The Health Series: #9 – The Yoga of Mind (Part 1): How The 5 Elements Affect Our Mind & Emotions

The Health Series: #9
THE YOGA OF MIND (PART 1):
HOW THE 5 ELEMENTS EFFECT OUR MIND & EMOTIONS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It gives me great pleasure to introduce Amanda Ings, International Tantra Yoga & Meditation teacher based on the west coast of Canada.

Amanda’s been leading classes, workshops, retreats & online courses for over 10 years, and “teaches with a true passion and a great authenticity. As a student, she is bound to inspire you!” Amanda’s offerings are rich in the philosophy and experiential practice of non-duality, delivered with a teaching style that is grounded, deeply somatic, spontaneous, & organic. She has a soft, gentle, maternal & welcoming nature, yet her presence summons an immediate embodiment of your own presence, power, and wisdom. “Her compassionate and peaceful presence are a deep embodiment of the tantric teachings she shares so beautifully,” says a past student. When she’s not studying with her teacher, Yogini adept Maa Parvathi Nanda Nath, or teaching, you’ll find her communing with one of her other 3 main loves in life: being with children, frolicking in the forest, and spending time with her two gentle giant dogs!

THE YOGA OF MIND (PART 1): HOW THE 5 ELEMENTS EFFECT OUR MIND & EMOTIONS

I could sit here and speak to you for days about the physical benefits of Yoga – but, that’s certainly been (over)done already, right? Yes. In the western world, in all our preoccupation with looking good & feeling great, we have surreptitiously exploited a 7000+ year old spiritual path to moksha (liberation) and conveniently packaged it into a handy-dandy prescription of yoga postures for the physical body. Now… while I am all for looking good and feeling great… this is just the very tip of the iceberg in the conversation about the deeper benefits of Yoga – mentally, emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually.

Today, I am going to focus on one aspect of Yoga, the ‘yoga of mind’ (mind – you know, that thing you think you are?) Mind, with all its thoughts, mental formations and emotions. For the purpose of this article, let us define the word “emotion”.

What are emotions?

  1. a) emotions are, simply put, thoughts that we feel
  2. b) e-motions = energy-in-motion, meaning that emotions are not part of a spectrum swinging from positive to negative. They are neither good nor bad. They are merely forces of energy in motion. (It’s our personal identification with them that gives them connotations of being ‘desirable or undesirable’ expressions of our experience.)

What are thoughts, and where do they come from?

If you’ve ever attended a mainstream meditation class, or even your local yoga class, you’ve likely heard this before: “Let your thoughts pass by like clouds passing through the sky.” (And you’ve probably thought, “Yeah, right. Like that’s so easy.”) The thing is – it actually is that easy! In the sense that if I can actually catch the moment of a thought as it arises, and trace it back to where it came from, I find that it came from nowhere – or, from ‘the sky of your mind’. Moreso, if I watch that same thought disappear, rather than ‘jumping on that thought train and running with it’ (into a whole stream of thoughts connected to it), I will find that it goes back where it came from, which is, seemingly, nowhere. All of this is a very quick synopsis to point us in the direction of a very fundamental and important truth: our thoughts arise from space, and dissolve back into space (if we let them.) This is revealing of an underlying intrinsic quality to the mind – it is comprised completely of space. It is the sky. From this space, thoughts arise, and thoughts dissolve. If you were to sit long enough, or simply remain in a meditative state while engaged in whatever activity you are doing at the time, eventually, there would be some experience that points you to this implicit spacious nature of your mind and its consequent thoughts or ‘weather patterns’.

