Making space

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It's great to be back at Jing in Brighton for the next three days with my Jing family. It is such a great place to train because there is total freedom to explore, ask questions and learn in a safe, nurturing and fun environment. Today was day one of the Fascial Foundation course - part one of a three part course which leads to the Certificate in Advanced Myofascial Release which I am focusing on this year.

Yesterday as I travelled down to Brighton I thought about my first experience of mysofascial release and how this started my interest in everything fascial. In 2012 I spent three months in Chicago taking an intensive yoga teacher training at Yogaview. One of the people I trained with was Liana who just happened to be a mysofasical release therapist. I had several sessions with Liana while I was in the US and quite frankly it blew my mind. I had literally never experiencing anything like myofascial release!

Since then through the mediums of my own yoga practice, workshops and as a receiver of massage, I have come to slowly understand what tight fascia feels like - there is nothing like the experience of your own body to show you such things. I've also begun to understand how it feels to touch fascia and to work with it, but have long known that I have only scratched the surface of a huge subject, hence my desire to come and immerse myself in the study and practice of myofascial release this year at Jing.

I always get a little bit nervous before a workshop. Stepping into a new space and outside of your comfort zone isn't always easy to do, yet it is precisely in this space that we grow and learn. Attending any kind of bodywork training is not just about learning techniques, although that is often a major part of it, but being willing to explore new ideas with other people. A big part of every training is 'giving and receiving' the bodywork and it requires trust and a willingness to fully immerse yourself in the cyclical process of learning. I have always found training to be an intensive experience not just because my body is receptive to touch, but also because many of my perceptions as to who I am, how I work and what I think I 'know' are often challenged! Out of these experiences come great insights and changes which I believe only serve to make me a better skilled therapist.

One of the topics we spoke of today was the importance of developing 'a listening touch'. Myofasial work is far less about technique and more about the ability to listen to the tissues of the body with your hands, allowing you to follow where the fascia wants to move, rather than dictating where it should go. It sounds very simple written here but is quite challenging the first few times you start to work with fascia because it requires faith in your own ability as a therapist. If we listen to the inner critic we often end up constantly fretting 'is anything happening?!'. I certainly had a few moments of that today, but I also had moments where I felt that movement, felt the space open up and allowed the intuitive part of me to guide where my hands moved.

In the afternoon we worked on the arms and legs. Pulling them may not sound very nice but it is an amazing way of releasing tension in the body. It looks and to all extents feels like a gentle dance through which you start to feel where the fascia is tight, and because everything is connected through the fascia, you can be working with a leg and undoing something in the upper back! During my session as receiver I clearly recall feeling tension moving out of the back of my body - an area I have always been tight and hold many injuries - and the relief, well, it was palpable and very real.