body awareness

Bodywork x Guarantees

When it comes to bodywork, I don’t make results-based promises. Clients often tell me about their symptoms, then ask if working with me will ‘fix’ it or make it go away; and, the truth is, I can’t say for sure!

It’s natural to want to know what we’re getting, especially when it comes to how we’re spending our money. And guaranteeing that I can fix your specific body complaints is probably more appealing, from a marketing perspective, than saying “I’m not sure.”

But I’ve been doing bodywork for long enough to know that, when it comes to living bodies, we can’t truly know. Every person is unique. There are so many variables — genetic traits, past experiences, habits, learning preferences, thoughts & beliefs — that affect how our bodies process bodywork and what is possible in the span of one session (or ten!)

What I can offer is this: an experience. I am here, not to fix you, but to help you experience your body in a different way.

In the process of learning to experience your body in a different way, a lot can happen:

  • Unprocessed sensations might come to the surface; some of them might be uncomfortable

  • You might struggle, or feel challenged or frustrated

  • Your body complaint might persist for longer than you think it should

  • You might learn a posture or movement pattern that resolves your body complaint, but you don’t like the way it looks

  • You might be self-conscious or feel unfamiliar to yourself for awhile

You also might:

  • Awaken to new sensations in your body that feel good & supportive

  • Learn new ways of moving & carrying yourself that help you feel strong, adaptable, & resilient

  • Resolve your pain & discomfort

  • Become more self-aware, realized & confident

I think it’s important to be honest with folx about what they’re entering into. Because, while I wholeheartedly believe in the life-changing power of this work, it’s ultimately up to you to decide if the potential benefits are worth the potential challenges.

Pain x Thoughts & Beliefs

I meet a lot of people who suffer from chronic pain. Most of them have been to chiropractors & PTs & other bodyworkers, and have been told the root of their pain is biomechanical — it’s a slipped disc, or a tight psoas, or ‘bad’ posture.

But here’s the truth about pain: all pain is in the brain. Even when the cause of the pain is obvious, like a burn on your skin, it’s still your brain that is producing the experience, not your skin (or even the nerves in your skin).

Because pain comes from the brain, there are a lot of factors that influence our experience of pain, like our thoughts & beliefs and our overall sense of safety. Some things we do with our mind that that make pain worse are:

  • Obsessing over it • Every time we think the same thought about our pain, repeat the same movement that makes it hurt, or focus exclusively on the part of our body that hurts & ignore what feels neutral or good, we are deepening the habitual groove for that pain experience, creating a self-fulfilling prophecy.

  • Believing we’re broken • When we believe that our pain is incurable or unavoidable (i.e. “my back hurts because I have a slipped disc” or “my knees hurt because I’m getting too old/fat”) it can elicit feelings of fear or hopelessness, which shuts down our ability to be curious, creative & resourceful about resolving the issue.

  • Fearing it • Feeling fearful about how ‘damaged’ we are activates our stress response, which can make pain worse (or, at least, reduce our ability to cope with it.) Also, when we protect or ‘baby’ the spot that hurts because we’re afraid to move it, we rob ourselves of one of the best pain medicines — movement!

  • Ignoring it • When the stress & discomfort of pain becomes overwhelming, our reflex might be to dissociate, numb, or distract ourselves from it. This can provide temporary relief when we need to focus our attention elsewhere, and it’s sometimes necessary if we’re to avoid obsessing. But ultimately, whether there’s tissue damage or not, pain is a message that something in our body needs our attention.

Rather than obsessing, fearing, or ignoring our pain, we can resolve it by staying present, open / non-judgmental, & curious, and by trusting our body’s inherent wisdom.

How to Exercise Smarter & Not Harder

There is a way of exercising that I KNOW will improve the way your body feels & functions. It doesn’t involve a bunch of repetitions, heavy weights, or intense cardio — you don’t have to break a sweat at all, if you don’t want to.

What it does require is a lot of presence, curiosity, & patience. I often refer to this way of moving as Mindful Movement or Intuitive Movement because it’s all about the relationship between body+mind.

The ‘old way’ of exercising says that more is more — more weight, more reps, more speed, more intensity = healthier body & less pain. But it doesn’t always work like that. Yes, movement is medicine; but some of the most active people I’ve met have terrible chronic pain.

It’s because our bodies are complex, alive & intelligent. And if we want our bodies to feel more vital & healthy, we need to tap into this innate intelligence. We don’t do that through rote repetition. We don’t do that when we’re moving so fast or pushing ourselves so hard that we’re completely checked out, just counting reps & waiting for it to be over with. We do it by:

  • sloooowwing down,

  • paying attention to what we feel,

  • getting curious about our sensations, and

  • mixing up / refining our movements

I’m a big believer in using mindful movement to cultivate greater mastery over our bodies! I teach this to my clients to help them overcome pain & discomfort and improve their overall energy. If this is something you’re interested in exploring, click here to see what it might look like to work together.

