Our Bodies and Ourselves in Massage
Negotiating the mire of political correctness, our clients and our own inhibitions, negativity and judgemental limitations.
Massage therapists must understand that:
Unless you unconditionally accept your own body,
every time you massage someone,
you will be applying your judgements on them!
“You cannot solve a problem from the same consciousness that created it. You must learn to see the world anew.” ~ Albert Einstein
- Massage is a combined system of healing and personal growth
- Massage is a process which lays everything bare for the recipient as much as they allow
- You as the therapist are a facilitator for that person in that moment of their journey.
- Getting comfortable with your own body is a yogic process of self discovery and self awareness.
- Its a process of knowing oneself, and
- Until we unreservedly accept ourselves including our bodies, we cannot progress.
Some have said that if they looked like popular photo models, they'd be happy to be naked, but we don't all look like this and nor should we want to. We are all unique, so lets accept that and move on.
We have been indoctrinated with false knowledge of ourselves and therefore the solution is to seek true knowledge of your authentic nature. Every sage, prophet, avatar and guru offers a solution to this fundamental problem with the prescription:
- "Know Thyself" ~ from the entrance of the Temple of Apollo, Delphi, attributed to Socrates (also the Greek 'gnothi seauton' attributed to Pythagoras, Chilon of Sparta, Thales of Miletus and Solon of Athens, and the Latin rendering as 'nosce te ipsum' or 'temet nosce'
- "Be a light unto yourself" ~ the final words of Gautama the Buddha.
- "Who am I?" ~ the Atma Vichara of Ramana Maharshi.
- "If your leaders say to you, 'Look, the (Father's) imperial rule is in the sky,' then the birds of the sky will precede you. If they say to you, 'It is in the sea,' then the fish will precede you. Rather, the (Father's) imperial rule is inside you and outside you. When you know yourselves, then you will be known, and you will understand that you are children of the living Father. But if you do not know yourselves, then you live in poverty, and you are the poverty." ~ Jesus, Gospel of Thomas Verse 3
- “Don't look for the kingdom of God elsewhere because the kingdom of God is within you.” (Luke 17:21)
- "In yoga poses, you must feel how your skin moves" BKS Iyengar.
- "Going naked is the latest yoga trend, and those who have done it can swear by its benefits. Shedding one's clothes brings a new level of honesty and authenticity to yoga — an authenticity that can sometimes get lost in the fashion and branding surrounding yoga" Isis Phoenix.
- "While being naked around other yogis might sound more anxiety-inducing than stress-reliving, those who've done it say it can boost self-confidence and help people to accept and celebrate their bodies." LiveScience
- "To be a massage therapist, yoga teacher or care giver, you must learn to see and accept the body as it is and the person as they are without judgement. Only then can you develop a deeper understanding where healing and growth is possible." LS.
Today, our lives and our bodies are highly politicised. Everyone is taught to judge themselves and others which is divisive for ourselves and society. Negative attitudes, toward people, towards things, towards ourselves and our bodies are habit forming and destructive.
Facing our fears and problems associated with nudity:
- Being seen naked
- Of course we were born naked and we were totally unconcerned about our nakedness until we were educated and taught to believe it is wrong.
- His disciples said to him, "When will you be visible to us, and when shall we behold you?" He said, "When you strip naked without being ashamed, and take your garments and put them under your feet like little children and tread upon them, then you will see the child of the Living, and you will not be afraid." Jesus Gospel of Thomas verse 37.
- To overcome being seen naked, get used to seeing yourself naked in your own home and with like minded friends.
- Getting aroused
- Who cares, really? It's only you as long as you don't try and force yourself on anyone else.
- Getting caught looking
- Who cares? really, It's only you.
- When your comfortable inside your own skin, it matters not who looks and one can always ask why.
We are not here to change the world, but we are here to assist others toward freedom. Freedom and improved heath and fitness in their bodies, freedom from attitudes that are so engrained, they don't know they exist. When you consider we are born naked and leave the body when we die, the body is our vehicle, our earthly home which we need to accept and know, inside and out including the seven chakras
Massage and yoga classes unfortunately suffer because students bring judgemental attitudes into the class. Some make themselves distinctive by their clothing and labels creating a false sense of competition, others maybe not as flexible in some poses and judge themselves as inferior, the list can go on but you may have noticed in massage classes when the clothes come off and the sarongs are put on, it brings everyone to the same page.
Accept your body!
Until you unconditionally accept your own body, every time you massage someone, you will be applying your judgements on them!
"I've always been a naturalist at heart and as in the ancient tradition I like to do my yoga in the buff and I attend classes in London and New York. When doing yoga, clothing reduces my body awareness and balances the atmosphere in classes. Yoga of course is science of our being - body - mind & consciousness, it is perhaps our most natural science in that I am studying my own body and mind. Therefore, it seems appropriate to practise naked. The phrase "Know Thy Self" includes the body and to accept the body in it's natural state is something of a challenge for many, yet it can also be one of the most liberating experiences." Alistair
"At times my body aches and when it comes to those yoga poses, quite often it won't go. Some days the easy poses are just too hard and other days when I surprise myself and I am happy for days.Then there are those times of the month where any asana seems so abhorrent, but I find pleasure in pranayama and deep relaxations. But then there is the issue of my boobs, as you see they are no small affair and after a day at work wearing a bra, and believe me, there's not a bra that's totally comfortable, and at the end of each day I can't wait to take a shower and give my 2 girls a rub. When it comes to yoga (or any exercise for that matter), its not just my boobs that are uncomfortably squished, a few times I've been left with chaffing marks under the bra strap where it cuts in. Since the ahh bra came out, life has been a little more comfortable, but really, I find all the poses work better if I get naked. Now we have nude yoga class in my area, yoga is so much nicer, my body has a new freedom, I can see more clearly how others move their bodies and somehow everyone is more equal in class." Sharon
"Speaking as someone who is rather uncomfortable with being unclothed the thought of doing yoga in the buff makes me cringe. Actually, the thought of other people doing yoga in the buff doesn't make me so giddy either. I can understand the philosophy behind it however. Yoga is meant to be a way to get to know yourself, move closer to your truth, find the path to enlightenment and bliss. Shedding our clothes forces us to shed our inhibitions and defences; it makes us examine our bodies and our beliefs. The thinking behind the practice is that by removing the clothes, We let go more quickly of what is holding us back, and move more deeply into our truth and our bliss. Naked yoga is about accepting and honouring the body as a temple and loving it for its shapes and sizes and celebrating the union of body and spirit. Many people wear clothes as a symbol of status and removing them removes the value we place on ourselves when we wear them. Naked yoga is about celebrating the body fully with reverence, joy and abandon. Try it!" Christina.
Modern underwear has only been around for a hundred years and the earliest bra was just a strip of cloth holding the breasts onto the chest and it was not until after the establishment of Christianity that the body become something to be ashamed of, something that had to remain hidden or covered and the capitalism enforced bra wearing even though it may be harmful to your health.
For the first few hundred years of the Olympic games, athletes were naked for most non combative sports.
Being naked demystifies our bodies
Being naked is natural
In being naked you finally arrive on Earth