There’s this movement class in NYC called The Class. I know, the name makes it sound a little snooty. But hear me out. So what is it? It’s a cathartic movement practice.
At a friend’s suggestion, I decided to go because she said that there is just something about it. It is an entirely different kind of class on its own. There was shouting, inspirational talk, and movement. My mindset at the time was that I was not working out at all and I was definitely feeling the blues from the lack of body movement. It is a great relief after or before work to either set you up powerfully for your day or to help release any caca vibes experienced throughout the day at the end of the day.
It’s the best and cheapest therapy session that I ever paid for and better than any drink you’d have. Because let’s be honest, throughout the day most of us are concealing our emotions and then taking it home with us where it festers even more. These toxic emotions stick with you and eventually will make you sick. This movement practice helps release that tension in your body so that one feels stronger when they leave and a readiness to take on the world. I should know, I got addicted to it from just one class. I always feel stronger after it. I went consistently three times a week for two years. I released and felt my feels so much. I am an entirely new person. This class goes really well with any kind of therapy. It was actually a really nice replacement for traditional therapy, which was what I was seeking out when I heard about The Class. Needless to say, finding a good therapist in Manhattan is like finding a needle in a haystack and all of them have little to no availability. What’s the real question we should be asking? Why is there a therapist shortage or is there a sharp increase in demand for therapy? I got turned down from ten therapist in a week.
In The Class, I was able to do all the things I would’ve done in a traditional therapy session. I processed my feelings, cried, shouted, moved it through, and TONED my bum. Something to check out. You know where to find me ;).
For the Lakota people, the Inipi is sacred. It’s a ceremony of intentional irritation to vicariously experience the suffering of others in the world and send them prayer with true intent. Most non-natives are more familiar with the term sweat lodge; a short, dome shaped hut covered in blankets and tarps, filled with blazing rocks that create a sauna-like atmosphere.
Recently, I participated in a traditional sweat lodge ceremony, run by a Lakota elder named Carl of Big Heart Circle in Ellenville, NY. I was invited by a long time participant after I had just asked my husband for a divorce. Something about being held in ceremony as you navigate through an abrupt time. Ceremony solidifies the ground beneath you and helps you move through what you need to move through with the realization that you are not alone without having to say anything out loud. We are all going through something.
“As a community we came together, starting with preparing and covering the lodge the day before. This is part of our three day ceremony: Friday lodge preparation, Saturday sweat lodge and feast and Sunday talking circle with Carl Big Heart. As in all ceremony, we have a beginning, a middle and an end. This is represented in the three days that we come together. Leave Sunday feeing uplifted inspired and grounded as we stand firmly in the directions for future generations.” The night before the lodge, we also made prayer ties setting them with intention to take into the lodge with us and burn in the bonfire at its conclusion to the Great Spirit for blessings. Prayer ties are made with string, tobacco, and small pieces of cloth.
Four colors of fabric are traditionally used when making a prayer ties to represent the four directions or the four winds—east (yellow), north (red), west (black), and south (white). Black is for what you are releasing. White is what you’re calling in. Red is the energy that you want to cultivate more of. Yellow is for something you’re thankful for? I can’t remember. Just ask, as I feel like with different circles, colors can mean different intentions. Just choose the guidance that resonates with you most. Ceremony started with elders designating an archetype to some people and all of us choosing rocks to add to the sacred fire, which were then carried in to be used as heat.
I think that with that experience the things that I want people to understand the most is safety. Not all persons should participate in this type of ceremony especially those that are heat sensitive or have been advised by their doctors to not be in hot situations. Also, honor when you have to take a break. There are breaks in between the 4 rounds and water passed around during that time as well. Please take care of yourself and honor what your body needs. This isn’t a competition but a commitment to compassion for yourself, where you are in life and of those around you. I do advise bringing a towel with you in the lodge for those truly hot times to cool the air coming at you, when it isn’t a break. Also, bow your head down to touch the cool earth supporting you when the heat gets intense. Dehydration is a risk, which is why lodges offer the breaks between each session. Respect yourself and do what you need to do to keep yourself safe. Dress code is comfortable and skirts for women. Men and women are divided in the lodge. Other than that, enjoy the light show, grandfather rocks, and being around the community and know that you are supported.
More than happy to answer any questions related to this, just ask! 🙂
Let’s see. What led me to cranial sacral therapy? I have always had a lot of issues with my teeth. Cavities and such. Part due to genetics and the other part is due to what I now come to know TMJ. This is where your jaw, molars, or ear area is in pain or tender throughout the day from clenching and or grinding your teeth during the day and night. My teeth were sensitive to just chewing and it was uneasy to open or close my mouth. A common symptom of having a job these days where your every move and appearance is under constant scrutiny. The hustling always shows up.
I came to my nerdy dentist, Dr. Chang, in late 2016. She was the one that told me I had TMJ. She told me that there is no cure for this but it is due to the stress of adulting. A lot of dentists don’t know this yet but my dentist has the hots for teeth so she noticed because she could see the fractures in my teeth with her camera. Yes, this woman takes portraits of my teeth every six months and then showed my fractures and distortion of my fillings on my molars. I really didn’t notice the tension in my jaw until she pointed it out to me. Then she asked me to move my jaw up and down and notice how it felt. That was the first time I heard the clicking in my jaw when I opened and closed my mouth. She gave me a night guard to help but there’s really not much to do except bringing more awareness to it. Then she mentioned, it’s a shot in the dark but you can try cranial sacral therapy and admitted that she doesn’t know much about it.