How to Regulate Anxiety

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Lots of people think of anxiety as a mental thing — negative self-talk, ruminating thoughts, catstrophizing... But that’s only part of the story — anxiety is at least as much a bodily experience as it is a mental one.

I don’t know about you but, when I’m having a full-blown anxiety attack, thinking ‘nice thoughts’ is usually not enough to calm me down. When my body is really activated, I need to address it directly. And science has confirmed my personal experience — emulating a calm state in the body can help the entire nervous system to settle down. Here’s how to do it:

  • Exhale completely • Deep breathing is often recommended to folx experiencing anxiety. But rather than hyperventilating or exaggerating your inhale (which can exacerbate anxiety) try starting with a complete exhale; then relax your torso and allow your lungs to naturally refill before exhaling completely again.

  • Use your Peripherals • When our defenses are activated, our vision naturally becomes very focused & vigilant; so shifting our perspective to be wider & more-relaxed imitates & reinforces a relaxed state.

  • Relax your muscles • Most of us have a tendency, when we’re anxious, to tense up in our face & jaw, shoulders, back, hands, and even our legs & feet; we can help to reverse the anxiety by consciously relaxing our muscles.

  • Notice that you are safe • Point out things you see, hear, & feel around you — the furniture in the room, the fan, the ground beneath you... Noticing that we are physically in a safe environment helps bring us out of the anxiety storm and into a state of feeling safe, which calms our nervous system.

  • Smile • Smiling has been shown to reduce our heart rate and release feel-good brain chemicals. For me, this is most helpful once I’ve neutralized a bit from crisis mode; it helps me shift from a neutral state to something more positive & optimistic

Rolfing x Integrity

Rolfing x Physical Integrity

Throughout our lives we develop all sorts of habits, patterns, & coping mechanisms that show up in our bodies, in the ways that we move & carry ourselves.

Habits are born from our body+mind’s natural drive to be energy efficient. But when we lean on habits that are unhelpful, ineffective, or outdated, we end up wasting energy.

In a Rolfing series, we try to help you intrinsically unlearn old habits & patterns that aren’t serving you and, instead, to practice moving from your center.

When you start feel how the different segments of your body relate to one another through your center, you can begin to move & carry yourself with integrity — all segments integrated & working together.

If you aren’t already moving in this way, it’s because your energy-efficient, safety-oriented body+mind recognizes how difficult & scary it is to explore something new. And it believes you’re better off sticking with what you know, even though it may not ideal.

But if you put in the time & effort to make a new habit of moving from your center, your body+mind will have more energy for healing, pleasure, & play

Rolfing x Personal Integrity

Our body+mind are equally-important parts of one fully-integrated system — 2 sides of the same coin. Everything truly is connected, more than most people realize. As you’re going through your Rolfing series, your body won’t be the only part of you that’s changing — your mental & emotional selves are along for the ride too.

Most of our clients spend time between sessions reflecting on the integrity of their movement & posture — it’s a natural part of the learning process. Our hope, though, is that you’re also reflecting on the integrity of your thoughts & words. And that, when faced with a choice, you choose to move from your center — your Truth & your Highest Good.

We are most powerful when our body+mind+spirit are all on the same page and working toward the same goal. And I believe that integrity is one of the greatest goals we can aspire to. Living with integrity gives us power — it makes us bullshit-proof —and it opens the doors for deep healing, satisfaction, pride & joy.

Titration x Productivity

We all know that moment: life is starting to get challenging and we’re feeling stretched, but our schedule is full and we have a lot on our plate.

In these moments, we have a choice: We can push ahead & test our limits. Or we can slow down and titrate (i.e. continuously measure & adjust the balance of) our stress levels to stay within our zone of tolerance.

Sometimes it’s good to push our limits and know what we’re capable of. And, when our giant pile of to-do’s is looming over us, it’s easy to think that the fastest/easiest thing to do is to ‘get it over with’ and rest later. But if we push ourselves to the point of burnout, it can take a lot of time & self-care to get back to health.

On the other hand, if we’re monitoring how we feel, taking breaks, and adjusting the amount of stress we put ourselves through, we allow ourselves to rest & recover as we go along. It can seem counterintuitive, but managing our stress levels in this way can help us to be more productive in the long run. We may work more slowly than we’re capable of, but we do better work with a healthy, well-rested body+mind. And we get to skip the days- or weeks-long burnout recovery period!

Bodywork x Personal Narrative

Throughout our lives, we all create a narrative in our mind about who we are, who we want to be (and who we aren’t, or don’t want to be.) These ideas about ourselves are expressed in our thoughts & feelings & habits, in our social interactions, in the way we move, in the way we experience our bodies...

But here’s the kicker — most of us have stories & ideas that are outdated, or inconsistent with who we truly are. And when we think/feel/move/behave in ways that don’t work for us or don’t feel right, it creates a lot of tension & discomfort.