Now, while I’m an advocate in the modern health industry and current spiritual environment that we are not broken (thus, there is nothing here to ‘fix’) – if we were to point to some of the basic occupational hazards that come with having a mind, the main one is the mind’s capacity to trick us into thinking that we are it. It does so by building up thought structures and belief systems so sturdy that we eventually come to ‘live in’ them. These thoughts and beliefs become our house – they are the walls we look at each day, and the windows we peer out of as we view the world around us. Because we spend so much time in this little inner house we’ve built, we naturally start to identify with our thoughts. This perpetuates them, of course. What began as one thought (stimulated from our 5 senses interacting with the peripheral world) then gets propagated as true, and is used as a reference point for our experience of our ‘self’, and it goes on and on from there; each thought propagating the next in a never ending stream of thinking, thinking, thinking. Each thought telling us in some way or another that we exist in the ways we think we do, and that we are the mental constructs we make up. Without concentrated effort and mindful enquiry, we miss the little moments of space inside ourselves. We miss the little gaps, the spacious bridges between the thoughts; the moments that point us back to our intrinsic nature. This ‘house’ is really just sheltering a pure and empty space of consciousness itself, or a basic underlying formlessness, which is a very alive field of consciousness that gets covered up with thoughts, ideas, and concepts.

What is emptiness?

This is where all the zen, tao, Tibetan buddhism, Tantra and other non-dual traditions come in with their impressive body of teachings on ‘emptiness’. Let us for now define ‘emptiness’ not as nothing, but as no-thing – unidentified, void of subject and object; vast, and full of potential; formless, yet ever-ready to manifest into some form or another, into some expression of its potentiality. So, from here, we could say that our cardinal nature is one of emptiness (and if this isn’t your everyday experience of yourself: firstly, you aren’t alone! And secondly, bear with me… we’re getting to that.) So now, our groundwork has been laid.

However, if you’re anything like me (and you’re a human, so I’m assuming you are), this basic ground of my being, this ‘emptiness’, is not always how I experience myself. More accurate would be to include the sensational array of experiences through which I gather and integrate my sense of self: through experiences of great loss and great joy, times of deep loneliness and profound connection, moments of spectacular rage to sharp crystal clarity, passageways of great arrogance and pride to deep humility and generosity, to moments of debilitating ignorance, wakefulness, and absolute love. All of these brilliant displays of our emotional range give shape, form, definition and volition to the rudimentary emptiness at lies the core of our character.

Yoga falls under a wider branch of ancient study and practice called Tantra. And from a ‘tantric psychology’ point of view, the vast array of emotional experiences we have the capacity to feel arises from the play of the 5 elements (earth, water, air, fire, & space), at the level of the mind. Each of these elements co-arises from one most primary element: space. So, just as the thoughts arise from the ‘sky’ or fundamental spaciousness of the mind, so too do the 5 elements spontaneously and simultaneously co-arise from the space element. Each of these elements serves to bring forth the empty field of potentiality of our minds into the manifest realm through our life experiences. Through each splendid display of emotion, we are somehow wonderfully and mysteriously pointed back to the space of free energy and vastness from which the display arose from. Remember, emotions are just energy in motion, so re-cognizing what our emotions are made of and where they are coming from also means the pathway back to accessing our endless well of free energy. However, this isn’t the only possibility. If we do not consciously work hand-in-hand with our mental and emotional bodies, that source of free energy gets blocked – like a kink in an otherwise very powerfully flowing garden hose. Pressure builds up while perspective breaks down. It is so easy to get lost in our emotions; over-identifying with them, perpetuating them, building stories around them, and then crafting tall towers to protect those stories that protect the identities we have that are based upon our emotional experiences… rather than seeing them for what they truly are – movements of pure energy!

How do the 5 elements show up mentally and emotionally in the body-mind?

So, let’s now dive into the psycho-emotional qualities and expressions that each element gives rise to in the mind…

The earth element gives the mind its stability. In its wisdom aspects, when the energy of the earth element is unobstructed and unimpeded within us, it expresses as equanimity and generosity. We know we have enough, and there is an inner orientation of feeling supported. We are grounded, nourished and sustained, and from this place, we are able to give freely to others. When the earth energy is obstructed (think like an earthquake, having ‘the ground pulled out from beneath you’), this energy comes out as arrogance and pride, being competitive and judgmental, or as greed, materialism, neediness, and fears of not having enough and not being enough; feeling unworthy.

