Bodywork & Yoga have taught me to discern languages that are communicated through feeling. They have taught me how to see and listen to my own body and others what is being expressed by the tissues, organs, bones, nervous system, blood, and emotions.
"I have been practicing bodywork since 2000, teaching Forrest Yoga since 2002, and teaching Anatomy and Structural Bodywork courses since 2004. I started this journey with incredible enthusiasm and today I am even more excited and deeply fascinated by these two fields of Bodywork and Yoga! These are some of my current thoughts on Bodywork and Yoga." - Brian
Bodywork is a means of communicating with another being through the medium of Touch. The communication is happening within the neuro-muscular-fascial-fatty-lymphatic-vascularized sleeve of tissue that surrounds everything in the body down to bone, organs, & brain.
The method of communication is through engaging this sleeve of tissue in an infinite number of ways.
Through Bodywork we listen and feel what is “the truth” within the tissues as they present in a given moment. The body will communicate the truth of it’s structural stress, it’s compensations in its breath patterns, and it’s zone’s of natural uptake. If you listen with your hands the body will communicate so much more than a person’s answer to the question, “how does your body feel?”
The conversation happening in bodywork can go in many directions depending upon how we use touch. The dialogue I seek is to meet someone at the level where they can receive me. To be in a breath by breath interplay of feeling and releasing tension at the organic rate that is unique to each person. This gives someone control so they learn how to let go of of control and feel what is beneath that, safely, without being overstimulated or put into defense mode.
It is at the “neural edge” that communication becomes fascinating. Every tissue has a neural edge to it, whether it is locked short or long or interwoven deeply between layers or especially if there is emotional reactivity laden in the tissues. If you press in too hard too fast, this communicates a threat even if your intentions to release the tissues are good. The response to a threat is to contract against it. This is a very confusing form of communication because it is nearly impossible to be in a state of release and defense simultaneously.
When the entire neuro-muscular-fascial-fatty-lymphatic-vascularized sleeve is engaged in a way that it’s entirety feels good, than the deeper layers of adhesions, scars, and compensatory patterns show and release themselves with more ease.
The most profound approach to communicating with the body is through the Caress. The Caress is the backbone of all touch techniques. It is best displayed in how Mom or Dad soothes with touch their young child, or how a dog and dog-lover communicate through play and petting. The medicine of the Caress comes through in how it communicates to the receiver that they are perfect as they are, they are worthy of being touched in a way that makes them feel good, and that they are safe, loved, and cared for.
Without the Caress as a backbone most forms of bodywork tends toward being mechanistic. With the Caress, the body’s neuro-muscular-fascial-fatty-lymphatic-vascularized sleeve learns how to uptake pleasure and meet it’s own tension in ways that release and process out through the entire body.
Every body is different and every body will reflect Yoga differently. My goal is not to create a pose standard that students are trying to achieve but rather develop a skillfulness that helps guide students into their version of each pose. To expect each body to create or “get-to” an ideal standard, puts a limitation on our focus and does not allow us to expand our feeling awareness of who and how we are undefined by our expectations to be different or push further.
Yoga teaches us how to grow our feeling awareness within and through out our body.
Yoga teaches us how to grow our body’s feeling intelligence, which is quite different than our mental intelligence. Our feeling intelligence lives within our cells of mechanorecption, proprioception, and intero-reception(gut-feelings). Strengthening our feeling intelligence helps us to respond better to our body’s and life’s messages.
Yoga becomes a tool for internal listening and checking in with our body. An opportunity to feel our tight spots, our injuries, our organs, our emotions. Feeling into the needs of these areas of ourselves is both overwhelming and powerful. When we begin to feel into our body, we start to feel many of its unanswered needs. This can be overwhelming. Each time we recognize a single need, acknowledge it, and give attention and action to it’s fulfillment we are empowered. Yoga teaches us discernment of what is life-enhancing or energy depleting, physically, emotionally, & mentally.
Yoga is a means of giving yourself a relationship to yourself, whereby each time you practice you get to know yourself and how you feel on that day. It not only gives you a relationship to how you are feeling, it gives you the means to enhance your well-being. For example, Yoga is great for when you feel like shit, down, and depressed.
A key in developing this relationship and skillfulness in enhancing our wellness is to learn how to make every Yoga asana work for you. Every asana has an adaptation ready for you. A good strategy is to create an internal environment inside of each pose where you can still access and maintain deep breathing. Each time you practice your enhanced body’s intelligence will guide you towards new adaptations and ways of feeling and breathing in each pose. So will a good Yoga teacher.
This wisdom of learning how to feel inside and adapting each pose to work for you is what makes an Advanced student in yoga. More so, than an ability to put your foot behind your head or balance on your hands.
I came to Forrest Yoga in 2002, as a Bodyworker on a referral from my mentor Dr. Vincent Medici. He told me Ana Forrest had honed a form of Yoga that was healing on Physical, Emotional, & Spiritual Levels simultaneously. I took one class at her studio in Santa Monica, felt something resonate inside, and enrolled in her 8-week Foundational Teacher Training that was starting the next week! This experience shook my core and changed my life, empowered my Bodywork and everything I believed possible about hands-on work, and gave me super strong tools to hone my own skill as an Structural Healer. Starting one month after I finished that training I began teaching Forrest Yoga. I have continued to teach Forrest Yoga classes every week since that day over 16 years ago.
Ana Forrest asked me to be a Guardian teacher in 2007 and to make a Life-Pledge of support to the Hoop of the Teachers. I am honored and thrilled to be a part of this modern “Mystery School” of Healing and Transformation.