I had the most incredible body work a few weeks ago from my friend, fellow teacher and master of the craft, Brandi Ryans. (And...the last time I saw her was right before my first date with my fiancee... So ya know, she's magical.)
I missed it and I needed it.
I know it is a privilege to receive such care. I also know that things tend to function better when one takes care of their wellness needs. It's not always self-indulgent to do so and it doesn't need to take a lot of time.
It can be five minutes of breath work or ten minutes of movement. It can be two minutes. Any amount of time is enough if it is all the time that you have.
In the long run, it's an investment. The more tools you have to work with stress and discomfort, the more time you'll spend not being stressed out or uncomfortable.
When I don't have a lot of time (like, always), I turn to practices that merge modalities without diluting the experience.
Props like yoga therapy balls make it possible to encounter the sensations of massage and myofascial release with yoga and other techniques of self-inquiry.
I am pleased to welcome my friend and teacher Giustina Easton back to the platform to teach us these much needed tools for self-inquiry and self-care. I recently asked her a few questions about her process, practice and what it is she wants us to learn and take away from this workshop.
What do you find most exciting about the transition from winter to spring? What is most exhausting about it?
There is so much to be excited about in the transitional season of spring. Spring represents renewal, rebirth. It lays the groundwork for personal growth and transformation. The season of spring is expansive, and it's revitalizing. We move away from the stagnant season of winter and deep reflection to put what we've learned about ourselves into action. Spring is when we sow based on what we’ve reflected on and wish to cultivate in the summer. The ground thaws, sprouts bloom, scent and color are abundant. Spring has this sense of aliveness in the most refreshing way.
As far as exhausting – I find that the anticipation of spring pushes our momentum so far forward that we can sometimes lose track of where we’re going. We’re outward bound, reaching for what's next. We’re filling our schedules with external connections, and we’re moving our bodies more than we have in months past. Sometimes the season can shock our system if we don’t ease into it mindfully.
How do you calibrate or change your practice to adapt to a new season, or any transition?
My practice changes per season, and sometimes even per week based on the phase of the moon and the phase of my cycle. I make sure to prioritize checking in through inner listening so I can be honest about what my needs are - as our needs are ever changing! I’ve found that the most effective way to prioritize checking in is getting out in nature and spending time alone–no distractions, no noise, not even music. Then, I can start to sort through my subconscious experience and cultivate shifts based on what my somatic system needs. Also, I’ve recently become obsessed with understanding habits and along with this, I’ve learned that the best way to change my habits in my practice is to set attainable goals. With those goals I’ve made it a priority to quite literally cheer myself on, especially when I’m trying something new… to override that inner voice of self doubt with love and support that I’d otherwise seek outside of myself.
Tell me why you use Yoga Therapy Balls as a tool in practice?
The precision! Seriously. I love all self massage tools for their various benefits, but with the Yoga Therapy Balls, we can literally find trigger points (active “knots'' in the muscle that often create pain patterns away from the trigger point itself) and then treat the trigger point and root cause of the pain itself. Trigger point techniques are typically only what a trained therapist can apply, so it's beautifully intimate to explore our own anatomy and our experience of sensation, and then treat the root cause through this modality on our own!
Could you tell me a little bit more about what you want people to take away from this workshop?
For the self-massage segment, we’ll explore techniques that I offer to some of my hands-on clients as homework between our sessions together. While receiving work from a therapist has its endless therapeutic benefits, it is incredibly empowering to equip people with tools to explore that work on their own. This also creates dimensionality in our work together as it becomes more collaborative. It is my intention to offer attendees these tools so they can personally assess and treat the deeply complex experience of pain, kinesthetic awareness, or limitations in their range of motion. There are countless layers of emotional and psychosomatic factors surrounding the lineages of pain patterns, and western culture can sometimes disempower our ability to explore that experience on our own. I hope folks leave this workshop feeling empowered, somatically precise and self-aware to best support their journey of understanding the mind-body connection through tactile and somatic sensation.
If you want to learn a wealth of self-care practices and dive into all of this more, dust off your Yoga Therapy Balls and join us on Zoom, Thursday May 12 at 7pm ET for:
Can't make it live? Everyone gets a One-Week Replay.
*this blog contains affiliate links. MDY might make a small commission of a sale of an item if you purchase using the link. You are not charged more for any item using these links.