Episode 50: About taking action, with Elissa

podcast Jul 09, 2020

The Bhagavad Gita says “established in being, perform action.”

Nike says “just do it.”

Do we trust ancient knowledge? Do we trust the corporations? How do we make sense of all these messages, and how are we as human beings meant to take action?

This month on the podcast we're exploring action as a theme. In this solo episode, we’ll turn to yogic knowledge and polyvagal theory as a lens for understanding “right” action. And we’ll discuss how this knowledge can help us change and dismantle systems that are oppressive and irrelevant.

Listen here on Apple Podcasts.

Listen here on Spotify

Listen here on Stitcher.

Want to practice raising your voice and speaking your truth beyond the podcast? Check out the Voice Body Connection Membership Community HERE.


Show Notes:   


  • 0:00 - What the Bhagavad Gita - a seminal text of yoga - has to say about action. Yogastah kuru karmani: Established in being, perform action. Karma = action.
  • 08:11 - How this ties into putting on your own oxygen mask first.
  • 08:45 - What does it mean to establish yourself in “being?” This ties into the concept of yielding we’ve spoken about before on this podcast. 
  • 10:20 - An introduction to Polyvagal Theory and how it ties into all of this. We describe the polyvagal ladder.
  • 17:00 - “Established in being” is referring to a regulated nervous system state. When we’re in that state, we have the capacity to be adaptive and perform right action in the world. 
  • 19:24 - How can we take ownership for the impact or results of our actions? This is an especially important question to consider as we dismantle white supremacy. We’ll use the example of accidentally stepping on someone’s toe.
  • 21:40 - “We have to center ourselves to de-center ourselves.”
  • 23:17 - Elissa shares the story of her interaction with “the car girl:” a personal example where another person used the vulnerability she had shared against her. What’s necessary to say? What’s not necessary to say? What’s right action with our words?
  • 25:25 - The reason it’s so useful to slow down is so we have time to regulate our nervous system.
  • 31:40 - Nike told us to “Just do it.” This creates systems that are hastily made and not sustainable. For instance, the document organization on Elissa’s computer currently… 
  • 36:18 - For the record, transcending beyond all human experiences is also not right action. We are here on planet earth because we’re meant to be relevant. There is action to take. 
  • 37:56 - Taking it back to the Bhagavad Gita and Krishna and Arjuna. There was violence. There is violence on the planet now. The world needs us to take care of ourselves so we can stand up to this violence. The world needs our voices. The pathway to liberation in our current era - kali yuga - is to use our voice to speak our truth. 
  • 43:17 - An end of episode Voice Body Connection process check in.


That line: “Yogastah kuru karmani… Established in being, perform action” is Chapter 2, verse 4 in the Bhagavad Gita As It Is, which I read from again at the end of the episode. 

Here’s that karma pop song I mentioned, “Karma” by Kristina Maria.

Here’s the February episode of this podcast, About yielding, that I mentioned.

Stephen Porges is the researcher who first named and described polyvagal theory. 

The polyvagal theory “ladder” I described was created by Deb Dana. Read her Beginners Guide to Polyvagal Theory here and I also highly recommend her book The Polyvagal Theory in Therapy.

This is my friend Tyrone’s post about centering yourself in order to de-center yourself

I love this explanation of the Buddhist Gates of Speech.


For information on how to join the Voice Body Connection Membership Community, visit www.voicebodyconnection.com/community.

As a member of the Voice Body Connection Membership Community, you get access to:

  • Live voice and movement warm-ups led by Elissa (twenty minutes each 4x/week),
  • A monthly live online group coaching session to practice using the Voice Body Connection process,
  • A monthly Community Concert, including sing-a-longs and opportunities to share your voice,
  • A monthly live recording of the coming month’s solo podcast episode,
  • And exclusive behind-the-scenes videos with every guest.

Learn more and sign up at www.voicebodyconnection.com/community.


Production Credits:

Our Editor is Sean Brennan

Our Photographer and Graphic Designer is Laura Sills

Our Videographer is Miguel Garzón Martínez

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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