I’ve been a yogi for a long time, and also at various times, I’ve danced, biked, swum, kayaked, walked, hiked, worked with a trainer in a fitness studio, done tai chi and/or qi gong, Pilates… I’m sure there are some activities I’ve forgotten at the moment.
I love it when my body moves well, when I have full range of motion in all my joints and can move with fluidity and enough energy and strength to do these activities and get through my days with a minimum of discomfort.
I practiced the MELT Method at home, subscribing to MELT On Demand, for a while a few years ago. It gave me online access to hundreds of videos focusing on rehydrating my body parts using soft foam rollers and balls and stretchy bands.
Hydration. Rehydration. We are squishy beings. Infants are about 70 percent water, but it declines with age, to maybe 55 percent in the senior years, which is where I am now.
In other words, we kinda dry up with age, and this shows up as stiffness.
You know what? It is not inevitable! And it takes more than just consuming enough fluid.
You want those fluids to get into your soft tissues, into your muscles and fascia, bones and joints, tendons and ligaments.
You know how good you feel after you’ve received a full body massage? Well, the secret to that good feeling is the massage therapist gliding their hands with light or firm pressure on your skin. It redistributes your fluids, which relieves stiffness, aches, and pains.
The MELT Method is hands-OFF bodywork you can do by yourself, at home, with MELT equipment and videos. Sue Hitzmann, bodyworker and self-described gym rat, developed the MELT Method and continues to add to it.
Don’t underestimate Sue because she is in great shape, attractive, perky, and wears fashionable workout wear. She’s also disciplined and brainy. She has a master’s degree in exercise science from NYU. She’s participated in dissections of cadavers to learn more about fascia and belongs to the international Fascia Research Society. She’s worked with some big names in the field of fascia research: Tom Myers, Gil Hedley, Robert Scheip, Jean-Claude Guimberteau.
She is a somatic educator, bringing information and practices you can use to enhance your experience of well-being.
I stopped doing MELT for a while but just re-upped my subscription to MELT On Demand because I was feeling too stiff.
If this interests you, @MELTmethod is a YouTube channel with free material on MELT, no subscription needed.
As someone who sits still for long periods in my work as a biodynamic craniosacral therapist, I can’t recommend this enough. My work is oriented to fluids and energy in the body. I help my clients experience more ease in their bodies. If I could receive a session every day, I would!
I started a training course in the fall of 2021 that involves making 10 trips to Washington, DC, from Austin, TX. The training was actually in Silver Spring, a suburb.
I was very enthused about working with this teacher! And…I didn’t think much about all the travel, not ever having had to do much business travel back in those olden days.
The first trip was adventurous! I took the Metro and visited museums on the Mall on an extra day. I stayed in a crappy AirBnB that was close to the training so I could walk.
The second trip I stayed in a nice rowhouse in Columbia Heights and took the Metro to class each day. I visited the Phillips Collection, a good art museum, on my extra day.
On the third trip, I stayed in an AirBnB in Silver Spring where the owner (who did not live there) had gone crazy with a label maker.
Oh, yes, you could find “BOWELS” on a shelf in a kitchen cabinet.
I took the Metro to the Mall and walked to the Lincoln Memorial when the cherry trees were first starting to bloom. It was cold and windy, and I wore myself out, but I’m glad I did it.
On my fourth trip, I burned out. I’d been in a high speed car accident a couple of months before, and I’m convinced that even though I wasn’t seriously injured, going from 65 mph to 0 quickly and getting “spine-lash” is not something the human body is designed to bounce back from. It’s taken PT for my body and many months off body/energy work and breathwork and meditation for my nervous system to recover. I’m still taking Cortisol Manager. It’s been almost a year.
And there’s more… I’d planned to arrive a day early, but my one-stop flight ended in Oklahoma City because of bad weather in DC, and I unexpectedly had to book a hotel room and then be at the airport at 4 am to get a three-stop flight to DC. I was in six airports in two days on next to no sleep. I was tired when I got to DC, and things didn’t improve much.
