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Blog, Cranial Sacral Therapy, Refined Pilates, Reiki, Yoga

CONNECTING WITH THE WISDOM OF THE BODY THROUGH THE CELLS

In the pursuit of physical wellness and personal growth, it’s crucial to understand that the way you connect with your body can significantly impact the results you achieve. Whether you’re practicing Pilates, Yoga, receiving Reiki, or exploring Cranial Sacral treatments, the way you connect with your body can make all the difference. In this blog, we’ll explore the importance of connecting with your body in a more profound and harmonious way.

Details and Subtlety are Important

No matter what is your level when you exercise, whether you are a professional dancer or someone wishing to improve their posture, it is the details about how you connect with your body as you move that will make your practice more effective. The details are many. These details, as we hone our ability, become more and more subtle. You cannot avoid the fact that moving or exercising well requires concentration and continuous subtle connection with the body. This level of focus calms us. We may come to a Pilates or Yoga class, tired from a demanding day at work, but we will leave feeling energised, feeling “clean”, like someone washed our aura.

There are so many aspects, so many details, that are both fascinating and essential. This attention to detail is what keeps our practice alive. This is what makes it interesting.

What is of paramount importance is connection, and the quality of that connection, with your body. It effects your entire, not just practice, but life.

We choose a detail to focus on. We give it time (something else we are not very good at. We are always in a rush!). We get better and better at that detail, and then we layer it with more and more detail. This experience is wonderful. As human beings we are potentially so intelligent and have so much wisdom at our fingertips. We have access to so much knowledge. This opens us, to be curious, to receive the knowledge, helps us LIVE in our body, enjoying it, experiencing it’s pleasure and doing those beautiful movements, we always wanted to do, with grace and ease. We heal injuries and open up to our movement potential. We can do that advanced exercise we thought was impossible for us to achieve. Not by pushing, forcing and abuse, but through the body’s own innate intelligence (huge intelligence) and love. Caring for our body. Respecting our body.

In order to do this, we need to be ready to LISTEN to our own body wisdom. How lucky we are! 

We need to give up being the dictator, pushing our body around.

How to Deal with Fear

We are often afraid of our body. Afraid because we may have passed through various illnesses, done operations, injured ourselves or had accidents. And who knows what is imprinted  in our ancestral memory.  We have been body shamed. We are afraid because we think, if we stop pushing, we will never achieve any thing. 

We are afraid that we will fall into pieces. YES, we will, and in the ashes, we will find those golden nuggets that will make us into a better person, not just physically but we experience the physical body is not somehow isolated from our psychology, our way of thinking, our feelings and our spirit. Each affects the other. It is impossible to separate them out. 

Being kinder to ourselves, we are happier, and in turn, we are kinder to others.

Being more connected to the beauty of our body wisdom we recognise that beauty in others. If you are a teacher this is essential.

Enjoy, enjoy the magnificent gift of your body. Float up into the “Teaser” with ease, experience the true grounding of the “Warrior Pose” and walk your path.

From Force to Ease of Movement: My Personal Journey

I, like many, grew up with the idea that achieving physical goals required sheer force and determination. I used to watch beautiful dancers from the outside and tried to copy them. This approach led to a lot of physical tension, frustration, and even injuries. I thought that “trying harder” was the way forward. However, I’ve learned that this is not the case.

As I reflect on my journey, I realise that true progress came when I began to unlearn these harmful habits. It took time, but the transformation was worth it. I was fortunate to have exceptional teachers who guided me along the way, reshaping my practice and my life. The path to connecting with your body in a healthier way is an ongoing process of growth and self-discovery.

 The Wisdom of The Body Cells

Our bodies are intricate systems composed of approximately 37.2 trillion cells, each containing the vast repository of ancestral memory and knowledge. From the intelligence within these cells, our bodies were formed, from the spinal cord to every intricate detail. It’s a fascinating that the knowledge of how to create our bodies still lies within us.

The logical brain, which often acted as a dictator in our lives, should now take a step back. It’s not about eliminating logical thinking entirely, but rather allowing it to find its proper place within the magnificent system of our body.

 Moving Beyond Judgment

When we embrace connecting with our body directly through the cells, we shift from judgment to being open to receiving information. We enter the realm of experiencing and sensing—a world filled with new possibilities. In the mind body approach, the left side of the brain connects with the right side of the body and vice versa, creating a crossover effect. However, when we tune into the wisdom contained within the cells of our body, there is no need for this crossover. We receive information directly from the cells of the area we are focusing on.

But to do this, we must be sufficiently relaxed. The magic of this process is that, once we open ourselves to the possibility of connecting with our cells, it happens naturally. It’s as though our cells have been patiently waiting for us to listen.

 The Power of Breathing Maintaining a Connection with the Cells of the Lungs.

One effective way to explore this connection is by practicing cellular breathing. By focusing on the cells of the lungs, you’ll discover a breath that originates from a much deeper space within you. Remember to remind yourself to relax your mind during this process.

The attention you give to the area of your body you want to connect with should be wholehearted and nurturing, akin to the loving attention a mother gives to her baby. It’s possible that emotions or realisations may surface during this process. While it can be a bit scary to establish an entirely new connection with your body, the results are consistently rewarding.

 My Gratitude to Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen

I am deeply grateful to Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen, whose teachings on “cellular breathing” completely transformed my approach to practice. I first encountered her wisdom at a seminar in Patras, and it has since been an integral part of my journey. Bonnie generously shares her knowledge, and you can find numerous free videos of her teachings on YouTube.

My Refined Pilates and Yoga Classes Incorporate Accessing the Body Wisdom Through the Cells

Incorporating the cellular approach into my classes has yielded remarkable results with students of all levels. It’s a reminder that our bodies hold the key to our well-being, and by nurturing this connection, we can unlock the true potential within ourselves. As we continue to learn and grow, let us remember to listen to the wisdom that resides within the cells of our body.

