Yoga was a gift from a friend. Later I sought meditation to get me through college final exams. I was a rebellious teen becoming sensitized though I didn’t mean to.
Running from a life of certainty I became staff at a Macrobiotic restaurant. The staff was given classes in Macrobiotics by the head chef. You are what you eat. You are who you eat. You are how you eat. Doors of the mind opened. This was the seventies.
Base is everything. As the Macros say, “little yin attracts big yin” which meant that a taste of something is enough to suck you into something bigger. It was not a good thing with yin food (talking sugar etc. here) but it was a great thing with movement.
I danced. Ballet, Modern and Haitian lead me to the worn wooden floors of dozens of somatic studios.
This is how I move, how I look, how I feel.
Aerobics, Pilates, Barre, Power Yoga, Feldenkrais, Tai Chi, Breema; the avenues were endless if you were inclined to find them even at the edge of the fitness revolution.
From the weird to the woo- woo, to the sublime, to the scientific I dove in to things that seemed to jump out to find me. In California I embraced color healing, sound healing and acupuncture. I tried colonics, dream therapy, re-birthing and then there was Dora Lee the chiropractor who told me to make a list of all my unresolved relationships.
She pressed my spine; asked me who number 10 was as the room filled with the smell of cigarette smoke; something I did with unresolved relationship number ten.
My mother consulted astrologists and I had no aversion to doing the same.
Twenty seven years ago I awoke to find myself nearly paralyzed. My chiropractor said my spine was fine and sent me to a Phoenix Rising yoga therapist. My body introduced me to me silently through my cells.
I did Jin Shen acupressure and Gi Gong, applied kinesiology and Rolfing. I took interpretive Indian dance and I got my strange on with Emily Conrad’s Continuum work.
I consulted Ayurvedic doctors and Chinese herbalists because I had children who inspired me to go beyond Western medicine and challenged me to keep growing. I learned the power of the breath mind body in natural childbirth that took some bad turns.
My students became an extension of my children and I grew for them as well. I unwittingly manifested their symptoms (though I don’t recommend that) and I consulted healers for them through myself.
I lay on the beds of healers and asked,
What is this, why is this, where does this attach, what is it used for, how does it go wrong?
I asked for myself. I asked for my children and I asked for my students.
An energy worker told me to get Reiki to protect me from taking on my clients’ energy. I certified in Reiki. I was alerted to cut energetic threads and protect against energy vampires. I consulted mediums, psychics, and dog and cat whisperers for my pets.
I had injuries over the years. Some injuries were done in the days before the wearing of this body revealed itself. I had felt no pain.
Some were from accidents outside yoga. I saw orthopedists and pain management docs and physical therapists. I learned the limits of x-rays and orthopedics. I took a course in trigger point myo-facial work and learned how to release the stuck elbow two orthopedic surgeons mistook for a problem of arthritis. They’d offered a prescriptive anti-inflammatory. I learned.
I’ve had stress related illnesses, anxiety that caused hyperventilation. I’ve had symptoms of lupus that are also fibromyalgia and though I only have a fairly non-threatening form of lupus I understand how people might feel when exhaustion overtakes them and their body betrays them.
My first therapy client lasted 8 years. Eddie George was the Running Back for the Tennessee Titans and one of the finest students I ever had because he was as curious as me. Trusted with the health of this prized athlete I taught him left/right brain integration dance as well as yoga. I turned football moves into yoga to enhance his performance. I stretched my job definition to bring him the best people in Nashville to assist me, to feed him and heal him.
I take on my client’s forms. I study the language of their bodies and secretly step into them as an actor stepping onto the stage. I try to feel what it may be like to live inside their skin. It is not an absolute game. And at times I’ve manifested their problems. That is a problem of desire gone wrong.
If you have lived a long enough time you have had an experience that allows you empathy. When digging uncovers nothing, find someone who has the experience and ask them to share it with you.
Teacher training does not make a yoga teacher. It lightens a path. I sit at the feet of those who’ve gone before me when my own light turns to those gurus. There is always someone with an idea to invigorate my own.
My unasked advice for someone wondering if they might be suited to this job is this for the taking:
Have a curious mind and no hesitancy to ask questions of everyone and anyone. There is always a reason.
Trust yourself. To trust yourself you must know yourself. To see others, to empathize, you cannot be in the woods.
Believe Your Intuition
If this describes you …….
Recognize and identify the nature of each client.
Proceed in love.