Mindful Rewards

You have probably heard about Mindfulness and about living in the present moment.

Jon Kabat-Zinn, the founder of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction defines Mindfulness as “Paying attention in a particular way; On purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally.”

Soooo… as we say where I come from “Waddya get with that?”  What are the benefits of Mindfulness? or living in the present moment? Why would I want to do that?

First off…. let’s try a little experiment…. take a moment from reading this blog… notice your breath. Does it feel easy? or tight? shallow or deep? Just notice. Try not to judge it or label it as good or bad. Notice that you are breathing.

Notice the sensation of your butt on the chair.
Your feet on the floor.
Your hands.
Your eyes.
Close your eyes. For as long as you can – just noticing sensations and breath.

Good! Did you notice anything different by doing this short little experiment? Most people report that they feel a bit more relaxed – that their breath slowed down, their heart rate slowed down, their muscles a wee bit more relaxed.

If you are like most of us in this country, our lives are so busy and so rushed. One thing that I have noticed is that with Mindfulness, life slows down – in a good way. When we are rushing around our nervous system is in Fight or Flight (sympathetic) mode which has a whole crescendo of effects on our bodies –  heart rate and blood pressure increases, our digestive organs shut down, our adrenal glands overwork.

When we stop to notice our breath even for a few moments, our nervous system begins to shift to the Rest and Digest (parasympathetic) mode which slows heart rate and decreases blood pressure, increases organ function, increases feel-good brain chemistry.

So for starters, there are physical benefits of practicing Mindfulness – better digestion, better sleep, lower blood pressure, a feeling of calm.

I have found that I delightfully notice things more acutely – the song of the birds, the green of the leaves on the tree, the feel of the breeze on my skin, the laugh of a child, the shape of the clouds floating by.

I have also found that when I practice Mindfulness I become more in touch with “me”. I become more aware of who I truly am – I feel more ease, inner peace, “at home” and then I have become aware of how and when I leave “home”. I become more aware of my truth, what resonates for me and what doesn’t resonate thus making it easier to make decisions and set boundaries.

Noticing these changes encourages me to keep practicing – to make it my moment to moment way of approaching life.

Mindfulness is a practice – it comes and goes but it grows deeper and wider and more constant the more you practice it. It becomes a way of life.

There are only benefits from practicing Mindfulness. No negatives. As a teacher of mine used to tell me, “Don’t take my word for it… try it yourself!”

 

Unlocking the Knee

The Knee

The knee is considered  the most complex joint in the body. It has 4 bones coming together to form the joint – the femur, the tibia, the fibula and the patella. Quite a few muscles surround the knee – the quadriceps (4), the hamstrings (3), gracilis, sartorius,  the IT band, the gastrocnemius, plantaris and the popliteus. There are the major ligaments of the medial and lateral collateral, the anterior and posterior cruciate and the little known coronary ligaments securing the medial and lateral menisci to the tibial plateau. There are 11 bursa that protect against friction between adjacent moving structures. And there is the joint capsule.

Wow! That is a lot of anatomy! And I am not even naming all of the structures!

The alignment of the knee can be affected from below by the feet or above by the hips, ilium and sacrum or even further up the spine.

Energetically the knees are part of our root chakra. Am I feeling grounded and connected to the earth? to my community? Do I feel stable and secure? Do I feel supported by life, family, community or do I feel  all alone in the world?

Knees have a sub chakra of their own which can reflect the level of my flexibility or control. They can also be about moving forward.

Problems with the knee can stem from imbalances in any of the above – structure, emotion or energetics.

On the structural level, one little known culprit of knee dysfunction is the popliteus muscles. The popliteus muscle is a small muscle located at back of the knee joint. It originates at the lateral condyle of the femur and the posterior horn of the lateral meniscus. From there it runs medially and inferiorly towards the tibia and inserts above the origin of the soleus muscle.

It is described as the “key” that unlocks the knee and allows it to move. In particular, it pulls the lateral meniscus back  so that the meniscus isn’t crushed between the tibia and femur bones as the knee flexes. It also is involved in internal rotation of the tibia. The popliteus muscle can potentially be injured in any force to the knee as well as chronic locking of the knees. Problems with the popliteus muscles would manifest as pain in the back of the knee or knee locking.

