I began my yoga journey quite reluctantly in 1998 at the subtle encouragements of a friend who thought I might enjoy how yoga helps with inner relaxation. I took my first yoga class at a gym in Las Vegas(where I am from), all the while watching the other bodies of the women and comparing myself to them(very common in beginning yoga), then the yoga instructor led us much deeper in the yoga pose' Savasana -A full mind body relaxation meditation at the end of class. This is when I knew wholeheartedly my new path had been given to me. I walked out of the class never having felt so relaxed and at peace in my life up to that point. Time slowed down, everything was more vibrant and I felt at home in myself, finally. I went right to my friend and hugged him with deep gratitude because I knew he had given me blessings by offering me a pathway to be deeply responsible for my own inner peace, happiness and relaxation, all from within myself.
My approach to yoga is from a mixture of yoga styles, yoga teachers and yoga study. However my main yoga teachers have been from the Iyengar/ Hatha perspective of a slower meditative style of yoga, with a focus on safe/comfortable body alignment, grace and fluidity. The slower type I teach is where one can really hook into the deeper layers of the mind/body and unwind our own subtle life force energy from there. Yet when we are truly present in life...Our teachers are everyone and everything From the person in front of you, to the trees, to the sky, to the birds, to the insects. Everything in the universe is a teacher for us to be deeply aware and present to how amazing we are and how wonderful the universe is.
My intention in practicing yoga and thus teaching yoga is the total mind/body surrender to a life path meditation of being deeply mindfully aware in every moment. Aware of what my thoughts are, what my heart space is feeling..and how my body is moving in relation to that. This deeper presence is where we learn to stretch in to a yoga pose(or life) with blissful awareness, grace and presence. So being this aware of mind flow also helps us consciously choose how to react and then stretch into any situation in life with presence and awareness. This is so we connect with the divine flow of peace and ease available in every moment. That is yoga. Unity of mind body and spirit.
I teach people how to listen deeper within and honor that inner guidance for becoming more aware to the beautiful garden that resides in all of us. It is simply a shift in focus and inner consciousness that can awaken us to whole new worlds inside of ourselves.
I truly believe that anyone can practice yoga. Yoga is not about who is most flexible or a competition, rather it is about being with yourself. your mind/body...learning it, loving, moving with it..in whatever "life pose" you are in. This could be washing dishes, or doing a simple stretch of the arms/shoulders while sitting in a chair,(chair yoga)...or doing an 'advanced' pose like the yoga back bend I am doing in the picture on my website.
Either way yoga is about accepting your mind/ body with where it's at in the moment...and stretching or not stretching into yourself, your life from there. Our own minds are what we compete against, there is no reality to the perfection of a yoga pose or oneself, for perfection is an illusion. It's all about feeling, feeling with presence your deepness, feeling your muscles, feeling your own inner shine! And then helping others do the same.
Many yoga teachers focus on outer strength...my yoga focus is on inner strength and grace evolving into outer strength...and what that 'strength' is?
Therapeutic Massage for CouplesIn the Massage and Yoga Sanctuary in Redding where I have a massage office, both men and women come into buy massages for their significant others. The intent of these gifts are wonderful. The significant others are always grateful. However, there are times in massage sessions where a client will say, “I wish my husband or wife could massage me the way you do“ . They say, “you have this way of connecting to my body that my partner does not“. Those comments illustrate what is often times missing between many couples- a deeper, loving, physical connection.
Because they want that level of connection with each other, many couples are requesting that I teach them how to massage each other. There is a deeper message that is being communicated to me from couples, not just male and females couples either, all variation of couples, gay or straight. Women tend to receive massage more, so for their men I teach them that one of the greatest gifts they can give their woman is the magic of being a man who gives touch and massage with the intent of having her feel good, all without wanting sex after wards. This intent can apply to any variation of couple. It’s simply genuine intent and open heart space that people wish to feel, whether they are consciously aware of it or not. This is why professional massage feels so good. Many of us massage therapists have trained ourselves with that level of intention and presence. I teach clients that giving your partner loving, therapeutic touch is much less expensive(and more fun) than buying “things” like an expensive dinner or flowers, especially if funds are limited.
Lately, stress levels for so many are higher than ever. For couples though, during high stress times, the physical, intimate connection is what often times gets neglected first. Luckily now in society it is becoming widely accepted that therapeutic massage and touch are ways to decrease stress levels. Loving, therapeutic touch can always be available between two people. The benefits of massage are infinite; physiological, emotional, and physical. In addition the boundless loving energy that can be exchanged between two people is amazing. Everything is linked. The mind/body are one, when you affect one area, you always affect the others. Here are just a few of the benefits of massage; A physiological benefit is that touch releases serotonin in the body, and serotonin is the “feel good” chemical. This connects right to the emotional benefit of touch, it feels good, it brings happiness. The physical benefit when the body is touched, is that muscles will relax, thus decreasing tightness. This decreases pain in the body. It’s always a cyclical effect.
Clients will say to me, "I can’t massage my partner because I don’t have strong hands or my partner just doesn’t know how to get to those tight spots." There are ways to train oneself so those problems do not affect the level of connection between a couple. The real goal is staying connected with the intent of love and presence, because energy goes where thoughts(intent) flows. You can have tiny hands and still give an excellent massage.
Like I mentioned above, nothing beats getting a high quality therapeutic massage. You get presence, experience, plus the breadth of knowledge of a professional massage therapist. All this, without having to give back. You lay on the massage table and drift off into dream land, trusting that the massage therapist will attune to you, your body and give you the love and focus you need. If you have a truly skilled massage therapist, then he or she will know the power of giving massage from an open heart. You can sense in anyone’s touch what their intent is. The warmth of their heart will flow through their hands.
Imagine that you and your partner have all those qualities. It is possible. This is where intent comes into play. In your mind’s eye imagine how wonderful it feels receiving loving, therapeutic touch from a trusted partner. You can still drift into dream land. Trust that your partner is giving to you because they want to make you feel good and you don’t have to give back. Then practice giving touch to them the same way.
There are many skills and techniques one can learn to give excellent therapeutic touch for helping each other de-stress and relax. First though it really comes down to heart space with the ebb and flow of giving and receiving. Like I said, energy flows where intent goes. If you want to make your partner feel good, then your partner will feel good. This open heart space coupled with communication are keys for navigating the art of giving and receiving.
Especially during stressful times, staying lovingly connected is one of the most important things we can do for each other. This loving connection replaces material things. Plus that abundant energy is returned to us in profound ways. Next time you are stressed, maybe just let that stress go. Focus with your partner on giving and receiving therapeutic touch. You might be surprised at how it can relax both of you.Please check out my website for more information!