Soul Body Blog
I’m a sound healer and kundalini yoga teacher. I’ve been asked: “How does one get into this profession?”
It all started with the “Gong”. No, really, it did. After going to two critical sound baths and watching a gong documentary, I woke up to this idea that this was my destiny. Gong Master. Once I had my mind made up, the universe took over. Within a few weeks I was gifted a gong, and within a few months I was to be training with world renowned gong master, Mehtab Benton.
Little did I know that kundalini yoga and the gong went hand in hand. I had recently started practicing at home watching YouTube videos and witnessing my life suddenly transform. I attributed these changes to my new meditation practice called the Sodarshan Chakra Kriya. A powerful kundalini yoga meditation that claimed to turn any darkness into light.
I was determined to finish 40 consecutive days, it finally happened within 6 months of trying! From then on something clicked inside: this type of yoga CREATES MIRACLES or more importantly points a LASER FOCUS on exactly what needs to change in your life to help you achieve your goals.
Within two years I had certifications in Gong Playing, Gong Therapy, Kundalini Teacher Training Level 1 and one module of Level 2 completed as well. Today I’ve been teaching yoga for two years and practicing the sound healing arts in the form of sound baths and private sound healing sessions.
This path chose me. And as I continue down the rabbit hole, I am being challenged in ways that blast my heart wide open revealing the depths of my true self. If you’re reading this, I thank you and encourage you to listen for those subtle cues in life that inspire you to move towards your freedom and joy.
If you’d like to practice yoga and experience the gong with me you can find me:
Wednesdays 10:00 am at Soul Body Ojai
Fridays 10:30 am at Light and Space
I offer a monthly Full Moon Sound Bath on the Friday closest to the full moon. Check our event page for more details.
Massage therapy for our bodies can be equated to changing the oil in our cars… It is a self-care maintenance essential for our long-term health and longevity. Massage enhances blood circulation and energy flow, helps to detoxify the body, mind, and spirit, manages or resolves soft tissue pain, and perhaps most importantly, it induces an incredible relaxation and stress relief response. Massage enhances wellness on all levels of our being: physical, mental, emotional, and energetic. However, each massage modality will do so in different ways and with a different focus in mind. Below is a first in a series. Here, I list and explain 5 foundational and popular styles of massage today:
When people think of massage, they usually think of this traditional type of massage designed for relaxation. If you are new to massage and bodywork, or if you enjoy light to medium pressure and soothing touch while allowing your mind to float off into space, this is an excellent choice. There are two major strokes used in Swedish Massage…. effleurage and petrissage. Effleurage strokes are long, slow, firm, and flowing. Petrissage is a kneading and rhythmic stroke. A quality oil or lotion is used on the body to create a soothing and moisturizing affect for your skin and to allow the glide needed for these long, flowing strokes. An experienced massage therapist will also use his/her intuition and include more precise work, or friction strokes using their thumbs and fingers, on areas that are sore and need a little extra work. Draping is used with sheets, a blanket, and a warmer on the table so that you feel cozy and safe. Finally, aromatherapy, warm towels, guided breathwork, and relaxing music individualize and complete your experience, and support deep relaxation.
Deep Tissue Massage
As the name implies, the pressure in this massage is deeper and more therapeutic. If you are experiencing pain, or if you are one of many people who need deeper work to induce the relaxation response, this massage is for you. A traditional deep tissue massage will include all of the above strokes, especially in the beginning to warm up your soft tissue, but with gradually increasing pressure. Another stroke called tapotement may be used at times, which is rapid “drumming” on the body. Your massage therapist may also move their entire forearms very slowly along your back and buttocks and other areas as needed to address problem areas. This massage can take longer because the first goal is to address problematic areas, and second to complete a full body massage. Yes, sometimes you may be a bit sore to the touch in those problematic areas after your massage, but the end result is freedom from pain and more freedom of movement…hurrah! A good massage therapist knows that deep tissue work and pressure is relative to your individual body’s needs. They will communicate with you to give you exactly what your body needs where it needs it, and customize your massage experience according to your desires. Deep tissue massage may include Neuromuscular Therapy, Myofascial Release, and/or Muscle Energy Techniques as needed.
Neuromuscular therapy is a style of soft tissue manual therapy which addresses chronic and acute pain and pain patterns in the body by addressing muscles that are subject to spasm and hypertonicity, and their trigger points. Nerve entrapment and compression is also addressed. Trigger points are areas of increased metabolic waste deposits in the muscle which are especially painful, either locally (exactly where they are touched) or referred (the pain travels to another area of the body when the trigger point is touched). When these painful trigger points are found, and directly pressed for short bursts of time (seconds), the pain is reduced. As the pain is reduced, the therapist can carefully give more and more pressure to these trigger points until they dissolve and go away over time. The amount of time it takes to completely dissolve the trigger points and the pain is relative depending on how long the soft tissue pain has been around. I have seen pain completely resolve itself in one session, and I have seen pain patterns slowly improve over a longer period of time- usually months- if massage is given once a week or every two weeks during that time. A good rule of thumb is, the longer you have had the pain, the longer it usually takes to resolve the pain. That is why it is always a good idea to see a massage therapist as soon as any soft tissue pain has begun so we can resolve it quickly. It is even a better idea to be proactive and receive massage regularly (and stretch) to maintain circulation and metabolic waste removal in your muscles so that painful trigger points can be prevented from forming in the first place.
