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The “Befriending Your Autonomic Nervous System Course” becomes “The Nervous System Lab”

Updated: Jul 3

The first round of my course on Nervous System Regulation was an amazing experience. Learn what happened and why the course will change its name for the second round in September.

From May 12 to June 2, I ran the course Befriending Your Autonomic Nervous System for the first time. And it was a whooping success. To be honest: I had been pretty nervous when launching the course. 

For me, it was a real adventure to offer the free introductory workshops on befriending the nervous system (you can see the recording here), and to design and offer the 4-week course. 

Some of the things I wondered about: Will people like it? Are enough people going to sign up? Will the concept work? Will I be able to get the important info and experiences across? Will the participants get something out of it? 

Is the whole thing gonna work?

I am very convinced that befriending our autonomic nervous system - understanding how it operates and influences our lives, having concrete tangible encounters with the ANS and experiencing its power firsthand, as well as developing a positive relationship with it - is tremendously helpful. The process can allow people to feel more in control, have more self-acceptance and -compassion, navigate challenges more skilfully, reduce stress and anxiety. 

I just was not sure how to pack this into a course. I did my best to prepare it well - but still, it was an experiment and I was not entirely sure, if it would work.  And then we ran the first cohort of the course with 8 participants …

And, boy, or girl, it did work!! 

I was extremely happy with how the course went. Amazed even by what was possible. And so were the participants.

What impressed and moved me most was how deep people were able and willing to go into their own self-discovery and healing work in this 4-week space. And: what a kind, compassionate, loving group atmosphere we created together! 

Before we started, several people had expressed concern - about being in a group, doing this personal work in a group and online setting …

“I will already be missing so and so, when they can’t come to next week’s session!” (participant of the course after session 1)

And then, already after the first session, one participant told me: “I will be missing so and so, when they can’t come to next week’s session”. And this was after they had met each other for the first time and only shared the two-hour experience of the first session! So already our opening session had been able to create a connection. 

Each week, I got feedback that the participants were able to apply something from the course in their everyday life. That they experienced more awareness and presence and were able to approach certain things differently.

“Dr. Sina Birkholz provided an enriching and well-founded course on how to better understand and address 'stress' caused by the autonomic nervous system. She shared effective tools and materials so that each of us could become more aware of our altered states and choose how best to return to a more manageable state. Thank you!” Janet Swartz, México

The wealth of tools and practices that we experimented with in the course became also very clear in our last session, when we took the time to consolidate everything we had learned and tried. 

Another thing stood out: for many of those who had been apprehensive of the group setting, the group proved to be the biggest resource! A community, in which they realised:

“I am not alone with my concerns and struggles. There is other people going through the same experience.  I am okay. It is okay to be where I am at. It is okay to be learning how to regulate myself better at the age of (fill in the blank ….)!” (Paraphrase of participants' feedback in the last session)

And for some people, by being held and listened to respectfully in this space, shame about how they are and feel could just melt away.

Sounds pretty cheesy and like a tearjerker? It totally was!! I was moved to tears by people’s courage and vulnerability more than once in these 4 weeks.

So to sum this up:  The first cohort of “Befriending Your Autonomic Nervous System Course” was amazing. And my gratitude and appreciation goes out to the 8 people who went on this adventure with me. To give more people the chance to reduce their stress and feel more in control, I will run a second iteration of the course in September. Inscription will open soon. You will receive the call for applications through  my newsletter. (If you have not yet subscribed, you can do so here.)

The second round of the course will take place in September, and - while at the core, the course will stay the same - there will be some changes. 

Here’s what is going to change in the next version of the course:

  1. A new name: Welcome to The Nervous System Lab!

Already during the introductory workshops, I realised that what I am offering is much more a laboratory than a course. Yes, I share some knowledge with you and a lot of practices. But primarily I will be facilitating for you to have your own experiences and dive into your own inquiries. And together, as a group, as several nervous systems that connect, we will be experimenting and testing and examining things together. So in order to reflect the experiential and experimental character, I will from now on call this format "The Nervous  System Lab”.  At the same time, all of this still happens in the spirit of befriending our ANS and ourselves.

2. There will be a German version, too!

Yes! In order to allow people to join for whom the English course was not accessible, I am offering a German version of the course. It will take place in September, on Monday evening German time. The first date is September 9. You will soon find all the info here.

3. I will integrate some new exercises and elements

The first round of the course helped me see what elements might be missing or can still be strengthened. I am also currently collecting feedback and testimonials from the participants, so I can further improve the experience. 

4. The pricing will change

In response to participants' feedback, I will adjust some aspects of the pricing. (They basically told me I was not charging enough for what I offer. And I always take my clients' feedback very seriously. 😁) So the regular price is going to change and you will have the chance to sign up early and save money with the early bird price! Prices and deadlines can be found on the website.

So... how about you? What do you want?

Are you eager to experience what the first cohort experienced? Learn how to reduce stress and feel more in control? Get to know your nervous system in a playful way that gives space to and honours your individual experience? Interact with a group of like-minded people who are willing to listen to and support each other? Find support and encouragement in the fact that you are part of a shared human experience and that we are all growing and learning (and sometimes struggling….) as we go along? Reconnect with and discover your body in a new way?

Then “The Nervous System Lab” is perfect for you! I am looking forward to seeing you in the course!

If you have any questions at all, please send me a message.

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