Yogic Learning

One of the many silver linings to this ‘ill’ year is that I have been able to really develop my understanding of Yoga and Movement. I have begun to learn that movement is not something we do, it is something we are. Even when we sleep we are not still. Far from it. Being healthy, being ‘fit’ could also be described as having the ability to move our whole being fluidly, easily and constantly. Those amongst us who can do that are the ‘fitest and healthiest’. With that in mind, after so many months of barely moving I am keen to re-engage with a holistic and regular movement practice.

Continuum

I have learnt that when presented with a long list of Can’ts there is an equally impressive list of Can’s. Maybe you Can’t; run,walk,jump,hop,bend but equally, you Can; blink, stretch, twist, roll and breath. And if you have breath, I have learnt, then you pretty much have the key to all movement. Anything truly is possible. In my quest for health I have looked for many teachers to help me explore the power of breath and my potential for movement. Just as with my search for a Doctor it is no small task finding a yoga teacher. After so much self-research into movement, I know that any-old-generic-gym-‘yoga’ would not work for me. Particularly after learning from the wonderfull Liz Koch about my Psoas muscle, with which I am still totally enamoured! Liz’s work taught me to play with movement, to find my own space, to listen to my body and have confidence to follow its cues. Crucially Liz also ignited the idea in my mind that for me, there is not a ‘right’ or a ‘wrong’ way to move. If it feels good it’s right, if not then stop. I only need to listen and my body will show me all it can do. In other words; complete AWESOMESAUCE! I learnt through Yoga Therapy that the teachers I connected with most listened to and watched me equally as much as they suggested and demonstrated asanas, just like the Doctors I return to are those who listen, support and don’t patronise.

I am movement lover

I am movement lover

I found another Yoga Teacher a few days ago, recommended by another teacher. Kate Ellis was simply fab! One of the reasons that I enjoyed my session with Kate so much was that without making any obvious fuss Kate created a space in which I felt listened too, safe, valued and hugely encouraged. Kate was the first yoga teacher I have met who seemed to truly recognise all the work I have done myself on this journey. That was an amazingly empowering feeling.  It was consequently a complete joy to share with her some of the things I have learnt and wonderful to feel that someone understood the place of movement I am coming from. My brief session with her rejuventated in me my love for yoga and a thirst to learn and deepen my practice.

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One of my favourite things about illness is that it has expanded my desire and perhaps even capacity, to learn further. Yoga has reminded me of this and I feel privilidged to be able to learn more about it. One Love.

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Our Health Paradigm

Looking back through this blog I can see how far this journey has taken me. When I first started writing I was giving myself labels, keen to point out to myself, to the world  precisley what was wrong with me and what I was doing to fix it. I have written about my back pain, slipped discs, herniated discs, prolapsed discs and chronic pain, finally arriving at my TMS.

back pain

Now I feel all these labels are unhelpful. They do not actually mean anything, they don’t clarify the situation, they don’t help and they certainly don’t show the whole picture and it is precisely that, The Whole Picture which has been so vital to my recovery. All those labels do is focus my attention on one part of my anatomy and re-enforce the idea that I am sick. I have come to believe that infact I am not sick, I simply forgot how to listen to my body. Now I am re-learning how to do this I am healing. I believe that all my symptoms, including epilepsy are stress-induced and therefore rooted in my psychology. As I re-educated myself, I manage stress better and have less symptoms.

me

When I was (writing that in past tense is INCREDIBLE!) in alot of pain, the majority of medical professionals were very keen to treat the pain….one might say well, doh! obviously -it frickking hurt! But I found they were never very certain/interested in the cause of the pain. They just wanted it gone asap and me gone from their clinics with it. OK…… but once (temporarily) out of pain I found their approach baffeling. I thought Doctors where supposed to treat root-cause, not simply the symptoms? If a patient appeared before a Dr with Pnuemonia, of which one of the symptoms might be a high fever and that Dr. only treated the symptom, the fever, no-one would think that Doctor’s work acceptable. Why then has it become acceptable to simply treat pain? As if it was the root cause? A disease in itself? It is a symptom and only a small part of the whole picture.

Seek the wisdom that will untie your knot. Seek the path that demands your whole being.