I had signed up for a 3-day training right before my regular 4-day class. I learned that 7 days in a row in a classroom doesn’t work well for me. I love learning, but I need time to rest, to move, to sleep well, and to integrate.
And more… The Supreme Court overturning of Roe v. Wade happened the first day of class. I read articles that night about the white supremacist, anti-LGBTQ intent of the new conservative majority, which felt threatening to my beautiful rainbow family’s integrity, and it was happening right there in DC.
And still more… The AirBnB I stayed in seemed haunted, in hindsight. The location was good, but day by day, I felt lonelier and more depleted, and I simply did not want to be there. I couldn’t tell if “there” was in that AirBnB, in the training, in DC, or on the planet. I felt empathy with Anthony Bourdain’s suicide. He probably just wanted out.
Being not suicidal, I later wondered whether in my depleted state, I was picking up energies from a previous occupant of that basement apartment who’d been depressed and suicidal.
I went home earlier than I’d planned, drained.
Business travel is not like going to Maui. I thought about dropping out. I stayed home and did the fifth class on video.
Given time, I recovered and went back to DC for the sixth training, staying in a hostel in Adams-Morgan, which I liked better than most of the AirBnBs, again taking the Metro to and from class. I got a couple of nice walks in every day getting to and from the DuPont Circle station.
I enjoyed the hostel. It has dorm rooms with privacy curtains around each bunk and a shared bathroom. Sometimes there’s a happy hour with games. The staff and guests are young, vibrant people who come from many places. The staff knows the neighborhood well and are very friendly and helpful.
There’s a free washer and dryer with detergent and dryer sheets, as well as a big, fully equipped kitchen to cook in.
I also treated myself to a floatation tank session one evening during this sixth trip. It was a great reset.
I was curious about other introverts traveling for business, and fortuitously, the wife of a member of my spiritual book group, Laura, sat next to me at our annual December potluck dinner. I knew Laura was an introvert who had to do a lot of business travel for her consulting job, and I asked her for tips for introverts doing business travel.
Here’s what she kindly shared with me:
The key is to reduce stress by making everything as close to your home routines as possible.
Think about when you are ready to face the world each day, and schedule your departure to the airport for after that time.
Book flights far enough in advance to get desirable nonstop mid-day flights (or at least less time in transit) and make the whole day a travel day. It’s way less stressful.
She advised packing everything into one carry-on and one personal item to avoid waiting at baggage claim. She re-wears or washes clothes.
I haven’t done this yet, but it’s appealing. My big bag that I’ve been checking is heavy for someone not quite five feet tall, and baggage claim can be very slow and crowded, not to mention managing the big bag on the Metro.
She recommended staying at the same place. For her, it’s always the same hotel chain, because the layout and rooms are similar no matter where they’re located.
I’m traveling and training on my own dime and can’t afford hotels. Don’t really like them anyway…so impersonal and corporate and don’t feel very fresh.
If I can’t find an affordable nice AirBnB near the training on my remaining trips, the hostel is my next best choice.
Laura advised ordering food delivered from Whole Foods and eating what I’d eat at home.
That works for me. Having a kitchen to cook in is a big plus. I cook for myself most of the time at home, knowing the ingredients are healthy and my food is made with love.
Not to mention, dining out has gotten expensive.
Laura advised setting toiletries out in the bathroom the same way you do at home, and putting clothes in drawers and the closet the same way you would at home.
If your meeting starts on Monday, and you fly in on Saturday, spend Sunday relaxing and reading a good book.
Laura also advised not joining extroverted colleagues in evening activities after workday meetings. Since we introverts recharge our batteries in solitude, make sure you get enough alone time to fully recharge after a day of being in meetings or training with others. It’s also good to reconnect with loved ones back home every evening on the phone.