Soft tissue pain in the body is not only caused by dysfunction in the muscle, but also by dysfunction in the fascia, or the connective tissue surrounding the muscle. I like to give the analogy of saran wrap wound tightly around a muscle. Fascia is an unending sheath of opaque, tough connective tissue surrounding all of our muscles, tendons, ligaments, bones, nerves, blood vessels and organs from head to toe, and it assists the tissue it surrounds in keeping its shape. The three layers of fascia are superficial (associated with our skin), deep, (associated with our muscles, bone, nerves and blood vessels), and visceral (associated with our organs). Myofascial Release can be superficial or deep. It is a safe and very effective technique that involves applying sustained gentle pressure into the myofascial connective tissue restrictions to eliminate pain and restore range of motion. Even though the pressure is light to medium, it can feel deep, as there is little to no oil used, and, as the fascial restrictions unwind, redness and a warm sensation are stimulated in the tissue. In comparison to regular massage, the movements are very slow and often sustained. Myofascial Release can be incredibly relieving to painful areas in your body as the fascia is allowed to elongate and its “cobweb-like” restrictions release. Myofascial Release sometimes can also initiate an emotional release response, as our feelings and emotions from past events are often buried in our bodies. For this reason, many people who have PTSD, anxiety, depression, or phobias can find safe expression and release of buried emotions using Myofascial Release and Myofascial Unwinding.
MET or Muscle Energy Technique
This technique is also excellent for someone experiencing muscle spasm and/or range of motion issues with chronic stiffness. It is similar to facilitated stretch, but it is also an active technique in that the client and the massage therapist are working together. The massage therapist will carefully take the muscle to its longest position, then on the client’s outbreath, the therapist will have the client resist with opposing pressure for about 6 seconds, then, guiding the client to take a deep breath and waiting for the client’s exhale, the therapist with take the muscle again to its longest position, and hold that stretch for 15-20 seconds. This is repeated 3-5 times to achieve optimal lengthening of the muscle. This process of lengthening shortened or spastic muscles will directly improve range of motion as well as muscle and ligament strength. It is a great addition to therapeutic massage or can be included in a full hour of facilitated stretch for the entire body. Muscle Energy Technique can be applied safely to almost any joint in the body, and it can also prevent injury.
An experienced massage therapist will often intuitively integrate these types of massage in one session for optimal results, if you so desire. This is usually called a customized or integrated massage. Ideally, if you are seeing your therapist regularly, you and your therapist can experiment with these different modalities to find the ones that work best for you and your body, and choose them according to your changing needs.
Angelique Dupre is a Certified Massage Therapist practicing at Soul Body Ojai in Ojai, California. She has been a practicing massage therapist since 1995, and specializes in pain management and stress reduction. Click here for more information about Angelique, or call her for an appointment at 805-798-5924.
“Know thyself…. To thine own self be true.”
“Know thyself” originally was inscribed into a stone of the Oracle of Delphi, Apollo Temple. Socrates also shared this quote; which, later inspired Shakespeare “To thine own self be true” (Hamlet).
This combined quote left an impression on me in high school. My life’s journey has seem to spiral
unconsciously and consciously around it’s multi-level meaning. I always loved school and enjoyed learning to help other people. As a result, my many years of education included nursing, social work, psychology, and naturopathy as well as indigenous wisdom traditions. I had learned a lot about others; but, I had yet to really learn about myself.
I had an opportunity to go to what was then called the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology (now Sofia University). This was truly the beginning of learning about myself. After graduating, I continued with post-doctoral studies in Eastern medicine (Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine). Eastern medicine became a path for continued self-knowledge and development. I realized that as we learn about our true self, our Higher Self; there is seemingly unlimited potential. This includes healing/unifying duality; individually and collectively heart co-creating via our intention, voice, and vision; and the capacity to communicate, be in communion, and harmonic relationship with the Mother-Father Creator/Goddess- God/Source/ the Divine and all of creation.
Over the years, I have worked with clients as a guide accompanying them on a portion of their personal self- knowledge journey. I co-create/hold sacred space for personal and group self-healing (including community ceremony and “live” ceremonial art/theatre). It has been profound witnessing how people are able to self-heal; simply by learning about themselves and applying their own wisdom and knowledge. This self-knowledge has led to insights, awareness, and empowerment to heal and resolve issues that were negatively compromising their mind-body-spiritual health, wellbeing, and prosperity–quality of life.
