Men and the Healing Arts – October 2018 Newsletter

Adam Montoya, Tai Chi Instructor, CYI

I have found that maintaining balance and peace while facing pressure and conflict leads to healthier outcomes and meaningful experiences. I believe that when I’m in balance, I am powerful. Meditation, chi gong, and tai chi have helped me cultivate this balance.

Understanding the essence of how something works leads to solving problems. Meditation has helped me do that by teaching me how to look at things from an open point of view. Because martial arts are so physically demanding injuries can happen. Chi gong and Tai chi have helped me heal and find inner strength by meditating on the flow of energy through my body and mind. Balance in movement has helped me find balance in my life. Tai chi is a dynamic meditation on maintaining this balance, and continues to teach me applications everyday.

What has been revealed lately is the toxic masculinity in our culture leading to many social problems. It corrupts a man’s purpose through the belief that being a man means to dominate, always be in control, be hyper sexual and violent. In contrast, mind body disciplines challenge many perceptions, including cultural ideas of what manliness is, and help tap into being real with yourself. Being comfortable with who you are and living life with authentic purpose is what these practices bring out. This weakens the grasp of imposed ideas of manhood and guides men toward powerful options from within; therefore, strengthening healthy relationships with loved ones and community.

Michael Tucker, RYT 200, CYI

My own yoga practice began more as a devotional practice than as exercise. And yet, yoga has brought physical transformation into my life, for which I am deeply appreciative. While I hadn’t previously sought out physical challenges in my life, now I’m deeply involved in studying alignment-based yoga for strengthening, balance, coordination, and a kind of ongoing physical therapy. Even before I chose to deepen my physical yoga practice in this way, my ongoing yoga practice had brought strength and a solid quality to support my life.

People may be drawn to learn yoga due to motivations such as relaxation, relief from pain, exercise, weight loss, or to participate in community. Perhaps it’s less common for people to seek out yoga classes as a safe, thoughtful way to challenge themselves physically. And yet a consistent yoga practice can develop not only flexibility, but also strength and coordination and balance. These attributes can be particularly appealing to men who practice yoga.

Whenever we step onto our yoga mats, we accept an invitation to expand our vitality. One of my teachers used to say that when we practice yoga, we are co-participating in creating our own reality. I’ve always felt that this concept validates the satisfaction I feel in learning how to inhabit my physical body more skillfully.

Scott McConnell, LMT, CBP, CYI

I had the unusual privilege of being introduced to Massage Therapy and Mind-Body Therapeutics in my teens when my mom worked for a holistic-minded chiropractor.

After he traced some of my physical symptoms to an episode involving an unrequited crush when I was twelve, and with massage bringing me into a space of greater self-awareness and body-mastery, I was blown away by the implications of the mind-body connection to the point of pursuing it as both my career and way of life.

Massage Therapy is considered luxury in America, but it’s an intrinsic part of the medical system in Europe and Canada. Mind-Body Therapeutics may seem fringe, but their efficacy in bringing quick, lasting changes and improved performance makes them extremely popular among elite athletes and business executives.

Both are unprecedented in their ability to relieve stress and encourage greater resilience, particularly notable considering chronic stress is linked to today’s six leading causes of death. While women are more inclined toward such approaches, men may be in greater need.

As men, we are expected to fit into rigid codes of behavior rife with contradictory ideals. By thus having to restrict our natural inclinations, suppression becomes our chief mode of coping. Unfortunately, the body stores what remains unresolved, leading to longstanding tension and emotional triggers.

Scott provides T.R.E., BodyTalk, Sedona Method, Structural Massage, and Yoga Nidra.