The leading trauma psychiatrist Bessel Van Der Kolk author of the best selling non-fiction book - 'The Body keeps the Score' recommends craniosacral therapy - "And for my patients, I always recommend that they see somebody who helps them to really feel into their body, experience their body, open up to their bodies. And I refer people always to craniosacral work or Feldenkrais, I think those are all very important components about becoming a healthy person."
There's a lot of talk in various circles about being in the body, being embodied, listening to your body etc, largely in the field of trauma work and modalities like modern day yoga. Biodynamic craniosacral therapy is at its foundation, an embodiment therapy and incredibly trauma aware. When we have a session, we are meeting your body - from the tissues, to the cells, to the spaces, to the core, in the present moment, in a safe, resourced way and supporting you, as the client, to be in your body by feeling it on a sensory level.
Feeling is very different to thinking and is not the same as emotional feelings. Feeling is about directing our attention to our physiological body and noticing what is there in the present moment without judgement or analysis. As soon as we judge or analyse, we are not feeling and sensing, we are thinking and we cannot be in the body, aware of the body at the same time we are thinking about it. It is like taking a video of a gig, you're there taking the video, but are you really watching the gig? No, you are taking a video and watching through the video. A minor distinction that is very important. The reason being, when we feel what is actually going on on a sensory level in our body, and we feel safe enough to feel that because we're supported to find resources that enable us to have that sensory experience of safety, the part of us that has been held in tension can relax and then, this information feeds back to our cognitive brain that actually it doesn't need to hold tension in that area any longer. This then allows the trauma (tension) to release and then we have access to parts of ourself that have been shut down. Explaining is one thing, its best to book in for a session and you can feel it for yourself.
The experience of Wayapa is one of connection. Wayapa Wuurrk means ‘connect country’. In the practice through visualization, storytelling and movement we acknowledge the earth in 14 elements and we relate to those elements through our own experience. In practicing Wayapa we first connect with our own body and then extend that experience to realize our connection with everything and how each of the elements are part of us and how we are part of nature. Wayapa is a fluid movement sequence, while there is a simple movement framework for each element, how we express that movement varies each time. There is no right or wrong, we are meeting ourselves in the now and allowing the expression to arise without our analyzing and interference. Wayapa shows us what we are connecting to and what we are removed from or resistant to and through this we increase our awareness of self and our environment. Awareness is the first step to reconciliation and change. The gentle movements also encourage us to recognize where we feel restricted and to open up to new experiences and growth.
Today I had the privilege of sharing Wayapa Wuurrk® - earth meditation and movement based in Aboriginal wisdom in connecting to and caring for the earth - with a group of women attending a pampering day as part of the Pastoral Health Care Network. Everyone was encouraged to participate at their own level, either seated, supine, standing, active, or simply listening. We began with an earth meditation, connecting to a place in nature that resonated with each person and an acknowledgement of the traditional custodians of the land, the Wadawurrung and elders past, present and emerging.
The feedback was that attendees really felt the connection with nature and to the life within themselves, leading them to appreciate the elements that could otherwise be taken for granted. The photos speak for themselves. Enquire now if you would like to organise a workshop.
Tension is stored in the tissues, fluids, bones, organs, vessels, skin, everywhere in the body. Tension has many layers, some are superficial and just like a momentary frown they release straight away. Other layers run deep, are stored like boxes gathering dust in the attic or an unopened cupboard and these layers are outside our awareness, of course, until we become aware of them. If we don’t feel the tension, it will just stay in the attic gathering dust and taking up space, but when we become aware, that awareness itself enables the tension to unravel and opens up space resulting in more access to our innate health. Pain and trauma are forms of tension. Pain is not static but varies moment to moment if we are able to feel the actual sensations and not just our rational brain’s label of that area of the body.
Biodynamic craniosacral therapy, felt sense yoga and somatic mediation all support the development of present time awareness of the body eg. body mindfulness, embodiment, sensing. This is not an idea of the body conjured by the rational mind, nor is it about perceiving ‘energy’ or ‘past lives’ or chakras but it is about actually experiencing the sensations of the body from the feeling of our bones and blood flow, to a sense of our organs, to the fluids and nerves, to the activity of the brain, knowing those sensations on an intricate level and through that, realising that the body is fluid, full of spaces and movement. Biodynamic craniosacral therapy shows us that when we are aware of something without judging or analysing it starts to change and then we feel a sense of wholeness and aliveness and we realise that everything is not how we think it is. This is tricky to explain in words because like all art, words cannot define a full experience of such magnitude where all our senses are engaged. Also, our rational minds actually cannot understand what is going on in the body all the time, we create a few maps to assist us and these are helpful but they are not the full picture. It’s just like we can’t explain the mysteries of life, birth and death. What we experience and feel, we understand and integrate. What we think about just stays as the whirring words circling around in never-never land and while our ideas change, the foundations don’t.
Trauma is a term to describe any experience that overwhelms our resources. It is unique to us as something that completely overwhelms me, may be a walk in the park for you and vice versa. Nevertheless, whatever experience overwhelms us, is stored as tension in the body, actual tension and then it is hidden from our conscious mind like the boxes in the attic until we feel safe and held and resourced to go there and start clearing it out. Trauma affects our health, our sense of wellbeing, our connection with others, our relationships, our work, everything. And we all have trauma. While it’s tempting to go for the all out cathartic experiences or to try to positive think ourselves out of our traumatic responses, it actually doesn’t work. What works is meeting that experience as a felt experience in our bodies when we are resourced and allowing the body to release and reorganise. This is what is happening in biodynamic craniosacral therapy. The underpinnings of this work are to support integration and present moment experience without retraumatising or overwhelming. This occurs when you feel safe, held and supported in your body, not just in your mind.
Sessions with me support you to feel your body and to be in the present moment as well as offer you ongoing resources to continue facilitating this connection with your experience throughout your life. Bear in mind that life is a magical and mysterious force and we cannot control it through our ideas. Healing occurs in it’s own time but we can enable it through our willingness to meet it and to relearn our innate connection to sensing and feeling our experience, being in our bodies and not just in our heads.