Richard Brook's Blog
|What do I treat?
People often ask me what do I do, and what do I treat? Well the answer to that, if I could sum it up, is that I do 'Life Acupuncture'. "Life Acupuncture?" you may ask. See the point is that everything we do in life effects our health, and thus we need treatment which considers all aspects of who we are, and what we do.
For me, long gone are the days of thinking that a yoga class, occasional trip to the gym or changing someone's diet is what constitutes or defines someone's health.
For example, when it comes to work - although this can relate to any part of our life - it's really no good thinking "I'm going to be stuck in a job for hours that I don't like but I'll save my health by going for a run later" All those lost hours of feeling shut down, suppressed or whatever it engenders in you also take their toll.
See the Body, mind and emotions register things moment to moment, you can't really trick them. You could try to, by one part of your inner dialogue or 'ego' trying to tell you that everything is actually o.k and going well, but in any moment you are not really alive or enjoying yourself then your body is recording and reacting to that situation or stimulus - your internal organs will be reacting, emotions reacting, hormones reacting etc.
Sure we can buffer some strain, a few hours here and there if there is sufficient reason to endure, but really shouldn't there be a better model of what we strive for in life? I've long said that a truly succesful human being is someone who is balanced in all aspects of life, not just professionally. It might grow one part of your ego to think, "but yeah i've worked 60 hours this week and earned x amount of money" but is that really the challenge? Really? I would suggest that actually the far more skilful challenge is to balance your work - and first things first, to actually enjoy what you do for a start - with the other Elements of who you are.
See nature is clever, whether we like it or not living force and living matter is subjected to certain natural laws, patterns or requirements. In the line of work I do we call them the 5 Elements, plenty about them in other parts of the website, but in short each Element will correspond to part of your life, and internally in your body to certain organs. There are some fairly obvious correspondences - stay well fed and nourished and your Stomach and Spleen which constitute your 'Earth' Element will be pleased and stay balanced. Enjoy good relationships (not just with your laptop but with other human beings) and your 'Fire' Element of Heart and your Small Intestine - your 'gut' reaction to things - stay at ease.
And then there are some correspondences to our health and body we may not quite be so aware of; Enjoy good growth in life, good vision and direction, and assert yourself with the correct force towards your goals and your Liver and Gall Bladder which make up your 'Wood Element' stay free and easy. Get good rest and time for reflection, and your Kidney and Bladder - your 'Water' Element - which quite literally filter and reflect our experiences which are imprinted in the water of our body stay clear and calm. And letting go of old waste and breathing in new inspiration in life keeps your 'Metal' Element of Large Intestine and Lungs free from clutter and grief.
But of course then there is the flipside - each time we make life choices which are incongruent with the best functioning of those Elements they get strained. Stay in relationships with people or things you don't like and your Heart Energy shrinks, contracts, (the chest starts to physically close - i see it often) and your gut instinctively tightens in relation to what is going on around you (can relate to digestive problems). And then the emotional correspondences as well - as we know your Heart is linked to joy - pretty obvious - so do things you don't like for too long too often and your levels of joy sink. Getting the picture? - lets do another. Say you don't know where you are going in life, or you are blocked from your path, stulted, there then becomes this collision between the intelligence of your Wood Element which gives you vision and direction, and the circumstances which are actually real around you - result your Wood Element of Liver and Gall Bladder gets upset, your body tightens up (as those organs correspond to your ligaments and tendons) and you get frustrated, or indeed, angry, as this is the emotion of an imbalanced Wood Element! This can also happen if you have an inability to express what you want. In imbalances like this we often then seek to placate the feelings, sensations within our body and mind with distractions, substances, toxins. Will it work? What do you think?
Letting off a bit of steam now and again is necessary, (please note you'll usually find me in some state of unabandoned expression on a dancefloor at least once a week) but it's when these kind of situations become chronic that they become a big problem, as the longer they go on for, the longer it takes to come back to balance. In fact in the case of the Liver it actually starts to get physically hot, causing difficulties with the organs around it, but that's a another story!
So as well as the therapeutic work that is required on the organic matter of your body, (hello acupuncture and yoga) it's obviously also a consideration in some situations to contemplate what circumstances are creating these imbalances in the first place. So even from just looking at a couple of examples we can see it's no simple matter this health business - well it's not....and it is! Learning about oneself, and the signals your body is giving you, allied to learning a decent health model such as the 5 Elements gives us some kind of perspective that makes sense on a deeper level to the mind. I mean, when did they ever really teach us any of this in school?! When did they ever say that everything in nature is counterbalanced by expansion and then contraction - day and night, winter and summer, so if you work work all the time with little rest then you are going against the natural flow of life, and part of you will suffer.
So the health game is not just about the condition of our physical body; the body, mind and emotions may tell us the story of what's been going on, but it's the way we are navigating through life and our life choices which are creating the bigger issues.
But luckily, you don't actually need another person to tell you what to do, (that's not my thing or the purpose of treatment) it's more you have to learn to uncover those answers in yourself - because once again you guessed it, nature has a way of knowing what it needs to do to bring balance - that is also inbuilt - it just happens in the world around us. So since we are also part of nature - although we sometimes forget - that intelligence, that potential is also still in us.
Now that's what i treat.
Not your illness, but your potential to be better! Better in body, better in emotions and better in mind.
So where is the true challenge now? in the next 60 hour week, or in having a truly balanced time congruent to all your needs?
I'll leave it with you.
|Holistic Wellness Coaching
So for those of you who might be wanting a little bit of help with finding some way with a more holistic way of life, alongside acupuncture i can also be of assistance through my Holistic Wellness coaching business. In my holistic coaching I roll together many threads of my knowledge and experience which will help you to find more balance in your life. It's tailored to your needs, just like a treatment is. However, with the Holistic Wellness coaching, as well as
treating you with acupuncture it also includes many more facets - which are designed to increase your self awareness and give you other tools to improve and maintain your health - on all levels, physically, mentally and emotionally. So a course with me could contain;
-relaxation and meditation sessions
-dance and movement sessions
-walks in nature (sounds simple but it works - and i'll explain to you why as well)
-referrals to other top professionals I work with, such as tantra, dating and relationship coaches.
