A Halifax yoga therapist is buzzing with excitement after receiving international recognition for her work during an appearance in the new Prince Harry-produced Netflix docuseries Heart of Invictus.
Caelin Nadin, who was featured in the August release, is a trauma-informed yoga therapist who specializes in somatic practice — an approach designed to restore calm to the nervous system by identifying the physical sensations related to a traumatic event.
During an interview with Global News Morning on Tuesday, Nadin said the opportunity presented itself after a longtime client, Darrell Ling, was chosen by Team Canada to compete in the 2022 Invictus Games, which is an international sporting competition designed to “offer a recovery pathway” for wounded, injured or sick service personnel.
“I was asked to go along the ride as the anxiety coach,” Nadin said.
She said that upon arrival, Ling was chosen to be in a Netflix series documenting the journey of six competing athletes, which was filmed during the week-long event in the Netherlands.
“I really don’t have words yet…. For him, I think it’s very special to be able to share his story. He’s very much wanting to help other people with his story.”
Ling served in the Canadian Armed Forces between 1986 and 1992.
According to a recovery story detailed on the competition’s website, Ling was diagnosed with complex post-traumatic stress and major depressive disorder due to his involvement in various military responses — including the Swissair Flight 111 crash and the 2010 Haiti earthquake.
“Darrell’s injuries contributed to further isolation and eventually homelessness,” a statement from the games’ website read.
“Determined to put his life back together, he reached out to other veterans in Canada with whom he was able to build meaningful bonds.”
Ling’s pathway to recovery eventually led him to the Invictus Games, where he competed in wheelchair basketball, archery and indoor rowing.
Nadin said observing these veterans overcome certain challenges to experience athletic success continues to give her an “inspirational, heartfelt, warm, amazing feeling.”
“There’s just nothing that stops these people. It really gives you a sense of, ‘OK, wait, I can do anything too,'” she said.
One of Nadin’s main tasks during her time across the pond was to help her client overcome certain anxieties related to larger crowds.
In reference to some behind-the-scenes footage showcasing her coaching methods with her client, Nadin admitted that “it may not seem quite clear to some people that watch exactly what we’re doing” but said her anxiety-reducing process was all “a part of the plan to stay focused.”
She describes her therapeutic style as “bottom-up processing” that starts with the body as opposed to the mind.
“When you go into talk therapy, you’re processing from the story. We don’t go into the story … we focus on what’s happened in the body and the nervous system as a result of the trauma,” she said.
“Your body still feels that it’s under threat, even though the trauma’s passed.”
In addition to her experience as a somatic support coach during the games, Nadin also indulged in a royal feast during her time in the Netherlands.
“Prince Harry is a sweet guy. He sat down with us for a Team Canada breakfast,” she said, as her website notes the Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle, was also present for that meal.
“We just more recently had a chat with him over a conference call. He’s a very, very nice guy.”
The five-episode Netflix series was released on Aug. 30.