Mat-based Bodywork Therapy, What it is, and Why it is important!

Mat-based bodywork therapy (performed on a mat on the floor, with the receiver fully clothed) is one of the most powerful and efficient methods of bodywork therapy in the world. And it is certainly the most versatile in approach, positioning and tools for addressing a myriad of presenting conditions and concerns.  There are movements and approaches to the body in mat-based bodywork therapy that simply cannot be done on a standard massage therapy table.  Indeed, they would be dangerous if attempted there.

Mat-based bodywork therapy demands that the practitioner maintain a high level of physical conditioning. If one does not possess sufficient physical agility, or does not have the desire to gain it, then indeed they should not even consider training in the discipline. But if they do, the power, versatility and benefits derived from mat-based conditioning are exceptional, and will provide the practitioner with effective self care for life.

What is essential in mat-based bodywork therapy is excellence in training. There is just simply a right way to do it that promotes the longevity of your practice, avoids personal injury and provides you with personal care that is second to none. The secret lies in mastering the essentials of cross-patterned coordination. Coordinating upper and lower body across the midline is the most natural way of moving, the safest, most stable and the most sustainable over the long term. This cross-patterned coordination is at the heart of any good movement system, and it is especially important in mat-based bodywork. As such, the training provides far reaching benefits that go well beyond the actual choreography of the form itself.

There are a few schools of mat-based bodywork, notably Thai massage and Traditional Japanese Shiatsu, as well as what has become knows as Acro-yoga. At HeartMind Shiatsu, our focus is on the traditional Japanese skill set, with flavors of Thai and Acro-yoga added in as accent. These other styles, generally do not emphasize cross-patterned coordination and so they are sprinkled into the HeartMind Shiatsu curriculum sparingly. What is of paramount importance in our school of mat based bodywork is skillful coordination across the midline that supports your balance, strength, and the safe longevity of your practice.

In addition, what makes HeartMind Shiatsu so effective is not only the mat-based versatility, and the cross-patterned coordination, but also the depth of Classical Chinese Medical theory that grounds the work in a traditional healthcare system thousands of years old.  With HeartMind Shiatsu our focus shifts away from muscles, tendons, ligaments and the physical tissues of the body to the actual life energy, Qi, flowing through those tissues in the many subtle yet palpable channels of Qi energy flow. This gives us the power and versatility of an ancient and timeless medical system that allows us to provide outstanding therapeutic services to our clients.

In our full 500-hour professional training you receive more that 160 hours of training in the HeartMind Shiatsu method, with 70 hours of supervised clinical practice to hone your skills. In addition, we provide you with 100 hours of Classical Chinese Medicine (20 of which are learned through a practical study of diet and nutrition), 100 hours of Western Anatomy and Physiology, Business, Ethics and a thorough training in the vital energy art of Qigong. The content meets national standards for the professional practice of Asian Bodywork Therapy as set forth by the AOBTA, America’s oldest and most respected association of dedicated Asian Bodywork Therapists.

Now mind you, there are many powerful, effective and brilliant bodywork therapy systems that are performed on a table. If that is your calling, by all means pursue it. But if you seek a critical edge, and an approach that will not only serve your clients with a vast range of approaches, but also help you to achieve and maintain optimal conditioning for life, helping the world, doing work that you love, then HeartMind Shiatsu training could be right for you. And even if you find that you eventually only work exclusively on a Massage Table, the mat-based education will serve to ground you in an effective body management style that will richly inform and safeguard your work at the table for the longevity of your career.

To find out more, we highly encourage you to take our introductory workshop Elevate Your Practice. In this engaging workshop, we introduce you to a full personal cultivation, self-care exercise practice, teach you the fundamentals of excellence in mat-based bodywork, help you ground into your center, awaken your awareness of energy channels, and guide you through a sampling of advanced mat-based body manipulations. This workshop is designed to give you a thorough overview of the versatility, power and vitalizing effects of mat-based bodywork. It is not, and should not be construed as professional level training in the technique, though it will teach you the vital principles of the practice. If you find that this is the work for you, then we encourage you to enter our full training and pursue national certification in the method.