To release this muscle, have your client lie face down on the massage table. Flex the knee. I like to sit on the edge of the table and support the foot against my shoulder so that I can use two hands. Wiggle your fingers down through the two heads of the gastrocnemius to contact the popliteus muscle. It is a small muscle running diagonally lateral to medial. Use your magical powers of intention and anatomical visualization to reach the muscle. Be careful to not press into the space directly behind the knee as there are blood vessels there. Move a little bit inferior to the ‘V’ between the two gastrocnemii. Search for tension in the muscle. If you want to make sure you are on the popliteus muscle, you can muscle test with tibial internal rotation. “Sit” on the muscle or use transverse strokes to coax the muscle to relax.

Encourage your client to be aware of locking their knees when standing on resting their legs on a hassock while watching TV.

Don’t underestimate the significance of this small but important muscle.

Enjoy the exploration!

You can learn this technique and many more in the upcoming Orthopedic Bodywork for the knee June 24 and 25, 2017 in Bend, OR.

 

 

 

 

April Showers Bring _____

April showers bring May flowers says the old adage.

It sounds so predictable. But life is not so predictable, is it? Have you noticed that ? Life has ups and downs, twists and turns. Although we might want it go a particular way, it sometimes doesn’t.

 

I have been in a life phase where things I was expecting to happen did not happen and things I did not expect to happen are happening. And yet I feel an incredible alignment and trust with this unexpected unfolding.

The way this brain of mine is wired up, shifting from plan A to plan B can be a challenge. I am a planner and organizer by nature. It comes naturally. I have a vision, I make a plan, I see how all of the parts need to come together and I spend time ruminating how things will unfold, look and feel when they come to reality. But when plan A falls through and it is time for plan B to come in….. well, that is not a smooth transition.

When I was a river kayaker I loved how quickly I could move from plan A to B to C to D. Sometimes my life depended on a quick change of plan. I used to fantasize about how my life would be if I could transition that quickly in “real life”.

The practice of Mindfulness has been an enormous gift for me to face transitions (and a million other life arisings) in a more flowing way.

I realized that plan B was often a knee jerk reaction. “Well if this isn’t gonna happen, then I will just do that.” There was often disappointment followed by a scrambling in my psyche to  find some stable ground. I would sometimes make a plan B that was perhaps not the best choice. Giving my disappointment acknowledgement and space to be held was transformative. It allowed my nervous system to slow down, be soothed and it gave space for clarity. I could then choose the best plan B that would be of most benefit.

Knowing that I have this tool always available to me helps me feel an alignment and trust with life and I can flow more easily with unexpected life unfoldings and arisings.

I have found the simple practice of “Soften, Soothe, Allow” a most valuable tool. I would like to share this simple step-by- step practice with you. I have learned to do this practice “on the fly”, in the moment of challenge. However it is helpful in the learning stage to practice in a quiet space on your own.

This process was created by Kristin Neff and Chris Germer of the Center for Mindful Self-Compassion. (Most of the language here comes directly from their document, Soften-Soothe-Allow.pdf)

  1. Beginning with Breath and Kindness

Find a comfortable position, close your eyes, and take three relaxing breaths. Place your hand on your heart for a few moments to remind yourself that you are in the room, and to bring kindness to yourself.

  1. Labeling the Emotion

Let yourself recall a mild-moderately difficult situation that you are in right now, perhaps a health problem, stress in a relationship, or a loved one in pain. Do not choose a very difficult problem, or a trivial problem—choose a problem that can generate a little stress in your body when you think of it. Now clearly visualize the situation. Who was there? What was said? What happened? Now see if you can name the strongest emotion—a difficult emotion—associated with that situation: anger? sadness? grief? confusion? fear? longing? despair? Repeat the name of the emotion to yourself in a gentle, understanding voice, as if you were validating for a friend what he/she is feeling: “That’s longing.” “That’s grief.”