I got lucky for my seventh class and found an AirBnB on the same block as my training. I could walk to Whole Foods to get groceries, cook for myself, and walk to class with ease. I brought matcha, frother, and add-ins from home.
It was a spare bedroom in a high-rise apartment complex. I saw some gorgeous sunsets from there and a cherry tree in full bloom on my block. My host was someone nice to chat with a few times, and I had privacy. I felt safe and comfortable, staying with her.
I only used Uber to get to and from the airport and never used the Metro this trip. That helped reduce wear and tear quite a bit.
I’m probably not as introverted as she is, because I joined a few of my classmates on Friday night at an ecstatic dance in DC. Since it’s nonverbal movement, it didn’t drain me. It gave me some satisfaction to move exuberantly after so much sitting all week. I blew off a lot of steam.
I slept well that night and returned to Austin the next day. This was the easiest trip so far.
Only three more to go.
What would you add, if you’re an introvert who travels for work or training?
Just back from 4 days in Big Bend National Park, with the big sky, desert, mountains, river, hot springs, ravens, Mexican jays, javelinas, and numerous trails.
And most of all, quality time spent with my beloved 22-year-old granddaughter, Hannah.
And…it’s great to be back home, in my own bed, with comfort, solitude, and time to sit.
After over 3 months of daily meditations, when I start sitting, things start happening…perceptions of radiance at my face, the motions of the Tide, the vitality of my life force swirling within.
I remember when I started doing yoga (asanas) 40 years ago. At some point after my practice became habit, I realized I didn’t just DO yoga, I WAS (and still AM) yoga. It was in me.
Same now. I AM the radiance, the Tide, the swirliness, the health. It’s in me, and it’s in you too, and I can help you find it, if that is your desire.
So…I will continue my practice but won’t be posting so much about it. I will be reviewing my posts (I started on 11/11/22), exploring ways of teaching it, as one-to-one private sessions now, and later as a guided meditation/yoga nidra, for small groups, and whatever else emerges.
Thank you for checking out my posts on this inquiry. Please stay in touch! Links are in my Instagram bio.
I did something different in my Biodynamic Meditation this morning.
I stayed with whole body awareness during my 45-minute session.
I didn’t put much effort into labeling what was happening.
I just felt my life force moving within my body and field, and it felt great.
And wow! So much life force moving within me!
I noticed how pleasurable it was to simply be aware of my life force energy for that entire period of time.
I clipped my HeartMath sensor to my earlobe and set up the Inner Balance app for a session again.
I was in high coherence 88 percent of the time today.
I could see on the report that HeartMath displays after completing a session how my coherence fluctuated. It’s never a straight line. It is always changing.
I just signed up for a HeartMath training called The Resilient Heart: Trauma-Sensitive HeartMath Certification. I so love learning how we can influence the autonomic nervous system since there’s just so much unhealthy stress in most of our lives.
My Biodynamic Meditation today came after spending time in a friend’s hot tub and going for a walk, including a heart-pounding hill climb.
Now, rest, meditate, write.
My session this morning included radiance at my face, the Tide, and swirliness in my head, heart, and pelvic centers.
Swirliness shows up in several ways: seeking, settling into an area or spot in the system, and reorganizing.
This is how self-healing works. Attention is love, so you bring it inside and really pay attention to your sensations, rhythms, patterns. You feel the Tide regulating your system, then you may have a stillpoint, a pause that acts as a reset button. When swirliness happens, your system frees stuck energy, increasing your vitality.
You always start with where you are today, in this moment.
I heard some great music Friday night at Sahara Lounge. This is Atash. They’ve played Carnegie Hall. Amazing musicianship, danceable music!
My Biodynamic Meditation session this morning was about breath, awareness of my central energy channel, awareness of the Tide moving up and down and then settling at my sacrum as healing energy for a bit, moving up to my solar plexus region, and then to my crown chakra.
The energetic sensation was that of effervescence at my sacrum and my crown, and like soothing kindness at my solar plexus.