Come IN from the Cold and Warm UP this Winter!

Come IN from the Cold and Warm UP this Winter!

Elevate Your Healing Bodywork Practice!

with Matthew Sweigart, CI

February 3-5, 2017
Friday evening: 6-9pm, Saturday & Sunday: 10am-5pm
Registration open now!

Come IN from the cold and warm UP this winter! Come share warmth and connection with fellow travelers on the healing path. Enjoy this inspiring, hands-on exploration of the healing arts.
This workshop will include fun, invigorating movement, healing touch, and profound self development as you give and receive innovative, heart-centered bodywork.
You’ll learn one safely performed Flying HeartMind Shiatsu lift that will astound and amaze you and keep your clients coming back for more!

Elevate your practice to the next level!

Free Demo Jan. 26th, 6-8pm
Bodywork Bistro Living Arts Center
3825 Iris, Suite 300, Boulder, CO

Weekend Workshop Fees
$267 by Jan. 26th  ($297 thereafter.)

*This course is included in the 500-hour HeartMind Shiatsu Professional Training.
* Based on the popular Harmonizing Heaven & Earth DVD and Companion Manual.

Welcome 2017! Free HMS Demo, January 26th!

Welcome 2017! Free HMS Demo, January 26th!

Join The Holistic Healthcare Revolution!

Free HMS Demonstration Evening

January 26, 6-8pm
With the faculty of the HeartMind Shiatsu Professional Training

Bodywork Bistro, Living Arts Center

Make 2017 the year you take a giant leap forward on your healing arts journey!

Come learn about the holistic touch therapy training that everyone is talking about! See a live demonstration, receive a free sample session, learn about national certification in the rewarding profession of Asian Bodywork Therapy, and find out the details about training to become a Certified HeartMind Shiatsu Therapist

The start of a new year always comes in with a fresh wave of energy, inspiration, possibility. To complete an entire annual cycle, and give yourself that fresh start is exciting and invigorating. At HeartMind Bodywork, we are excited to take the joys, lessons, discoveries and growth of the past 6 years in Boulder, and enter into 2017 with the exciting prospect of launching our 500 hour professional HeartMind Shiatsu training.

Spurred on by the desire to get our graduates recognized and fully certified at the national level in Asian Bodywork Therapy, we’ve expanded our programming and laid out an exciting training calendar. Beginning in March 2017 our newest offering of our Basic Training will also be the start of our full 500 hour Professional Training.

Explore this website to learn more about our program, and come to our Free HMS Demonstration Evening, January 5th, and discover first hand how HeartMind Shiatsu training could be the right next step for you.

Make 2017 the year you take a giant leap forward on your healing arts journey!

 

The Five Freedoms, and the Five Elements

The Five Freedoms, and the Five Elements

In my recent Pathways of Qi, Exploring the Meridian Medicine Wheel workshop in Chicago, I introduced the idea of the five freedoms. These are essential to exercise in the presence of unconditional love for a true, full and deep sense of wholeness and self-acceptance. They offer a sure way to escape the struggle of toxic shame and self-deprecation, and to claim and exercise them is a significant piece of ongoing personal cultivation.

The five freedoms simply stated are: 1) to perceive, 2) to think, 3) to feel, 4) to want and 5) to choose. In order to live fully from our authentic and realized self, we practice affirming our five freedoms.