Please visit my You Tube Cannel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC2h6-nH_DKi6nVJ9Vn7FZ8w

You are Invited:

FREE EXPLORATION

Saturday 7 October 2023 17.00 – 17.45 EET

45 MINS

Live and On Zoom

Shifting Your Awareness of the body. Connecting to  the Body’s Cellular Wisdom.

Breath. Meditation. Curiosity. Exploration. Free Movement.

DM me for details.

Blog

THE FOOT WORK ON THE PILATES REFORMER IS THERAPEUTIC FOR BACK PAIN. PART 2.

Part 2

BREATHE DEEPLY AND EASILY

Don’t be afraid to experiment with breath. Pilates did! 

Jerome Andrews taught us exercises with “sighing” breath, for releasing; holding the the breath out, to utilise the healing effect, of the *“still point” and deep, rich in breaths, followed by a soft, blowing, long, out breath. All of these are different and serve different purposes  and intentions. 

When we release the breathing diaphragm, we release the largest concentration of fascia in our body. This alone can result in relief from back pain.

Colour the breath. Fill it with intention. Breathing in power and energy. Breathing out tension, negative thoughts and judgements of our body. 

Let go of the old. Draw in, the the new and the positive.

NEVER FORCE YOUR BREATH

Over time the muscles supporting your breathing system will strengthen. The tension patterns in the fascia of the breathing diaphragm will release and let go. The breath will naturally expand. Until then go with what is easy for you. Float on the breath.

USE YOUR BREATH INTENTIONALLY.

Breath is a conduit to filling each of your cells not just with oxygen, but with positive energy.

Here is an example to practice.

Today:-

Each time I breathe in I think. 

“I breathe in energy.” I have practiced this when coming to an ashtanga practice, seemly exhausted, and not knowing how I will get through it. It works! I was so surprised at my practice that day. I started feeling by I might not get through it and finished with the glow and satisfaction of a deep session. I can’t remember what happened exactly but it was good.

“I breathe in light.”

“I breathe in strength.”

“I breathe in clarity.”

“I breathe in knowledge.”

“I breathe in change.”

“I breathe in perfect leg alignment.”

Make an ever expanding personal list and chose one to focus on. 

The out breath is a letting go process.

“I breathe out tiredness.”

“I breathe out previous negative thoughts about my body.”

“I breathe out and I surrender more to gravity.”

“I breathe out, and use my sites of support, to release my joints, and keep them relaxed.”

“I breathe out and feel my spine long and relaxed.”

FLOAT ON YOUR BREATH. FLOAT ON HAPPINESS.

BREATHING EASILY IS FREEDOM. FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION.

HAVE YOU OBSERVED PEOPLE WITH SCOLIOSIS, KYPHOSIS DO NOT BREATHE EASILY?

Using the breath well will help these students overcome their problems.

PEOPLE WHO ARE ANXIOUS MAKE THEIR BREATHING SMALL.

It is like they want to hide and to make themselves as small as possible. Deep, regular breathing gives a sense of calm, peace and focus.

THE BREATHING IN THE FOOT WORK ON THE PILATES REFORMER PLAYS A HUGE ROLE IN HEALING BACK PAIN.

I chose even breaths. The in breath lasts as long as the out breath. The in breath is strong as the out breath. It is like a circle. I find the Ujjayi breath from yoga is the most effective. Students’ breathing rapidly improves as does their focus. It is a strong practice.

Variation 1

Let’s chose a breath pattern for our foot work. Let’s choose BREATHE OUT to push out and BREATHE IN to come down. 

I know this is the opposite way to the way to the way it is often taught. 

Ok. What does this way offer?

When you BREATHE OUT the breathing diaphragm goes up. This gives you more space, internally, to energise the muscles of the pelvic floor for support.

When you BREATHE OUT the belly naturally drops. Take advantage of nature and allow the deep abdominal muscles to drop and engage, naturally, without tension.

When you BREATHE OUT it is a process of surrender and therefore as we travel back we can enhance the sense of surrendering the back of the body to gravity. 

Once again, THIS IS NOT PUSHING THE BACK DOWN. 

Surrendering the upper back in this way, magically releases, the habitual tension, in the shoulders and upper back. Watch magic happen!

So what does the IN BREATH on the way down offer us?

We can learnt use THE IN BREATH in such a way that we emphasise filling the back of the lungs. This helps us once again to come into touch ever more deeply with the back of the body’s connection with the surface of the bed and the surrendering to gravity.

THE IN BREATH has a sense of suspension. Dancers use it, to seem to hover in the air, at the height of a jump.

THE IN BREATH naturally creates more space between the last rib and the iliac crests. It literally creates more space in the spine. 

Expansion. 

We can consciously use this to open up the spaces between each vertebra. 

Variation 2.

CHANGING THE BREATH TO THE OTHER WAY ROUND

CHANGING THE BREATH TO THE OTHER WAY ROUND is not wrong. 

It offers the feeling as you push out of filling the back of the lungs and emphasising the connection with the back of the body to the surface of the mat, of being supported, of taking in energy.

The out breath on the way down can be used to release tension in the joints, and be more relaxed.

WE NEED TO BE RELAXED TO BREATH WELL.

I just prefer the first way. I can get more juice out of the exercise.

Variation 3. 

WHAT IF WE USE MORE BREATHS?

Aaaa this is my favourite way:

BREATHE OUT to push out. Read all the notes above and from the previous blog.

BREATH IN AT THE TOP OF THE MOVEMENT AND STAY.