We look at what the needs are and begin filling them! No time like the present! With my holistic knowledge and network we can quickly correct a downward spiral, or state of entrenchment with uplifting and balancing activities, which I myself have used in depth over the years. The vast majority of activities and sessions are done with me, but as mentioned above I also use a network of other top professional which I integrate into the programme you have with me to support your growth and development. If of course in time you want to more fully integrate or develop more in depth courses with those other professionals then of course that is great too, but the initial sessions are designed as doses or tasters of what there is out there!
I love this quote -
'In many indiginous societies, if you came to a medicine person complaining of being disheartened, dispirited, or depressed, they would ask you one of four questions: When did you stop dancing? When did you stop singing? When did you stop being enchanted by stories? When did you stop finding comfort in the sweet territory of silence?
Where we stopped dancing, singing, being enchanted by stories, or finding comfort in silence is where we have experienced the loss of soul. Dancing, singing, storytelling, and silence are the four universal salves.' (Angeles Arrien)
I'm not being funny, but at the end of the day, as human being's we aren't actually as complicated as modern living would have you believe. I've watched time and time in myself how a good dance, good interaction with people around me, time in a shared group experience with others, a walk in the park, singing, riding my bike and doing the occupations I love and are passionate about bring me a simple sense of joy and vibrancy which any number of other crazy mod cons just can't touch! Wow we get so lost sometimes as we are disconnected from the simple things we need to do, are designed by nature to do. Sometimes I watch a dog as it's let off the leash at the local park how it bounds into the field and just wants to play and connect, and recognise in myself how when i also let myself off the leash (i do actually sometimes spontaneouslly break into a jog when i get into a natural environment!) how just some deeper part of me feels a joy that many hours in an office or infront of a TV (i don't own one anymore) just can't compete with.
Time for a change? For more information give me a call on 07815 837679 or email via the contact form!
|Becoming Naturally More Attractive;
The Power of your Heart Energy!
I've recently written a blog for the legend that is Hayley Quinn who acts as Dating Coach on my programmes. Hayley is extremely well known in the Dating Industry and is unique in that she's a lady who intensively coaches guys as well as women. Part of what she coaches is how to approach women and my blog is about how from an Holistic perspective the radiance of your Heart Energy can influence this and how attractive you are! So here you are; -
"Okay, so lets be honest part of the business of attracting women would on one level at least appear to be a bit of a game. That is, a bit of a game we play in our own mind convincing ourselves about what we think will make a difference the next time we see a women we are attracted to
on the street. We might spin the latest teaching we’ve picked up from our coaches around our head, or think about placing our faith in our balls Tantra style and heading on over and seeing what happens next. The trouble is the ideal scenario we visualise continues to play out on the inner screen of our mind in some cases without even actually moving our body and making the approach! But at least we think it looked good on the cine-screen in our head as the girl in question carries on with her day uninterrupted by our fantasy.
So what actually makes a difference? What can we actually do to turn the inner cinema into real life? Well it’s time to climb out of your mind and back into your body as in reality attraction is happening on the ground and not in your head. And while the daydreams can give us vital clues about our desires it’s ultimately about feeling and action so it’s time to start making friends with your body again - being aware what you are saying with yours, as well as being able to listen to what is being communicated back to you.
So i’m going to teach you a few choice things about the language your Heart (what else!) is speaking and how it can help you to be more spontaneous, more attractive and also feel so much better in yourself.
I’m not talking here about the medical function of the Heart in it’s role of pumping blood, but more it’s ‘energetic’ state, it’s state of radiance or contraction (or open or closed as we more often think of it) and how it affects your behaviour, feelings, posture and state of mind, In addition it also gives you vital information about your passions in life as well as being affected by the choices you make! So couple of choice things to consider;
1) In Chinese Medicine the Heart is considered the Supreme Emperor organ, overseeing the functioning of the entire body both physically and emotionally. It’s also considered that the Heart houses a person’s individual Spirit (or Soul destiny if you like)
2) The HeartMath institute in the U.S have recently discovered that the electromagnetic field of the Heart is 5000 times greater than that of the brain, and that it extends out several feet from the body. This radiance of your Heart expands further out when you are doing things you enjoy, and contracts very close to your body when you are doing things you don’t like. (And if you don’t believe this come and see me and I’ll demonstrate it to you using a metal coat hanger!)
So on a more subtle energetic level your Heart energy reflects who you are on your deepest levels, what you are doing with your life and how close to living your passions you are. This puts the emphasis back on you to live in tune with your Heart, to be the best person you can be and then it will ramp up your attraction value as you will radiate a much bigger, not to mention joyful, ‘presence’.
The electromagnetic field you radiate around your body is basically your ‘vibe’ that you give off – and when you meet or get close to someone, one of the first things we actually subconsciously interpret is how they ‘feel’ to us, what ‘energy’ they radiate. We’ve all had experiences where someone just feels nice to stand next to, or conversely back away from in the bus queue!
And since the signals your Heart gives off are so much stronger than those of our brain, it also means the messages you send out and receive from your Heart will far outway what you try to ‘think’ into reality via your mind or ‘ego’. Your Heart will tell you what’s really going on, it has its own intelligence aligned to that of your Soul destiny and you can’t really convince it you like doing something when you actually don’t (although we often try - that naughty ego again) as it’s energy will just contract and shrink anyway.