The air element gives the mind its definition and movement. It tells us what to do, how to do it, and when to do it, when its energy is moving freely. When this internal energy becomes obstructed, it moves much like the physical aspect of the air element in its most obstructive force; like a hurricane, blowing and spiralling around the same terrain over and over and over. We know this experience emotionally as feelings of jealously, paranoia, extreme busy-ness, perfectionism, and having to do everything ourselves all the time so that ‘it gets done right’ and so we can be ‘in control’. By contrast, if the air element energy is healthily functioning in the mind, we are able to trust the free and spontaneous flow of life and our actions within it. Feelings of joy, spontaneity, creativity, accomplishment and self-confidence become accessible to us because the mind isn’t busy trying to validate itself with its cyclical thought processes, making us doubt our own and others’ actions and intents.

The water element gives the mind its permeability and penetrative qualities. It’s what gives us our ability to see or not see our realities clearly; it gives us clear-seeing, mirror-like awareness, or blinding rage and fear. One raindrop upon a calm surface of water completely distorts the reflection of the sky above – in this way, so too do I have a tendency to see reality as a reflection of how I am rather than how it is. And much like the actual physical qualities of the water element, when the waters of the mind are calm, we can peer down into them and see with depth, vision and clarity. We receive insights and intuitions. Similarly, we are able to be soft and fluid in ourselves, and vulnerable with others – we can reveal to ourselves and others’ the depths of our being and inner experiences. There is an intrinsic stillness that we can touch inside ourselves. If the energy of the water element obstructs, however, our emotional energy either ‘goes under’ (i.e. diving to the bottom, gets pushed down, avoidance techniques), ‘rages’ (i.e. like a tsunami), or freezes (i.e. giving silent treatment, ignoring, not seeing/not looking in order to ‘get to the bottom of things’). This results in emotional expressions of pervasive sadness, depression, unhealthy (unboundary-ed) anger or rage, hate towards self or other, defensiveness & hardened boundaries, avoidance techniques, and fears of always being attacked or having to be on the attack; fears around not being safe.

The fire element inside gives us our liveliness, radiance, and magnetizing qualities. When this element burns brightly and is healthily sustained in the body-mind, we hold the wisdom principles of compassion, passion and connection – belongingness. We are able to burn in such a way that our inner fires remain ‘tended to’ and provide a warm, steady source of light, warmth and comfort for ourselves and others. Our fires create a warm embrace for others to take refuge in. We are inclusive of others, have healthy attachments and appropriate boundaries in relationship (to anything). On the other hand, if this energy force goes unregulated in us, it begins to burn, burn, burn, and consume everything in its sight. This manifests in our emotional realm as addiction, seduction, lust, endless need for stimulation, distraction, fantasy or drama, or, feelings of loneliness, rejection, isolation and disconnect. If the inner fires aren’t maintained with healthy boundaries, we simply get burned out. Fears of abandonment, being alone, or being rejected may arise from here.

The space element, being the element that all the other elemental expressions co-arise from (and dissolve back into), holds the wisdom of unity, absolute consciousness & of vast, impersonal love; feelings of being an intrinsic, irremovable part of a whole. When this element functions freely and its energy is unobstructed, we are awake, aware, connected and integrated in ourselves. We can hold the dynamism of life without becoming overwhelmed by its many respective individually functioning parts, and we can assimilate the greater mystery of life with wonder, relevancy and absorption. There is a prevailing quality of omniscience to our being-ness; not that we ‘know’ everything, but an inner state of knowing that we will know what we need to know, when we need to know it. There’s a deeply subtle yet central connection to the greater web of life, and feeling our place within it. When this element ‘goes out’, and its energy becomes impeded, interrupted, stuck or blocked, our fundamental ‘knowing-ness’ or remembrance also gets blocked; and there is a fundamental denial or ignorance, a lack of willingness to ‘see the greater picture’. Or, perhaps more commonly experienced expressions of this basic desire to remain ignorant, ‘not to see’, can be: overwhelm, complete emotional shut down, feeling fragmented, disassociated, disembodied, extreme paranoia, numbness, or the inability to feel and hold all the parts – i.e. ‘it’s all just too much’, or, feeling spaced out, unlocalized and disoriented, or experiencing extreme confusion.