The whole picture is complicated, to heal it takes longer, to support and understand it even longer. It is made up of the flesh and blood, chemical and mineral. It includes emotions both consious and sub-conscious. In my oppinion Doctors need to be braver. If they truly want to heal their patients for good, they will look at the whole picture. They will look at the fact that I cannot sit down whilst also acknowledging that I had exams earlier in the week, or I missed the rent, lost my job, broke a cup etc If we do not look at the body in this holistic way we cannot hope to heal. Without being truly holistic we will only survive, never thrive. I do not want that to be my life.

DoNoHarm

Someone who’s work seems to me to embody that thought is Liz Koch, whom I have written about frequently. It is enlightening to me that Liz has the ability to draw together both biomechanics and bio-intelligence, therby accessing the whole picture and changing our paradigm of health & wellness;

In biomechanics the Psoas is defined as a muscle and like all muscles it can be understood to be strong or weak.  If we think of our Psoas (or any muscle) as weak we will strive to build strength by exercising it and using repetitive motion of stretching and contracting to build tissue and neurology. When I switch to the embryological model and perceive the bio-intelligent Psoas as embodied within the deepest sympathetic neuro-core of the human being along with the central nervous system and the kidneys iour perception of the Psoas changes.The Psoas is not  “weak”, but rather exhausted. With this change in paradigms exercising the psoas by stretching and engaging the tissue is no longer useful. What does support a healthy Psoas is hydrating micro movements, slowing down and regaining a vital parasypathetic nervous system, and playing/exploring in  a variety of gravitational relationships as a means of inhancing and increasing proprioception.

 I hope that in my lifetime there will be a rise in professionals like Liz and holistic Doctors who will change our health paradigm and really understand what working on the whole picture means. One Love.

 

Brighton wall wisdom

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The Energetic Psoas & Formless Qi Gong

Yesterday was an incredible milestone for me. After months being house-bound in agony, I independently made my way across London, on public transport, to attend a class exploring the Muscle of The Soul with Liz Koch and Nadia Smith de Nekludoff. It was an intense and incredible experience, which so surpassed all my expectations that I hardly know where to begin, perhaps at the start.

I first heard about Liz Koch’s work through a yoga-teaching friend, reading her book on the psoas muscle gave me the courage to explore further that which I had long suspected;- the fact that classical western medicine does not provide all the answers to health and that in order to move forward I needed to change my whole perspective. Liz Kochs words sowed the idea in my head that I needed to start looking in for my own healing rather than out. Only once I’ve looked inside, could I extend to looking outside. Unravelling the psoas on land, was my eureka moment and I am convinced that if I had not come across Liz Koch, I would not have been so open to TMS/Stress illness and might not be on the SIRPA programme and recovering as well as I now am. The only downside to Liz Koch for me, is that she’s based in the USA. BUMMER! bit far…. when I’ve been struggling with 5min walks! When I heard she was coming to Europe, I knew I had to try to get to one of her classes. I was a little unsure about this one as I’d never even heard of Qi Gong, didn’t know how to pronounce it (I have now learnt it’s Chi), but it was the closest class to me and just about within my budget, so I went for it!

Liz Koch unravelling the psoas on land

Liz Koch unravelling the psoas on land

I was nervous about being well enough for the class and unsure exactly what I’d have to do, would it be like yoga, pilates, dance? It was unlike any of those and like them all at once. It was freer, wilder and essentially more empowering.  I have realised that when you are taught something by someone like Liz Koch, with such obvious passion, knowledge and experience, it is a truly profound event. Something I have rarely had the privilege to bear witness to, the last time I felt anything similar was when I was taught at University by Griselda Pollock – another incredible woman.

Griselda Pollock

Griselda Pollock

Liz managed to make the class of 9 feel connected as a group but also allowed for very individual experiences to unfold, a beautiful skill and something I have seen countless teachers flounder with. It was amazing to hear how many of the other attendees where recovering from one injury or another, how many people were on journeys not dissimilar to mine. I felt no need to whisper to the teacher before the class ‘I might not be able to do this…’ I was allowed to simply be. I am coming to realise that being is something we rarely do and yet is so essential to our wellbeing. Just to be was amazing.

