Massage & Bodywork

November/December 2013

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Page 94 of 141

ENERGY RELEASE PRE-SESSION PREPARATIONS Before you greet a client, take a few minutes to focus on the person you are about to receive into your space. Remind yourself of any restrictions or concerns indicated on the intake form, review personal likes and dislikes, and scan your notes from previous sessions to see what you did and how the client responded to your work. Take a moment to think about what you might do today with this person based on your previous work, the client's needs, and your mood and energy. Allow your breath to rest naturally for a few seconds after each exhalation. Repeat this breathing pattern for as long as you'd like and feel free to change the length to a longer count, further slowing the flow of air and your heart rate. Regardless of how many counts you do, keep your inhalations and exhalations of equal length. As you practice this calming exercise, stay focused on the movement, sound, and quality of your breath. When you finish, notice the grounded feeling it provides, and take that energy with you into your session. Yoga After you have reviewed your client's information, take some time to prepare yourself on the physical and spiritual planes by practicing some yoga. Plows, cobras, and spinal twists may help bring attention to your hara, the core energy center right below your navel. Also concentrate on poses and postures that address your specific weaknesses—we all know where those areas are in our bodies. Bring awareness to them as you warm up your body, and focus on feeling strengthened and at peace. Visualization Exercises Visualization exercises may be used to establish a field of protection around your space. The one described on page 93, named Prana Eggs by the late Thai massage teacher Asokananda, is a powerful way for a therapist to establish a protective field before beginning a session. The objective of the exercise is to surround yourself in a field of protection, and to minimize the transference of your client's energies to your energetic field. If you know in advance that you will be working with a client who is undergoing severe emotional, psychological, or physical stress, consider doing this exercise before the client arrives. Meditation and Breath Awareness A short period of silent meditation can be very helpful in strengthening the protective energy layer that is believed to exist outside the edge of our physical bodies. Centering can be achieved through meditation and breath awareness. If you're centered and focused as you work, it is easier to distinguish between your own energies and those of your clients. Pranayama Exercises Ayurvedic breathing exercises (pranayama) can also be helpful in preparing for your session. Pranayama exercises were developed long ago in India as a self-healing tool to induce states of meditation, relaxation, and inner strengthening. They may be used by the therapist prior to a session, and can even be recommended as homework to clients who have shallow breathing patterns. Pranayama exercises also may be useful before and after a difficult session. Here's a basic breath exploration that may help ground you before you greet a client. Find a comfortable seated position and begin to take note of your breath. As you inhale, notice when and where your breath moves freely and where it feels stuck. Begin to gradually deepen your inhalations and exhalations. Notice how your body feels as your breath changes. When you're ready to begin, exhale completely. Now inhale through your nose for five counts and exhale the same way for five counts. 92 massage & bodywork november/december 2013 DURING THE SESSION If at any point during a session you feel you have absorbed an external energy, bring breath awareness to that feeling. Inhale with the intent to purify yourself, and exhale with the intent to purge the negative energy. In addition, a number of visualization techniques may be helpful for self-protection during a session in which energy release is being facilitated. Here are a few: Energy Shield Visualize a strong mental shield of positive energy around your body and hold it there. Imagine gathering all the energy from different areas of your body and bringing it together slightly outside your body to form this protective shield. Now, flood the shield with sunlight or golden light, and imagine that this boundary is permanently in place around you as you work. Mental Wash Utilize this technique when you sense something is uncomfortable or negative in your client. Imagine clean, fresh water running down through the top of your head and continuing through your entire body. The water should be at a comfortable temperature, and it should run inside your body from your head to the bottoms of your feet, where it exits. As the water passes through you,

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