  1. Bringing Mindfulness of Emotion into the Body

Expand your awareness to your body as a whole. Recall the difficult situation again and scan your body for where you feel it the most. In your mind’s eye, sweep your body from head to toe, stopping where you can sense a little tension or discomfort. Now choose a single location in your body where the feeling expresses itself most strongly, perhaps as a point of muscle tension or an achy feeling, like a heartache. In your mind, incline gently toward that spot.

  1. Soften, Soothe, and Allow

Soften into that location in your body. Let the muscles be soft without a requirement that they become soft, like simply applying heat to sore muscles. You can say, “soft…soft…soft…” quietly to yourself, to enhance the process. Remember that you are not trying to make the sensation go away—you are just being with them with loving awareness. You can let yourself just soften around the edges, like around the edges of a pancake. No need to go all the way in.

Soothe yourself for struggling in this way. Put your hand over your heart and feel your body breathe. Perhaps kind words arise in our mind, such as, “Oh my dear, this is such a painful experience. I’m so sorry it’s so hard for you right now”. If you wish, you can also direct kindness to the part of your body that is under stress by placing your hand in that place. It may help to think of your body as if it were the body of a beloved child. You can say kind words to yourself, or just repeat, “soothe…soothe…soothe.”

Allow the discomfort to be there. Abandon the wish for the feeling to disappear. Let the discomfort come and go as it pleases, like a guest in your own home. You can repeat, “allow…allow…allow.” “Soften, soothe and allow.” “Soften, soothe and allow.” You can use these three words like a mantra, reminding yourself to incline with tenderness toward your suffering. If you experience too much discomfort with an emotion, stay with your breath until you feel better.

  1. Easing back out… When you’re ready, slowly open your eyes, letting your attention move out into the world around you.

I hope you feel the benefit of the practice. And I do hope that April showers do bring LOTS of May flowers for you. Above all… Be kind, gentle and compassionate with your Self!

 

Fundamental Ground

I have been pondering this quote by Pema Chodron all week. My yoga teacher read this at the beginning of class last Tuesday morning and I have been ruminating about it all week.

“It’s a transformative experience to simply pause instead of immediately fill up the space. By waiting, we begin to connect with fundamental restlessness as well as fundamental spaciousness.”

The fundamental restlessness is what I call the “human condition”. We are all familiar with it to some degree or another. It is that inner angst, that nagging something that lives in the background.  It is what scares us when things get quiet. It is what causes us to get really busy. We don’t like the way it feels. What compounds it is that we don’t know what it is, we don’t understand it, and we judge the fact that it is there. We think that we should not be feeling this way.

It exists in all of us. It arises from the idea that we are alone – that we separate from one another and from our world.

What we don’t realize is the fundamental spaciousness that Pema Chodron speaks of is benevolent. It is a space where all is well. Where the fundamental restlessness is held without judgment – no pushing away or pulling toward. Where all is welcome – the comfortable and the uncomfortable.

How and where your place your attention can affect how you experience restlessness and spaciousness. When we turn and face the restlessness with compassion, restlessness begins to dissolve.

I invite you to simply pause right now (and many times throughout your day). Get quiet. If the fundamental restlessness arises, then hold it gently, the way you might hold a baby bird that has fallen from its nest. Meet it with a sense of softness, compassion and curiosity. Notice what happens. Repeat until this gentle holding becomes your new way of being with your Self.

 

 

Persistently Declare Your Independence

amber-jumping_v2

Shortly after my father passed away, my siblings and I were sorting through his belongings. Stuck to a bulletin board in his office was a note that read “Charles, Declare  your independence!” It was dated July 4, 1977.  Then a note on the same page dated 6 weeks later “Forget about it!”

My father was a lovely man but like most of us he had some demons that he wrestled with. It saddened me to think that he could see that he needed independence from “something” but clearly could not find a way though it and he in utter defeat declared “forget about it!”

Our “demons” or core story and beliefs are like an operating system on a computer. It runs the show until we are able and willing to change the operating system.