Visualise a line of light extending back in the space above the crown of the head. ( The point where the sutures meet, about one third back from the hair line, the place that is soft on a baby.)

Our imagination is a powerful tool and just doing this will create more space in the spine.

Be careful not to change the position of your ankles.

BREATHE OUT. STAY WHERE YOU ARE.

Feel like you are hanging from that line of light all the way down to your toes, arches or heels (depending on which position of the feet you are using). 

Consciously release any tension you may have mistakenly placed in the hip joints.

If you are working in parallel. Visualise the angle of your thigh bones. Check this out in your favourite anatomy book! Many, many, many of of us carry a mistaken image of our thigh bones in our psyche. 

Double check if your tail bones are released, the end of your spine. This can result is a deep pain relief at the base of the spine and a widening at the back of the pelvis.

BE PREPARED TO ACCEPT A NEW SENSATION IN YOUR BODY. 

It can be a bit scary.

BREATHE IN. THE MACHINE  WILL STAY WHERE IT IS for the very first part of the movement to travel down. 

Careful not to change your ankles if you are on the toes. 

Continue to feel like the line extending from the crown of the head is being pulled out into the space behind you. As our beloved Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen says “space has magnetism”. 

Careful not to accidentally tense any part of the spine.

The machine will stay for the first part of the movement BECAUSE YOU HAVE LENGTHENED AND CREATED MORE SPACE IN THE SPINE.

You will get taller with each repetition.

You will feel a pleasant opening in the front of the hip joints which is super therapeutic.

Follow the instructions above and in the previous blog to come down. 

REMEMBER WHEN YOU GO TO PUSH OUT AGAIN YOU WILL BE IN A NEW POSITION OF THE BODY. BE CONSCIOUS, AWARE AND RESPOND ACCORDINGLY.

This is why the Pilates method does not have many repetitions. 

Each time is different. 

Each repetition evokes further change.

Just in case you missed it this is the link for part 1. https://jennycolebourne.com/the-foot-work-on-the-pilates-reformer-is-therapeutic-for-back-pain/

These are the links to some You Tube videos about foot work on the Reformer that you may find interesting.

https://youtu.be/Vnfw4wkG35k

https://youtu.be/zvWamobo9FI

https://youtu.be/7oYZGrLAOw8

  • “The Still Point” is a description used in Cranial Sacral Therapy. The body comes to a place of quiet, where the cranial rhythms stop. This can last a varying amount of time. The system spontaneously starts up again, often in a more balanced, easeful way.

During the “still point” the body can go into an unwinding process. The unwinding movements come from deep in the body, and can range from small and subtle, to quite large. They happen spontaneously and have nothing to do with the logical mind. It is important not to judge them because the results are always therapeutic/positive. “Still Points” can occur during movements or exercises. The Head Stand in yoga is said to bring you into this state. The 100s in Pilates, with the breath held out, as Jerome taught it, can lead us into a “still point”. 

Blog, Jerome Andrews, Refined Pilates

THE THIRD SPINAL SUCCESSION

Jerome Andrews told we that Pilates referred to the arching of the back as the “Third Spinal Succession” and an arched position as the “Third Position” of the Spine.

Refer to my blogs for detailed descriptions of all the other spinal positions and successions. https://jennycolebourne.com/jerome-andrews-pilates-the-first-spinal-succession/ https://jennycolebourne.com/second-spinal-succession-and-position-for-refined-pilates-and-yoga/ https://jennycolebourne.com/fourth-spinal-succession-the-mermaid/

Pilates believed that a flexible strong spine was healthy. We need to move the spine fully in all directions.

HE CONSTANTLY MOVED BEYOND HIS PERCEIVED LIMITATIONS.

I understood from Jerome that it was required, (especially as a dancer), that he move right to the end of a movement, and then he explored how to go safely beyond that. He constantly moved beyond his perceived limitations.

DEEP WORK TRANSFORMS A PERSON PHYSICALLY PSYCHOLOGICALLY AND SPIRITUALLY 

Such deep work transforms a person physically, psychologically and spiritually. 

This transformation is not done by forcing and pushing (there is enough abuse in our world) but by a keen awareness of the body, at each moment in time, focus, and detailed, dedicated application of the principals of the method, the technique. Pilates stressed concentration as a key factor. For sure you need concentration, meticulous application and a deep, non judgemental relationship with the body.

TRULY MOVE VERTEBRA BY VERTEBRA BONE BY BONE

As with all the spinal successions it is important to move, truly, not approximately, truly, vertebra by vertebra, bone by bone. If you practice this with awareness you will never injure yourself. 

Each succession can be initiated at the tip of the tail, or coccyx, which comes all the way down to the level of the anus. Or it can start from the top of the spine. I think of the bones of the skull as the first vertebrae. This is how it is thought of in cranial sacral therapy. It makes sense, as the brain and the spine are one system, A system embraced and supported by the cerebral spinal fluid.

Depending on the movement the succession goes from top to bottom or bottom to top.

THE FRONT EDGE OF THE SPINE HAS A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT FEEL, DESIGN AND QUALITY

When moving into the “Third Spinal Succession” our focus is on the front edge of the spine. It is important to be aware that the front edge of the spine has a completely different feel, design and quality from the back edge of the spine. It is a different experience. The spaces in between the vertebrae open like fans.

In order to allow this huge opening in the front of the body, the back of the body needs to be soft. It partners the front of the body by narrowing, not be forcing, but rather by surrender.

  THE THIRD SPINAL SUCCESSION IS ECSTATIC

An arching movement is ecstatic. Special filming techniques reveal that there are small “explosions” in the chakras at the front of the body. These “explosions” lead to a person being more open. It is not just physically beautiful.