So it’s time to get listening to what your Heart is telling you - it knows what people and situations it enjoys – it just naturally senses, opens and increases it’s radiance when you do things that you Love. And you carry this vibe with you, have you ever noticed the sense of presence people have when they are engaged with something they feel passionate about?
And how do you know in your own mind how generally open your Heart is or whether you are engaged in something congruent to your soul? Sometimes it’s obvious, but there are more subtle clues. When you are doing things you enjoy and feel engaged with you feel present. This can be applied to the general broader sense of your life but also to specific moments. Think of times when you do something you feel completely at ease with or a delicious intimate moment with a loved one and remember how ‘in the moment’ you felt - and this is very attractive. This is because your Heart is really relaxed and open so your ‘spirit’ or ‘soul’ feels settled in your body. You will also have very little other dialogue going on in your mind, as the other levels of your being also feel settled as they are happily under the command of the ‘Supreme Controller’ Heart – so when your Heart is happy so are they.
Also what’s happening on a physiological level is the other organs in your body get to bathe in this increased radiance of your Heart energy, which they also particularly like (nice!) as well as increasing production of feel good hormones! You will also find your spine lengthening, your chest opening and your shoulders dropping as the Heart actually relaxes so you also look much better too, tall and proud. And since you are also feeling more present and Heart open, you also follow your Heart’s impulses more spontaneously hence very helpful for approaching on the streets!
And so how do you know when your Heart energy is contracted or closed? When you are doing something you don’t enjoy, some part of you ‘checks out’ as the Heart contracts and you don’t really feel fully present to what is going on around you. You start ‘thinking’ more than feeling present as the other levels of your being also become agitated as the Supreme Controller Heart is unhappy. Also your chest contracts and your head sinks, feel good hormones crash and often your shoulders also hunch up as you seek to protect yourself from whatever is bothering you. Not a good scene.
Or sometimes what can also happen is your Heart can get a bit locked on close, which can and then you may need some help oiling the hinges! Spend time with passionate upbeat people and invest in practices which engage your Heart and get you connecting authentically with others. Tell people you care about them and give compliments - telling people you’ve recognised something good in them is a great way to exercise your Heart energy. I also teach Heart centred yoga classes and give acupuncture treatments aimed specifically at setting your Soul free! Remember time is now!
So get to work on listening to your Heart, as it speaks the individual language of your Soul, telling you what you Love, what you feel passionate about and has the added side affect of making you feel much better and making you much more attractive!"
|Nature, Vibrations and Negative Ions!
Don’t worry I’m not about to get all hippy on you now (I think it’s probably too late for that lol!) I love lots of things about city life and the creative consciousness that it brings, but it’s good not to lose connections with our ‘natural roots’ and the benefits connection with a natural setting can also bring. One of the difficulties of modern living, particularly urban, is that the ‘vibrations’ we often experience around us aren’t ideal.
By ‘vibrations’ I mean electro-magnetic energy produced from electrical devices and also the vibrations of other man made or polluted matter (All matter vibrates on some frequency or another – what's of interest is how it relates to your own personal vibration and whether it’s harmonious or discordant to you)
You could say that in some respects being in nature is the only true place where we truly relax to the deepest levels of our being, because as the late Itzhak Bentov identified, there is a micromotion within the cells, Heart and fluids of the body which resonates with the same vibration of NATURAL earthly matter.
This makes perfect sense on reflection, since we are obviously creatures who have evolved from a ‘natural’ setting and environment, it’s only today that we lead lives that appear somewhat separate from the natural world, living encased in concrete urban areas.
Indeed, I often note how nowadays it’s often seen as the ‘alternative’ option to spend time in ‘nature’, when on the deeper evolutionary level it’s the environment we come from - and in fact it’s the modern urban lifestyle and urban vibrations that are somewhat more foreign to the body.
The multitude of ‘unnatural’ electronic devices which we are exposed to give off vibrations which are unfamiliar to our body, and require it to ‘work’ to retune and compensate to maintain our balance – which takes energy!
So have you ever noticed how much better you feel after a day out in a natural setting? It’s because the body can relax on that deeper level and bring a sense of refreshment and energisation. (From a personal perspective, although I’ve lived in places set in nature, for the time being I much prefer the city – but the point is I understand the benefits of nature and the need for an occasional dose of it!!!)
Nature and Negative Ions
Alongside the harmonious micro-vibration to our own body that natural settings provide, another aspect of the healthy environment that a natural setting, or natural life provides, is that of Negative Ions.
Our interaction with negative ions also contribute to our feeling of being energised after being in nature. Basically the air around us contains Ion particles, and any natural environmental has an abundance of negative ion particles (despite their name, ‘negative’ ions are the healthy ones, and ‘positive’ ions the unhealthy ones)
So negative ions predominate in natural environments, forests, countryside’s, streams, mountains - basically all the places we often recognise as feeling so much fresher and healthier after visiting.
For example the normal ion count in fresh country air is around 2000 to 4000 negative ions per cubic centimetre and at places with rushing water, this is even more greatly increased, citing the example of Yosemite falls in the U.S where the ion count can increase to over 100,000 negative ions per cubic centimetre. This compares to polluted environments, such as a motorway during rush hour where the level can fall to as low as 100 negative ions per cubic centimetre!
Other producers of positive ions are indoors where a TV or computer monitor are operating, environments of warm, dry winds, and air from air-conditioning units So we can see that modern urban environments with polluted air and preponderance of technological devices are a mass producer of the unhealthy positive ions. And also why interaction with Water, or more accurately Water that has been dispersed, such as at a Waterfall, after taking a shower or how it feels after it’s rained make us feel so much better!
This particular blog was an extract from my upcoming work on the Body-Mind connection
|Journey back into the body;
Choose to live on Earth or in your thoughts?