These days we have many more avenues as well a more open minded view for helping to change the operating system that bind us and declaring our independence from our stories, our wounding and trauma, our core beliefs and our amazing gifts that we might hold too close to our chest.

Meditation, self-inquiry, trauma work (such as Somatic Experiencing), bodywork (such as Visionary Craniosacral Work®, counseling, and creative arts are just some of the avenues available to help someone navigate this unfamiliar path.

I have found the simple act of “being willing” to see and let go of a core story allows it to begin to reveal itself and unwind for its liberation. Often we push the “demon” away because we don’t like how it feels or we judge it for being there, perhaps seeing it as part of our deficiency or weakness. But inviting it, welcoming it to be seen can be a profound healing moment. We are embracing a part of us that has been shunned. When we turn toward it instead of away, it can lose the power that it has had over us – no longer a demon but something that wants to be brought to wholeness – to liberation.

What is it in you that needs to be liberated? Your creativity, your voice, your deficiency story? Your story of “I am not _____ “. (fill in the blank: enough, worthy, smart, pretty, handsome, etc).

I invite you to find some quiet time, gently turn toward your Self, set the intention and invite freedom to all the parts of you. Declare your Independence! But unlike my father…. don’t forget about it! Be persistent! Remind yourself daily!

 

 

Dancing into the New Year

Movement is life. Everything in nature is designed to move. Everything in your body, mind and Spirit is designed to move or dance if you will.

99249.attachFascia and connective tissue, muscles, joints are designed to move. If you have ever looked into a microscope at live cells, you can see how they move – they dance around each other.

Every body part has a function and all parts are interrelated. When one part stops moving from injury, illness, or trauma, all the other parts begin to adapt and compensate. If the parts stop talking to one another, things stagnate and the life force energy diminishes.

If you have been unfortunate enough to spent an extended period of time sick in bed or injured, you know how challenging it is to get back to moving. You feel stiff, weak, off balance. The best way for your body to start to feel better is to begin moving slowly and consciously. Gentle dance-like movements are a great way to lubricate your joints, warm up your muscles and bring a sense of lightness back into the body.

Every organ in your body has a function. For instance, your liver produces bile to break down fats and filters chemicals. If your liver gets congested from too many chemicals, fats, anger (from the view of Chinese Medicine), your liver function will diminish and not be able to optimally do its job and you will start to feel sluggish and irritable.

One of the many functions of your brain is to create thought. (Although there are other theories about where thought comes from but we won’t go there right now). Your brain/mind is a thought machine. Just notice how thoughts just pop into your head and swirl around. It is easy to get caught up in thought and believe that all of your thoughts are true. Have you noticed that when your thoughts become filled with opinions, criticism, and judgments, the rest of you (your body and Spirit) doesn’t feel very flexible. You might notice your belly, chest or jaw tighten.

Invite your thoughts to dance by considering the idea that all of your precious opinions and beliefs might not be true. Invite your mind to dance by getting curious about your thoughts – are they true? Get curious about the people and things about whom you have judgments and opinions.

Like the breeze, Spirit is designed to move. You know how stagnant the air feels when the wind is not moving, especially when there is humidity in the air. How is your sense of Spirit? Do you feel like a warm spring day with a light breeze or do you feel like a hot and humid east coast day? What is bogging you down? What needs to move to bring a lightness of being into your life?

The best ways for body, mind and Spirit to move is to breath and to dance. To let the rhythm of music move you. It doesn’t matter if you “don’t know how to dance” or “you don’t have rhythm”.

orange dance treeDancing – especially if you dance like no one is watching- frees your body, your mind, and your Spirit. If you allow your self-expression through dance and movement, it acts like a cleanser – like a spring flood moves downed trees and debris down the river, dance and movement opens stagnant areas of energy.
So… close the shades, put the music on, close your eyes and invite movement to come. Notice the parts of you that are easy to move. Notice the parts that feel stiff or shy. What does your mind tell you about this? No judgment, just noticing, inviting and allowing. How does your Spirit respond? I would venture to guess it is responding favorably. Your Sprit will thank you profusely for allowing yourself to dance your dance.