The path of the Yoga of mind…

The path of the yoga of mind is to follow our emotional patterns back to their source, to trust them as a path all on their own, rather than see them as something we must avoid, nullify, dampen, change, or be rid of all together. The 5 elements together create the impeccably perfect range of this human experience. Each element holds a primary wisdom that reflects us back to our innate state of unity within. Earth gives rise to equanimity; water gives rise to stillness. Air gives rise to joy, while fire illuminates our capacity for deep compassion. Space gives rise to wisdom itself – of which the equanimity, stillness, joy, and compassion are all a reflection of.

Following our emotional patterns along this Tantric Yogic system with the 5 elements helps us to map out ‘the weather patterns’ of our mind at any given moment. Is there an inner tsunami about to happen, with fear and anger crashing in in waves, or are the waters still and calm, giving rise to clear-seeing? Is the inner ground trembling and shaking, giving way to feelings of insecurity, grasping and poverty-mentalities, or is the inner ground steady and solid, giving stamina, support, and ease? Is the inner fire burning in a balanced way, giving radiancy, warmth and an interestedness in all of life, or is it burning so low that there is no warmth, no comfort, and no connection to be found here? Or, is it burning so out of control that it consumes everything in its periphery with its bottomless needs and desires?

We can follow our emotions to trace the dance of the mind, and how our inner landscape – that which is ultimately formless – is brought into form through this play of the elements. This teaching would tell us that this ‘play’ between the formless and the form is merely about experience and being in relationship. The open field of consciousness that is spacious, timeless, empty, formless and full of potential, wishes to experience itself. And so it gives rise to the 5 elements, which give the us our solidity (earth), our fluidity (water), our definition (air), and our radiancy (fire).

Ultimately, this understanding can heal a fundamental riff, the one that thought perpetuates. Entering and absorbing fully into the free energy of our emotions helps point us back to our spaciousness; our inner presence and vastness. As these experiences increase, the experiences of feeling small, limited and separate from the whole decrease. The thoughts are needed less and less as references points to remind myself I exist, and what remains is a beautiful play between space and its devoted allies, the elements. They dance together in a grace-filled dance that reminds us that in fact, we have come here to dance! We arise from a field of unified consciousness, and we dissolve back into that field. This is the yoga of mind – to foster the growth in ourselves of an experiential-knowing (knowing that is grounded by actual experience) that the boundaries of self the mind creates do not actually exist. Over time, this allows the mind to rest, by virtue of its very nature, while enjoying the magnificent play and display of the 5 elements as they ‘dance in the space’.

If you are interested in learning more about this the path of the Yoga of Mind, the author, Amanda Ings, is offering her 7-month intensive online program for a 3rd year, beginning on Jan 1, 2018: “The Yoga of Mind: 5 Elements & Emotions Mandala.” Go to amandaings.com to find out more, book a private Skype consult with Amanda, or email her at belight@amandaings.com to discuss if the program is a good fit for you!

Thank you, Amanda!

You can reach Amanda the following ways:

Website: www.amandaings.com
Email: belight@amandaings.com
Facebook: Amanda Lynne Ings / Amanda Ings: Yoga, Meditation, Tantra
Instagram: Amanda Ings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Health Series: #8 Reflexology Therapy During the Childbearing Year

It gives me great pleasure to introduce Linda Baril, RCRT/Instructor/Teacher Trainer (RAC), Childbirth Educator/Doula, to you this month.

Linda was both my Foot Reflexology Instructor and my Foot Reflexology Teacher Trainer. She has been a practicing reflexologist since 1992, a teacher of foot reflexology and a childbirth educator since 1996. Linda has been a practicing Doula for over thirty years. You can reach her at: (250) 726-5300 or casita.linda@hotmail.com.