The biggest thing we forget is as human beings we are also part of nature and governed by the same natural laws as it, the same natural forces acting on us as the rest of creation (Like the effects of the seasons for instance) We forget because we spend so much time in our left brain, the side attached to conscious intellect and conceptual thought (where we try to logically 'think' our life into a better reality) and spend so little time in our right brain which perceives the body and sensory, creative impulses (the more sub-conscious levels of our being)
Some people don't like to slow down and relax as when you do you come out of that left brain state and then feel your body and whatever is in and around it, whatever trapped experiences, emotions and sensations have accumulated in there. The acupuncture and yoga parts of my programme help to disperse and release some of this aggregated matter and experiences we have had that become lodged in the body, making us feel clearly what is actually going on now.
Another aspect of why we spend so much time in our conceptual thoughts and left brain state is because we spend so much time running around in a hectic state, needing lots of planning and so comes with a heightened and quickened brain wave pattern that oscillates on a much higher frequency than that of the body (Our experience of thought operates on a different wavelength to that of the wavelength that our body operates on, as denser matter such as of the body vibrates more slowly - hence our thoughts, due their etheric nature operate on a much higher frequency.)
So when we are in a much more thought driven state we tend to be much less aware of our body. Amplifying this even more nowadays are electronic and technological devices - TV, computers, phones, this all promotes lots of 'head' level communication, and by design they also excite part of our brain which draws us out of our body sensation and even more into thought, have you ever noticed how you can just get 'lost' in your laptop for hours? Perception of time changes and people cease to hear the signals of their own body - often see reports of how some hardcore gamers go hours without food or sleep!
The same can happen to an extent if you sit infront of the TV for hours, it's because these devices alter your brain wave pattern, and it's only when we slow down the brainwave pattern that we then begin to even feel our body again!
You can also similarly drift into conceptual thought when there is something happening to your body, or experienced through your senses which do not like. So again we drift off or escape into 'thought'so that we then feel less of our body. The trouble is though is that we aren't designed to be non-feeling and non-experiencing through our body - we aren't computers, we are human beings and it's time to make friends with your body and senses again and experience some pleasure, and be alive in your body!
Would like to give a mention to Star helper Verity who helped me an enourmous amount with putting together some of my videos that are popping up on site, both as camera operator and yoga model and I appreciate her interest and support in my work tremendously! She's also a fantastic Indian Head massage therapist, so if you find yourself in Bristol anytime then get in touch for her contact details!
Verity also has a rather endearing quality of occasional spontaneous laughter which is always good for morale! Please see accompanying video, i'm sure she will appreciate this lol!
|Key principles of understanding what your Body-mind-soul needs!
This life thing isn't actually as complicated as we make it, only we live in ways that are so imbalanced against what we need as human beings, and separate ourselves from activities which allow us naturally feel good, through the body.
To understand why I put packages together in the way I do i'm going to present some simple key principles which will help you understand how to get on track to being a more fulfilled and vibrant being.
1) What you experience in your mind is;
a) sensory information from external to us - from what's in the environment around us.
b) the signals from within our own body that are fed back to our mind via our nervous system.
Sound simple enough?
Great i'll explain some more. Most Western models separate out our psychology (i.e the organised chaos that happens in our mind) from what's going on in our body, whereas in more Eastern and Holistic schools of thought they recognise that what we experience in our mind actually arises from the body itself. (I'm expert in the Body-mind connection and will gladly explain more when you see me)
So we are faced with two tasks in life, to improve the sensory input we have from around us, from our activities, occupations, friends, food, living environment etc, and to also clean up and improve the actual feel good factor of the vehicle we are travelling in, i.e the body itself!!!
Basically the body is one big sense organ for what is going on outside of yourself, and also within the body itself. Both sets of inputs travel back to the mind continuously. (Read more about the Body Mind Connection from my forthcoming book here)
2) All of nature is governed by natural principles in order to balance and thrive
It's just built into everything - only unfortunately as human beings we tend to a) forget we are part of nature
b) lead lifestyles which go immensely against the flow!
The first principle of this would be to consider yin and yang - that all growth and active force is counterbalanced by rest and passivity - think of the balance between day and night, or the way that from Winter Solstice through to Summer Solstice everything in nature grows and expands, then for the second half of the year from Summer Solstice to Winter Solstice things in nature entire decline and stillness. So within us we are also governed by this need for balance between activity and action and rest and replenishment. These cycles can be further broken down into Five Elements or phases which i work with a lot.
These principles can help as a map or model for understanding more of where we may be going wrong in life, after all maps can be of tremendous use when we are a bit lost!
3) You have an individual life path or purpose in your life.
Other people can't dictate that for you. Think of it that you have a soul if you like - there are certain things you just respond really well too, and make you feel exhilerated, thrilled and fulfilled and other things just don't really matter so much. The key is in learning what these are for you.
So my programmes look at what is going on outside of you in your life right now. Which Elements are in distress, is your social life and relationships giving your Heart the fulfillment you need? Are you passionate about your occupation? Do you have a vision for the future? Do you feel comfortable at home?
And my programmes also look at your existing organic matter - your body and what it needs to thrive and make it feel good naturally. I use acupuncture, yoga and relaxation, dance and movement techniques, as these are ways to heal and move old stagnant energies out of your body, so it not only feels better, but you can also sense the input from around you more clearly too!
|Autumn and Winter - attunement to the seasons
Autumn and Winter can be the ideal time of year to receive treatment as at this time of year, particularly in Western culture, we can become more predominantly out of tune with the energy of the seasons, and what our natural tendency at this time of year would guide us towards. This can place strain upon particular organs and functions within the body which treatment can help to balance.
In Chinese Medicine each season has been observed to activate or act more significantly upon different organs and aspects within us. As we head in towards Winter, the more 'Yin', 'inner' functions are activated within us to promote the rest and replenishment we require to balance the more 'Yang' and active phases of energy we naturally experience at other times of year.
