Yoga Santosha Blog Finding joy in 2020
Finding Joy In 2020
January 6, 2020
Spending Time with Andrea Clarke
Spending Time with Andrea Clarke
February 4, 2020

Featured Class – Therapeutics

Featured Class - Therapeutics for Hips, Shoulders, and Backs

Featured Class - Therapeutics for Hips, Shoulders, and Backs

JANUARY 6, 2020

Featured Class – Therapeutics for Hips, Shoulders, and Backs

‘Expect to see an immediate change.
It is a simple but not easy practice (it can be intense).
It is for everyone and is a whole-body system.
It simply heals.’ – Marnie Harfield

Marnie adds that healing is up to the individual. We choose. Agreed.

I decided to look up therapeutics in the dictionary and read that it is ‘the treatment of disease and the art and science of healing.’ The term therapeutics comes from the Greek word therapeutikos, which means ‘inclined to serve.’ I like that. To serve. Serving the body. Serving the mind. Serving ourselves to find space, and awareness, to allowing new ways of movement and allowing ourselves to be moved. Therapeutics sounds not only quite lovely, but quite necessary. Yet, what is it and what can I expect when I attend one of these classes?

I wanted more, so I went straight to the experts to find out. Marnie Harfield and Alë Veffer teach the Therapeutics classes at the studios. I wanted to hear in their own words what the class is all about. I also realized that the only real way I can know is to feel it in my body. I rolled out my mat and waded into a class myself. Information and of inspiration from each of them, followed by my experience.

‘The therapeutics classes we offer at the studios focus on aligning the spine to create space in all of the joints (including hips and shoulders) and the overall body. We move slowly in order to cultivate an awareness of the inner space so that we can connect with ourselves through our breath and the pose that we are in to really pay attention to what the body is trying to tell us. Our bodies are always trying to tell us things but most of the time we either miss the message or override it.’

‘Virtually all mobility issues come from loss of mobility in the spine (barring an accident like breaking a leg, arm, etc.). All of those day to day activities that require us to reach forward, lean forward and look down- like typing on my computer right now- eventually lead to upper back tension and if it’s not addressed, loss of mobility in the upper back and eventually the entire body.
The practice allows people to create space and move into a space that allows them to move out of pain cycles, not just physical ones. The fact that it can bring release/relief after one practice can be pretty motivating for people to move forward. It almost never ceases to amaze me.’

I was ready to be amazed. I may not have all the proper terms or lingo so forgive any wrong use of words or turn of phrase that I might use. I was ready and also I was nervous. I was given these props that I had never used before and I wondered what I was meant to do with them. Insert deep breath here. Insert another. Insert mantra of ‘I am safe and all is ok’. In walks the instructor. My first Therapeutics experience was with Alë. She started with introducing herself and Bev (a yoga teacher and adjuster for Alë’s class) and letting me know how welcomed into the space I was; we were. She reminded me that both her and Bev would have our backs (yes literally and of course figuratively too). She reminded me that we were to listen to ourselves and that we were the healers. She spoke of compensatory movement and encouraged some releasing through our bodies and our breath. She also had us play with different planes of action. She had us take steps forward and back. It was incredibly illuminating to me how much I move around things, or compensate a sway here, or a hip move there to get from point a to point b.

Then it was time to lie down on these long black straps. Alë explained how to come down onto the strap and how to position it. She and Bev then circulated the entire room to ensure everyone was on them properly. I received some guidance from Bev. I was grateful to feel secure in the not knowing and in allowing some sweet help and adjustments. There was a definite intensity lying on this strap. It woke some parts of my back up and also awakened some incredible awareness into how I move. I kept softening into the strap and softening into the experience. We did a lot of movement into the shoulders. The idea was to move slowly. I did. I really did and wow did I feel. I felt a lot. It was safe. And yes, oh yes there was an intensity to it. The thing is, I directed how far I went into sensation and I decided how and when to move. I never went anywhere that my body wasn’t ok with. When I left, I felt lighter, calmer, and more mobile. I also felt really curious about this practice.

Next up, Marnie’s class. In Marnie’s class we went directly into the first pose and then just kept going. I loved it. I felt so much. The thing I felt the most was after the practice was done. As we rested in shavasana, I have never felt so heavy in my body and yet light in my heart. I felt held to let go completely. My whole self had the sweetest sigh. That evening as I sat in a group meditation I realized after several moments that there was no part of my back, hips, or shoulders complaining. I felt like I could sit there for the whole evening. What more do I need to share about the class itself? I was forever sold.

Softening. Mobilizing. Stabilizing. We let go. We move. We strengthen. Marnie shared this a few times with the group. She shared many moments of wisdom and insight and I wish I could effortlessly put them to paper, however I know in my mind’s edit they would come out differently. I felt incredibly safe in Marnie’s class as well. I still felt like a newbie (because I was) and it felt really lovely to have some direct attention, whether it was letting me know that the black strap could come up a little higher along my spine or being handed a different white long strap for some leg movement. Instead of feeling like something was wrong I felt like I was being given the space to feel all that was right. I softened. My mind first and foremost. My body followed. Wow, again I felt. I really felt and at times I wanted to shift out of the poses or the movement. The practice reminded me of yin, not the poses themselves, but the staying in a pose or in a movement that might be, or in my case absolutely was uncomfortable, and then finding the space and breath to soften and remain. Under Marnie’s words and expertise I knew I could.

As Marnie shared most of us have rounding in our spine from sitting, driving, working on computers or driving. We all need this practice. Every single one of us. And the golden part is that we can all take it. Marnie led us through several poses and was an incredible guide. Her knowledge is vast and she shared in ways that I could assimilate and digest. Grateful.

A gifted teacher creates an incredible class. Yes, we are our own healers and yet when you are lead by either Alë or Marnie you have an increased chance of feeling all the feels (on all levels) that take you to optimum wellness (again on all levels).

Therapeutics is already a really popular class on the schedule and I am sure will see even more people joining in. I think it compliments a yoga practice and a life practice beautifully. Make sure you sign up on line to reserve a spot for you. Perhaps I will be lying next to you!

~ Lisa Tierney