I was certified in and have practiced bodywork since 2004. I received my certification from The Lauterstein-Conway School of Massage in Austin, TX.
Simple sitting meditation has been a powerful influence for me in many ways. I’ve heard mediation described as “the art of resting.” I really like this definition.
Much of the guidance I draw from comes out of Buddhist Dharma, the yoga path, Integral Theory and the writings of F.M. Alexander. I also hold deep reverence for the beautiful dance of Sufi poetry and traditional American folk music.
The human body is our most valuable vehicle for education, insight, growth and transformation. Our bodies never go into the past or future and therefore they keep us connected to the reality of the present moment. At the same time, however, our bodies also keep records of old memories, trauma and beliefs in the form of physical tension and posture patterns. When we can become aware of our old restrictive patterns of holding in our bodies then we can gain insight into ourselves. This awareness gives us the power to then choose to let the patterns go, thereby opening us up to deeper levels of spaciousness and freedom. In fact, tension and pain are not such bad news; they are a means through which we can transform our relationship with ourselves and with our reality. For me, this is the most valuable aspect of what I do: I help people find freedom from their restrictive ways of holding themselves.
I began practicing bodywork in 2004, with most of my career characterized by deep tissue and myofascial release techniques. Over time I started to notice that most people who came to me had shoulder and/or neck pain. At the same time I was paying attention to the pain and tension in my own shoulders and neck. My body awareness started growing.
During this process I also discovered the power of yoga and simple sitting meditation. Through deepening the mindfulness of my own body I noticed my body shifting: the tissue was becoming softer and more resilient to injury and my flexibility and range of motion increased. I also noticed my massage practice shifting; my ability to 'listen' with my hands grew as my nervous system relaxed and became less reactive. I noticed that I was able to affect peoples' bodies without having to use as much pressure as I had before.
Questions started arising during my massage sessions: What is it that I'm actually doing when I give a massage? What is body tension? Why does my massage seem to work so much better on some people than others?
I realized the significance of the nervous system – the importance of how we hold ourselves. Perhaps, I thought, it's not so important what I do to my clients as it is how they receive what I do. As I started investigating this hypothesis it started to become more and more profound. I began coaching clients in how to increase their own body awareness and how to consciously release their body tension. This is where Guided Release Therapy took its root.