It’s a type of bodywork that relieves compression in the bones of the head, sacrum (a triangular bone in the lower back), and spinal column by connecting with the cerebrospinal fluid. Cranial is noninvasive. It uses gentle pressure on the body with hands. It can, help to treat a number of conditions. It’s thought that through the gentle touch of the bones in the skull, spine, and pelvis, the flow of cerebrospinal fluid in the central nervous system can be normalized. This removes “blockages” from the normal flow, which encourages the body’s natural ability to heal. So basically, bringing more awareness into the different parts of your body. I was willing to give it a shot. I want to keep all my teeth after all.
And so the search began for my magical therapist! I read what was available online but for me the practitioner is always more important. I actually went to take care for a micro current facial with Sarah, from Take Care Body NYC, first and found out she was also a sacral cranial therapist. Because I loved my facial with her and her loving vibe so much, I scheduled a therapy session with her. Plus, the tip was already in the price. So one less thing to worry about.
The 4 sessions. I laid on a massage table face up. She started at my feet. The moment she touched my feet. I felt electricity going up my legs. Like wowza! I used my breath to stay with it. This was consistent in all the sessions I had with her. The first session, I didn’t feel much besides that even though she touched other areas of my body. We chatted after, and she asked me what I felt and she shared that she couldn’t really touch my body because my body wanted to expand. She recommended that I came back to do some more sessions with her and that she normally wouldn’t suggest that but it was because I was “expanding”. I took it as I was getting bigger. She also showed me a skull and said some stuff about it, which demonstrated how into it she was. So nice to see someone into what they are doing! After my first session, I just slept so well that night and much more relaxed. The next times I came to her, she commented that she could feel my body shifting in circular motions and such. I didn’t feel this but I just listened to her experience with an open mind. I did notice a pulling between my heart and jaw when she put her hands on my heart area. Something happened. I just don’t know what because when I went to my job, my supervisor commented that something is different about me–that I wasn’t the same person that I was two weeks ago. The final time I saw her, when she was at my sacrum, I could feel electricity and then my hips got heavy and landed even though neither of us moved. I saw a blue sky surrounded by red smoke and my intuitive healer standing over it.
I obviously do not possess a lot of body awareness. But this was worth it for me as I did end up developing more awareness of my jaw but I know the work is ultimately up to me. She can only guide my attention to it or wherever my body wants her to direct it towards. Not only did it bring awareness to my body but to some of my the dynamics in my life that I was playing out at work that I didn’t like and I just stopped putting up with it, which made some of my co-workers very unhappy because I took the reins and there was nothing that they could do about it. My advice is just to show up and be there and notice what happens in the next fews days. Always here to listen. – Jem
I didn’t know who Mama Medicine was or what she did. But I had been going to The Class by Taryn Toomey for quite a while now and they were doing a workshop with her so I innately trusted her.
My pull to her was strong and unjustified. I didn’t have any expectations. I didn’t grow up being part of any spiritual or religious practices or having it forced on me. I’m just your average woman (one of the few) working 40-60 hour weeks in finance investment sector, where a lunch break is unobserved and people only primarily communicate through emails with unlimited snacks because unending work has driven us all mad and we can’t take time for anything personal in the name of efficiency, our bonuses, and getting things done without understanding why. I obviously needed a change. If I can’t verify something, or it’s not in an email–I don’t believe it. I did have a brief Jesus phase in my late teens. I couldn’t meet her when she was there but I decided to treat myself to one of her Medicine Readings in December of 2017 with my finance money. When I first entered she was so welcoming with a huge smile on her face and putting her daughter down for a nap. I felt uneasy by how welcoming she was. Only being in corporate settings for years, the display of emotion was disturbing to me. We stepped into her medicine room and she asked me to ask her questions. I didn’t come prepared and I didn’t know what to ask. I’ve never had an intuitive reading of anytime. So, She just started talking. First thing she said to me was why is your sacral chakra so blocked. Mama, say what? Is chakra a kind of chocolate or was she talking about my poop hole? Then she asked me if I was in my Saturn return. No idea what that is either. She patiently gave me the gist of what it was and then went you might have a more satisfying career with your husband but I don’t want to focus on the future. Let’s just work on the blocks first. No, I didn’t realize she was the aura color reading lady so I didn’t ask what color mine was and she didn’t tell me what mine was. I imagine mine was red though from what I know from her.
As I laid on the treatment table, she instructed me to start breathing in a particular way. She began to sing and ignite scents. She hovered her hand over my sacral area and I felt this immense pressure. It was so bad that I was so scared that I was going to poop all over her pretty white sheets. I didn’t know what was appropriate in this situation. Do I stop her singing and I excuse myself? But she was so in it. I really felt like I was going to poop but then I relaxed and thought she knows what she got herself into. If it happens, it happens. We’ll just have to clean up later. Then it was over and she asked me if I wanted to share my experience with her and if I had any final questions. She sent me off into the world with a personal bath prescription which included ingredients such as crystals, plants, and oils. I definitely left calmer and stronger after our meeting.
Final words. It was a healing experience. I felt very welcomed and she was fully present the entire time. She honored where I was at in my journey and met me there. What she did and said stayed with me for a while. She didn’t try to get me to book more sessions with her. She has a very warm yet strong presence. What do you all think? Has anyone else had a session with her? Love to connect about it. Is there someone else that you would love to hear about a session with? All My Love – Jem.