Reflexology Therapy during the Childbearing Year

I can’t think of anything more calming and supportive during pregnancy than receiving a professional reflexology treatment! Pregnancy is a time of profound transformation, both in body and in spirit. Many emotions will be experienced during this time; joy, excitement, fear, trepidation and, perhaps, stress. Along with the joy of welcoming a baby into the family there may be financial or relationship challenges. If you have an opportunity to work with a childbearing woman, you could bring a great deal of comfort and support to her.

I am often asked if there are contraindications to working with a woman during her pregnancy. I would like to offer you some guidelines that will be helpful to you and to your client.

First, I would suggest that you do not give treatment to a woman during the first trimester of pregnancy. This is a tenuous time …. typically, if there is a problem with the pregnancy this is the time period in which a spontaneous abortion (miscarriage) could occur. There has been a great deal of discussion over whether or not reflexology could trigger a miscarriage without a definitive conclusion. There is, however, a very real risk of it being perceived as having contributed to a miscarriage. I don’t wish to put myself or the pregnant woman in the very difficult position of questioning whether or not something I did may have caused this very sad event. I always inform my pregnant clients that I will begin their treatments once they have passed 12 weeks of gestation.

As therapists, we never work on a client with suspected DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis). The danger is that a thrombus (clot) could dislodge and travel to the lungs causing a pulmonary embolism. This is a life-threatening condition. DVT is painful and the woman will likely have a diagnosis from her doctor. If you encounter swelling, redness and deep pain in the lower leg, send her to her caregiver immediately. Do not work on her.

With the growing number of women undergoing IVF (in vitro fertilization) it is likely you will encounter this issue in one of your clients. While undergoing IVF treatment, the woman will be under a strict hormone-altering protocol that is necessary to ‘prime’ the uterus for receiving the implanted embryo. As we know, reflexology is an excellent therapy to restore hormonal balance… this is one situation where this is NOT the goal. I don’t work on IVF patients as I don’t want to disrupt the very delicate artificially induced balance that has been created by the medical personnel.

Finally, when giving reflexology therapy to a pregnant woman, avoid working the pituitary and reproductive reflexes. It is acceptable to gently pass over these reflexes but avoid focused pressure on these areas. The pituitary is responsible for releasing the hormone oxytocin which may cause uterine contractions. This will become appropriate as she reaches full term but not prior to that.

These guidelines are meant to encourage you to work with pregnant women under most circumstances. The relaxation and hormonal balancing that are the result of a treatment can make a great difference in her experience of pregnancy and better prepare her for the transformation into motherhood.

If you wish to learn more about assisting women through the childbearing year, please consider attending my 18-hour workshop Assisting Women Through the Childbearing Year. We look at techniques (reflex and acupressure point plus much more) that are beneficial to women during pregnancy, labour & delivery and postpartum.

Please feel free to contact me if you have questions or comments.

Linda Baril
Ecobirthing – Bringing it Back to Natural

May, 2017

 

 

 

Gentle reminder – time for a foot soak!

How often to you give your feet a treat?

We’re an interesting species, particularly when it comes to excuses. “I don’t have time.” “I’ve run out of Epsom salts.” “It takes too long.” “All the towels are in the washing machine/dryer.” “The dog needs walking.” Etc.

Watching television, Netflix, or You Tube is a great time for a foot soak. Commercials are great time-keepers. We can dry our feet during one, hit pause, or pause the PVR when we’re done.

Whether it’s Gehwol Foot soak, plain Epsom salts or Epsom salts with herbs or drops of your favourite essential oil added, your feet will thank you.

The moment we immerse our feet in a bowl of hot, scented (or not) water, several things happen. We immediately drop into parasympathetic mode – the rest and repair state of the body. We benefit physiologically and emotionally. Our blood pressure drops as we breath slower and toxins are expelled via the skin on the soles of our feet (the skin is the largest organ of elimination). We give our shoe clad, walking weary feet some non-toxic muscle relaxation.