Many communities have Conscious Dance groups (aka Ecstatic Dance) where participants encourage and support each other in this exploration. So when you are ready to take the next step to dance with fellow Spirit Dancers, do a Google search for a group near you.

Bend, OR Ecstatic Dance group meets every Wednesday from 7-9 pm and Sunday morning 11:00 to 12:30 at the Old Stone Church. See you there!

Curious Intentions

There are  at least 14 observed Religious Holidays  in the month of December. We are a world of unique individuals with unique beliefs.

Everyone views the world  through a different lens of belief, conditioning, history, experience, opinion, , personality, and brain function.

When we encounter a difference of belief or opinion (and we are in a time of extreme opinions and beliefs), we are often quick to judge both the opinion and the person as wrong. Have you noticed that this strategy does not bring us closer to a deeper connection or peace in our relationships, community or planet.

Rather than judging the belief as right or wrong, how would it be to get curious? What are they feeling? How or what might they be experiencing (present or past) that could be influencing them to think or feel a particular way?

Empathy –  the feeling that you understand and share another person’s experiences and emotions –  is a key ingredient of successful relationships because it helps us understand the perspectives, needs, and intentions of others. It helps to cultivate compassion.

see_the_world_through_anothers_eyes_by_lostatsea101-d4ngov7Can I put myself in their shoes and see the world through their eyes? I may still have a differing opinion  but curiosity and empathy can soften my stance. It helps me move from a ‘me against them’  to a ‘me and them’ place of compassion and understanding. It creates a softening in your heart and in your being.  (psssst… this is the start of Inner Peace… that which you long for….)

As you ponder your New Year’s resolutions and intentions for this season and this upcoming year, how about setting the intention to bring more curiosity into your life?

It takes a bit of mindfulness. When you feel yourself get activated, annoyed, irritated by another’s opinion…. stop, take a breath. Get curious.

It is a simple first step, although sometimes not easy, but a step closer to Inner Peace and peace on this planet earth.

In Gratitude

Yes… it is that time of year again! Thanksgiving!

I remember my Mom telling me that I should feel grateful for all that God had provided. This really kinda messed with my head. As a young child I was focusing on my needs that were not being met. I felt empty and lonely. It was hard for me to see the abundance. And to be punished for not feeling grateful created a resistance to seeing the bounty as well as guilt.

One year ago, I started a gratitude journal for the first time in my life. Every morning I sit and write my intention for the day and 10 things that I am grateful for. I  am so pleased to report that I have found this to be tremendously transformative. It sets the tone for my entire day. Rather than focusing on how tired I am or how I was rudely awakened by the garbage men or the long list things I have to do that day, I focus on the beauty that is surrounding me or my connections with my awesome friends, students and colleagues.

When we are focusing on the things that are not going well, our energy field closes down. The lens through which we view life is narrowed. And it is more challenging to see the solutions to the things that are not working.
Silhouette woman yoga side sit
Focusing on the things that are working in your life begins to change the chemistry in your brain. It stimulates the production of serotonin and dopamine. You begin to feel more peaceful, more joyful, and creative.

So, what do you do when you are not feeling so grateful? When things are not going the way you want them and all you see are the obstacles?

I suggest “Fake it til you make it”.

Start your own Gratitude Journal. Begin with one or two things that are working in your life or that you appreciate – a beautiful sunset, the smell of good food, a song that you like. Start with the small things. I like to express gratitude for the air coming in and out of my lungs – without which I would die.

When you think about it, it really is a miracle that your cells know how to utilize the oxygen that you breath in, that your heart knows how to pump, that your cerebrospinal fluid knows how to replenish itself and feed your brain all the time.

Here are a few tips to get you started:

  • Set the intention to be more happy and more thankful. Make it a conscious decision. Trust me. You will feel the benefit.
  • Start with once or twice a week. Don’t make it a chore to be grateful. (I know it sounds silly, but some people do). Consciously invite your energetic field to open to life.
  • You don’t have to list 10 things. Focus on the details of the thing for which you are grateful. Better to have a small handful of things that you can explore in detail than many superficial things.
  • Focus on people in your life more than on the things. This will produce more oxytocin in your brain and help you feel more connected.
  • Focus on the benefit of someone or something that you are grateful for. How is it serving you? What would your life be without this person or experience?
  • Be curious. Take note of your body sensations before and after.

