Zen Yoga can be a wonderful addition to Massage Therapy. It is a means of preparing each client to better understand the function of his or her own body, mind and spirit, and how to find a peaceful balance between all three.
Zen Yoga blends Tai Chi, Qigong, Shanti Yoga, and Mindful Meditation together to create a graceful combination of breathing, moving and stretching. It is both a spiritual art and a practical guide to relaxation and stress management.
In Zen Yoga, as happens within any great teaching process, no one is left unchanged. The practice of the massage therapist, while working with each client in this manner, expands to a new level of understanding as each movement is experienced. Though the concepts of Zen Yoga are easy to learn, ingraining them within us through repetition is the way to master them. By fortifying our own practice we grow as our clients grow, opening, moving, and breathing as we teach them to do so as well.
We, as massage therapists, are accustomed to our clients looking to us for healing. Frequently, they do not realize their own role in determining the outcome of their own massage session. The full body breathing practice of Zen Yoga helps to prepare the client to better receive the work. Through this practice, as the client learns how to maximize his or her breath, both on and off the table, an awareness of their own ability to “let go” begins to become apparent. This is the first step in actually getting the client to work together with us as a partner on the path to wellness. As both therapist and client utilize the breath to its fullest capacity a deeply powerful massage session is created. Each breath provides the therapist with great focus, clarity, and increased physical strength while the client is able to reach previously unattainable levels of relaxation. Both therapist and client sink ever more deeply into the work.
At the close of a session using Zen Yoga, both therapist and client have realized to the fullest extent all possible benefits available to each. The calmness obtained through the breath oriented massage session creates a well grounded existence, which feeds a sense of purpose and direction as the client returns to the busy world.
Aaron Hoopes is the founder of Zen Yoga. He teaches a Continuing Education Course for Massage Therapists. firstname.lastname@example.org