EMOTIONAL RELEASE

I remember quite early on in my career I was teaching a beautiful, professional, contemporary dancer. We had come to the end of class and I asked her to do a relaxation on the Spine Corrector. This exercise involved arching back over the barrel. Suddenly she burst into tears. She cried and cried. Although it was the first time that I had experienced a student having such an emotional release. I knew it was possible, in theory, and here it was happening before my eyes. I knew enough to give her the space to cry. Afterwards she shared with me that although she was very flexible, and a beautiful mover, she had always felt a small area of tightness in the chest. She said that when she did the exercise she felt like an energetic “pop” and burst into tears. It was completely unexpected. After she cryed, the tightness was gone.

You might want to look at this “Down Stretch” video as an example of “Third  Spinal Succession”. https://youtu.be/X2kwH1LvnyI 

Blog

TOUCH AND PRESENCE ENHANCE YOUR PILATES AND YOGA PRACTICE 

PART 2

This blog post is for Pilates and Yoga Teachers, and

Students, as Well as Other Physical Disciplines.

This information is Useful for Reiki Practitioners

and Teachers, Cranial Sacral Therapists and other

Body Workers.

Please read part 1 first! https://jennycolebourne.com/touch-and-presence-enhance-your-pilates-and-yoga-practice/

KEEPING THE DOOR OPEN

In order to help other people we first need to practice expanding our own awareness and consciousness. We truly “know” through personal experience. Each person is unique and will experience things in different ways to us.

Keep the door open to further information.

100% FOCUS

Whether we are going deeper with ourselves, or with someone else, we need to be 100% engaged in the task at hand. Being 100% engaged does not mean we are tense. We are totally relaxed, centered and open. This takes practice. Usually, it is not something we are taught in school. We learn it through disciples such as meditating, or practicing Reiki.

QUALITY OF PRESENCE

Please refer to my previous blog which describes various ways that we can ensure we are, with ourselves and others, with a presence that has positive value.

HUMAN ABILITIES

We all have abilities and possibilities that we perhaps have not been previously aware of. Simply leave your consciousness open to that idea.

SKIN

We are all able to perceive deep in the body.

It is important to be relaxed and let go of any idea of trying.

Let’s say you have your hands on someone either as part of a healing session, or as part of an active touch correction, or adjustment. 

Go through all the steps that were described in part 1 of this blog. Then, very simply, think “skin”. You will be amazed at how easy it is to sense someones skin. In the beginning you may want, as an exercise, to ask yourself some simple questions. How is the skin? Is it warm or cold? Is it dry or moist? It is a simple practice to hone your perception.

IMPORTANT

It is important that the minute you feel yourself tensing up, or trying, to stop yourself, and return to a relaxed state.

UNDER THE SKIN

After a while, very simply, shift your awareness to under the skin. Here we may be in relationship with the fascia of the body. If you wish ask yourself some simple questions like “What does it feel like here? In this space?” 

BONE 

Just for fun, now, shift your awareness to the bone in this area. What is the bone like?

IT IS SO EASY

I remember when I first did these awareness explorations in about 1989 as part of my cranial sacral therapy education. I was stunned at how easy and natural it was.

SENSING MOVEMENT UNDER YOUR HANDS

You may at some point notice internal movements happening under your hands. They will always be therapeutic. The body knows what to do, how to heal itself. The best thing we can do is give these movements our 100% relaxed focus and follow, accompany the movement, as closely as we can. Resist the temptation to direct. Simply follow and wait for the cycle of movement to complete itself. It is super important not to judge anything. Do not be alarmed if the movements happen to be big, follow as best you can and trust the process.

This can be done both with a simple hands on position, or as integrated into an adjustment of a yoga asana, or Pilates exercise.

HUMBLENESS

It is best to remain humble in front of the complex, beauty of the body and the power of the universe. By this I do not mean to make yourself smaller, but to be in a state of awe.

SMILE AND ENJOY YOUR PRACTICE.

BE OPEN TO STILL MORE.

Have a look at my videos, with touch corrections, on my You Tube Channel.

Refined Pilates, “Openings to Second” https://youtu.be/mCwGl3jBrFU and “Short Spine Roll” https://youtu.be/tgfqDcJYb7M.

Hatha Yoga, Downward Facing Dog https://youtu.be/DqWuTIlOYpg, Triangle Pose https://youtu.be/FLSGI6J6MQI and Forward Bends https://youtu.be/1e6oQbOY0GY.

Illium Center of Light

TOUCH AND PRESENCE ENHANCE YOUR PILATES AND YOGA PRACTICE.

PART ONE

This blog is for Pilates and Yoga Teachers, and

Students, as Well as Other Physical Disciplines.

This information is also Useful for Reiki Practitioners

and Teachers, Cranial Sacral Therapists and other

Body Workers.

I was so happy to be teaching Marina Selini Katsaiti “live” again!

Touch Corrections from a Teacher and How a Student can Participate and Receive the Full Benefit of an Adjustment.

During the pandemic we were often not giving classes “live”, at all, and then, we were exercising with masks, and keeping our distance from one another. It is only recently that we have felt safe and comfortable enough to have “live” classes and, in cases where there is trust, for teachers start giving adjustments again.

Touch corrections help the student to move into completely new spaces in their body. Without them the student may never understand how to move in a certain way or from a certain place. The experience can change, completely, how a student practices.

GET PERMISSION

It is absolutely essential to get the student’s consent before touching them.

Some countries are much stricter than others. You may need a written agreement. 

My suggestion is that you use your instincts. It may be that you have a beginner and you see something that can be improved by a simple touch correction. A simple “May I touch you to help you?”is enough. Usually you get to know the student over time and, as you do, a trust is built between you.

Any adjustment needs to be completely ethical.

If you have any doubts, either from your side, or the side of the student, simply abstain from touching altogether.