I started studying craniosacral therapy in 2011 while still a massage student, after receiving it monthly for 3 years and understanding its sometimes-subtle but cumulative benefits to my health and well-being.
I started studying craniosacral biodynamics in 2013. Three days after learning it existed and hearing it described, I was in a class.
It’s a passion of mine. I’ve taken dozens of classes since, in both biodynamic and directive, Upledger-style CST. I’ve taken several classes multiple times and been a teaching assistant.
Craniosacral biodynamics works quite a bit with interoception, the “felt sense” in oneself.
A lot of the language in my classes was highly conceptual even though referring to felt states. There’s a big gap between concept and experience, between the map and the territory. It was frustrating!
What does the Breath of Life feel like? How do you distinguish the different tides? What does a still point feel like? How do you track potency? What about the different stages? What the heck is Dynamic Stillness and how do you get there?
I started experimenting with trying to sense these concepts in my meditation practice and had some pretty profound experiences, such as feeling like I was in the ocean and currents were flowing through and around me, experiencing a me-shaped hole of emptiness surrounded by dense energies holding me in place, the sense of being breathed, and the like.
But they were random experiences and I still didn’t know the names for them or how to get there. Hence pursuing more training.
Sequencing is important in a yoga class. You prepare carefully with easier poses and work up to the harder poses you didn’t think you could do — and then, wow, you’re doing them! It’s important in teaching and learning Craniosacral Biodynamics, too, guided by carefully considered preparation.
All of these states and experiences have helped me become more whole and healthy, wise and compassionate about our common human experience. They help me heal, and I do have experiences to heal from, still.
Samsara can be so rough.
I am an investigator, an Enneagram 5. I am driven by curiosity and learning and compassion. I came into this world to make a difference, and although side-lined by early difficulties, I’m doing it now.
Where I am now is this: I have a private practice in West Lake Hills, an old Austin suburb, where I offer two specialties: Craniosacral Biodynamics and TMJ Relief.
And, I’m doing an experiment on Instagram. Every day I do a #biodynamicmeditation and post about it on Instagram. I choose images and music to accompany my words. It’s fun and growing, gaining followers, including teachers of Craniosacral Biodynamics.
If you want to follow me there, I’m @mareynolds. These posts also appear on my Facebook business page and on Tumblr and LinkedIn.
What’s behind this new endeavor? Well, if I could receive a Biodynamic session every day, I would! But I can’t afford it and don’t always have time.
However, I do have time to meditate every day. So do you, most likely, on most days.
So I practice Biodynamic Meditation and post about it, with an eye to eventually teaching it as a recognized form of meditation where the focus is on self-healing and restoring vitality. You can follow my progress.
Whatever we couldn’t process at the time gets contained energetically. Sometimes we experience releases and may or may not be aware of it. We feel more ourselves, more centered, grounded, vibrant, confident, resourceful.
Craniosacral Biodynamics greatly augments the body-mind’s ability to heal itself of dysregulation, stuckness, inertia.
When that energy is released, it returns to our overall vitality and well-being.
It accelerates wellness.
I’ve been practicing Biodynamics in meditation, in classes, and with clients for almost a decade. I am far from enlightened, though I have moments of deep presence and clarity about who I am, why I’m here, and what I want.
I am much healther, grounded, centered, aware, bigger minded, and bigger hearted than I used to be. And people who have known me for that long or longer have noticed.
This is where I am now, and I appreciate you reading about my process. There will be more to come, I’m sure. If you have questions, please ask!
Factor #1: My friend Katie and I had dinner at a Mediterranean buffet restaurant recently, and she suggested we walk right after eating, citing studies saying that walking for a few minutes immediately after a meal stabilizes insulin.
I looked it up (you know me!), and it has a lot of other benefits. It boosts metabolism, speeds digestion, reduces bloating, increases endorphins and serotonin, promotes better sleep, helps regulate appetite, improves learning and memory, increases circulation for better delivery of nutrients, etc.
