My experience at a Healing Workshop…
This month has been exhausting with sad news stories plastered across every media outlet. I am one of the one in four. I can say #metoo. This is not something I am proud of and it’s not something I want anyone to know. I tried to shelter myself from the constant barrage of opinions about assault victims, but I did not succeed. Letting myself become completely immersed in my own sexual assault I no longer wanted to leave my house. This is one of those traumas I had placed perfectly in the back of my mind never to be conjured up again. When it hit me it hit me hard and I felt weak. I was questioning myself, my memories, and my choice to not report the assault. I cannot change my past. All I can do is move forward. That is when I decided to go to a healing workshop.
Convincing Myself to Go
My thoughts were running wild on my whole ride there. I don’t know what was causing it but my anxiety was at a ten. Even as I walked into the room and placed my mat down I felt my chest tightening. Situations like this, with a new group of people tend to make me feel very uncomfortable. A part of me was proud of myself. I was there. There was a time when I would have turned around or found some excuse not to attend. I had driven there by myself and I had gotten through the introduction without completely embarrassing myself.
Before the class started the yoga instructors informed us that there would be a Thai massage during the workshop. Making sure we were aware of what that meant, they asked the room if everyone was comfortable being touched. The last thing I was going to do was draw attention to me by telling a room of people I had PTSD from a past sexual assault. I already felt like the room was staring at me. Honestly, I didn’t know how I would respond to a stranger placing their hands on me, but I knew I wasn’t going to be the only one to object to the touching part.
The Start to a Healing Feeling
The yoga mats were placed so that the seven of us sat in a circle. Sitting on our yoga mat the yoga instructor handed us a deck of cards. “Hold the cards in your non dominant hand and with your dominant hand placed in a fist hit the deck. Now shuffle the cards and pick one. This is a representation of what you will get out of this workshop.” My eyes welled up with tears as I looked at my card. The word rebirth stared back at me. In front of my yoga mat was a plain white candle. I placed my card next to it and began to get my body ready to accept the amazing energy that I was about to receive. The lights were dimmed and the healing workshop began.
We began by focusing on the breath. Inhale for a count of six and then exhale for a count of six. The instructor next to me was breathing loud enough for me to hear and as she did that I matched it breath for breath.
As I concentrated on my breath, we began a restorative yoga. Twisting my body into different poses my mind began to wander away from the constant worries. The music seemed to transition each pose into the next perfectly. Inhale through the nose for six seconds and then exhale through the mouth for six seconds. It seemed like every time my mind would wonder I would hear the voice of the instructor like a dream telling me to return to the breath.
The second part of the workshop was the Thai massage. As I lay there flat on my back with my eyes closed the three instructors went around to each of us. I felt a mist come over my body as they sprayed essential oils filling the air with a calming smell. The first instructor talked me quietly through the stretches. She slowly pulled and pushed my legs. I felt her positive energy gently move up my body. Then, like a breeze I no longer felt the instructor’s presence around me. Normally in a situation like this where I don’t know if someone is going to touch me without notice my anxieties start to control my mind. Right now in this moment it wasn’t. I felt safe.
Before I knew it another set of hands was rubbing my neck and shoulders. I felt my body instantly tense up. Again in a calming tone she reassured me to let my head rest in her hand. As she rocked my head back and forth it felt as if we were the only two people in the room. My body was completely relaxed; with every touch my heart felt less and less heavy. My mind kept reassuring me, “There is good touch. I am safe.” She was fully supporting my head with her hands. I was letting her. As she laid my head back on the mat I felt no transition. It was if my head, feeling weightless had floated back down.
A smile couldn’t help but come across my face, realizing in that short period of time I had already accomplished something. When the Thai massage ended, I felt empowered. I had walked in there feeling like a victim and now I felt like I was growing.
Align Your Chakras
Seamlessly we transitioned into yoga poses that would align the chakras. The root chakra, which is at the base of the spine was our first pose. During each pose the instructor explained what the specific chakra’s controlled. After root chakra there is sacral chakra which is located in the stomach area. We continued moving our body to align the chakras as we traveled up the body. At the center of your chest there is the heart chakra. Then, as you continue to go up the body you reach the throat chakra, found at the base of your throat. We then pushed the knuckle of our thumbs in our Third Eye chakra, which rests slightly above the space between your eyes. Finally, we elongated our bodies and pushed through our Crown chakra at the top of your head. At this point in the workshop my mind was at ease and I was thinking I could stay in this room forever.
We stopped for a moment to set up the perfect position to meditate in. The instructors helped us roll a blanket into a pillow that fully supported your neck. A soft board was placed undeer my legs gently propping my knees up. I remember listening to the woman do the guided meditation and thinking do they teach them to have that tone? Her voice sounds safe and calming.
We again went through the chakras, but now using the colors that represent them. Red for root chakra, orange for sacral chakra, solar plexus chakra represented by yellow, the heart chakra is green, the third eye is represented by indigo and lastly the crown chakra color is violet. “Picture the color red in all different shades. Imagine the red taking over this room. Picture cherries, strawberries, cedar, and brick” her voice sang through my ears. I could. I could see everything she asked me to. She repeated the instructions for each color. I love that part of meditation. It is as if you are in whatever imaginary world you want to be in. If I want to picture red paint pouring throughout this room, I can and it feels incredible.
This is very important you need to let your mind go. You need to abandon you prejudgments and accept the guidance of your instructors.
We finished the night with tribal dance. The instructors explained now that we had opened up our chakras we wanted to bring positive energy in. Sadly, we had already run out of time so the tribal dance was quick. Something about throwing your arms around, screaming, and slamming your toes on the ground just makes me feel alive. Two hours went by faster than I could ever imagine. The universe knew I needed to be at that healing workshop on that day. My card was exactly right, I felt like I had been reborn walking out the doors of the studio. I could never express my gratitude for what these instructors do.