Being

Being

We are not beings having an energetic experience, we are energy having a being experience

There is no right or wrong way, go with it

Liz Koch

The other aspect of the class was the Qi Gong. This started as an unexpected and incredible added benefit for me. It became a fascinating lesson which fed into all I am learning about the Psoas and about the Chakra system too. I was overwhelmed by the emotion I found at developing awareness of my energy (qi) flow and re-connecting with the liquid flow of my body. As a total qi gong virgin I can’t make comparisons but from what I understand this was a ‘formless’ type of Qi Gong, waking up our self-healing potential through our bodies own energy force. Nadia was amazingly intuitive, subtle and kind, noticing when I was too overwhelmed and discreetly allowing me some respite.

unityhartford.org

It is not going too far to say that this was a class that I will remember all my life. I feel certain that it is only the beginning of my path to understanding more about my body and the start of a life-long love-affair with my Psoas! Thank you Liz and Nadia for your wonderful work and showing me the light! I hope our paths cross again. One Love.

Party with my Psoas!

 

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Break on Through Healing

The Doors is playing. Morrison singing ‘Break on Through to the otherside’ is the soundtrack to my childhood. It is one of those tunes which has the power to transport me back to our family kitchen, I can see my Mum dancing around with a t-towel and Dad playing air guitar, getting carried away when the track changes to LA Woman, jumping onto the table shaking all the glasses and being chased off by Mum, the three of us kids cringing and laughing at them all at once. I hope I make any future offspring of ours feel like that one day! I still love those songs.

Doors

Recently I reckon I’ve been doing quite a bit of my own breaking-on-through! Perhaps not quite as Morrison wails, breaking-through the Class A stimulants, but breaking through emotionally, mentally and physically! Therefore I feel I probably deserve as much ROCK-GOD(dess) cred. as Jim Morrison!! (¡Claro que si!)

To be a little more serious though, for me, a breakthrough is a moment in life when I suddenly see something differently, I suddenly question what I have learnt and come to understand it in a completely new way.  It could be something as simple as working out how to do a handstand or as complicated as discovering faith. To me all Breakthroughs are mind-blowing, highly personal and empowering experiences. When I experience such an event I think it is positive to notice it, soak it up, remember it. Breakthroughs are the building blocks of life. Added together these moments make up how we see our own worlds and how we move through our lives. For me there have been three recent Break-through events which I would like to note:

Firstly, Discovering Liz Koch’s Unraveling The Psoas Muscle on land. I think this kicked-off my break throughness!The day before I learnt about Liz Koch I had been to see yet another super-experienced-consultant-of-all-Consultants who had told me I was potentially looking at needing surgery and at least a years recovery. Something in me just couldn’t accept this man’s diagnosis so I the following day, when I watched the Psoas video I thought; What the hell I’ll have a go! I was stunned not only with the ease at which I achieved it, but also how much it soothed me. Largely, it helped me Let Go of Fear. Previously I have always trusted in Doctors, believed in my own ignorance. But here I’d done something that I don’t think a Doctor would’ve thought possible. I’d broken through a belief I’d previously had, changed a behaviour pattern and begun on a new path. A true break through!

Secondly, reading Dr. Sarno’s book Healing Back Pain  articulated and clarified for me what Liz Koch had started, the idea that the key to my healing lay within me. That I was powerful enough to heal myself, lead myself to knowledge, listen to my own wisdom and also that I was truly alone on this journey. The key is buried within me and only I can find it.

My final healing breakthrough was receiving my TMS diagnosis which combined everything I had previously independently come to believe. That my mind and body were more linked than any Doctors would discuss with me, that I could heal myself and that drugs and surgery were not the only possibilities.

Looking back through this blog I am proud of how far I’ve come. That I independently created these Break-through moments for myself. Growing up I was told it’s not polite to blow your own trumpet but occasionally I think it’s necessary. We all need to love ourselves. If we Break-on-through despite the challenges we should be proud, we should share it and celebrate because it is those moments who make us who we are. I hope everyone Breaks on Through! RIP Jim Morrison.

RIP

RIP

 

 

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