Massage is one of my moving meditation. Many times, I find it is a chance in my day to reconnect with breath, body and movement. Often my clients, whether aware or not, are not only receiving body work, but relaxing much deeper than just in their muscles. At times our breath syncs, or my breath guides theirs. We work together, sometimes in silence, to give their body and mind a chance to balance, and in return, I reap the benefits as well. The very powerful part is I was largely unaware of this happening till a few month ago.
I started practicing meditating at the beginning of 2017. Up to that point I had been told about the benefits, read about the benefits, and suggested by my therapists for years to meditate. My biggest road block was my fear. I was afraid of what I would hear from my inner self. I was afraid of the unknown of quieting my conscience and listening to what my body and soul where trying to tell me. Well, in my ever-evolving quest to not let fear rule my life,
I came to understand that meditation was the next step for me to break free.
I know myself well enough to know how to set myself up for success and failure. I knew if I tried to commit to daily meditation, the first day I miss would mean the last day I ever tried. I knew having a set game plan of how many minutes I should start with, when I should increase, and deciding on an average length of time would also overwhelm me. I understand I have a sensitive nervous system and am learning how to use it to grow as a successful person and business owner.
My big goal; explore meditation when I recognize that anxiety monkey perched on my shoulder.
I challenged myself to check in with my emotional state throughout the day. I recognized when fear, anxiety or worry were on the list. I promised myself to stop what I was doing (as soon as I had a moment) and breath into the emotions. For example, I was grocery shopping and got a voicemail from a business endeavor I had forgotten to follow up on. I instantly felt the tight gut, shortened breath and flush of my cheeks. The fear of failure, worry of a missed opportunity and anxiety of growth kicked in full force. I made a mental promise to acknowledge these emotions in the car. I was able to set them aside, finish shopping, and once in my car, give myself space to breath, cry, and freak out a bit. After a few minutes of honoring these feelings, breathing calmly and fully into these feelings, they faded. I was left feeling grounded, centered and able to return the call with success. That was meditating. My focus was on my breath and noticing what was coming up. When my monkey started to list all the reasons why I was in the emotional state, I reconnected with my breath, and focused on the feelings in my body.
The more I began to check in with myself, the more I recognized the perpetual state of anxiety I was in.
Sometimes it was a low murmur, sometimes it was tears that wouldn’t stop. I started to incorporate structured meditation into my week. I would set my timer on my phone for anywhere from 5-15 minutes. Turn off all notifications, find a quiet place, and sit and breathe. I always had a notebook close incase things arose I wanted to write down after. And just as I had been told and read, after a while I started to crave these times. I realized my anxiety was being replaced with peace. I found myself breathing easier.
I found myself slowing down and being more productive. I found myself smiling more and feeling happy!
My ability to sink into this meditative space has grown and developed. And like I mentioned at the beginning, the easiest place to find it is while giving a massage. My focus is on the present moment, with the breath, and listening to what the person on the table needs. My clients have commented on a feeling of deeper relaxation, even when there is specific work with stretching and engagement the entire session.
Now I am exploring this meditative state both in and out of massage.
I connect with my breath when in structured meditative time, while giving massages, and while I go about my day to day life. I can step into this mindset while I run errands. I see the traffic, unexpected change of plans or other obstacles as part of life and navigate them with more grace and efficiency. I set my intention in the morning to remember my meditative practice and to use it whenever I want or need.
I hope this inspires you to explore what meditation looks like in your life! And I hope we can share this time together during your massage as well.
If you would like to explore meditation, here are some articles, studies and apps I find helpful:
Relaxation Response Induces Temporal Transcriptome Changes in Energy Metabolism, Insulin Secretion and Inflammatory Pathways