I’ve been interested in the way the body works for a long time. I began massage school prompted by the desire to help stage performers, musicians, dancers and athletes have greater access to and range within their own bodies. To support them in greater self expression through their bodies and thus allow them, hopefully, to better serve their art of choice. At the time I was gently aware of the belief that our bodies connect us deeply to our inner world and are a part of communicating that world to those around us. That belief was in its gestational period, but growing nonetheless. Through almost 15 years, working with performers, athletes, yoga and dance instructors, mothers, fathers, CEO’s, administrators, travelers… in short, almost everyone… I’ve come to understand and be more and more curious about this undivided vessel. Our bodies and our emotions, our bodies and our sense of self, they are inextricably joined and influence each other.
During this past year I began studying a way of working that brings these worlds, the worlds of body and mind/emotions (so often thought of as separate), together. Hakomi Bodywork is an adaptation of a the Hakomi Method Body-Centered Mindfulness created by Ron Kurtz. It is based on a set of 5 principles; Mindfulness, Organicity, Unity, Non-Violence, and Holism and in simple terms uses mindfulness applied to both a bodywork session and to the body. It is not a technique, like deep tissue or Swedish massage, but is instead an approach to working. It allows for discovery and exploration, it helps us notice how we respond to being present in our bodies, mindful of touch and aware of the places where our bodies and minds/emotions meet. In the coming blog posts I’ll be describing Hakomi Bodywork in greater detail, sharing a little bit more about what it is and how a Hakomi Bodywork session might look. Meanwhile, having a short experience of mindfulness is easy…
We can all benefit from engaging in mindfulness practices. They calm our nervous systems, decrease stress’ effects on the body, and often create a sense of peace. You can practice this right now by sitting comfortably in a chair or on a cushion on the floor. You might set a timer for 5 minutes so that you can give your attention fully to your experience. Bring your attention to your breath. Notice what happens as you take that breath in and then out in a steady, gentle way. What do you feel in your body? You might notice a pleasant sensation as your ribcage and abdomen expand. You may feel your pulse slows down or speeds up a bit. You might have a change in temperature or feel more rooted as you sit a little taller. You might notice the pressure of your feet upon the floor or the sensation of one ankle crossed upon the other. Making no judgements about what is happening, simply notice what you are feeling. There is no right or wrong. It is just practice.
The practice of getting in touch with your self.