Towards winter this relates particularly to our Water Element of Kidney and Bladder, responsible for rest and reflection and then enabling us to move ahead in the new year having integrated the wisdom from our experiences. One only has to look around and see what's going on around us in the natural world with plant and animal life starting to slow down and light diminishing. However, as we head towards Christmas, we can sometimes almost do the opposite and begin to speed up! This puts strain upon those aforementioned 'Yin' organs in the body which about now are beginning to feel ready for a break and some nourishing attention.
Sometimes we forget we are part of natural life too and have to honour and attune to the same cycles of growth, maturity, decay and rest. I often treat people who's Water Element is depleted from too much rushing around, treating points which stimulate those organs to return to a more balanced state. In addition at this time of year a boost to the immune system that acupuncture can give is also usually welcomed!
However, before we head into the deep depths and maximum 'Yin' of Winter though, so the season of Autumn activates our Metal Element of Lungs and Large Intestine, Their function at that time of year can also be likened to what you observe going on in other natural life at the same time. In much the same way as the Trees are shedding their leaves at the moment, to create space for the new, so we too must shed a layer around this time of year so we can head into our next cycle of growth with free space, and head into the Winter uncluttered.
We can be aware on a daily basis any time of year of how the Lungs and Large Intestine do their work of getting rid of waste, but right now their function and role is particularly amplified. Classically in Five Elements Acupuncture at this time of year you would consider treating what are known as the Autumn 'Horary' points of the Lung and Large Intestine, just to promote their optimal functioning at this prime time for them. So if you are feeling in need of a tune up, you know where to come!
|Urban Yogi Blog #3.
'Spirit' and post meditation retreat 5 Rhythms dance
Thought it would be fun to post one of my video blog's on here. I recorded this shortly after coming back from a 10 meditation retreat and then going to a 5 Rhythms dance class - I highly rate dance and movement as a great way to maintain health, as well as working with Dance and movement practices as part of my programmes I also recommend and sometimes accompany my clients to 5 Rhythms classes. Go check out a class near you - you don't need to know any steps or be able to 'dance' and you get to meet loads of great people. Apols that about halfway through the picture quality went a bit, so put some pics in instead, but check it out anyway!
|Dance and Movement; Authentic Movement
I'm a big fan of dance and movement, its a fantastic way, similar to acupuncture and Yoga to disperse what we think of as energy stagnation and enable the body to work more efficiently (and put a smile on your face) Stagnation can effect us on many levels - from musculo-skeletal and spinal stiffness to contracted muscles to digestive problems - all signs that the body isn't flowing as efficiently as it should be.
One of my favourite practices is called Authentic Movement, derived in the main from the work of Janet Adler. I sometimes integrate it into my yoga classes and use it's principles in one to one sessions with clients.
It's a beautiful practice as you move with your eyes closed and without music - so the challenge is to allow yourself to enter a state where your body will begin to move of it's own accord, to tell it's own story without strong stimulation. And believe me there are many stories your body wants to tell!
Part of the structure is that each person who 'moves' is paired with a 'witness' who witnesses their actions. The compassionate (non-judgemental) presence of the witness enables the mover to move within a more permissive energy field. It's actually really surprising how fluidly and spontaneously you can allow yourself to move when the space is held correctly and your witness is working with the right intent. I've been writing down my thoughts about the dynamic of a mover and witness; (taken from my work Chakras: Your Body, Your Mind by Richard Brook)
When you sit in witness to another (or to your self for that matter - like when you meditate) you engage and amplify your Heart energy - as your Heart energy is the aspect of yourself which does not judge - it just witnesses and feels. It has no judging function - that comes from another part of us. Elementally our Heart is considered to be connected with our 'Fire' energy, so when it's amplified or 'stoked' in a safe structured way like the process of Authentic Movement allows, then the increase of that 'Fire' energy (or amplification of the vibration of your Heart - often more literally known as 'opening' your Heart) does exactly what it says on the can - the Fire or Heart opening energy literally burns off other lower vibrational energies within us (which we often experience as judgmental thoughforms) and brings our entire being more in tune with the vibration and energy of your Heart (and as we mentioned the Heart energy doesn't judge - it just witnesses, therefore we feel more compassionate as we are more aligned to our Heart)
And since your 'Heart energy produces the most powerful electromagnetic field in the body approx 5000 times greater than that of the brain and extends out from the body for several feet in all directions' (ref Dru Yoga, Stillness in Motion) then when your witness is holding space for you from their own Heart/witness space then as we have established they are eminating a very powerful compassionate energy from their body - and since it's practised in a circle, you have the mutiplied effect of several people / witnesses all 'containing' and enveloping a number of movers within that compassionate energy resonating from their bodies and facilitating and catalyzing the movers to move from a similar Heart space and move to a more compassionate / Heart opening energy running through their being, raising their own vibration to a more Heartful presence.
The structure of authentic movement allows for this Heart opening energy to engage - since the structure places both the mover and witness in a safe place to disengage their usual defence mechanisms and personality traits and allows the Heart energy to emerge and amplify in an unhindered way. Similarly then this same process of Heart opening energy affecting a person being witnessed is also of course affecting the person doing the witnessing, since they are also within their own electromagnetic field.
And of course then this also works the same when you just witness yourself - as in a meditation or self witness state. When you meditate similarly you disengage your normal energetic demeanour and provide the conditions for the resonance of the Heart energy to increase, and since it has such a large electromagnetic field, 'it literally permeates every cell in your body, affecting your brain and dna and brings the rhythm of all the other organs and bodily systems into alignment with its own beat' (ref Dru Yoga, Stillness in Motion) So the moral of the story is do as many things as possible which open your Heart - as its good for you! Whether you witness your self or another, the key is to enter that witness state and when you do you increase the resonance field of your Heart energy which alters your whole being to vibrate similarly from that place.