You don’t need to have a beautiful fancy journal to start this process. You could use a plain notebook or post-it notes. You could speak them out loud or have a silent prayer of thanks. It is really is about making an intentional change in your life.

Enjoy!

 

The Roller Coaster Ride of Whiplash

Whiplash is a relatively common injury that occurs to a person’s neck following a sudden acceleration-deceleration force. Motor vehicle accidents, falls or impact to the body cause unrestrained, rapid forward and backward movement of the head and neck causing damage to soft tissue (muscles, ligaments, joint capsules), bones, and joints.

Common symptoms related to whiplash may include: neck pain and stiffness, headache, shoulder pain and stiffness, dizziness, jaw pain, arm pain, arm weakness, visual disturbances, ringing in the ear, fatigue and foggy headedness.

frustrated_indexMost people who have been in a motor vehicle accident generally expect to exhibit some of the above mentioned physical symptoms. Most people are not aware of the emotional symptoms of whiplash until they are in the thick of it. My clients have reported a wide variety of emotional states such as depression, anger, frustration, anxiety, stress and/or irritability. They report sleep disturbances and symptoms of post traumatic stress syndrome.

What sometimes will compound the situation is that they feel embarrassed or sillysad girl_morgue_file1801281015946 that they are so “irrational” or “out of control”. Some report that they are” quick to tears over the smallest thing”. They say “I don’t feel like myself.” They feel fragile. They can feel like they are on an emotional roller coaster.

They may feel isolated. One client reported that she wouldn’t go out of the house for over a month after her car accident.

They might find themselves viewing the car accident over and over in their head. They might have nightmares or day dreams about the accident. “What could they have done differently? Why did this happen to them?”

What they don’t know is that these emotional symptoms are part of a broader term called “Whiplash Associated Disorder”. It is very common and a normal part of a traumatic, stressful event. The added ups and downs of healing from the physical symptoms can further the feeling of frustration.

How can we as healers, bodyworkers and massage therapists help our clients? Here are a few guidelines that I find helpful for my clients on this wild ride.

First, I find it extremely helpful to reassure my clients that what they are experiencing is “normal” for a whiplash injury. There is a level of relaxation in their nervous system just to hear “No… you are not crazy. This is normal. Lots of people have the same experience.”

young couple holding handsIt is so important for them to know that are not alone in this process. This information alone can begin to turn the process around. The look of relief on my client’s faces when I share this shows me that this information is precious.

Encourage your clients to be gentle, compassionate and understanding with themselves as they move through their healing process, especially when they are having “one of those breakdowns”. The resisting of their emotional state adds to their stress and can become a vicious cycle.

If their symptoms are particularly strong, a referral to a counselor, psychologist, psychiatrist or someone who does trauma work such as Somatic Experiencing may be in order. Make sure you know the names of a few mental health practitioners in your area so you can make a referral.

Second, working with the breath can have profound effects on the nervous system. All stress and trauma go to the respiratory diaphragm. People who are experiencing anxiety generally are not breathing in an efficient manner. They often are not fully exhaling. They are held in an inhale. Helping your client to find belly breathing can help ground their energy and reduce anxiety.

Have your client lie face up, knees supported in a bent knee position. Have them place their hands on their belly. Encourage them to gently take a few easy breaths initiating the breath from their belly. They can exhale through their nose or mouth. Exhaling through the mouth as if they were blowing out through a straw helps encourage a long slow controlled exhale. After 3-5 breaths, go back to normal breathing. Repeat. Encourage your client to do this at home several times a day.

Other beneficial options include:

Craniosacral Therapy. Because of its deep connection to the nervous system, Craniosacral Therapy can be helping someone move from sympathetic nervous system overload (fight or flight) to parasympathetic nervous system balance (rest and digest). Craniosacral Therapy can be very grounding and deeply relaxing. It can help to balance the bones and fascial lines. It is especially helpful to bring balance to the cranial base, the temporal bones, the atlanto-occipital joint and sacrum as these are often affected with a whiplash injury.

