The human body exists in motion. Even when we channel stillness, the pulse of the breath has its own rhythm. Circulating life and energy throughout.
All movement, from the smallest of gestures to the wildest of dance moves, are a celebration of life and an expression of the natural flow. Bodywork is one of the ways that I move with my body - and invite movement into the bodies of my clients. I like to think not only about moving muscles and bones but also accessing the fascia, inviting the connective tissue to stretch and expand.
I’ll be leading a weekend workshop at the end of this month that will bring more of the dynamic elements into the framework of Esalen Massage. Many of these techniques have their base in Table Thai but Tom and I bring our background of Structural Integration, incorporating the stretches with applied pressure.
All and all, it promises to be a weekend of fun and an opportunity to explore some of the signature Esalen moves, but with a different focus. I'm excited to work with Tom again and all of the students who join us.
It strikes me as very important that February, the month of love and connection, follows January, the month of new beginnings. The moments I share with my students, friends, lovers, are a perpetual beginning. It's my intention to walk into those sweet encounters openhearted and fully present.
The practice of intentional touch, through bodywork, is the ultimate expression of meeting another person with presence and intention. I believe that to be true for both the giver and receiver. Touch is not an individual art. It requires the openness and trust of two people.
Bodywork nourishes the connection between Being and Body - it allows two people to explore and celebrate the sacredness of the body and heart - and often allows entry into a space beyond the boundaries of the physical, the realm of the spirit.
Each and everyone of us has the potential to share in the nourishing experience of touch through bodywork. And what fun it is to find the gift of each other's unique Being and expression! This kind of deep connection, as with other forms of intimacy, can bring up insecurities and fears. I invite you to find your own sense of natural resilience. Show up for yourself, embrace each part of you with the openness and presence that you would extend to another person.
I just finished an Advanced Esalen Massage Workshop! The experience got me thinking about what it means to be doing "advanced" work. There are lots of ways to distinguish an experienced bodyworker, but the clearest indicator of skill, in my opinion, is the use of the pause.
A massage session is a compilation of various textures created with hands, forearms, fists, knuckles and a variation of pressure . These distinct sensations are woven together in a dynamic choreography by the practitioner. A seasoned Massage Practitioner will know that there's another texture, the texture of rest, that is as valuable to the healing benefit of bodywork as any massage stroke
(if not more so). The rest is the moment in which the mind of the receiver can 'drop in' to the experience, making deeper contact with their selves. The pauses cultivate energetic awareness and allows the massage to have an impact beyond the realm of the physical.
The advanced practitioner is truly an artist, carefully selecting the moments of silence and interspersing them with dynamic movement. It can take years to cultivate inner stillness and confidence to allow the experience to unfold without attempting to rush it. Even though I've been practicing for nearly two decades, I find that it's a constant practice to find my grounded-center and remember that I don't have to be constantly 'doing something' during a massage. To draw a metaphor from music - it's moments of silence, the space in between the notes that really brings the soul of the song to life.
I encourage you to play with the pause (both in your massage sessions and in the rest of your life). - You'll find that those intentional breaks will add a layer of meaning to your work.
Speaking of breaks, I'm still working hard on the 'self-care' guidelines for my students. If you have any thoughts or contributions, please email me 'firstname.lastname@example.org'
Wishing you all love,