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Healing Cultural Trauma: Tada Hozumi on PYP 438

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Tada Hozumi is a somatics practitioner, and one of the leaders of a movement known as cultural somatics.

Basically, cultural somatics explores how our culture influences our bodies – how we move, how we interpret reality through our senses, how we think about the relationship between mind and body.

Hozumi came to my attention due to a viral post on his blog, It was titled, “Why White People Can't Dance: They're Traumatized.”

In the piece, he argues that the colonizing, imperialistic impulse that created the category of whiteness caused physical trauma to those who were forced to give up their native culture in order to be “white.” And that trauma restricts movement, restricts expression, restricts joy.

In our conversation, which is one of the most challenging I've had as a podcast host, I asked Hozumi to guide me to an understanding of the connection between trauma and political oppression.

But not just in the obvious direction, the one in which those who are oppressed are traumatized.

Rather, I wanted to explore the idea that the pandemic of fascism, white supremacy, and denial of reality is a trauma response by those who are perpetrating it.

Modern psychotherapy views trauma as an individual experience. Your trauma lives in your nervous system, and it can be dealt with only through personal therapy. Hozumi points out how our culture, which can seem so “normal” when everyone's doing it, is actually a traumatizing force that wounds those who are on “top” as much as those who are on “bottom.”

From an Indigenous perspective, the very notion of “progress” is a blunt force trauma weapon, justifying theft of land and genocide throughout our history.

As you'll hear in this conversation, there are many false starts, and there's a lot that I wasn't able to digest. We found common ground in the reality and metaphor of “digestion” – my work helping people adopt diets that support our microbiome, and Hozumi's work empowering us all to “digest” the undigested, unrecognized, and unperceived pain that has haunted all humans for thousands of years.

I hope you'll hang in, and stay in the conversation with us.


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You CAN Change Other People!

Well, that's what Peter Bregman and I claim in our provocative book of that title.

What we really mean is, you can help the people around you make behavioral changes in their own best interests. If you think you're powerless to help people change, it's because you've been going about it the wrong way.

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Audiobook: Use the Weight to Lose the Weight

Listen to Josh LaJaunie and me narrate our latest audiobook, about how to start moving when you're obese.

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The Plant Yourself Podcast theme music, “Dance of Peace (Sabali Don),” is generously provided by Will Ridenour, a kora player from North Carolina who has trained with top Senegalese musicians.

It can be found on his first CD, titled Will Ridenour.

You can learn about Will, listen to more tracks, and buy music on his website,


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2 comments on “Healing Cultural Trauma: Tada Hozumi on PYP 438

  1. Robyn says:

    I chanced to listen to this podcast interview when I was a couple of chapters into Helen Pluckrose and James Lindsay’s brilliant book, Cynical Theories. The timing was fortuitous, because the book gave me insight into the language and worldview of postmodernism, which underpins Tada Hozumi’s approach. I think you would find Cynical Theories a valuable read.

    1. Howard says:

      Thanks for the recommendation – I definitely need some underpinnings here ๐Ÿ™‚

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