Plus, walking with a friend is sweet. You get to catch up with each other and get some sun and fresh air and move. I especially love to go for scenic walks with my friends.
Factor #2: I love ecstatic dancing! It’s free-form movement to music. Dancing the 5 rhythms has been a fairly regular practice since 1995. I love the creative aspects of dance, letting my body move how it wants to move, exploring new movements, getting more familiar with my body, and becoming one with the music.
It’s a fun practice for self-expression and discovery, with health benefits.
Factor #3: I recently bought a rebounder so I can use it at home when the weather is bad or I don’t want to leave. (I’ve become a homebody.)
Rebounding is great for the lymphatic system, which cleans up metabolic waste and toxins in the body, improving immunity, and I’m all in favor of that! It has other benefits, too. Bouncing works the feet, calves, and hips (if you raise your knees), you can add in upper-body movements, and it is good cardiovascular exercise.
So…putting those three factors together, after I eat, I put on some music. It’s important to get the BPM right. I’ve found a couple of tunes that are 45 and 49 BPM. Not too fast, nor too slow, but perfect for bouncing.
Then I start bounce-dancing! I bounce with vigor for a minute, getting out of breath, exploring various ways to bounce (jumping, running, hopping, crossing one foot in front of the other alternatively, doing knee raises, adding kicks, scissoring, etc.).
Then I slow way down for a minute, minimally bouncing, maybe doing some upper body twists, letting my heart rate slow.
I alternative the vigorous and the slow phases, doing a minute of each, for however long the song lasts. It’s also a pleasure to discover new music for bounce-dancing! 10 minutes and experiment with the shortening the length of the slow intervals.
The beauty of bounce-dancing is it’s fun and it’s healthy in many ways. I’ve just been doing it for a few days as I remember to do it, and what I notice most is that I sleep better and have more energy.
Also, I love having strong feet and legs!
Just coincidentally, the New York Times just published an article on rebounding, aka trampolining, Bouncing Your Way to Better Health.
I took notes on Dr. Andrew Huberman’s AMA (ask me anything) — he’s the Stanford neurobiology and ophthalmology professor with a podcast on using science for many factors of well-being.
His AMAs only available to premium subscribers of the Huberman Lab Podcast. Yes, I really am that nerdy!
Dr. Huberman says that lifestyle factors can override a genetic predisposition to Alzheimer’s disease if started early enough.
He also mentioned that scientists are working on a method of early detection using visual screening.
By the way, a friend of mine defined aging as “continuing to live”. I love it.
Many of these tips are best started decades before the ages in which Alzheimer’s usually shows up, but are helpful at any age.
Avoid environmental toxins: pesticides, toxins, heavy metals are neurotoxins. They damage your brain. That means eat organic food!
Do not hit your head hard if at all possible. Give up risky behaviors, especially if you’ve already had one TBI.
Get quality sleep at least 80 percent of the time. Deep sleep helps your brain clear toxins, and you can use sleep apps to measure this. Slightly elevating your feet seems to help. Seems to me this would work best for back sleepers, not side sleepers.
Challenge yourself cognitively. It’s not just doing crosswords, it’s more like learning a new language, reading difficult material, learning new-to-you dance steps. If you don’t get frustrated, you’re not being challenged enough!
Get 3 to 3.5 hours of Zone 2 cardiovascular exercise per week to increase blood flow to the brain. Zone 2 cardio includes walking, rowing, swimming, and working out on an elliptical or stationary bike.
Do 20 minutes of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) to release catecholamines for alertness, turning on neuroplasticity.
Do 5-10 sets of resistance training to offset atrophy from aging.
Your brain needs acetylcholine for focus and cognition. You can get it from food (eggs, especially) or take AlphaGPC in the morning, 300-900mg. Also: nicotine gum or patches — safe nicotine. Can ask your doctor.