As dancers (at least in my time) we were used to being touched. I never, ever, had a bad experience. I did have receive some amazing touch corrections that revealed very important things about my body, and my movement, that I had not realised with verbal instruction. Some touch corrections completely changed my practice. 

It helps, and I enjoy the fact, that I live in a culture where people touch a lot.

Here are some guidelines.

LOVE

When we touch a person, we touch with love. I do not mean a personal love, and not a sexual love. Love is a quality, just as peace is a quality, that we sense. We can walk into a space and comment on how peaceful it is. I remember coming from work and entering a space where Reiki was being practiced. You could cut the feeling of love with a knife!

The love I am talking about is not personal. It has no expectations. It just is. As we practice having this stance, it is enough to just think it, and it happens.

People often open up and feel safe when they sense an atmosphere of love.

RESPECT

Learning how important it is to soften in the front of the hip joint to free up the base of the spine.

When we touch a person, we always do so, with deep respect. We honour the human being that has given us the gift of practicing and learning together.

Some people really need to feel respected.

A STANCE OF NON JUDGEMENT

Avoid judging. The minute you judge someone they immediately sense it and tense up. It is one thing to help someone to move deeper into a position or make them aware of an area of the body and another to judge. As a teacher or therapist it is important to leave doors to new information open. Once we judge someone it is as if we close the door to further information which may deepen our understanding as to why someone cannot stretch more or do a certain movement.

THERE ARE NO ROLES

Roles cause a sense of separation. We all learn and experience, together, as one. There is no teacher and student, no therapist and patient. We are one.

Yes, as a teacher may be bringing years of knowledge to the space, but as human beings, we are all interconnected, and the student also educates the teacher.

HOW STRONGLY DO WE TOUCH?

If we are drawing attention to an area of the body, or wishing to facilitate the fascia or cranial sacral rhythm, the touch needed is, as light as a leaf falling to the earth. 

Do you as a person like to be pushed around? It is the same with our body, touch too firmly and with an authoritarian manner, and the body will react defensively and tense up. If we touch lightly and “listen” to the body, taking the stance we have mentioned above, the body is likely to respond. 

If we sense any internal movements happening, it is important to follow those movements as closely as possible, trusting in the wisdom of the body. It will always lead to an unwinding or release.

Some adjustments that that we do in Yoga and Pilates may involve quite a lot of firmness, or even using our own body weight. It is essential that the teacher knows exactly what she or he is doing and can, tune into, listen to, the body of the student, and gradually ease his or her body into the desired space.

I control how much of my body weight that I need to help Marina move deeply into her Forward Bend. This adjustment is magic for people who are stiff if it is done in the right way.

There is never any harshness or violence involved, ever. You can easily injure someone if you are abrupt and push. 

RELAX YOUR HANDS

When touching someone or touching ourselves. Keep the palms of the hands and the fingers relaxed. Usually the fingers are gently closed in order to focus into the body.

We have energy centres (chakras) in the palms of the hands and on the pads of each finger.

HEALING PRESENCE.

We cultivate a healing prescience. We as teachers and therapists emanate love, openness and respect.

HEALING SPACE

One sunny day at my place. The nature around my space is amazing.

When we step into our Pilates studio, our Yoga Shala, our Reiki Space we are stepping into a space which has gathered the energy, over time, of love, respect, peace, openness……a place of support, learning and healing. When we step into that space we change, we are more present and professional.

Students feel this, of course. My students at Illium, in Kolonaki, described feeling a sense of peace and calm as soon as they entered the front door.

VIRTUAL HEALING SPACES 

I have learnt, through the pandemic, and teaching on line, for the first time, that the same sense of love, respect, peace and openness can be created, just as strongly, with on line classes.

USE YOUR BREATH TO FACILITATE TOUCH

Start matching your own breath to that of your student. This will bring your two energy fields into harmony and balance and can facilitate what you wish to communicate or achieve.

Themis and I are both breathing out here to facilitate her side stretch.

ADVICE FOR STUDENTS

Only allow teachers and therapists who you completely trust to touch you. 

Some people may be very nice, well meaning but they are not meant to work with you in this way.

I remember, many moons ago, I had a very sensitive spine, and when I had pain, I would go to my mentor, the late Lena Trifonopoulou, for treatments. One day, a really lovely lady, turned up at Illium. She was a a physiotherapist and she wished to work with us. I would always “audition” people who wanted to cooperate with us. I told her about the history of my spine. I remember she was so nice, she must have given me a little massage etc and she finished the session with a classic series of moves to test the mobility of the spine. Nothing harsh. The next day my back was out. I went to Lena and she started scolding me “Why did you let “anyone” touch you?” I was defensive, I smile remembering it, I said, “but she was so nice”….I learned my lesson.

Lena, on the other hand, could work miracles with her amazing hands and presence.

Once you have made a decision to trust someone in this way, stay as open as possible, as soft and as receptive as possible. Give in, surrender ….breathe and enjoy the ride!!

 YOU MAY ENJOY

My You Tube video  https://youtu.be/tgfqDcJYb7M  of the Spine Roll on the Reformer that includes a variety of touch corrections.

My Reiki 1 Circle which meets live and on Zoom every month.

Ask to be put on my mailing list to receive all the information for each month.

The next Reiki 1 Circle is Saturday 13 May 2023. 18.00 – 19.00.

Email me for the link.

Reiki

REIKI FIRST LEVEL CIRCLE. LIVE AND ON ZOOM.

Κοιτάξτε Κάτω για ελληνικά.

Guided by Jenny Colebourne, Reiki master, with 33 years experience. 🥰

Saturday 4 March 18.00 – 19.00 EET (Athens Time), !6.00 -17.00 (London Time), 11.00-12.00 (New York U.S.A.).

