How are you doing, my friends?

How are you doing at this point in the pandemic/recession? I’m enjoying more downtime. Planted a garden, making nourishing soups for cold days, connecting with a few friends, dancing on Zoom, doing the MELT Method to help my body recover from a low-back injury in October.

I have a hunch that a few people are thriving, most people are muddling through the “new normal” that may never really feel normal, and quite a few have been hit hard with losses of loved ones, jobs, homes, security. Bless.

Where are you?

I’m so grateful that during this pandemic, taking good precautions, I am able to work in my office one day a week (Tuesdays), offering private sessions.

I didn’t work for six months except for some long distance healing sessions and consultations over the phone or Zoom. I’ve been working now since mid-September, so nearly 5 months.

I work one day a week to minimize spreading COVID. I figure that if a client or I comes down with it, we’ll know within a week, and I at least won’t have exposed other clients before I figure that out.

It’s not perfect but it (and pre-screening, masks, my face shield, and air purifier) make it safer.

I taught a Self-Help for Jaw Pain course over Zoom last fall that I spent a lot of time developing, and I may offer it again when demand is sufficient. I had developed a busy clientele for TMJ Relief sessions, but COVID has made it unsafe to work in people’s mouths.

I’m considering offering private TMJ Relief sessions over Zoom, teaching people to do their own intra-oral work. It’s not hard. You just have to know where to touch. I’m not sure what the demand is for that, however.

The subtleties of doing craniosacral therapy require practice. The ability to sense subtle motions and patterns in a receiver’s body is developed through training and maintained and augmented through practice.

It took a few weeks to get my palpation skills back to my previous level. I appreciate everyone who has come in over the past few months for allowing me to deepen my abilities.

The swirly state when your body actively heals itself.

Since I’ve been working on my essay exam for getting certified by the Upledger Institute in craniosacral therapy techniques, I’ve developed more sensitivity and awareness of energetic and physiological processes.

I’ve come to appreciate even more the biodynamic branch of craniosacral therapy and sometimes integrate it into sessions, especially for repeat clients. I seem to be one of those people who learns how to “go by the book” and then experiments with integrating whatever is in my toolbox that my intuition tells me will help a receiver release something that no longer serves.

I’ve been receiving biodynamic sessions regularly from my officemate Christian Current. It’s whetting my desire for more training in the biodynamics field. I also had a great Upledger-style session from ou officemate Liz Baker that helped me release some dural tube restrictions after I injured my low back in October.

I recommend that people new to cranial work receive 3 sessions, because with bodywork this subtle, your innate healing processes strengthen with familiarity with the work and with me as a practitioner.

I offer a package of 3 sessions for $250 and a package of 6 for $500. This works out to $83.33 each. A single craniosacral session is $100, so you still save $20 from my regular session price.

If you’re feeling stale or stressed, craniosacral therapy can help restore your resilience. I’m interested in working with people who have had COVID and are suffering aftereffects.

Anyway, this is a little note to you to share what’s up with my practice and stay in touch. I’m available on Tuesdays. I have openings at noon, 1:30, 3, 4:30, and 6 pm. You can check my online scheduling page for availability. I would love to see you. I would love to hear from you.

News from MaryAnn

Love in the time of coronavirus

Dear readers, I hope you are staying grounded during this time of uncertainty and fear. I recommend going outside in your bare feet and walking around on some grass, as often as you need.

Feel your feet sink slightly into the grass atop soil, perhaps softened by recent rains, with each step. Enjoy the coolness, the textures, and the sensations in your feet.

Imagine this connection with Mother Earth moving up your legs, into your torso, touching all of your tissues, permeating all of your cells, and leaving your body through the crown of your head.

You are connecting to earth and to heaven! This energetic experience is about being fully alive in the present moment. It’s a renewing and restorative experience to counter upsetting news, conflict on social media, fears for ourselves and our loved ones, uncertain futures.

Texas bluebonnets in my yard…

Integrative tele-healing sessions

I’m changing the name of my new online service to Integrative Tele-Healing Sessions. Bear with me as I navigate my way through this rapid change…as I’m sure you’re doing as well.

Quite a few CST practitioners are adamant that working remotely is not craniosacral therapy. (Plus the words “remote” and “distance” run counter to the connection we make with our voices, intentions, and energy fields, even when we’re not in each other’s physical presence.)

This stance is coming both from those who are Upledger-trained and those who are biodynamics trained.

I’ve trained in both, and I’ve trained in Reiki, which can be done at a distance. Current conditions make this the perfect time for me hone these skills, and if you are in need of caring attention to your body-mind system, it’s also the perfect time to try a session for yourself.

