From Surviving Trauma to Becoming a Somatic Trauma Coach and Breathwork Teacher: Interview with Nathasya Octaviane

This is an interview with Nathasya Octaviane of AKKU Holistic Health.

Hey, Nathasya. Tell us a bit about yourself and what you do.

I’m a trauma survivor who is now dedicating my life working as a Trauma-informed Somatic Practitioner, Coach, founder of AKKU Holistic Health and host of the Resilient Chat with Nat podcast.

My background is in Somatic Therapy, Clinical Trauma, Clinical Hypnotherapy, NLP, Himalayan Kundalini Yoga, Usui Reiki, Breathwork, Integrative Nutrition, Coaching, Trauma-informed Bodywork, and soon to be a Certified TRE® (Trauma Release Exercises) Provider.

I’m always continuously expanding my knowledge base in different elements of trauma healing.

I specialize in guiding others to release trauma and stress from their body, so they can safely come back home to themselves and build resilience.

Over the years, I have helped people changed their lives from illness, pain, dissatisfaction, and suppression to health, resilience, openness, clarity, compassion, awareness, and knowing themselves deeper.

I am originally from Indonesia, and over the years, I have immersed myself in different cultures. I have lived in Angola, United States, and now currently living in Spain.

I also enjoy travelling and meeting people from different parts of the world. Being exposed and immersed in different cultures have allowed me to truly open my eyes, mind and heart, and became curious about human beings & the ways of how humans interact, evolve & heal.

When I’m not doing any work-related tasks, you can find me cooking, dancing, singing, playing my guitar or piano, resting, being cozy, spending time with my husband, or playing with our cat. 

What was your life like before your healing journey began?

Before I started my healing journey, I was living in constant fear – in survival mode. I would say I was not really conscious or mindful of my actions. It felt like I had tunnel vision all of those years before. 

When I was a young child, I was raped. Then, I grew up in a toxic environment, where I witnessed a lot of fights in my household, and I was abused verbally and physically.

Despite the fact that on the outside, it looked like I had it altogether, but I really didn’t. I was a good student and involved in many activities (school activities, modelling & acting jobs in Indonesia, concerts, etc.). But to be honest, looking back at it now, those extracurricular activities, for instance, were my ways of escaping the unsafe feeling within me and unsafe home environment. 

By the age of 14, I started to have intrusive thoughts and was suicidal. But there was also a part of me that believed that there is something good out there for me. That I deserve to feel good and safe. So I fought and continued with my life, but still did not address the root cause yet.

It was until when I was 20 years old and in the middle of my University years, when everything came to the surface. The memories, feelings, emotions, and sensations.

I realized how the suppressed pain that I was carrying within me then sabotaged my relationships, studies, career, and physical health.

My immune system was so weak that I would get sick so easily. When there was a virus going around, I would get it in a snap. I felt so fragile, broken, and hopeless. My confidence level was at an all-time low. 

What made you turn to holistic health, breathwork and somatic therapy?

I turned to holistic health and somatic (body-based) therapy because I have tried it all.

I sought professional support (psychologists and psychiatrists) in 3 different countries, and I did not see or feel any shifts from traditional talk therapy and after taking psychiatric medications. I was also literally rejected by the medical world in Indonesia when I told them of my diagnosis. 

I just want to make it clear first of all that I am not here to criticize modern medicine. I respect modern medicine – it has saved me multiple times.

Additionally, I know there are some psychologists and psychiatrists out there who are truly helping others. From my experience and knowledge, we need to address an issue holistically. As a human, we are not just our mind, we are our mind, body, and soul.

I learned later on that trauma affects us emotionally, mentally, physically, spiritually, and energetically. It made a lot of sense. 

I was introduced to the holistic health world when I started to explore different healing modalities in Bali after being turned away by the psychologists and psychiatrists in Indonesia. I then started to experience some shifts within me. 

So I continued and explored different modalities from meditation, bodywork, breathwork, yoga, energy work, etc.

As I continued my healing journey, I shed deeper and deeper layers.

Working holistically and somatically have truly helped me to create a sustainable transformation and build greater resilience. It is now a part of my lifestyle because the healing continues, and honestly, I am enjoying the journey so much. I realized that I am not broken, in fact no one is.

At what point did you decide to start a business around your passions and help others release their emotional trauma?

How to Start a Home-Based Floral Business

I started my business to follow my passion and help others on their healing journey when I was actually working for a corporation that had nothing to do with the healing world.