A friend of mine, who also teaches the practice, Emma Ross, wrote the following that I also really like:
'As the mover experiences her outer witness's developing compassion, It then becomes possible for her/him to experience their own suffering in a more compasssionate light, and thus in turn helps to engender a more compassionate presence on relating to others'....the essence of authentic movement's aim.'
Emma Ross inspired from Janet Adler
Summer 2008 - 2011
Practicing Acupuncture at Festivals
To accompany the video below I've written an article about practicing acupuncture at Summer festivals, it's written predominantly from an Acupuncturists perspective, as it was written to be submitted to an Acupuncture newsletter, but you are welcome to check it out here!
Dance and Movement; 5 Rhythms Classes and Workshops with Dawn Morgan (Birmingham and Stroud)
Continuing the Dance and Movement theme, for many years i've been attending 5 Rhythms Dance, and danced a great deal in Birmingham with a teacher, Dawn Morgan, (her website is in my links page) and also attended many longer workshops with her - from 1 day to 5 days. She's holding a workshop from Jan 14th to the 16th entitled 'Start the Year!' and i've written the following blog about why it would be good to attend such a workshop, and also mentioning her ongoing year group entitled 'Journey into Life' which has workshops periodically throughout the year. A lot of the dynamics i write about are transferable to the style of acupuncture i practice as it aligns with the underlying philosophy of being in tune with the Elements and natural rhythms of nature.
Start the Year!
Get the Year Started, tune into and nurture your blueprint for the Year ahead!
Often in New Year workshops we spend a while envisioning the year ahead, embodying, mentally planning, ritualising for the coming year the desired fruits which we would plan to grow.
However, alongside doing any envisioning it's also important to remember that deep Winter is actually, energetically our most 'Yin'; still and receptive time of year. Just look around and see what's happening in the natural world around us. Trees lay bare – expressing little growth but getting ready for the year ahead. So since naturally it’s our most receptive time of year, alongside doing any envisioning, its also essential to create and allow the space for the seeds for your blueprint for the year ahead to be planted within you.
So after the excesses of the festive period, both in terms of what we can often indulge in food and drink wise, and also in terms of our busyness, this workshop gives some personal space again to allow those seeds to be sowed, ready to be cultivated and launch forth as we move into Spring and throughout the rest of the year.
Alongside the actual time out you are gifting for yourself, the practice of 5 Rhythms dance in itself dance is a great way to create energetic Space within us. When we dance we clear energetic stagnation from our system and harmonise our Body, Mind and Spirit. So the meeting of this workshop which focuses on the potency of the 5 Rhythms practice itself and it’s ability to clear stagnation and the energy of the season asking us to be at our most receptive is a fantastic combination.
And don't forget that even though we will still be in deep Winter in mid January we will have moved past the Winter solstice so things will already have started to grow again slowly, as the light returns. So don't get caught out later in the year because you didn't give yourself the time and space to plant seeds and fill up on the energy of this season now!
In Taosim (The study of natural order and universal law) it is seen as essential that you fill up on the energy of each season as we pass through it as it feeds into the next season in the cycle and counterbalances those which have passed before. So fill up on Winter so you are ready to Spring!
And continuing this Journey into Life!
This brings us onto the ongoing year group on offer, Journey into Life. Alongside the richness of the 5 Rhythms practice and the gifts gained sharing transformational community, because it’s set out across the whole year we also get chance to continue our awareness of alignment to all seasons. It gives us the opportunity to recognise and be aware of how each season has it’s own rhythm and emotional energy (e-motion = energy in motion) which also moves through us.
This is further amplified by the workshop location, based in the Lickey Hills, being surrounded very closely by the rhythms of nature as they move through their yearly cycle.
So as well as being able at each module to tune into our own personal dance of what may be happening in our lives, we can also be aware of how our own dance and inner emotive landscape changes as the force and natural rhythm of energy around us moves – thus catalysing us into a different dance each season. This is part of our connection with our ‘bigger’ and more expanded self, how we align and are affected by the natural forces around us.
This relationship to the energy and rhythms of the seasons is something which we are to a greater or lesser degree cut off from in Modern Life, especially those living in urban areas. For example, being surrounded by lots of concrete every day we may miss out fully experiencing the rhythm of the force of spring, when trees, plants flowers burst forth with vibrant giving life, or also recognise the Stillness and bareness of Winter - which we don't get to see, feel, taste, smell when we are often surrounded by the same concrete shells each day!
Location; The Lickey Hills
But in the beautiful surrounds of the Lickey Hills as we mentioned earlier we get a reminder each module of how the dance of nature, which we are part of, moves, and gives us chance to reattune with that energy. - and to see how some of those seeds you may plant at the January ‘Start the Year’ workshop may grow!
The 5 Rhythms
So what else does dancing the 5 Rhythms do? Well alongside clearing stagnation from our system as we move and exercise our bodies, it also, fundamentally is practice for being able to move with Life’s rhythms as we experience them in our daily life. Everything has rhythm, we touched earlier upon on how different seasons have a different rhythm – contrast the feeling of stillness of Winter to the vibrancy of spring, when the force of light returning after the dark days of Winter catalyzes life to move upwards and out.
So learning and practising to move with various rhythms, provided by the music we experience in a class, gives us - our body mind and spirit - the experience, familiarity and preparation to be able to move fluidly with whatever rhythms we experience wherever they are – whether they are on the dancefloor, workfloor, shopfloor or kitchen floor!