  1. We affirm our own unique perceptions of the world around us. We have the ability to see, hear, smell, taste and feel the truth of our experience. No one else can tell us what to perceive, though conversations with others regarding their perceptions may shape our perceptual experience. What is essential here is to know that ultimately it is our right and responsibility to trust and grow our own perceptions.
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  2. We affirm our right and responsibility to think for ourselves. No one can do our thinking for us, though perhaps many have through the art of persuasion tried to influence our thinking. Even education in a system can be a subtle form of external conditions shaping our thoughts. Again, what is essential here is to realize that we are ultimately responsible for our thoughts, and knowing when and how to express them in a good way. Sinclair Lewis’s character Babbit was a perfect example of someone who struggled to find his own original thoughts. Of course, this is a caricature of a human being, but it can be hauntingly real if you tend to be overly influenced by the strongly expressed opinions of those whom you invest with authority.
    ———–
  3. Affirming your rights and responsibilities to your feelings is an essential skill to develop in order to live a highly functional life with a minimum of victim thinking. To me, this area is the one that ultimately is completely our own. No one can tell you what to feel. No one can make you feel anything. Your feelings are your own. No more can you say “you make me mad.” Rather say,” I find that I am mad when I reflect upon your behavior and your words.” And that is where your work begins. To own your feelings is to have the ability to be strong in your authentic self-expression. To know what you are feeling in any giving moment or setting is to have in your consciousness the power you need to be fully alive. To learn to navigate your own inner emotional landscape and to fully own the rights and responsibilities that go with your emotional being is perhaps the single most important task you can undertake.
    ———–
  4. To affirm your right to what you want, and what you desire is another essential step on the path of personal freedom. And it is founded on the previous three freedoms. If you are free to perceive, think and feel for yourself, you will be clear about what you want and desire in your life in any given moment. And here the art of being in relationship is most sorely tested. The fact that there are so many choices, and so many things, places, experiences, available to us to chose from, and that everyone has their own unique set of tastes and needs, the art of doing things together that everyone in the party agrees they also want is a high art indeed. of course if we were completely alone, we might always in every moment find that what we want is never in conflict with what others want. Yet this is not the case. We live in social settings, and in order to maintain social harmony, there are often compromises, or delays and a need for a great deal of flexibility. But the clearer you are about your own desires, you can use them to point the way to your best outcomes. And like the Rolling Stones song tells us, “you can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometime, I think you’ll find, you get what you need!”
    ———–
  5. Finally the right to chose is the last essential step on the path of freedom. Based on all the previous freedoms, your own personal choice is before you. No one can ultimately make any choice for you. You must make it inside yourself, and then work to actualize it in the world. Make a commitment to the world you wish to live in, the choices you make to devote your time, attention, energy and love to, and watch your world come into focus and begin to yield fulfillment and satisfaction. yet at the same time, see that this freedom demands stepping up to your rights and responsibilities. If you have chosen for  yourself, then you have no one else to blame. This is not easy! For many, the idea of having another person chose for them can lead to a sense of relief. Gosh, I admit, sometimes it’s just hard to know exactly what the right choice is. And giving that over to a trusted friend or advisor can really help guide the way. But that is the key… a trusted friend or advisor must also always know that ultimately your reaction to the choice and alignment with the choice is essential. For myself, I like to use a “non-human source” as a guide. Some sort of divine or spirit being to help guide me. There’s a lot to be said for the line in the Lord’s prayer “Thy will be done!” To align yourself with the divine purpose for you is a profound key to fulfilling this final freedom.

So now that we are familiar with the five freedoms, how do these relate to the Five Elements. For this, I draw the link to the daily cycle of energy flow.

Perceptions I see as related to the Metal Element and the Wei Qi field. Our contact with the world around us is the first edge of experience.mgq-large-intestine

Thoughts relate to the Earth Element, our nourishment and rumination energies. We take things into us, and we roll them around in our mind’s eye. The spirit level here is known as the Yi. The Yi is the rational intellect and it falls in the purview of the Spleen Channel energies.mgq-spleen

Feelings / Emotions I give to the Fire Element, the element of the Heart and Small Intestine, Triple Warmer, and Pericardium. These energies are deeply related to our inner world of truth, interpretation and essential self-awareness and realization. There is a strong argument to be made for the emotions to be rooted in the Water element as well, but here is where I see Water being most closely related to realm of wants and desires.poq-pericardium