I knew deep inside that this is what I am meant to do, and especially after receiving a message/guidance from the Divine when I was at rock bottom.

I am not going to go to explain the details of that story here. If you are interested on listening more to that story, you can listen to my podcast episode on Surviving Suicide.

But so as I was working in this other company, I would find myself crying a lot and feeling dissatisfied when I finished work. One day, my husband then asked me, “What is your passion? What is it that you would like to do?”

I answered “I just want to help people,” which is very broad. I didn’t know where to begin, nor did I have the confidence to help others. But I remembered of the guidance that I received from the Divine, and I am also thankful that my husband encouraged me to pursue my dreams.

Inspired by my own healing journey, I then enrolled myself in different practitioner training programs.

Other than that, when someone that I know would go through a break-up or any other life challenges, they would always confide in me. My enneagram type is 2w3, which means I have a passion for helping others. So in order for me to do that, I had to learn the right practices or tools to be able to help others properly.

What steps did you take first to become a coach and get certified?

From my own healing journey, I was already learning different modalities. I started with Reiki, but I didn’t really think I was going to use it for anything else other than for myself and for my family.

Then, when I started to really pursue my passion, I honestly just started writing down different job titles on what I could do.

I went on Google, searching for some inspiration. Then I landed on a program about holistic health from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition (IIN).

At that time, I have never heard of a coach before other than a fitness coach. Back then, being a trauma-informed somatic coach was not really known yet.

Even though, IIN is not specifically about healing trauma, I loved their holistic approach to healing and there were great and well-known lecturers and teachers, so I enrolled myself in the program.

Then, I also took a training in Clinical Hypnotherapy in London. From there, I started to help others – mostly with people who had chronic illness, dealing with grief, digestive, hormonal, and relationship issues. 

However, something still didn’t sit quite right yet with me. I was helping others and having great results, but it still didn’t feel completely aligned.

Deep inside I knew that I felt a strong and deeper call to help others in healing trauma, however I also felt fearful toward that idea because I didn’t feel like I could do it.

So intuitively, I continued my own healing, by doing some bodywork and breathwork. And then, I enrolled in a Himalayan Kundalini yoga training in India, which was one of the greatest decisions in my life because that was when I cracked open and shed even deeper layers of pain, trauma, and limiting beliefs.

I started to really believe in myself. After that, I started to integrate yoga in my work. Then, I continued to train in trauma-informed somatic therapy, breathwork, bodywork, and trauma release.

That was the moment when I truly felt the alignment and felt so “at home” with the practices and my work. I realized that before I was already helping others to overcome their psychosomatic symptoms, but after the continuous training in trauma healing, I was able to help my clients deeper. 

What does a somatic trauma coach do exactly?

Somatic means of the body. So I take a bottom-up approach, by working with the sensations in the body and releasing trauma, tension, stress or pain from the body.

It doesn’t mean that we forget about the mind. We would also work with the mind, to integrate the experience. Because I also have been trained in Clinical Hypnotherapy, I bring that in my work. 

I believe the way I work is very personal because I have been trained in different modalities from cutting-edge research and ancient teachings, I am also a trauma survivor, as well as clairsentient and claircognizant. So I really combine all of these different elements in my work.

I would attune to my clients and get an understanding of what they need support in, and then go from there.

I also hold somatic emotional release sessions, where I would guide my clients in a journey to understand the hidden messages in their body, release trauma or tension from their body, so they can create a deeper relationship with themselves.

If I can summarize in two words of what is it that I do, it would be ‘Building Resilience.’

What are the benefits of breathwork and do you think everyone should practice it?

woman meditating

So many benefits! It depends on what your intention is with breathwork.

Breathwork is an example of a somatic modality because it helps you to get out of your mind and into your body. It is a practice that helps to stimulate the vagus nerve, which in turn regulates our emotions.

Breathwork helps with moving stagnant energy in the body and releasing emotions. Some of the other benefits are managing stress/anxiety, quieting the chattering mind, increasing self-awareness, connecting with a deeper part of the self, improving your physical performance, increasing the capacity of your lungs, improving intuition, and strengthening your immune system.

I absolutely think that everyone who is able to do breathwork should practice it because our body has its own natural healing ability and we can accelerate this process simply by modifying our breath.

I have seen incredible results from people doing breathwork! It is so so profound. I cannot recommend it highly enough.

What do your clients struggle with the most?

