The perfect complement to your yoga practice
Preparing your body
In any movement activity, one must be mindful of limitations and that fine line of pushing ahead or holding back - intelligently and mindfully. Many of us are not accustomed to the demands and torsions and twists of the yoga postures (asanas), and get overzealous in our practice.
It is of no surprise that yoga is at the forefront of health, exercise and rehabilitation. It is a remarkable practice, a philosophy and way of being, with numerous benefits for the mind and body.
However, to better prepare your body for yoga, or enhance your practice, it is recommended to complement your yoga asanas with bodywork. When the forces of connective tissue tension are not balanced, or there is rigidity in the tissues, compensation, stiffness in joints, structural imbalance such as uneven hips, jaw (for example), and one leaps right into their yoga practice, it may be more detrimental than beneficial. Or at the very least, limiting with asanas.
(I say may because for some, yoga can correct this, if and when practiced properly and consistently, and depending on the injury or situation.)
Alignment, strength and flexibility
Bowen is often the first choice in bodywork for yoga enthusiasts and especially yoga teachers. The focus and intention of Bowen is to bring homeostasis to the body - ultimately to bring structural balance (for optimal function of the body). When the body is well aligned, movement is freer, pain is diminished and the body can restore and better repair itself. The physical aspect of yoga requires alignment, strength and flexibility. Well-lubricated joints, hydrated tissues, tissue/muscle balance for even force transmission and optimal spinal function - all contribute to a healthy and aligned body. Yoga and Bowen together enhance this optimal states using active(yoga) and passive (Bowen) therapeutic intervention.
Yoga postures such as (referred to by some as) 'hip openers' or 'back lengtheners', and 'surrender' asanas (usually the seated or lie-down postures) ask for flexibility and strength - both realised in their full potential when the body (and mind!) is essentially balanced. I have often worked with professional dancers and yoga teachers who require to go that next level up, another inch deeper or further, a longer stretch or position-hold, seamless transition between asanas, deep meditative presence during, and to master postures that previously were perhaps not possible due to injury/misalignment.
The joy and rewards of being able to surrender into your yoga practice and go beyond your previous limitations is unquestionably priceless. I say that with experience as a Bowen therapist and a yoga enthusiast!
Interoception is a term often used in dance and movement therapies. In a few words, it is the fine awareness of the internal body. It is a state or being that many people have lost - that is, they do not embody themselves, or unsure how to be in their body. Not embodying oneself results in a disconnection with the body, and consequently, ones engagement with the environment.
In this context of interoception, yoga cultivates the awareness of the inner landscape through presence, breathing and focused mindful asanas either static or in a flow sequence.
Bowen therapy does this via touch and has a profound effect on ones interoceptive state via the stimulation of specific highly sensitive sensory receptors just under our skin. The feelings of well-being which follow after the precise motions of Bowen in a given session, are the result of interoception, a very different neuromuscular pathway in bodywork.
Interoception is a word that is gaining popularity in somatic and movement therapies and in science (journals have published studies on interoception as an important process manual medicine) , as recent research tells us that inner awareness and mind-body presence in fact can accelerate and improve healing. This is especially true of Bowen Therapy.
A sense of well-being, grounding and the feeling of being centered often overpowers many patients during and long after a session. The results are long-lasting.
Bowen for yoginis is truly a match made in heaven.
My session with Jenny was transformative! It was the first time I had experienced Bowen therapy so I had no expectations, however I knew I was in good hands because Jenny has a wealth of knowledge and experience. I found her adept at reading my body and treating accordingly. For years, my pelvis had been slightly skewed, which Jenny picked up on straightaway. After one session, she had managed to realign my hips, something ongoing chiropractic treatment hadn't been able to do. I'm astonished at this lasting shift, and incredibly grateful. I would highly recommend Jenny.
Leigh H, Writer, and yoga teacher 41, Melbourne