Fifteen to twenty minutes is ample time to give our feet a delicious soak. When finished, give your heels a gentle polish with a pumice stone or heel file, then rub some lotion all over your feet.

I wish you a happy, healthy foot soak!

Warmly,

Brin

The Health Series: #7 Gardening Your Life

Welcome Verna Gregson, a part-time and temporary resident of planet earth, to this month’s Health Series!

Gardening Your Life

We all love to garden. We enjoy seeing the plants grow and flourish, the flowers bloom in their radiant glory and the foliage become healthy, vigorous and lush. We cherish the renewal and rejuvenation of life as our garden moves from one season to another, regularly revitalizing itself and its purpose. To assist our garden in this transformative process, we cut away the dead areas that have not survived the rigors of winter’s cold or summer’s heat.   We carefully inspect the foliage to ensure it is strong and healthy and, when we find shoots that have struggled too long or too far from their center, we lovingly cut them back and allow the plant’s energy to return to its core and foster growth closer to its own heart. We assess the shape of the plant and the pattern of its growth to ensure it is moving in a direction that is safe, strong and appropriate for its own wellbeing. When we see areas of deviation or misdirection, we gently reorient our garden’s growth to a more positive path.

Perhaps we should apply this same gardening philosophy to our own lives. Regularly we should examine our own life process and remove old elements that are no longer vibrant and have lost their purpose for us. We should check for items or behaviours in our personal journey that have ceased to be important or have moved away from our primary focus. They may be draining energy or sapping our vitality and, by removing them, we can concentrate more vigorously on those items that foster and encourage positive growth. Also, through quiet contemplation and reflection, we might allow ourselves to observe the shape and direction our lives have taken, thereby determining if we are moving on a course that is safe, strong and appropriate for our own wellbeing. If not, we can make changes. Think of your life and its journey as a garden and tend it with loving care.

Verna Gregson
April, 2017

Reflexology as pain management

If you’ve read my bio you know reflexology is part of my monthly pain management program. For those who haven’t read my bio, you can click Here.

I experience reflexology as a modality which immediately drops me into the parasympathetic, or rest and repair, mode. This is the opposite of the sympathetic mode; known as the fight or flight response. Due to our hectic lifestyles, I believe most of us reside in the fight or flight mode.

During a reflexology treatment, my breathing slows, I become calmer, I experience my muscles soften and relax, particularly my neck and shoulder muscles. Tension causing pain and worries drop away. I’m filled with a sense of peace and well-being.

I am allowing my body to do what comes naturally. That is: return to a state of homeostasis, or balance.

Reflexology is more than a simple foot massage.

A reflexology treatment is a specific sequence performed on reflexes corresponding to every organ, part, and gland of the body. A treatment improves circulation, assists the lymphatic/immune system, reduces inflammation, and promotes a deep sense of well-being doubly fostered by a sense of trust and connection via touch with the practitioner.

My friend, and fellow practitioner, Suzanne, gives me my monthly treatment. We usually go for lunch afterward. She delights watching me fade. A term I use when my body is saying, “Enough! I need to go lie down for a while – now!” Harold Tuxedo Cat and Rupert Sharpei love my reflexology treatment days. We all have a delicious restorative afternoon nap. This downtime further enhances the reflexology treatment.

What monthly pain management program(s) do you have? What does downtime mean to you, and how do you experience downtime? You can post your remarks on the Comments/Q&A/Videos page.

I await Friday with anticipation. It’s my monthly reflexology treatment; an integral part of my health regime. Whoop!

Warmly,

Brin

The Health Series: #6 Needles are not the point.

I’m excited to share this month’s essay on acupuncture with you. Introduced by teacher of personal development programs, practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine, and a treasured friend, Jane Olynyk.