For example, learning and practicing to move with the staccato rhythm on the dancefloor can help move with that energy as it’s demanded and experienced in your life – like the moments we have to give clear direction, act with clear direction and boundaries, be decisive, have form. Practising moving with the energy and rhythm of Chaos on the dancefloor – how that can be so relevant today – just about any busy shopping mall can show you that or the thronging crowds to get through to the January sales – many energies heading in different directions with different intentions all at the same time! It’s called a practice because sometimes we need a reminder – not just with the more ‘active’ or ‘Yang’ rhythms, but with the more inward ‘Yin’ ones too, perhaps need even more practice with those – to match and tune into the stillness rhythm of a Winters days, how utterly blissful!
I'm a big fan of the notion of the Dao and Daoism (sometimes written Tao/ Taoism) Arguably our relationship with our Tao or 'path' is our most important relationship of all as it supercedes all others as it's all about you as an individual being in your flow and on your path, the path of your life. (sometimes we walk or dance a while with someone on our journey, in varying degrees of 'closeness' but that's a different story all together!) I sometimes also write about it as the sense of being at 'One' or in 'flow', and so those phrases often also crop up a lot.
From an acupuncture perspective, the principles of the style of acupuncture that i practice come from Taoism, and therefore is fundamental part of a person's health and wellbeing. My perception is that part of what we are all trying to do in life is to move as closely as possible in alignment with our Tao - and as a practitioner i could never tell anyone what their Tao is, but i'd like to think that having treatment can re-awaken a person to help re-discover what is in them already.
I believe we have a 'watcher' within us - as part of us, call it your soul if you like, keeping an eye on what we are getting up to in our life. It's our soul that carries our unique attributes and life plan - our Tao, and our soul which ultimately we have to keep happy! Doing activities which help to nourish your soul ascends your energy. It's our power centre, but also it can be a terrifying experience when we can see how powerful we actually are and what we are capable of - interms of the beauty which we can create. I wrote my dissertation on the idea of Life Purpose and how it's perceived in various traditions so it's been of keen interest to me.
So i often find myself writing notes trying to capture the essence of the Tao, here's some below.
'We live in a great universal ‘One’. Within that ‘One’ in any given moment you have a place, where in balance your energy meets the world to enable you to be fully whole, to feel at ‘One’. It’s a path of exploration, where our energy will constantly moment to moment lead us and be drawn toward those energies and vibrations which lead to balance and health.
In any one moment this may be being the party King or Queen, sitting quietly in a park, planning your day tomorrow or reflecting on yesterday, following this natural flow we maintain balance and health, forcing against this flow or being inhibited from it results in dis-ease' (R.B 2005)
However, i do also recognise that as people we tend to fall in and out of balance with our Tao; So, below are my thoughts on that.
'Someone who understands the Tao does not necessarily constantly live in it moment by moment. Infact a Taoist may often fall outside of the Tao, it's that they use it's existence as a guiding light, a beacon to try to bring themselves back into line with it'
It's about the awareness AND choosing to follow it. In that moment you are experiencing the Tao, therefore, arguably a Taoist' (R.B 2005)
'We walk this earth, searching, looking, desiring, to be on our path, our Dao, which we can have glimpses of from time to time, or walk it more fully, to be as one, to be in love, to be in ecstacy, and that ‘oneness’ that path takes you through the whole range of human life, through work, through relationships. Through learning, through teaching, as that feeling of oneness, of being whole, being in love is the expression of where those attributes within us are met wholly by the world around us, the universe and the dynamic interplay between the two is allowed to flourish. One cannot find this state of being through pushing or holding back, then there is separation, the work of the mischevious mind. It actually depletes our own energies and resources to push or hold back, a bit like pushing against a wave or trying not to let go into the flow of it.
'When we are in love we can do anything, it describes an ecstatic state of dynamic equilibrium with the world around us, from stacking shelves to making love, the missing ingredient is that it be your path, when it’s your path it will permeate all' (R.B 2005)
We all need a break sometimes!
I wrote a huge blog after getting run down and picking up a cold over the Christmas holidays, but it's so long i've had to post it at soultherapynow.blogspot.com as it won't all fit on this page. Check it out, it's broken down into sections that include;
- Getting run down;
- Finally the Flu takes me down!; - Winter is meant for stillness!
- Startling Event 1; I saw the Light!
- The need to move – but am I listening? Energetic stagnation and disarray
- Bringing Balance and moving energy blocks; Acupuncture treatment and time to dance! New Year’s Eve
- More Dancing and more things changing – Body re-alignment
I'm obviously keen to work with whomever feels drawn to see me, but i do have an affinity towards working with students in particular, not least because of my own experience of university life and western culture in general but also I feel I’m not that far away from experience of student life myself, having studied in Manchester in the late 90’s, and Warwick more recently, and only just into my thirties so believe I’m sufficiently in touch, connected and aware of the relevant issues and dynamics of student life. (I also currently work in a pub and have been regularly spotted on the dance floor of Blast Off and Snobs student night in Brum for those of you who aren’t convinced!)
My thoughts around university life is that it’s often perceived and promoted as a time of life which aims to give a well rounded education, career tools and body of experience (and support systems) to enable a student to move on into the next stage of life. I advocate that this can quite often be far from the truth for many students. (Whilst also conscious to mention that university can also be a great, fantastic experience for many also.)
I see this as actually being because it’s a time of life where the pressures and cultural stresses of Western life are bought even more into focus, the pressures of achievement, expectation, course confusion, challenging relationships and social under nourishment can become even more amplified, leading to an even greater split away from being intune with healthy universal movement and interaction - which we can be afforded moreso when we are younger. (Just a thought – doesn’t it seem such a load of nonsense that older generation folk will often tell you that your school days will be the best days of your life – hello?- as far as I’m concerned this shows we must be getting something very wrong in society as surely life should get better as we grow, not worse!)
I recall from my own university experience a gaping hole in fulfillment and education and support of a more ‘wholesome’ and perhaps ‘spiritual’ kind (meaning support and nourishment for my own individual spirit, - not referring to religion) creating a huge void between a world of educational pressures and drunken experience, which was supported in the main by Western Psychological and Western belief and counselling support systems.