Water governs the deep, driving forces that shape our motivations into life. Our Zhi, our will forces are here in the Kidneys, and they arise from within us, even from our unconscious. One can even say that Heart is the awareness that we are conscious of, and Kidney the awareness that is revealing itself as we go along. There are few places in life where this is more clearly revealed than in our wants and desires. An old German song speaks of Hans, who has everything he wants. But what he wants he doesn’t have, and what he has, he doesn’t want! And yet, he has everything he wants! We can all relate to this in one way or another as we seek that elusive feeling of fulfillment and satisfaction along the journey of life.mgq-bladder

And finally, to chose, simply put, this is the realm of the Wood Element. Our Gall Bladder and Liver are charged with the task of making the strategic choices at each step of the way. To weight the two sides (or many sides) of any given situation and to take the ultimate responsibility of making the choice. And then once the choice is made, to learn and grow, striving ever onward in life toward the goals and rewards that await a “job well done.” mgq-gall-bladder

So these are the correlations. And in the task of fully embodying your five freedoms I encourage you to look and see where you may be weak or strong, need attention, or can rest confidently in your sense of achievement. If you struggle with your emotions, practice Fire Element cultivation. If you are not sure about what you perceive, check your Wei Qi field and develop your Lung and Large Intestine Qi. Apply this to each of the five freedoms, and use the Five Elements and their corresponding meridians to access the energy you need to more and more fully realize those freedoms in all areas of your life. And any place where you see your freedoms being compromised, slow down, pause, take a break and honestly assess where you are at. Then affirm once more your right and responsibility to be fully in your perceptions, thoughts, feelings, desires and choices.

I encourage you to take this into your life and put these five freedoms into action. In so doing, you will eradicate the monster of self-deprecation and banish the demon of toxic shame from running your life forever. And further, make a commitment to surround yourself with others who affirm your right to your five freedoms, and also claim the right to their own. It can be a lot of fun to be in a dedicated group of beings on the path of freedom. Let freedom ring!

And… See you in class!

Matthew

 

 

 

Grand Opening Celebration Jan. 31st

Come celebrate the grand opening of HeartMind Bodywork’s new home in Boulder, CO at Bodywork Bistro Living Arts Center.
Tuesday January 31st, 7-10pm.

  • Catered by Shine Restaurant & Gathering Place ~
  • Free Chair Massage ~
  • Music by DJ Deva ~

In our beautiful training studio overlooking Boulder’s infamous Flatirons, we will also have ongoing qigong and yoga classes, community documentary nights, and workshops.  Visit bodyworkbistro.com for all of the details.

Chakras and Personal Development

In this workshop participants will learn the Acuyoga Chakra sequence, blending in the theory of Personal Development, Cycles of Seven and Eight System of Traditional Chinese Medicine.

•  Acuyoga Chakra Sequence

•  Cycles of Seven and Eight

•  Integration of Life Stages

•  Balancing the Shushumna

Qigong ~ A Practice for Health & Longevity

Qigong is a study of the energy of the whole universe, which includes physics, chemistry, psychology, biology, astrology, electricity, and medicine. Qigong, the cornerstone of traditional Chinese medicine, has been practiced in China for over five thousand years.

“Qi” or “chi” (pronounced Chee) means air or breath, vital energy, or the Universal Force that forms all animate and inanimate things. This complex energy substance, fundamental to life itself, is comprised of an informational message and its carrier energy. “Gong” means work, the function and benefit of this energy, or self-discipline leading to the art of mastery. Qigong teaches you to use your mind, body, and spirit together to unblock energy and balance Yin and Yang energy in the body.

Energy Blockages in the Meridians

Once a blockage is formed, energy cannot flow freely in our energy channels. These energy channels, or meridians run throughout the body to keep it fully functioning. There are twelve main channels and eight reservoir channels. Each channel serves a specific purpose and function. The main channels carry energy to wherever energy is needed in the body. Extra energy in the main channels flows to the reservoir channels. The body draws on energy in the reservoir channels when the main channels run low.