Live and on Zoom

Meeting ID: 874 9409 2762

Password: 770098

Languages: English and Greek.

Everyone is welcome to participate.

The Reiki Circle is free of charge. Donations, are welcome. (PayPal [email protected]

Meditation: Breathing Reiki. Learn breathing techniques that enhance Reiki in the body where it needs healing. 🧘‍♀️ See https://youtu.be/gJ7oh6ppxJ0

Exploration: The seventh hand position. This position concentrates on the breath and living vibrantly. 🙏

Reiki Sharing: Reiki for our loved ones and the planet . 🙌🤍🕊

ΚΥΚΛΟΣ ΡΕΙΚΙ 1.

Υπό την καθοδήγηση της Jenny Colebourne, Reiki master, με 33 χρόνια εμπειρίας. 🥰

Ο Κύκλος Ρέικι είναι δωρεάν. Δωρεές είναι ευπρόσδεκτες.

PayPal [email protected]

Σάββατο 4 Μαρτίου 18.00 – 19.00.

ID συνάντησης: 874 9409 2762

Κωδικός πρόσβασης: 770098

Όλοι είναι ευπρόσδεκτοι να συμμετάσχουν.

Γλώσσες: Ελληνικά και Αγγλικά.

Διαλογισμός: Μάθετε τεχνικές αναπνοής που ενισχύουν το Ρέικι στο σώμα όπου χρειάζεται θεραπεία. 🧘‍♀️ Κοιτάξτε https://youtu.be/gJ7oh6ppxJ0

Εξερεύνηση: Ρέικι: Η έβδομη θέση του χεριού. Αυτή η στάση επικεντρώνεται στην αναπνοή και στη θέληση μας να ζούμε. 🙏

Κοινή χρήση του Ρέικι: Ρέικι για τους αγαπημένους μας και τον πλανήτη. 🙌🤍🕊

Blog, Pilates, Pilates Instructor Training, Refined Pilates, Yoga, Zoom

SOUL OF THE FOOT PART 2.

Check our my previous blog https://jennycolebourne.com/the-soul-of-the-foot-part-1/

SOFTENING THE SOLE OF THE FOOT

Have a look at my You Tube video https://youtu.be/JvlADcvaahU

SMALL EQUIPMENT

A humble tennis ball.

SUGGESTION

Make this exercise part of your warm up.

REPETITIONS

3-5 in each position.

RECOMMENDATIONS

This is an exercise, which is good for everyone.

It is very important a person has a lot of tension in the feet.

These exercises are excellent for people who have been through chemotherapy or suffer from numb feet.

Elders may need this exercise more.

Ballet dancers often need this work because of the effect of point work on their feet.

Pregnant women may find relief with these exercises. 

Stand on both feet in parallel and find the classic parallel position

Stand with your heels directly under the sit bones. (To find your sit bones (the Ischial Tuberosity), sit on the floor and rock from side to side. Feel those bones? They are what we dancers refer to as sit bones.)

Imagine two parallel lines. Use the line of your floorboards to align your feet if you have them, or use a ruler. Place the inside edge of the joint of the big toe and the inside edge of the heel against these parallel lines. Close your eyes and in a gentle, non-judgmental way tune into your body. How do your feet feel against the floor?

After tuning in to your body take the tennis ball and place it under your left foot between the first and the second toe. Gently roll the foot over the ball and as you do so feel as if you are molding the foot to the ball. Roll the foot over the ball using a medium pressure until you reach the middle of the arch of the foot.  If you come to a place on the foot, which is painful, stop for a moment and imagine that area softening. Wait until the pain dissipates and then move on. Your aim is to allow the spaces between the metatarsals to open and spread.

Repeat this process between the 2nd and third toe and then between the third and fourth and so on and of course on both feet.

After you have completed the exercise once again tune in to your body and notice how the soles of the feet now feel against the floor.

TOE CIRCLES

Look out for my You Tube video.

REPETITIONS.

3-5 in each direction.

RECOMMENDATION

This is an exercise, which is good for all.

Very important if you feel a person has a lot of tension in the feet.

These exercises are excellent for people who have been through chemotherapy or suffer from numb feet.

Elders may need this more.

Ballet dancers often need this work because of the effect of point work on their feet.

Pregnant women may find relief with this. 

Sit crossed legged on the floor or in any position that is comfortable for you. You can sit on a chair if you like. 

Take a hold of the left foot. Hold all the toes with the left hand except for the big one. Keep them still and steady. Take a hold of the big toe with the right hand and gently lengthen the toe and make 3 – 5 circles with the big toe first in one direction and then in the other. Explore the edges of the circle. 

Move on to the next toe supporting the other toes with the left hand and describing the circles with the right. Continue until you have done the exercise with each toe and then, do the exercise on the other foot.

Stand up and check how your feet feel against the floor.

ENCOURAGING THE SPACE BETWEEN THE BIG AND THE SECOND TOE

REPETITIONS

3-5 in each position.

RECOMMENDATIONS

This is an exercise, which is good for all.

Very important if you feel a person has a lot of tension in the feet.

Elders may need this more.

Ballet dancers often need this work because of the effect of point work on their feet.

Pregnant women may find relief with this. 

This exercise is particularly important for people with back problems.

Sit crossed legged on the floor or in any position that is comfortable for you.

Take a hold of the left foot. Hold all the toes except for the big one

Take a hold of the left foot. Hold all the toes with the left hand except for the big one. Place the right thumb against the joint of the big toe in order to support it and with the other fingers gently lengthen the big toe and encourage the space between the big toe and the second toe. Bring the toenail in a line with the joint and not past it. Keep the toes on the same level.

STRENGTHENING THE ARCH OF THE FOOT

Look out for my You Tube video.