In my ninth year of offering bodywork, I can only say that when I work, everything I’ve ever trained in and experienced informs my work. What I’m using at any given moment is what comes into my awareness as the most appropriate

That could be what I’m sensing in your body, what you’re sensing in your body, shifts in our blended fields, where your system leads me, the changes we notice as our session unfolds. “The work” flows through us both.

Years ago, it became clear to me that I could not do bodywork without also being aware of my energy, your energy, the energy in the room, and the power of our intent to influence energy. For experienced massage therapists, especially those who are also yogis or Qi gong practitioners, bodywork is also energy work.

The shortest distance between two points is intent.

~ Dr. John Upledger, founder of Craniosacral Therapy

This may sound woo-woo to some, but for me, energy is real and can be sensed, usually as subtle sensations but sometimes not so subtle. This energy is described in the ancient traditions of shamanism, yoga, Ayurveda, meditation, Qi gong, and Chinese medicine.

If you’re a doubter, rub your palms together briskly for about 30 seconds. They will feel warm. Now hold them a few inches apart. Can you sense something between your hands? Perhaps a field that joins them? Practice moving your hands apart and together. Notice. What you sense between your hands is energy.

We have energy centers and channels in our bodies. We have awareness. We have intent. We have our senses, our speech, our imaginations, our discernment, our intuition, and we have technology that minimizes physical distance. We’ll put these to use in our sessions.

Anyway. Other practitioners are calling it energy work, remote healing, distance sessions, shamanic energetics, virtual healing, long distance healing, etc.

I prefer Integrative Tele-Healing Sessions. Clear and simple and not too woo-woo.

Here’s how it works: You schedule your session online when you will have some uninterrupted time for a session. (You could call first, but it’s not required.) You make yourself comfortable in your home (seated or lying down), and open yourself to relaxation and receiving. We bring awareness to your system, and we explore what wants attention, what shifts, what emerges.

I stay connected with you during sessions, including during periods of silence that allow “the work” to go deeper.

I want you to feel free to share what’s coming up for you in real time, if you wish.

At the end of the session, you can schedule another session if you would like.

Schedule 90 minutes

Schedule 60 minutes

You can pay me through Venmo or PayPal.

Please let me know if you have any questions. Call 512-507-4184 or schedule a free 15-minute phone consultation.

Speaking about my work…

Today I have the good fortune to be interviewed on Mind Body Radio at 10-10:15 am CST. You can listen on the Internet live or find my interview afterwards. Here’s the link: https://mindbodyradio.com.

Sunday I hosted a brown bag education session on craniosacral therapy for 10 of my fellow members of the Austin Wellness Collaborative. I spoke for about an hour about how I got into CST, its evolution and branches, and answered questions. Then I did a demo, talking about what I was doing and sensing, on a fellow AWC member, who also commented on what she was noticing. Success!

Coming up, on January 29 I will be talking to the staff at the office of Dr. Elizabeth Raine, DDS (my own dentist) about what I do and asking questions about what they notice and how they work with TMJ issues. This will be my first talk with a dental office.

It feels good to be doing more educational work, continuing to get the word out that skilled manual therapy can relieve TMJ symptoms.

If you know of an opportunity to educate, please keep me in mind.

Coming attraction: yoga for the jaw

I’m announcing now that I intend to create a “yoga for the jaw” class by the end of this year. There’s a sweet overlap of demographics: women of child-bearing age are nine times more likely than men to have severe or chronic TMJ issues, and this group also tends to take yoga (and Pilates) classes.

My plan is in the seedling stage right now. I have so much to learn and discern.

It feels good to get back into teaching yoga. I completed teacher training 10 years ago and taught restorative classes for a while. I’ve been practicing since 1982 and have been especially devoted since 1996 after a car wreck. I’m drawn to alignment-oriented classes and teachers, both for my own issues and as a bodyworker.

To this end, I will be taking a workshop from a highly-regarded yoga teacher in Dallas in late September. Embodied Dharma: Yoga, Connective Tissue, and Inter-Being is being offered at the Dallas Yoga Center by Tias Little, who created and teaches Prajna yoga.

Learning from Tias has been on my bucket list for a decade, and I’m finally doing it! Prajna means wisdom in Sanskrit, and Prajna yoga is more comprehensive than most yoga, including more of the eight limbs of Patanjali’s yoga into practice, as well as anatomy and somatic awareness. Tias includes aspects of Buddhism and craniosacral therapy — interests we share — into his teachings.

I am especially looking forward to learning more about yoga for the cranium, jaw, and ear from him.

Thank you, Anna Gieselman, a Prajna teacher at Castle Hill Fitness in Austin, for letting me know about this workshop!

If you’re interested, Anna is teaching a free Prajna yoga class on Labor Day, Free Day of Yoga, at Castle Hill’s downtown location. You can reserve your spot here.