“Know thyself…. To thine own self be true” seems to be more in my thoughts as I expand my work
throughout the United States and abroad. How can co-creating/holding space for more people to go within and bring forth their self-knowledge/wisdom contribute to multi-level healing (individuals,
couples/partners, families, communities, the Earth)? I look forward to witnessing the unfolding of this as more and more people are seeking and finding ways to bringing more light into this plane. Love and Light always.
Learn more about Dr. Miller’s work, personal and group services, and community classes and ceremonies at www.MyLivingSanctuary.org
Jennifer Marcaccini, one of our senior Soul Body Ojai Yoga Teachers, describes why a retreat is such a valuable experience.
I’m so honored to be hosting another Ojai Weekend Retreat. It has gotten me thinking about why time away is so important. Here is my #1 reason why I LOVE retreating.
When I feel exhausted, stagnant in my life, stressed, or am unclear on life’s direction I know it is time for me to invest in myself. I have learned I need time away to unwind the inner fog that is clouding my ability to operate from my highest self. The tool that helps me clear my subconscious and release fear and anxiety is kundalini yoga and meditation (KY & M). I look for a day or weekend immersion where I can dive into these yogic tools and deepen into my life experience. Retreating offers me space to see my whole life and embrace all of it. The tragedies. The transformations. The messes. And the miracles. It’s all there all the time, but like you, I get caught up in my daily responsibilities and commitments. What I have come to understand is that withdrawing from these things is not an escape rather it is a necessity. The change in environment helps you quiet your mind and change your perspective, and relax into this beautiful life.
Relaxation, whether it be through retreating or something as simple as a 3-minute meditation is a key to creating a purposeful life. This month we are offering a meditation that is designed for everyBODY and it can be done anywhere. Doing this meditation 3, 7 or 11 minutes a day will help you quiet your mind and release fear. Please let us know how it goes for you.
Hello- I’m Alison McKelvie Eakin and I love being a part of Soul Body Ojai. I’ve enjoyed working here since its creation about 3 ½ years ago. What I love about Soul Body Ojai is the community of like-minded people who hold a shared vision for making the world a better place. Soul Body Ojai is a wonderful community of conscious people who are interested in having a safe space for people to express themselves, to allow themselves to feel their feelings and to connect with others on a heart-to-heart basis. Thank you for being a part of Soul Body Ojai.
As a student and practitioner of the healing arts for over 20 years, I have traveled the globe in order to study with and learn from many masters. I lived in India intensively studying yoga and pranayama. I have journeyed through the amazon and I have visited holy sites across Asia and South America. What I have learned from all of this seeking- is that the answer lies within. It is within our own hearts that we each hold the keys to our healing. When a person can begin to recognize their own brilliance- when they can see and feel and experience their true Divine self- then healing occurs.
This is one of the core principles I teach. I hold space for people to reconnect with themselves. To feel their inner-most feelings. To experience the light of their soul. I am merely a witness and a guide for people to heal themselves.
Another core principle that I believe in is creating healthy dynamics within all our relationships. This includes how we interact with the Mother Earth, with our family, friends and ourselves. When we can create balance within our relationships then harmony can be restored. This is a key to happiness.
There are many ways to climb a mountain- and there are many ways to God/Goddess/Great Spirit. When a person can open their heart, letting go of all attachments and the ego- they will begin to merge with the universe and return to Oneness. To be one with the universe and also to know your own energetic feeling- these are the paths that I walk with my clients.
Before moving to Ojai, I lived in Colorado and ran a small biodynamic family farm. I home birthed my three children in a cabin that their father and I built. We raised our children in this one room off grid cabin, living on the bounty of the land. Our homestead consisted of a small herd of dairy cattle, fruit trees, vegetable gardens, chickens and pastures.
Today I am living on a mini homestead here in Ojai where I homeschool my children and strive to create a better world for them to inherit. Gratitude Gardens is the home of our family- myself, the three kids and their father and his partner. We co-parent and co-create a homestead that provides food, clothing and shelter for the children. My children learn about ancestral skills such as brain tanning, plant identification and soil microbiology.
I approach life from a Holistic Management perspective. How can all parts be happy, healthy and whole? I strive to find balance and bring harmony within all my relationships. I am committed to helping people connect with the Mother Earth, with their food, to find their life’s mission and to reconnect with their true essence- with God/Goddess/Great Spirit/Higher Self.
It is an honor to live here in this sacred Valley of the Moon (Ojai, Ah’whay) and I give thanks to the ancestors of this land, giving thanks to the mother earth, the father sky and all our relations- Thank you, I love you.
Ojai, CA 93023