REPETITIONS

3-5.

RECOMMENDATION

This is an exercise, which is good for all.

Pregnant women may find relief with this. 

This exercise is particularly important for people with back problems.

It is good for people with fallen arches or flat feet. 

STARTING POSITION

Start by standing in the classic parallel position.

Draw the toes towards the heels, and the heels towards the toes, as if you were sucking the arches up. Hold for a bit and then very deliberately and carefully place the feet back against the floor being very aware of the alignment and the 5 points.

STRENGTHENING THE ARCH WALKS

Look out for my You Tube video.

REPETITIONS

As much as you feel you need. I used to do this morning and night like cleaning my teeth!

RECOMENDATIONS

This is an exercise, which is good for all.

Pregnant women may find relief with this. 

This exercise is particularly important for people with back problems.

It is good for people with fallen arches or flat feet. 

Once again draw your arches up and then simply go for a walk for as long as you want like that. When you want to stop very deliberately bring the feet back into the correct alignment with a conscious awareness of the 5 points.

The alignment of the feet is very important. The feet support the weight of the body any misalignment will cause strain somewhere. If the feet are not aligned the rest of the body will not be aligned.

Copyright : Jenny Colebourne.

Blog, Refined Pilates, Yoga, Zoom

THE SOUL OF THE FOOT. PART 1.  

A MAP FOR THE FOOT.  

AN EXERCISE TO OPEN UP THE TOES.

The exercises, practices or meditations are intended to be for every day life movement © not just at the time of exercise, whatever that exercises may be.

Feet.  Honoring the feet.  Grounding.  Feeling and Sensing the Earth. Feeling and sensing the power of gravity and allowing it, to fully affect us.

SUGGESTIONS.

Try a reflexology treatment before exercising.

Walk barefoot as often as you can especially in nature. Feel with your feet different surfaces such as mud, autumn leaves and beach pebbles.

Paint each toenail a different color to become more conscious of each toe.

Bring your awareness to the space between the big toe and the second toe. Paint or decorate this space with henna or lipstick. 

Reiki your feet.

Stamp your feet as in African dance.

Read and practice the grounding meditation (page 147) in Faeriecraft by Alicen and Neil Geddes-Ward. 

Remember people bow down to the feet of the guru.

Remember that Mary Magdalene washed Christ’s feet. 

Feet are to be revered. 

Experience having your feet washed and oiled by your lover or friend. 

Choose a lover or friend to honor their feet. 

Wear shoes that are made of natural materials, that breathe and are soft and pliable. Think of the Native American Moccasins.

Essential oils related to grounding are Myrrh, sacred as one of the gifts from the wise men to Jesus at his birth.

 Guinevere frequently used patchouli essential oil for healing.  Vetivert is an essential oil, which in addition, assists in balance and offers protection. 

Frankincense, another of the gifts to Christ. 

Rosewood and Elemi are oils that teach us to grounding in order to move into the highest and most spiritual of centers, the crown chakra. 

I suggest you add a few drops of these very precious oils to base oil or cream and massage it into your feet and legs.

Athletes in ancient Greece oiled their bodies before exercising. Make sure your essential oils are pure and of good quality.

Crystals helpful to feeling the earth are garnet, ruby, red jasper, black tourmaline, and smoky quartz. They can be placed in the room where you exercise or worn. 

Clean crystals before using them and then on a regular basis.

INTENTION.

To use the feet more consciously in a balanced way, sensitive to changes in alignment. 

Toes placed on bar of the Reformer (Pilates Equipment) in parallel.

To feel the earth, and the support of the earth, through the feet.

To use the whole sole and soul© of the foot.

To allow the feet to have a sensitivity softness and pliability which allows you to listen to the earth, gives you strength from the earth and allows you at any given moment to take flight in any direction.

To enjoy and participate fully with gravity

THE ENERGETIC AND MENTAL BODY.

The energy of the feet and legs is governed by the root, foundation or first chakra. This energetic center is associated with our relation to this earth, family and ancestors, tribe and country. It represents our life path.

The color of this chakra is a poppy red.

ALIGNMENT AWARENESS.

Start by looking at alignment of the foot and leg in the parallel position.

Standing, have your heels directly under the sit bones. (To find your sit bones (the Ischial Tuberosity), sit on the floor and rock side to side. Feel those bones? They are what we dancers refer to as sit bones.)

Imagine two parallel lines. Use the line of your floorboards if you have them. Place the big toe and the inside edge of the heel against these parallel lines.

To check that you have equal weight on both feet rock gently from side to side until you come to a point of balance. I suggest you start with a slightly larger rocking movement and then make it smaller and smaller until it is minute to sense where your weight is equally on both feet.

We now need to notice whether the weight of our body is centered on the middle of the foot and not to far back towards the heels or too far forward. At the outside of the foot you have a small bump called a Tuberosity. Check out The Anatomy Coloring Book. The ideal is to have your weight evenly distributed between the front and the back part of the foot. The front part of the foot would be the toes and the metatarsals and the back the heel. Place your index finger at the Tuberosity and open your thumb over the top of the arch. This gives you an idea of where the metatarsals end and where the center of the foot is. Stand upright and this time gently rock your weight back and forward starting with slightly larger movement and ending with tiny ones until you sense where your plumb line is. 

Please be aware that we are focusing on the feet now. 

The posture of the rest of the body will have repercussions but we are starting from the base up. It is impossible for the rest of the body to be in balance without the feet being properly aligned.

THE MAP OF THE FEET.

Imagine you have 5 points on the sole of the foot.

Point 1 is underneath the big toe, point two under the small toe, point 3 is at the outside edge of the heel, 4 the center of the heel and 5 the inside edge of the heel. Each of these points should have an equal amount of weight or pressure on them. Imagine that and energetic line extends straight down into the earth from each of these points. Imagine them going very deep and color them red, the color of the base chakra. 