Essential oils can also be helpful with alleviating symptoms of stress, anxiety or depression. Lavender is calming and relaxing. Lemongrass helps to relax the nervous system as well as soothe  muscle aches. Essential oils that help with grounding such as the doTerra Balance formula (spruce, rosewood , frankincense and blue tansy) helps clients feel more connected and can relieve anxiety. Always check with your client for sensitivity to aromas before using any of the oils.

Above all, be kind, gentle and understanding with your client’s process.
Encourage them to be patient  with their recovery. Most people want to get back to their life as quickly as possible. I find the healing process is less bumpy when we acknowledge the impact of the trauma and honor the healing process.

The Sacrum Dance

The sacrum, located at the base of our spine, is one of the five parts of the Craniosacral (CS) system. It is one of the bones that make of the pelvis. The sacrum is wedged between the ilia at the sacroiliac joints. A healthy and happy sacrum has a small amount of allowable movement at this joint for most of our lives. Sacrum loves to move. It loves to wag its tail. It loves to express itself and it loves to dance.

Yoga lotus pose Padmasana with colored chakra points
The CS system has an inherent rhythmic movement that Craniosacral Practitioners tune into when placing their hands on specific areas on their client’s body. The quality, amplitude and symmetry of this rhythmic movement can be used as an indicator of the client’s health and vitality.

The sacrum is the lower pole of the Reciprocal Tension Membrane (the RTM). The RTM is the fascial system that connects the craniosacral system from head to tail. What happens at the sacrum affects the entire system and visa versa (as above, so below).

There are many life factors that can affect the inherent movement of the sacrum – physical injury, emotional, energetic and spiritual issues and challenges.

Energetically, the sacrum is related to the first and second chakra.

The first chakra, Muladhara is our “root chakra”.  muladhara chakra vectorIt relates to our most basic survival needs, our sense of security and safety in the world  and our sense of belonging, whether to our family, our community or Mother Earth. It is where we get our sense of ground – a firm place from which to take a stand for what we believe in.

When this chakra is clear and free, we feel secure and stable.  We feel confident that we can easily fulfill our needs. We have a sense of who we are and feel connected to our “tribe”. On the other hand, blockage in this area can cause us to feel fearful, anxious and worried. We might feel like we are alone and separate from the flow of life.

swadhisthana chakra vector symbolThe second chakra, Svadhisthana, resides in the reproductive area and is associated with fertility, creativity and birth. We most often associate the second chakra with sexuality and childbirth but it is also where new projects, ideas and new aspects of ourselves can be birthed.

When this chakra is healthy and open, life feels juicy. We feel tapped into a source of creativity that helps us write beautiful poetry or music, develop a innovative business, or create a loving family life. When this chakra becomes congested, we may experience a block in our creative powers. Life might feel dry or empty. We start to feel like we are just going through the motions of life – not fully engaged.

The sacrum loves to move both physically and energetically. When there has been injury, trauma, or abandonment there is a normal and natural tendency for the energy of this area to be congested, diminished, fragmented or completely shut down.
It takes energy to maintain these areas of congestion. Our life force energy can get depleted and over time fatigue, pain and illness can set in.

Our intention for healing is to bring the fragmented parts back into unity and to free the life force energy so that we can feel more whole, vital and more “at home” in ourselves.

In Visionary Craniosacral Work, as we make contact, we have a “quiet conversation” with the sacrum. “What is alive here?” “What needs to be seen or heard?” “What is needed for you to feel more free, alive and a part of the whole?” We then give sacrum the presence and the space it needs to unwind its tensions at whatever pace it needs. 99249.attachWe have no agenda for its release. We compassionately respect and honor whatever is needed at this time. Sacrum then feels seen and heard and honored. The trauma can begin to release its grip and sacrum can begin to integrate into the whole. Inherent movement increases and balances. Freedom, vitality and relaxation can be felt. Sacrum can begin to dance its sacred dance.