As professional bodyworkers, we all have many tools in our tool belts, from specific techniques and modalities we’ve studied, to physical tools we use, like hot towels and silicone cups, to personal attributes, such as our ability to listen and empathize.

Lymph Drainage Therapy is a tool I’m so glad to now have in my tool belt. When a client comes in complaining of sore knees or a swollen ankle or a sinus headache or they’ve recently gotten over a cold or are recovering from surgery, I now have an amazing, go-to tool that I know has a really good chance of helping them. It makes me incredibly happy to hear from a client that their knees haven’t bothered them since the last time they saw me, or that they didn’t really feel like I was doing much, but it really helped, or their leg was totally better the next day. I recently have had the privilege of working with a client just a few days post-surgery and heard from her the next day that she was feeling so much better, had reduced edema, and was able to get off most of her pain medication.

This is one of those tools that, thinking back to many of my past clients, I wish I had had in my repertoire when I was working with them - that’s how I know it’s a good one. We can’t change the past, but it makes me that much more dedicated to continuing my education to better serve my present and future clients.

Updated: Oct 18, 2021

Whether it’s a hot bath after a long day (or in the middle of it) or a cold plunge in the middle of summer, water has an almost magical power to make us feel better.

Recently, I overdid it a bit. The previous week had been the busiest week I’d had at work in a couple months. Then, over the weekend, my friend introduced me to an intense yoga practice that was essentially 90 minutes of deep breathing, squats, and repetitive arm movements, along with chanting and visualization (it was awesome). I was feeling good, but a bit sore, going into Monday and was looking forward to my scheduled massage from the hubs, knowing that I needed it. I try to follow my own advice and get a massage every two weeks - before I end up injuring myself or getting to the point where I’m wishing I could switch places with my clients on the table! Jason ended up getting booked up and my massage didn’t happen.

The next morning, just standing in front of my bathroom mirror, I felt my rhomboids tweak out and send a sharp pain up the right side of my neck. A full day of clients that day plus stressing about our SEO plus the sudden cold snap plus a grouchy pre-teen at home didn’t help. By Wednesday morning, after a restless and uncomfortable night’s sleep, I was feeling stiff, sore, cold, tired, cranky, stressed, and generally kind of miserable. So, I decided to make time for a hot bath in the middle of the day, threw half a Mathair Earth bath bomb in my tub, had a good soak, washed my face, and felt so much more human.

My point with all this is - if you’re feeling run-down, sore, and stressed, get a massage before you tweak a muscle or get sick and are down for the count. And, if you can’t get a massage - or even if you do - take a hot bath - it can do wonders for your body and your soul!

The change of seasons is an especially good time to slow down and give yourself some extra self-care to support your body through the transitioning weather.

What is your favorite way to take some time for yourself and replenish your energy? How do you experience the healing power of water in your life? Do you love the transition to cooler weather or do you find it challenging?

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Most of us give a lot in our lives. To our jobs, our families, our friends, and our communities. Many of us, who are naturally givers, can forget about the importance of receiving, of filling our wells so that we can continue to give.

This morning's class was all about opening and receiving. It brought me to an important realization - yoga is receiving for me.

I have loved taking movement classes my whole life - from gymnastics, dance, and swimming as a child to qigong, kung fu, yoga, and more dance as an adult. I have been blessed to have many gifted teachers over the years. Teachers who bring grace and humor along with their wisdom and knowledge. Teachers who inspire and challenge and shed light in their own unique ways. These classes and practices and teachers fill me up and inspire me and keep my body and my mind feeling healthy.

Many people have asked me if I teach yoga or some other movement practice and I've often wondered why I don't, since movement has always felt like such an integral part of my life and I know nearly everyone could benefit from moving more and in different ways. I once became certified as a swim instructor, I've very nearly signed up for yoga teacher training courses, and have thought about becoming a qigong instructor. I've often felt that I "should" do this, since movement means so much to me - shouldn't I be bringing this gift to others?

Today I let the “should” fall away. I let myself simply receive the gift. I let myself be an open vessel and be filled. I let the movement pour into me and replenish me. I felt the deep gratitude I often used to feel when sitting and breathing or bowing my head to the mat in the first moments of class. I felt how much more I was able to receive by letting go of any conditions.

So, I believe I will return to coming to yoga and any other movement practices for now as a grateful recipient. Perhaps someday, my cup will so overflow that I will feel deeply and truly inspired to step onto a path of sharing these practices as a teacher. For now, however, I am content to simply receive the nourishment that others so generously give, so that I may continue to give in the ways that I do.

And, sometimes, when the balance is right, I get to experience that state of grace where the giving also feels like receiving.

How do you receive in your life? Are there any conditions or "shoulds" you can let drop away from simply receiving? How do you feel when you are in balance with giving and receiving?

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