Freeing the Body, using Bodywork to Release Blocked Chi
What Does a "Freed" Body Feel Like?
We've talked a lot in this section about the processes of Bodywork. Now, what might be a reasonable Bodywork goal?
An ultimate goal, perhaps never achievable, is a pain-free body. That being said, we also know that the chi is blocked if moderate pressure causes pain. There is definitely a block if there is pain with no pressure.
Or, as my sensei would dialogue with me:
Wayne: I think it's just the flu that is going around.
Sensei: Yes, Wayne, but not everyone has the flu. A better question: why do you have the flu?
Thus, if I am in pain, even if I know, for example, that my back twinged when I moved a couch, I also should be asking, "why did my back twinge there? Other people would have moved the couch with no problem. Why am I "weak" in that area?"
I once worked with a ballerina. She was incredibly flexible and supple. She could do tricks with her body I only dream of. Yet, her personal life was out of control. She was not content with herself and with her boyfriend. The place this showed was in the small of her back, which is the interface between self-esteem and relationships.
Now, the posture she took (a highly curved small of the back)
is also a result of 20 years of ballet.
Think about it. Her art form and profession is devoted to flexibility and strength. One would think, then, if all were well, that moderate pressure to the top of the pelvis and to the muscles of the small of the back would bring a sigh of contentment, not "Ouch! Jeez, that hurts!" The fact that she was plagued with bladder infections and a bloated tummy was also indicative of self-esteem and relationship issues.
In my own case, if I go off into my head too often, my feet and legs will ache. If I am uncomfortable in a relationship, the small of my back acts up. If I am unwilling to drop something, if I need to "chew" on it, I'll feel that in my throat, neck and shoulders, and occasionally in my jaw (I talk easily and let out noise a lot, so my jaw muscles don't hold much.)
As soon as we go into self-doubt, self-criticism or relationship issues, as soon as we block ourselves from living our vocation, there will be an immediate reaction in the muscles of the body. If we do not deal with it, we will begin to manifest other symptoms, colds, infections, digestive issues. From there, we move to actually damaging internal organs.
I can usually look at someone and see the blocks. With the ballerina, I looked and saw. I asked her to walk to a door and back up to it and straighten her back. She was incapable of moving the small of her back to straight. When I commented on what I saw, she got quite indignant, and grabbed her left foot and tucked it behind her left ear, then went en point. "What are you talking about? See? I'm fine!"
Until I pressed her pelvic points, the small of her back and her abdomen. She was, in a flash, in tears, crying about how "fat" she was, and how her relationship with her boyfriend - their deepening intimacy – scared her.
Three months later, with a lot of work on those regions of her body PLUS relationship counselling and self-esteem work, the pain was virtually gone. She could touch the wall with the small of her back when she chose to.
Monitor your body. If there is pain or internal distress, something is up, even if you can bend like a pretzel. If the same areas keep "breaking down," listen to the voice of your body. It is, after all, the only one you have!
Beginner's Guide to Freeing Massage
The Root, or First Chakra is the core Chakra – the place where the fundamental right to live and function resides. In Indian thought, it is the home to Kundalini energy, the serpent energy resides at the tip of the tailbone. It is an energy that naturally stagnates, and through meditation and (we suggest) massage, can be brought into use for healing, as well as for increasing sensuality, and sexuality.
The last two apply because of the location of the Chakra. As I’ve indicated, anywhere along the final curve of the spine is close to the point, but its actual location is on the perineum. This point, in Acupuncture theory, is the meeting point of the Conception and Governing Vessels, and is called huiyin (Inner Meeting.)
It is a gateway for all of life.
From a Western Bodywork perspective, because toilet training typically involves not bowel control but muscular – anal – tightening, the muscles of the floor of the pelvis and anus are perpetually contracted.
The walk of such people is familiar – their butt muscles appear seized and we call them "tight-assed."
For now, an exercise or two.
First, Kegels. Most women know about Kegels, the contraction and relaxation of the muscles of the floor of the pelvis. For both men and women: it’s taught by simply having people, as they urinate, stop and start the flow. Then, once you figure out how to do it, you do several hundred a day, building up from a few to a lot. This tightening and loosening of the muscles creates tone in the area, improves sexual functioning for both sexes, and helps create relaxation and well-being.
Second, every time you have a shower, take time to massage the Root Chakra area. You can press firmly onto the area over the tip of the tailbone, at the perineum. Rub in a clockwise motion, and breathe.
Third, get a friend to do it for you!
Please Note! This and other exercises are illustrated and demonstrated on video on our great Bodywork CD-R. Check out the samples.