Blockages in the main and reservoir channels prevent energy from getting to all parts of the body. When body functioning slows down or stops, we feel sick. If we want to get well, we have to remove those blockages and open channels, this rebalances the Yin and Yang energy. If we want to live a long and healthy life we have to live in such a way as to keep our Qi reserves full and balanced and not squander our reserves by letting all of energy dissipate through our senses. Qigong, stillness (meditation) and living simply help to minimize this loss of vitality.

Formula for Health and Longevity

Ancient Qi masters developed a formula for health and longevity based on the Qi:

Inner Harmony = Qi Flow  = Health and Longevity

This formula is the foundation of all Chinese medicine, acupuncture, and herbal medicine. Concepts in Western science such as coherence, resonance, and integrated body/mind function are parallel to the concept of harmony in China. In the West science points to numerous forms of flow including blood, lymph, brain chemical distribution, nerve transmission, and the movement of ions.

When they added the capacity to purposefully cultivate inner harmony through personal practices the ancients created this formula:

Practice + Intention = Inner Harmony = Qi Flow + Health and Longevity.

Qigong helps keep our energy balanced and flowing. Shiatsu is a tool which is used to help others to keep their energy balanced and flowing, thus maintaining Inner Harmony, Qi Flow, Health and Longevity.

Qigong in the Park – Wonderland Lake

Come to our Free Introductory HeartMind Qi-Yoga-Flow taught the next three Saturdays, 9/24, 10/1, 10/8  10am-11:30 at Wonderland Lake south lawn. (weather permitting)

Large Intestine Meridian Review

In video number 4 of the HeartMind Shiatsu™ Education Series, Matthew Sweigart teaches us the acupressure / acupuncture points and location of the large intestine meridian.

Expanding the Breath with the Lung Meridian

Learn the location of the lung meridian and the major lung acupressure points in this experiential and informative video with HeartMind Shiatsu™’s Matthew Sweigart.  Expand the breath, and let it all go – a practice you can do at home to access more life force and openness in your body and life.

Expanding the Breath with the Lung Meridian from HeartMind Bodywork on Vimeo.

Free Intro Workshop: Fri Sept 9th 10am-Noon

Join the HeartMind Shiatsu Boulder team for this free, fun, and informative introductory workshop. Discover the art of “effortless effort” as applied to bodywork therapy, and enjoy a sampling of the HeartMind Shiatsu training program.

  • Intro to Qigong
  • Contact & Movement Exercises
  • Sample Shiatsu Sessions
  • Q&A

Free Intro Workshop: Thurs Sept 1st, 4-6pm

Join the HeartMind Shiatsu Boulder team for this free, fun, and informative introductory workshop. Discover the art of “effortless effort” as applied to bodywork therapy, and enjoy a sampling of the HeartMind Shiatsu training program.

  • Intro to Qigong
  • Contact & Movement Exercises
  • Sample Shiatsu Sessions
  • Q&A

New Website Launched

We are so excited to welcome you to our brand new website.  As we gear up for our 2011-2012 HeartMind Shiatsu™ trainings, we have developed our new site and registration system with you in mind.

Learn all about HeartMind Shiatsu™ and who we are under “About.” Check out our full training descriptions and course overviews under “Training.” See training dates and registration info under “Calendar.” We also offer you the ability to view the training dates in Calendar Mode.

We have partnered with Mindbody online for ease of registering students to our classes and trainings.  They also host our products, and you can get there by clicking on “Shop.” Our HeartMind Shiatsu™ DVD will soon be available there.  For a nice freebie, be sure to join our mailing list.  You will receive our FREE HeartMind Qigong podcast that you can practice with.  We will keep you updated with HeartMind Bodywork news and events.

Also, be sure to check out our blog regularly as we will be posting articles, bodywork tips, and other happenings often.  We’d love to hear from you, so leave us a comment and connect!