Episode 41: About overcoming trauma, with Obi Ndefo

On August 17, 2019, Obi Ndefo was loading organic groceries into the trunk of his car on Beverly Boulevard in Los Angeles when a drunk driver swerved and hit his body directly from behind. He miraculously survived the collision, but had to have both his legs amputated just above the knee.

As an actor and a yoga teacher, this sudden trauma completely changed Obi’s life. But he’s made a remarkable recovery, as a result of the ability to soften and accept, and also to strengthen his body and spirit. Now, as we all struggle with the challenge of a worldwide pandemic, Obi offers his voice to share how to accept the things we cannot change.

Listen here on Apple Podcasts.

Listen here on Spotify

Want to practice speaking your truth beyond listening to the podcast? Check out the Speak Your Truth Membership Community HERE!


Show Notes:   


  • 0:00 - 07:25 - Welcome with Obi and Elissa. This moment is intense but also natural in the scope of human history on planet earth. So let’s choose love.
  • 07:25 - 16:28 - Obi’s story about life overall, and also the auto collision that happened on August 17, 2019 that severed his legs.
  • 16:28 - 21:12 -  Obi talks about how he’s been integrating and accepting his new reality.
  • 21:12 -  - Why humans dissociate during trauma. And how acceptance can help us re-associate.
  • 30:10 - 41:48 - Our Speak Your Truth check in, and the importance of having a sense of purpose in our work.
  • 41:48 - 43:21 - The serenity prayer, but with an important word added to it: God grant me the serenity to accept and embrace the things I cannot change, courage to change and embrace the things I can, and the wisdom to know and embrace the difference.
  • 43:21 - 46:45 - Obi answers what it means to him to speak his truth.
  • 46:45 -  - On the topic of energy: The five vayus in yoga describe how energy enters and leaves our body. Udana is the energy that leaves our body going up, which includes breath, emotion, and voice. As humans, we each have our own unique vibration, like a musical instrument. Treat your body like a temple.
  • 53:00 -  - On the topic of depression and anxiety… they are indicators of what we need to accept and embrace. It is our resistance that creates our greatest suffering.
  • 1:01:10 - What Obi’s working on now: fundraising with his gofundme campaign to get prosthetic legs, and his television show “Juice Bar.”


First and foremost, please consider supporting Obi’s gofundme campaign to help him get his prosthetic legs. You can do so here, and it’s also the best place to get in touch with Obi: https://www.gofundme.com/f/obi-ndefo-lifeline-organized-by-his-family

Some coverage about Obi’s story from CBS Inside Edition, Spectrum News/Los Angeles Times, and Yale School of Drama.

In case you didn’t know what I was talking about with Violet in Willy Wonka, she blows up like a blueberry. 🔵

Obi mentioned John Lennon’s Imagine. Also a great thing to listen to, always. ☮️

Here’s some more information about the five vayus in yoga, which include prana, apana, and udana.

This is the article Obi referred to in the NY Times in 2010 called “Depression’s Upside.”

If you need to rock out to Eye of the Tiger (the Rocky theme), here you go. 🤟👅


For more info about the podcast and how to join the Speak Your Truth Membership Community, visit www.howtospeakyourtruth.com.

As a member of the Speak Your Truth Membership Community, you get:

  • Enrollment in the How To Speak Your Truth online course,
  • A monthly live online group coaching session with Elissa to practice using the “how to speak your truth” model,
  • A monthly interactive recording of the coming month’s solo podcast episode,
  • Weekday warm ups to practice embodiment and expression, 
  • Exclusive behind the scenes footage of the podcast each week,
  • Astrological insight on the new and full moons, 
  • And access to the membership forum where you can share your experiences and get feedback. 

Learn more and sign up at www.howtospeakyourtruth.com.


Production Credits:

Our Editor is Sean Brennan

Our Graphic Designer is Laura Sills

Our Photography is by Sophie Mathewson

And our theme song is “Waters of Body” by Strange Weather


Please note that Amazon links in the show notes are connected to the Voice Body Connection Associates account. All other partner links are acknowledged. Thank you for supporting the podcast! 


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