happens. Where I’ve been blocked for maybe a day or so, and I only did, you know, like a quick movement practice form or whenever, and then I just get on my mat, and I’m like, “You know what? I’m just going to do like a full hour, not gonna pay attention to anybody else or anything else. I’m just gonna clear my mind, get myself right.”

And then right after shivasna like, “Oh, my God. Where’s my notebook? Now!”

Kim: That’s great! So, Suncana, where can people find you if they wanna work with you or to find any of your learning materials?

Suncana: I have a website – bodyconnectionobsessed.com, which is where I blog. There’s a few blogs that go up a week. I’ve got a really cool series actually, where I ask fitness professionals and health professionals to write out a day in their life and there’s like 15 or 20 entries on there. Maybe a little less. And yeah they, it’s kind of a cool thing because people… You kind of look through it, and you see health facts that you’re like, “Oh! I didn’t think of that!”

And then I also write about muscles and anatomy and things that’ll help us there. I’m coming out fairly soon with a…  like a newsletter, Core Crunch series I call it, which is going to be a lot of focus on… I mean a lot of things originate in our center. So different core activities and core exercises and awareness that aren’t in a traditional, let’s say, you know, boot camp class and things like that.

And then, January will be the release of my Soul Core program.

And yeah, I’m also on Facebook, you can always find me there and Body Connection Obsessed as well, I’m there.

Kim: Fabulous! And all these will be in the show notes.

Suncana: Yeah.  And I mean I’m just all over the social media. SuncanaBCO is my Instagram as well, because I do like pictures.

Kim: I think that will be so powerful in your industry. That would be a channel that you would definitely not want to ignore.

Suncana: Yes, exactly. Exactly.

And I mean, just in general, I just really like pictures. I’m like a serious picture hoarder. I’m that person who messages somebody when they only post four of the 35 pictures they took and I’m like, “I know they’re all probably bad, but could you send me all of them? I just wanna see.”

Kim: I love it.  Usually. I cannot say I’m the same way. I just wanna see the ones that look good.

Suncana: I mean, I’m not gonna post them. What if it’s just that other person just doesn’t look good and maybe I could crop you out…

Kim: Right? I didn’t even think about that.

Suncana: I’m just kidding. But I… I do I actually really just love pictures. I think in another life, maybe I would have been a photographer or something.

Kim: Or you can have some fun photoshopping them.

Suncana: Yeah exactly. Yeah.

Kim: And putting masks on as some people are…

Suncana: Oh I just got Snapchat as well. So that’s just another thing that I’m I’m very much in the learning stage of at. I think I mentioned earlier that I’m really, really not tech savvy.  So I’ll be figuring that out over the next few months.

Kim: That will be fun. I haven’t even ventured into that.

Suncana:  I know I see all those people with the cat ears and the dog ears and all that stuff and I wonder. But those quite a few people that I really respect and really like as far as health and fitness goes that are on Snapchat. So that’s kind of why I decided to venture into it and see what it brings.  New tidings this way comes. Haha

Kim: Right? Yea. And that same is why I tried out Periscope or am trying up Periscope, and hope to get into Facebook live soon.

Suncana: Yeah. I know I need to start doing some videos as well. That’ll come with the core crunch series.

Kim: That’s great! Well, as more comes out about the series, let me now and we’ll be updating the show notes. But for all of you listeners, you can visit TheKimSutton.com, or look below for the show notes and click through to where you can find Suncana and learn more. And I just wanna thank you so much again for joining me here today.

Suncana: Thank you so much for having me.

Kim: It’s been awesome. Yeah I’m inspired now.  I’ll go call the local place to sign up.

Suncana:  I’m super excited you’re gonna do that because I, I mean that’s what my mission is. Really is… Powerful people – like yourself – to help optimize their lives and become body smart. And, you know, just become obsessed with yourself.

There’s so many people that are looking… and this is a whole other topic but… They’re looking at, like Instagram pictures and all that stuff, and they’re like, “Oh my God. She’s so beautiful. I wish I could…”

Just get inside yourself! Work yourself out, you know? And, yeah, that’s what I want.

Kim: I think we’re gonna need to bring you back for another episode just about that.

Suncana: Just so I can rant a little bit about that, eh?

Kim: Yup, exactly.

Suncana: As I say, “eh?” So Canadian, eh? Well, thank you so so much for having me. This was so much fun.