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Empowering Holistic Healing For Lasting Transformation – Exclusive Interview With Georgia Kostopoulou

Georgia Kostopoulou is an integrative somatic practitioner & health coach. Through a holistic approach that integrates mind and body, Georgia empowers individuals to discover their innate healing potential and experience lasting transformation. She understands the profound impact of feeling depleted and the frustration of navigating seemingly endless treatment options with limited results. Years of dedicated research and exploration of diverse protocols and healing modalities fueled her commitment to guide others towards a path of unveiling the root causes of chronic illness and unlocking their healthiest life.


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Georgia Kostopoulou, Integrative Somatic Practitioner & Health Coach


Introduce yourself! Please tell us about you and your life, so we can get to know you better.


Hello everyone! I'm Georgia Kostopoulou, a Greek-born wellness enthusiast who's called the US home since 2012. My fascination with somatic work began young, fueled by my background in dance and exploration of yoga and other healing practices.


My own journey of healing ignited a passion to guide others through transformative somatic experiences. My mission? To help you harmonize mind, body, and holistic well-being. My diverse background in dance, bodybuilding, personal training, yoga, somatics, breathwork, and more allows me to create a unique approach for each client.


I'm passionate about empowering individuals to discover their healthiest and most authentic selves through the power of their bodies. Alongside my husband, I run a gym where we train clients using this philosophy. Beyond the gym, you might call me a "wellness nerd!" I relish delving into the science of nutrition & supplementation, exploring different movement practices, and uncovering new healing modalities. My belief: by regulating your nervous system, you unlock the potential to transform your life.


When I'm not guiding clients, you'll likely find me curled up with one of my four beloved cats. My personal quest for knowledge extends beyond my professional work. I've dedicated years to self-study in astrology, somatic psychology, and anything that expands my understanding of holistic health.


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What inspired you to start The Soma Rising, and how has your personal healing journey influenced your approach?


The inspiration behind starting The Soma Rising was born from my own transformative healing journey. Having experienced chronic symptoms and the impact of holistic practices firsthand, I became deeply passionate about the potential for the body to heal itself.


This journey led me to explore various disciplines such as yoga, meditation, breathwork, various types of energy healing, vagus nerve retraining, and somatic exercises, each offering unique insights into the mind-body connection and holistic healing.


My personal healing journey has significantly influenced my approach at The Soma Rising. It taught me that western medicine did not help me, in fact made things worse. the importance of integrating multiple modalities to achieve overall well-being. I realized that true health is not just about physical fitness but also about nourishing the mind and soul. This realization drives my commitment to helping others find their healthiest, most authentic selves through a balanced and holistic approach.


At The Soma Rising, I blend my extensive knowledge and experience to create personalized programs that address the unique needs of each individual. My goal is to empower people to harness the power of their own bodies, transforming their lives by bridging the gap between mind, body, and holistic healing. This mission is at the heart of everything we do, inspiring a supportive and transformative community for all who join us on this journey.


Can you explain how your somatic and trauma-informed practices differ from traditional therapy methods?


I get this question a lot! Somatic and trauma-informed practices integrate the body and nervous system into the healing process. The somatic approach acknowledges how trauma can be stored in the body and uses body-centered techniques to release it. Talk therapy is great for cognitive understanding, but it does not always help us change the way we feel in the midst of a trigger. Somatic healing works from your body up, whereas talk therapy works from your head down. This doesnʼt mean your brain wonʼt be working hard in somatic healing, but it will be doing a different kind of work. We still needs to talk together to establish what we are looking at and track what we notice in our body, but the focus will be on the feelings rather than the thinking.


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What are some common challenges your clients face, and how do you help them overcome these issues?


Many clients struggle with constant stress, anxiety, unresolved trauma, chronic pain, sleep issues, dissociation, self-acceptance, shame, relationship challenges, digestion issues, and overall disconnection from the body.


My approach is built on compassion and personalized for your unique needs. I work with each individual client's needs to integrate your beliefs, values, and strengths to cultivate a strong mind connection.


Through a combination of top-down (mindset work) and bottom-up (nervous system regulation) tools I help them reconfigure the neural pathways that have formed due to unresolved emotions from the past.


What advice would you give to someone just beginning their journey towards healing and self-discovery?


This is what I would also tell myself when I started my healing journey…


You've journeyed from competitive bodybuilding to holistic coaching. How does this unique background inform your approach to women's health today?


My experience in bodybuilding pushed my body to its physical limits. However, polyvagal theory helped me understand that true health goes beyond physical performance. The constant state of fight-or-flight activation from intense training can actually hinder overall well-being. Today, I use this understanding to guide women towards activating their ventral vagus nerve pathway, promoting feelings of safety and social connection. This allows them to build a more sustainable and holistic relationship with their bodies. ˮ


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Our nervous system impacts everything from stress to sleep. What are some common nervous system dysfunctions you see in women, and how do you help them achieve regulation?


The nervous system plays a crucial role in women's well-being. Chronic stress can lead to burnout, sleep disturbances, and difficulty managing emotions. I often see nervous system dysregulation in women juggling work, family, and personal demands. My approach combines techniques like breathwork, meditation, and somatic exercises to help them activate their relaxation response and cultivate nervous system resilience. ˮolyvagal theory provides a framework for understanding how chronic stress impacts the nervous system. Constant demands on women can lead to a dominance of the sympathetic nervous system or a state of shutdown via the dorsal vagus nerve. My approach uses breathwork, meditation, and somatic exercises to activate the ventral vagus nerve, promoting feelings of safety and social connection. This fosters nervous system resilience and allows women to navigate stressful situations with greater ease. ˮ


Why is the nervous system so important in your practice?


The nervous system affects all functions in the body. It acts as the master communicator, linking our thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations.

 

Traditionally, there's been a focus on trauma as a purely mental issue. I myself used to think the physical manifestations of trauma were a bit "woo-woo."


However, my understanding has evolved. There's a common misconception that trauma is just about major, life-altering events. In reality, it can be anything that overwhelms our nervous system's capacity to cope. This could be a bad breakup, chronic stress, or even childhood experiences we may not consciously remember.


Trauma isn't about the event itself, but rather how it impacts your ability to function afterward. Your personal perspective shapes your experience. You, not someone else, get to define what constitutes trauma for you.


Now, when we experience trauma, the amygdala (our fear center) and prefrontal cortex (involved in decision-making) become heavily involved. This can actually alter our perception of future events and influence our decision-making processes.


How do we know if chronic tension is emotional and not physical?


Chronic pain, particularly lasting beyond 3 months, can often have emotional or physical or a combination of origin. Let's explore some common signs: persistent fatigue, bloating, and morning facial puffiness. These can be indicators of a dysregulated nervous system with an underlying emotional component.


Additionally, worsening anxiety, startled responses, sleep disturbances (difficulty falling asleep or frequent nighttime awakenings) can all be red flags. Another clue might be a tendency to stay up late scrolling. While it seems like a time to de-stress, this late-night habit can actually be a coping mechanism for unresolved emotional issues.


Physically, we might see chest pain, muscle tension concentrated in the shoulders and neck, jaw clenching, and a rounded-shoulder posture. These are all potential signs of holding tension related to unresolved emotions.


So, how do we differentiate between pain from injury and trauma-related pain? Occasional pain episodes are generally not cause for major concern. However, when the pain becomes a persistent pattern and routine, it's important to explore whether there might be an underlying emotional component contributing to the physical discomfort.


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