Note : I wrote the following reflections just hours after my first private session with LK. I was still very emotional and raw with the feeling of my breath having been freed from constriction. Future posts will serve to further explain my unfolding understanding of what happened during this first session and also what I learned in following sessions at The Breathing Project with Leslie.
Day 3 Part 2:
Meeting Mr Kaminoff.
I had heard he was amazing, I had heard he was pretty special. I had even heard people credit him for changing the way they practice and teach yoga. But hearing and experiencing are very, very different.
I’m getting goosebumps just sitting here thinking over the session. Some parts made me sob like a small child, other parts made me laugh almost uncontrollably. It was one of the most intimate experiences I’ve ever had and I know I will remember it as long as I live. It is just a few short hours since the session so I really don’t know yet the full impact of what has happened but I do have a very strong sense it was life changing. I’m starting to cry again just thinking about it.
A private session with Leslie Kaminoff is a bit like a cross between a Thai Yoga Massage, a chiropractic or osteopathic consultation and a yoga private. As I lay on the table and allowed Leslie to manipulate my body in ways that gave him access to the deep areas of holding in my muscles and fascia I felt as safe as I ever have. His presence is protective, his body invites you in, invites you to be casual, unguarded, authentic. I liked him instantly.
I have woken up from just a few short hours of deep sleep to feel fully alive, for the first time that I can remember. I am connected to my whole body. I can breathe up and down the vertebrae of my spine, one at a time, consciousness filling each one as I work my way progressively from the base of my skull down to my coccyx on an inhalation and then release the energy out into the peripheries of my body on an exhalation. I am truly in my body. I have no memory of ever having been this connected, this at home, fully embodied, fully connected with every part of my body.
Overall, my body feels soft and at ease. Like your skin after a beautiful exfoliation and moisturised by a lotion just perfectly balanced for your skin type.
I reflect on the session with Leslie, noticing the thoughts that bring me joy and those that bring me again to tears. I am not sad but each time I notice how he held me safe I feel the tears well up again:
* I noticed just telling him my story, the moment he recognized trauma in me I felt as if I might cry, I held back at that time;
* As Leslie worked up into the base of my solar plexus I could feel a growing tension of sorts and as he released me and a big shudder went through my body and I sobbed, fully and deeply, without thought, just my body;
* Another release, this time across the back of my shoulders and then another at the base of my skull both brought me again to tears but in between the crying were moments of pure joy and laughter erupted several times.
As I reflect on how I feel as if Leslie has given me back my body, I cry again, not much, just a few tears. I am not sad.
As I reflect on how he wiped away my tears with his bare hand, how his hands held me and kept me safe the whole time despite several moments during the session when terror could easily have taken over. What was he about to do? Would it hurt? Is this the right thing for me? Will it lead to greater pain? In one moment, when he was behind me, with his arm wrapped reasonably snugly around my neck (I cry as I remember this), I thought (irrationally) “if he wanted to he could kill me right now, just one swift movement of his arms would break my neck in a flash”. Rational mind told me he wouldn’t do that as it would ruin him more than me. Body told me I was safe and I surrendered fully. This was possibly the moment my life changed.
I watch, mind alert and excited as my breath moves down my spine, opening my back at every point along the way, from the base of my skull right down to the tip of my tailbone. As I breathe out I allow the energy to travel out into my arms and legs, the front of my body, fingers and toes.
I have my body back. All of it. Every cell, every fiber, back with me. I want to say under my control but that doesn’t explain it. I don’t need control now. Shivers run down my spine with this realization. I no longer need control over my body because now I am whole. Mind and body are one. I might need time and a few lessons on how to use this powerful machine that feels so new to me, but I don’t need control. Not anymore. I see now how control was a protective strategy, a technique for defending my self from the world, from further pain and trauma. I don’t need to guard those places within me anymore. I can feel them again, feel that they are safe and trust that the message will be loud and clear, if at any time they are threatened. The lines of communication are open again, as the breath travels through my body, into places that have been off the map for many, many years, it grows excited. Like a mother welcoming home her children. There you are, home at last, safe and sound, we are together again. Now I can rest easy. ( I feel the tears come again).
Now I can rest. The battle is over. It has been fought. And won.
It took surrender to win this fight. I had to let go in order to get back.
Leslie congratulated me on all the work it had taken to reach this point that this session could have been so powerful for me. Not because he knew few much about my journey through trauma but because, through his wisdom and experience, he could feel how I gave myself to the release, how I stayed present with the breath and was not overcome by the feelings unleashed from my body. It takes work for most of us with trauma to get to the point where we are strong enough to do this, to let go, to surrender to it. And the right person to give us permission and safety and enough containment in order for it to come to fruition in a glorious moment of release.
Everything is coming together. I get shivers down my spine again as I feel the energy of my life beginning to build into a point of single focus, to culminate into the realization of my Dharma.
I feel so happy. I am happy. Not just ‘I am happy’ like I am hungry, I am tired, I am warm. But I am happiness.
Intuitively I had known I needed to come here. I am just beginning to find out why.