One of the things I love most about my work is helping people update their stories & ideas about themselves & their bodies, so that they can move & express themselves more authentically — it’s a beautiful process to witness, and I’m honored to be a part of it 💕

Self Love x Listening

We all have a deep need to feel heard and understood. But, often, when we have a feeling we don’t like, our impulse is to cover it up, distract ourselves from it, or try to rid ourselves of it (read: ‘cure’ or ‘fix’)

Imagine telling your partner or best friend that you‘re feeling bad, or that you need support. And they respond the same way — not listening, changing the subject, telling you “it’ll be fine”, or giving unsolicited advice to ‘fix’ your feelings.

I think most of us wouldn’t like that. And I don’t think our bodies like it when we do it to ourselves.

All the time, our body+mind ‘hides’ information from our consciousness that isn’t relevant. So, when we have a feeling, whether physical or emotional, our body is communicating something that it thinks is important.

Since I’ve practiced listening to my body’s messages, I’ve found that most uncomfortable feelings are resolved just from being felt & noticed. And for the rest, I get a better understanding of how to support my wellbeing — whether that’s to slow down & take a rest, or move my body, or write in my journal, or play outside... The medicine tends to reveal itself when I pause to listen to what my body+mind needs

Listening to our body’s cries and supporting it in the way it asks us to is a radical act of self-love.

Burnout x The Stress Cycle

A lot of us have grown to view stress as this Big, Bad Monster. All the time, we hear about the havoc it wreaks on our bodies & brains

But that’s only part of the story. In fact, stress is actually really healthy & helpful! If it doesn’t seem like it, it’s because we’re not doing stress ‘right’

You see, stress belongs as part of a complete cycle. Our bodies have intelligently evolved to (1) Activate our Resources & (2) Take Action when danger is present, then to (3) Release & (4) Rest when we are safe

Until you take action, move your body, and allow yourself time to release the tension in your body and truly relax, you’re going to stay Activated. If you feel like you’re always stressed or exhausted, you’re probably missing one of these steps. And you’re not alone!

Many of us weren’t taught how to take effective action. Plus, ‘effective action’ has a different meaning now than it did long ago — often it doesn’t include moving your body, which is crucial for releasing the energy that was generated when you became Activated.

And, perhaps worst of all, we’re not relaxing & resting properly. This is a process that takes more time than most people allow for. And, when we do sit down at the end of our day, we’re more likely to numb out or distract ourselves than to mindfully relax.

Staying in that Activated state for too long is what hurts us, not the existence of stress itself. So the next time you’re feeling burnt out, remember:

  • Don’t Stress Over Stress • Stress isn’t bad — it’s a natural process that you are inherently equipped to handle.

  • Complete the Cycle • The more stressed you are, the more time & attention your body needs to release, relax, & rest. Put away the distractions. Stretch, wiggle, run, dance. Relax your muscles. Breathe.

  • Stay Present • Our bodies naturally know how to process stress. But, in order for it to happen, we need to pay attention to our bodies messages — a.k.a. the sensations & urges that arise when we pause to notice.

Rolfing x Authenticity

In a Rolfing series, one of the first questions that we seek to help you answer is “Where am I?” Using touch & verbal cues, we help you more-clearly define the ‘map’ of your body in your brain.

Typically, as you develop more awareness in your body, you’ll become more aware of “How am I?” You’ll get better at monitoring your sensations and regulating your nervous system. This step is where the work starts getting *really* powerful — this is how Rolfing helps us have less pain & stress, and more energy.

But some of the most beautiful Rolfing experiences I’ve had the honor to witness happen when a person begins to answer the question “Who am I?” more clearly & authentically than ever before.

By developing better physical integrity, we create an opportunity to come into better personal integrity. And I am so grateful to get to work with folks who are ready & willing to step into the next best version of their Self!

How to Love Your Body (In A World That Tells Us Not To)

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Society has a weird vendetta against our bodies.

There’s the Medical Message, which we hear from a lot of doctors & media, telling us that we’re sick & broken, and that we need to be “fixed”. And with it comes Diet Culture — this idea that we need to be skinny and mold to a particular health ideal (and if we don’t, we obviously don’t care about ourselves).

Even more widespread are these Social Rules we have that prevent us from expressing ourselves fully — the messages that we need to be perceived as calm, cool, & collected (and definitely never be weird, awkward, or ‘too much’).

All of these cultural messages encourage us to dislike our bodies, or to be embarrassed or ashamed of them. So, if we want to dismantle the body shame we’ve absorbed from our culture, we have to learn how to have a better relationship with our bodies — to learn to enjoy & love our bodies! You can do this by:

  • Finding ways to enjoy all of your senses; expanding your capacity for pleasure

  • Moving your body; allowing it to express its entire range of possibilities

  • Making a daily practice of feeling & releasing your emotions; process them in-the-moment whenever possible

  • Allowing yourself to be curious & playful & silly; take time alone or with loved ones to be free from social expectations

  • Learning what you like & dislike, and honoring yourself with thoughtful boundaries