Most of my clients struggle with nervous system dysregulation, which is what can happen when we experience a lot of traumatic stress, storing trauma or tension in the body, unhealthy lifestyle (including nutrition), suppressing emotions, or perhaps they never really learned how to regulate their nervous system (which is also so common).

Some signs of nervous system dysregulation could be digestive issues, compromised immune system, skin disorders, chronic pain, anxiety, panic attacks, flashbacks, chronic illness, fibromyalgia, extreme sensitivity, dissociation, hypervigilance, and more.

All of which could affect the way we perceive the world, relate with others, and function in our everyday lives. This is why in my work it is primarily about supporting the nervous system. 

What are your favorite trauma release exercises?

Hmmm…. I must say that this is a tough question to ask me. This is because each of the exercises serve a specific purpose. However, if I have to pick one, I would pick the combination of breath and bodywork or movement. It always feels so good afterwards.

How did you grow your brand as a coach and what do you offer exactly?

I’ve grown my brand by focusing on trauma-informed and somatic approach. My method is the combination of ancient and modern teachings, from both the West and the East.

I have been also involved in several speaking engagements from podcasts, magazine interviews, seminars, summits, guest speaker in different training institutes, events, and retreats. 

I currently offer 1:1 somatic coaching program, 1:1 Somatic Emotional Release sessions, membership for womxn (Somatic Sacred Womxn’s Circle), webinars, workshops, and self-paced courses.

My current self-paced courses are focused on breathwork, trauma education, and somatic practices. I’m currently working on a new self-paced course on specifically somatic practices (coming soon!).

In the near future, I will also be offering practitioner training. 

How does a day in your life go?

I always start the day by hydrating my body. Most of the time, I would drink warm lemon water with raw honey.

Then, take my supplements, have my breakfast, and follow with a personal practice (breathwork, Qi Gong, TRE®, movement, stretching, yoga, meditation, etc.).

The length of my personal practice depends on how much work I have that day. For example, if I just have 5 minutes, then I just do 5 minutes of practice. But I try to make sure to have a little bit of time to do some kind of personal practice because it really does make a difference. It’s like my dose of energy boost.

Then, I’d work, create a list of what needs my attention that day, answer emails, check-in with my clients, session preparations, go on client calls or in-person sessions, and many other things.

On some days, I would also take some time to study/train to deepen my knowledge, record a podcast episode, or receive support or a healing session from a healer, shaman, practitioner, therapist or mentor.

At the end of the day, I take time to cuddle and play with my cat named Guru, connect with my husband, and watch something funny to decompress. I love watching Friends and How I Met Your Mother – such good therapy! Not every day is perfect and goes as planned, and that’s okay. 

What are the best ways to feel safe in our bodies?

To feel safe in our bodies is something that is very personal. Everyone is so unique and has different capacities. What makes me feel safe might not necessarily feel safe for you.

It takes exploration, awareness, and guidance to know what makes a person feel safe in their body. But I believe working somatically is key.

What advice would you give to people dealing with trauma?

First, check in with yourself if you experience anything (subtle or obvious) that is getting in the way of your daily life.

For instance, self-sabotage, shame, intrusive thoughts, difficulty sleeping, extreme sensitivity, or any other psychosomatic symptoms.

I like to do this by checking in with “how am I” in every aspect of my life (e.g. in my relationships, my physical health, career, study, finance, connection with my inner self, self-worth, creativity, etc.).

Then, ask yourself if you are ready to start your healing journey. If yes, search for what kind of support is feasible for you.

I understand how scary it can be to reach out to someone and open up vulnerably. If you feel scared or anxious about getting support, I invite you to do some of your own personal research and education on trauma healing, but be careful not to get stuck in the “Google rabbit hole”.

You can read some trauma healing books (books by Peter Levine can be a great place to start) and follow some therapists/coaches/practitioners on social media to get an understanding of how you would like to approach your healing.

Also, when finding a practitioner for yourself, I believe it is less about how many letters they have after their name, but more about if you feel safe with them, as well as resonate with their approach and with how they are as a human being.

I have mentioned this previously but I truly believe when it comes to working through trauma, we need to approach it holistically because trauma affects us in all aspects (emotionally, mentally, physically, spiritually, and energetically). 

What’s next for you and your business?

Hiring more people, launching my own practitioner training and writing a book because many have asked and I’ve been feeling the called to do it since a long time.

In this interview, somatic trauma coach Nathasya Octaviane of AKKU Holistic Health shares about her journey and the power of breathwork. #traumacoaching #healingtrauma #healingjourney #breathworkbenefits #breathworkhealing #somatictrauma