Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Ass Kickin'

I go to a fantastic massage therapist, and I always get there a wee bit early so we can have these wonderful, yet intensely QUICK conversations, sometimes silly and often about things we've both been saving for that exact moment.

A couple of weeks ago, we got to talking about ease versus effort, or that's what it turned out we were talking about...and the implications for mind and body when you emphasize one over the other.

She said often when massage therapists start out they work really soft and she was like that. Soft massage has a place in relaxation, of course.  She realized as the years went by that this "working soft" was also about experience and understanding, that the more she learned about the body, the deeper she went.

And the deeper into massages she went, the more she uncovered in the body.


This is a tricky space in the work we do at the studio: we want to create ease in the body, as in getting comfortable in your own skin, learning how to discern good aches from bad pains (which many women do NOT know), understanding how to push to your edge but not fall over.

This space of ease is about staying in the breath and allowing growth to happen, rather than forcing.

But even with plants, sometimes we force bulbs to produce beauty.

Ease is the foundation of the practice. Finding this space has to come first.

I know a new student won't last long at the studio when they are immediately trying too hard, pushing themselves to exhaustion. These are women who are not ready for the not-gym and not-exercise aspect of what we do. They are still out for some level of physical perfection that is "out there," and they are on a mission.

The women who do stay long term are the ones who observe a bit more, perhaps giggle at us, join in but with a bit of trepidation.

You would think it would be the opposite, wouldn't you? That the trepidation group wouldn't come back?  But nope...

Over time, we work toward what I teasingly call ass kickin'.

After that foundation of ease and understanding is established, it's time for risk and depth.

Because like with massage, if you don't go deeply enough, push a little past where you THINK you can go, then you'll never really work anything out.

A really amazing aspect of all the classes I teach is that in one room, during one class, there are women at all points of this balancing act between ease and effort.

There is no such thing as "beginner" or "advanced"in the approach I have developed (which I call bodyparts). There is only where you are right now, today, this minute of this class.

Ass kickin' at Girl on Fire is not about draining yourself of all energy and falling over at the end of class (though everyone goes there some of the's natural).

No. Ass kickin' at Girl on Fire means being willing to work in whatever way is challenging for you.