Introduction

I was fortunate to learn about energy, acupuncture and healing from the two incredible men who wrote this article. Jock McKeen, a physician and acupuncturist, and Bennett Wong, a psychiatrist, pioneered the relationship between body, mind and spirit incorporating both eastern and western forms of thought into their unique approach to healing.

They proposed that the relationship with ourselves and each other are the foundation of healing, whatever methodology used.

Their work continues on at The Haven Institute on Gabriola Island, of which I have the honor of teaching at.

Jane Olynyk, DTCM, Registered Acupuncturist

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Needles are not the point

A Proposal for a Dialogical Understanding of Acupuncture Therapy, presented at the 6th International Congress of Chinese Medicine, San Francisco, April 28 , 1997.

Most acupuncture theory is mechanistic, proposing that release of energy comes through insertion and manipulation of needles. Yet, the efficacy of treatment varies with different clients, and with different practitioners. Why is this? There is no widely accepted explanation for these variations. Usually, emphasis on practitioner training has been on better point location or more or less stimulation.

We propose that the client – not the practitioner or the needle – does the healing. This occurs when the client becomes open and vulnerable, responsive in energy to the self and the environment. When a person is open, the energy fixations that underlie disease states can release.

The personality is an expression of habituated conformations of the pattern of the energy body. Personal attitudes and habits can rigidify into chronic muscular and connective tissue tension – producing “blockages” in the energy, which manifest as illness. Illness is an expression of frozen energy, occurring when the energy body closes, or rigidifies. To heal, the person needs to thaw. The factors in the personality that encourage blockage are field dependency and roles and obligations, where the person is satisfying demands external to the self. A person opens up in intimate dialogue with self and others. Thus, the challenge is to help the client to establish intimate relationships with the self, and with others.

The release that permits the thaw can come through a variety of approaches. Acupuncture and moxibustion help to relieve blocks that permit freeing of the energy. In psychotherapy, clients can release pent-up psychological distress, with accompanying energy expression. Reichian breathing work involves unblocking of the energy fixations, with expression of feeling and relief from chronic tension. This can facilitate the opening of the energy body to encourage healing. We have found that deep breathing is very important to achieve maximum benefit from an acupuncture treatment.

Healing occurs in release of tension, with a reduction in fixation of energy. In a dynamic concept of energy, it is not the operation of the needle, but rather the life style of the client that facilitates healing. The relationship between client and practitioner is central to the healing process. The technique of the needle, or the application of electricity are not what make the release – it is the client himself or herself, in the relationship.

Any operation at the points functions as a suggestion to which the client can respond. Indeed, in the proper dynamic, one could sing to the points and help to facilitate release. The factors that the client offers in opening up the blocked energy are breathing, confidence in the relationship, and becoming personally responsible for self and life style.

In our work, we have moved to an educational model, where people can learn to discover themselves through open communication in a group setting. In this environment, acupuncture, breathing and other natural approaches are adjuncts to the life style change that underlies health. Holding back from other people through “walls” and roles is an expression of energy blockage, which can ultimately express itself in illnesses. Abandoning oneself to others, as occurs in compliant, dependent relationships (“fusion”) results in confusion within the self which is often solved by control and defensive mechanisms that further freeze energy. Self-defining boundaries are necessary in maintaining full and healthy energy patterns.

Much of our work involves facilitating communication, and developing skills for releasing the self through open, direct expression. All of our work is done in group setting now; the facilitation of communication is most thorough in this milieu.

Sometimes there is an initial catharsis in the group process; the more substantial work for the individual involves adopting a life style of open and honest communication. The healing comes when people learn to resonate with themselves and each other.

People can learn to heal themselves by learning to release blocked energy through breath and clear interpersonal communication. Their ongoing dialogue with family and friends can establish a pattern of openness that facilitates high level wellness. In the process, people learn to have compassion for themselves in their deepening relatedness to life.

Jock McKeen and Bennet Wong,
March, 2017
The Haven · www.haven.ca · info@haven.ca · Toll free 1-800-222-9211