Study a reflexology chart.

EXERCISE FOR FOOT PLIABILITY.

Choose a sitting position, which is easy for you. I usually sit on the floor cross-legged. Sit on a chair if you find this position challenging. 

Always handle your body with respect. Take right foot in your left hand. Remember the right side of the body is governed by the left side of the brain and relates to the masculine line, your father, your grandfather, your great grandfather. Remember your male ancestors with total respect as you do this. The right side of the body is associated with male qualities; it is the yang side strength, the peaceful warrior, positivity, protection, and hunting. Thread your fingers through each of the toes so the second finger will go down in between the space between the big toe and the second toe. The third slots in between the second and third toe and so on. You may have to press the fingers gently down in between the spaces. Remember the Reiki law “just for today do not worry”! Each time you do this your feet and toes will become more pliable whatever your age. Softly bend your metatarsals first in one direction then in the other. Remember that energy follows thought. Gently focus with love and respect into the area you are working with. If you have worked with the anatomy colorings see the bones as you do the movement. 

You might want to pause as you move into the point of stretch. Notice where you may have resistance or perhaps even pain, have your tender focus there and breathe out visualizing the resistance melting away. You may wish to repeat this a few times.  Allow yourself to move into a new space in the foot. There is a continuous process of surrendering. The more you move into new spaces in the body the more joy reveals it self. 

The number of repetitions is not important. Deep work transforms and the memory of it stays in the body. Move into a timeless zone where anything is possible.

Usually I suggest that you notice simply the number of times you need to do this on the right foot and then do the same number on the left even if you feel one side less pliable for reasons of balance.

It is important not to judge any thing you feel but simply be with it. Judgment closes the door on new more profound information revealing itself as well leading us of in a direction away from our 100% attention on the body. Allow your body to speak to you. Allow your foot wisdom to reveal itself to you and in the process allow the body healing in motion©

Copyright Jenny Colebourne.

Blog, Illium Center of Light

I LOVE “THE CRAB” BECAUSE………..

REFINED PILATES “THE CRAB”

MY ORIGINAL SOURCES.

America and, most importantly, I learnt a lot of the fine details from Jerome Andrews.

RECOMMENDED.

This exercise is good everyone.

PREGNANCY 🙂

Pregnant women who are well exercised can do this exercise until the belly is too big.

LEVEL.

Advanced.

REPETITIONS.

 3 – 5.

NOTES.

This exercise is performed  in smooth, continuous way. It may be too extreme for those with knee problems. I love this exercise. It is one of my favourites! I love the fact that the whole spine is stimulated. Touching the crown of the head down has a knock on effect throughout all the body’s diaphragms. Keep as round a shape as possible, like a continuous circle and as close a shape as possible.

Themis Andreoulaki. Dancer and Graduate of Refined Pilates Teacher Training.

STARTING POSITION.


Sit in a crossed leg position. In yoga this is sometimes referred to as “Easy Pose”. Take a hold of the big toe by sliding your second and third fingers in between the first and second toes, right down to the root. Bend the fingers around the big toe so that they are holding firmly and are curled towards and meet the thumbs. This encourages the opening of the space between the first and second metatarsal where there are nerve endings that ultimately connect to the sciatic nerve. This is, by itself, therapeutic for the back.

Mostly I see it taught with the right hand holding the left foot and the left the right. The arms are not crossed and the elbows are gently open.

Jerome Andrews taught us to have the arms crossed. This deepens the curl of the upper back even more. You do have to be careful not to lift the shoulders. In a very deep 1st position of the spine or “C” curve, place the crown of the head on the floor in front of you.

BREATHE IN


Feel as though the crown of the head has roots and maintain a feeling of it being pulled down into the earth. At the same time, feel as though the tail bone is being pulled down into the earth in the opposite direction. Think of your tail as being like a sensitive feeler. The front of the body is very soft. Begin sending your awareness along the spinous processes at the back of the spine. Think of each one as being sensitive alive, fluid and sensing. Start at the end of the spine and move up vertebra by vertebra until you arrive at the top vertebra which is behind your nose. Move up in your awareness two steps more, to the centre of the brain and then to the crown of the head ( the part which was soft when you were a baby) which is touching the floor. Allow the curve of the back to deepen. The opening in the back of the lungs on the in breath encourages a even deeper curve.

See my blog on the “First Spinal Succession” https://jennycolebourne.com/jerome-andrews-pilates-the-first-spinal-succession/

BREATHE OUT


Continue to have the feeling that the crown of the head to pulled down to gravity, to the earth. Begin, at the same time focusing in the very tip of the base of the spine (remember it is sensory) and let it travel towards the floor. This may seem like a long journey to you! Don’t be temped to hurry. It is worth the wait. Very simply the energy of the tip of the tail surrendering to gravity is so great it rolls you back vertebra by vertebra, traveling along and sensing the spinous processes. You will feel a powerful opening, energising and sensitising of the spine. If you have a tendency to be stiff in the lower back and you are careful to take this two way energy as far as you can you will be rewarded with a good opening there. It is vitally important for any tension in the hip joints to be absent. Roll all the way back onto the back of your neck. The knees come to the floor. The feet stay close to the buttocks.

BREATHE IN

Stay up in the stretch and lightly change the legs. This movement is like quick silver and tests if you are relaxed in the hip joints.

BREATH OUT

Roll starting back from the the very first vertebra of the cervical spine. This time feel as though you do not wish the knees to leave the floor to increase the stretch. Roll back vertebra by vertebra, spinous process by spinous process, until crown of the head touches the floor.

©Jenny Colebourne.

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