With my work I aim to actively encourage an individuals wellbeing in terms of how they fit into the greater universal picture, how they as individuals interact and attain health within a reality beyond the subjective pressures of the society we are bought up in and take an holistic approach to a persons wellbeing beyond how much money you can earn and how much you can drink on a night out.
There is a spark within each and every one of us which the universe acknowledges, our individual path of highest potential through life. If you feel drawn to visit me for a treatment session, my intended awareness is from that vantage point to support your universal spark, a coming together for a higher purpose of universal good, not necessarily to feed the western machine which can suck the very life out of us.
Natural Balance, Natural Flow
A few years ago I wrote a leaflet about some of the energy dynamics which i perceive to be at play in our lives, please find the contents below;
We as individuals live within a great universal mass, the universe, the ‘one’ if you like. Within that ‘one’, energies on any level of creation, i.e climatic, emotional, physical, etc, are constantly moving, transforming to create a state of dynamic equilibrium to balance one another.
Therefore ‘our own’ energies as part of that greater one will also move, constantly transforming and drawing towards and finding resonance with other energies which maintains that process of balance.
Energy knows exactly where it wants to flow to maintain that balance, moment to moment. And this is individual to each of us. Our individual path through life.
When our energies are wholly met by the world around us we have a sense of being at ‘one’ These moments of sensing we are at one are healing moments, as in those moments our energy is balanced with the world around us.
Awareness of where our energy wants to go to balance can only ever start in this moment, your balance your flow in this moment is ever changing, as I wrote in the passage at the top of the page, sometimes our flow is to be quiet, sometimes the party King or Queen and this constant moving process of balance with life is where we find health.
We all have a part to play within healthy creation, as the universe is a self perpetuating mass, a self supporting and balancing universal web. It has all it needs to balance through every creature and facet of creation. We all have a place within this process where the skills and talents in each and every one of us goes towards supporting this process, in a healthy way. It’s important to recognize we each have special individual skills and talents, value them, even if they have seemingly become redundant. It may just be that those skills and energies we dismiss in ourselves are what our healthiest place in creation may be all about.
Sickness and Dis-ease
Sickness or dis-ease arises when the flow of our energies is denied, which could be either from ‘within’ through limiting beliefs, (‘I can’t / shouldn’t do that!’) or from ‘without’, ‘external’ to us when the system or structure we live in isn’t supportive to the movement of our energies with other energies which transform them and allow them to balance.
These balancing energies can be those of other people, places, emotional expressions, physical expression, all just different levels and manifestations of energy.
Interestingly, the sense and awareness of what we need to do to balance and be on our path in life is often still recognizable within us, even if we’ve fallen some way from alignment with it. It may perhaps be perceived on a different level of our consciousness (for example evident through our dream states) which we may be struggling to identify with or acknowledge. Or there may just be a nagging sense of something in us – and that nagging sense on the energetic level may over time become that nagging pain in your back on the physical level if ignored long enough!
Modern society or the way we live our lives can often consistently challenge the movement of our energy and it’s balance. It can be unsupportive and inhibitive of our energies. We often live fairly secluded, sedentary lives, in fragmented communities which deny ourselves the nourishing contact we need.
Not forgetting that this process isn’t all about ‘receiving’ energies to balance us when we are ‘upset.’
There is a constant moment to moment process of energetic movement to create balance, indeed on this level of health there can be no distinction about giving or receiving, they are both just healthy movements of energy.
We may feel ‘fine’ and be drawn to a particular place, person or occupation and again this is just part of the universal balancing act, in that moment our energy may be drawn toward that individual, place or job as what energies are created in that moment create the highest potential. This really is the case of ‘giving being receiving’ as in those moments what we receive through our actions is as precious. (Also important however to continue to follow the energy and recognize when it’s changing and time to move on!)
Likewise we must also flow with the nourishment when it comes time to ‘receive’.
It’s a constant process of balance occurring through energies coming together, resonating together, flowing in whatever way necessary attempting to find their highest potential.
For example, I may have a capacity for this kind of energy work, just as we all have particular capacities specific and special to us, but it’s never lost on me that it’s balanced and met by those whom I have contact with by doing it, Thankyou!
When we hide or suppress that movement of energy, for example with a suppressed emotional expression that is needed for balance, we create an essential imbalance when that energy doesn’t move, and infact it will attempt to find someway of being seen, often manifesting in a symptom, perhaps moving down through the layers of our being to present as a symptom on our physical level.
As a brief asides, before I move on to discuss what happens during a treatment, just think for a moment about what your special talents are, what you bring to the world, even if they have been hidden under mounds of ‘dirt’ or have long gone unrecognizable.
Even think back to your childhood if you need to.
It’s not always easy to articulate around some of the dynamics which occur during a treatment although i'm conscious to mention a few points.
I’m extremely conscious that energy moves in unique ways in any given moment or situation, so I intend to allow the energy to flow to wherever it needs to go. Energy cannot be forced.
There are particular generic themes which can tend to arise during a treatment, much because although we all have our individual constitution in life, we are all subject to certain key dynamics of energy balance within our lives, such as Yin and Yang – for example how in balance a person will flow with expansion in balance with contraction, or activity in balance with rest - just as night balances day. Within this cycle of expansion and contraction I also often experience an awareness of the relationship to the Elemental phases (different traditions view 4 or 5 Elements) which also exist.
Also apparent can be a balance between Heaven and Earth energies, that we receive our inspiration from the Heavens above but this is balanced by nourishment and rooting to the Earth below, so as we move through life we can embody the inspiration for our life as we walk on our path.
• ACUPUNCTURE & YOGA NORTH LONDON:CAMDEN & ISLINGTON WITH RICHARD BROOK•