Massage & Bodywork

MARCH | APRIL 2019

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62 m a s s a g e & b o d y w o r k m a r c h / a p r i l 2 0 1 9 Yomassage Founders Katherine Parker (left) graduated from the University of Texas with a degree in Arabic and Middle Eastern Studies, and then moved to Portland, Oregon, with plans to attend law school. At the age of 22, though, Parker decided to fulfill her dreams of being an entrepreneur and opened up a yoga studio instead of pursuing law. A year later, she acquired a larger yoga studio and now owns Studio PDX. She is passionate about yoga, mindfulness, bodywork, and business—and is excited to be combining them all in the practice of Yomassage. Tiffany Ryan, PhD, (right) is the assistant professor of social work at Our Lady of the Lake University, a bodyworker at the Integrative Trauma Treatment Center, and board president for the nonprofit Integrative Trauma Treatment International. She has written numerous publications related to childhood and early adult trauma, and is currently working to address trauma in Rwanda after the genocide. She is a fierce advocate for using integrative approaches, such as bodywork, breath, and mindfulness, to improve overall well-being. of the wellness community, she was completely unaware of the scientific evidence behind touch therapy. With this new information, a new idea—merging yoga with the healing science of touch—prompted her to ask Ryan to create a class. To develop the dual modality, Ryan began practicing different poses and techniques on her husband—as well as Parker, her friends, and members of the studio—until they came up with a class they called Restorative Yoga and Massage. "We wanted to make this class as accessible as possible," Ryan says, "so practicing the poses with my husband was great because he's pretty inflexible and has very little yoga experience." Restorative yoga is a yoga practice that aims to restore or heal the body by cultivating stillness, expanding meditation, and deepening muscle stretch without putting strain on the body. Each restorative yoga session includes five or six poses that are held for five minutes or more, and participants are supported by props (blankets, bolsters, and blocks) that allow complete relaxation and rest. Restorative poses can include light twists, seated forward folds, and gentle backbends. By adding touch through massage to these restorative poses, Ryan and Parker discovered that their class participants were able to rest and enter the relaxation mode much more easily. Thus, the Restorative Yoga and Massage classes became a popular addition to the My Yoga Room studio. As the popularity of their yoga-massage mash-up grew, it became apparent to the women that they were on to something, prompting them to create Yomassage. "Have you ever been in a yoga class," Parker asks, "and during the final pose, your yoga teacher comes around and gives you a temple rub or a head massage? It makes your whole body tingle—and makes you feel totally and completely relaxed. Like nothing else in the world matters but being still and melting into your yoga mat. I wanted this class to make you feel like that for an entire 90 minutes." Yomassage was originally intended to be an accessible way to receive massage on a regular basis, since it was less expensive than a one-on-one massage therapy session, but it turned into something more. Yomassage began appealing to all kinds of clientele, including those who had never been to a yoga class or experienced traditional massage. WHAT HAPPENS IN CLASS? A typical Yomassage class is held in a warm, dark, candlelit room. With essential oils diffusing, spa music playing—where mats and props are laid out and

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