Massage & Bodywork

MAY | JUNE 2017

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C h e c k o u t A B M P 's l a t e s t n e w s a n d b l o g p o s t s . Av a i l a b l e a t w w w. a b m p . c o m . 73 C h e c k o u t A B M P 's l a t e s t n e w s a n d b l o g p o s t s . Av a i l a b l e a t w w w. a b m p . c o m . 73 Sometimes, we enjoy the work of giving generously to others so much that we neglect to release the previous massage and bodywork sessions and instead carry them throughout the day. Doing this over and over can be emotionally and physically draining. In order to offer your very best work, it can be helpful to center yourself between clients so you can start anew. When you release yourself from the clutches of previous experiences, you will have greater capacity to open up to the present moment. Here are some proven techniques to help you recharge and reconnect with all you have to offer. CENTER THE BODY, HEART, AND MIND Simply centering your body a few times a day can help you return to the present moment and remain open to new possibilities. First, notice the physical center of your body just below your navel. Some people find it helps to place their hand directly below the belly button while taking a few slow, deep breaths around their physical center. Second, bring the attention to the area surrounding the heart, the emotional center. As if you are pledging allegiance, take a few breaths and focus on your heart. What emotions do you notice? Acknowledge them with kindness, curiosity, and nonjudgment. Third, direct your awareness to the center of the mind. For a few moments, invite silence or stillness of thought. Pause there for as long as it feels comfortable. If you'd like, you can tie these points all together; consciously align the body, heart, By Amy Andrews McMaster Take Ten Headspace is a fabulous meditation app for beginners. If you'd like to start meditating, try its Take Ten program—a free, 10-minute, 10-day introduction. and mind. Slowly feel each of these centers again, linking them together if possible. EXTEND THE EXHALE Allow yourself to feel complete, and compassionately release the previous bodywork session through your breath. Even if you don't have much time between clients, guide yourself to inhale to a certain count, maybe three or four to start, and extend your exhale two counts longer than the inhale. For example, inhale to a count of three; then exhale to a count of five. Try this for three rounds of breathing. Notice if you feel more grounded, centered, or connected with yourself afterward. If you have time, try another three rounds of breath. Inhale to a count of four; exhale to a count of six. This practice can help you let go, reconnect to the present, and offer your best. SAVOR FRESH AIR I know what you're thinking: some days it's difficult to get outside. True, but if you do, it can really shift your mood and re-energize the body. Perhaps during lunch, take a quick walk. When I am outside—feet touching the ground, legs moving, eyes noticing the sights, nose smelling the air, ears taking in various sounds or choosing one particular sound to focus on, face feeling the sun or wind—I feel alive. I notice things to be thankful for: birds, flowers, the blue sky, even just a free moment to get away. Something happens when we change our scenery and connect to the flow of outdoor surroundings. This welcomed shift can provide the freedom to direct our intentions to a place that best serves us and those around us for the rest of the day. NURTURE YOUR BEST SELF Recharging helps you be more centered, present, and available to offer your best self to each client. Consider starting your day by cultivating those feelings in your body, emotions, and mind-set that feel best for you. Try one of these ideas or simply take time to practice whatever rituals you know work for you. Make time to start your day off right—you deserve it! Amy Andrews McMaster has been leading mindfulness practices for more than a decade. For more information, contact amy@conscioustime.com.

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