Energy Medicine Yoga is essentially grooming the body’s energies to help make sure they are awake and moving, that they are running forward and not backward (a very common occurrence), and that the energy systems of the body are all cleaned out and organized.
Some of the energy systems require clearing, like blowing out a kitchen drain blocked by grease. Some of them require holding and rocking, like calming a screaming baby. Some of them require gentle tapping and smoothing, like puttying over a hole in a wall. Some of them require deep-pressure massage, like pressing a ball of pie dough into a pie tin. Some of them require weaving together, like darning a hole in a sock.
Yoga, in its ultimate context, means to merge with that part of us that is unchanging, universal, and omniscient. Yoga is a science both of being and of becoming, and how I, as the practitioner, can influence the direction of change. It helps us to answer the constant question, what next?
That understanding of yoga is at the heart of Energy Medicine Yoga: it is the practice of influencing the direction of our body’s energy patterns in order to create positive change.
Energy, for our purpose, is both the capacity to perform work and an internal power used to produce an effect.
In Energy Medicine Yoga, we use that power of energy, aligned with its healing principles, to harness our own life force and both transform ourselves to our highest good and accept ourselves in our innate perfection.
Shock can happen to the body quickly and without warning and be triggered by a myriad of events. Even perceived events can put us into shock. We can also have the energy of old shock still residing in the body. If a shock is severe enough, it can disrupt the basic systems that deliver the cellular needs of glucose and oxygen to the body, causing the body to start to shut down.
Nature knows how to release excess energy, as we see in a volcanic explosion, shifting plates in the earth, or flooding. We can see it in a dog who shakes his body after a harrowing encounter, or a deer who quivers all over to release excess energy after being chased.
Releasing shock is something we humans need to learn. If we don’t shake off this energy, that shaking will happen internally, working against our natural stillness, and disrupt our biological functions.
Using breath and movement can help to clear disturbing energy so the body remembers balance. We simply need to help it on its way.
Working with what are known as the shock points can help to balance the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems, as well as help to balance triple warmer and the spleen meridian, all systems that get thrown off with shock.
When I teach this protocol, I pass out small semiprecious stones to my students. You can choose a stone that has a particular power to it that resonates with you.
First stand in tadasana and begin to pound your heels on the ground. Pound back and forth, trying to create as much force as you can. Keep weight on your toes, and bend the knees to pound the heels. Soon, the whole body will be shaking as you’re drumming your heels back and forth on the ground. Let the body shake and tremble and release excess energy.
You can do this for up to a full minute or two. Slowly bring yourself back to stillness and then stand there, breathing deeply, and feel the continued movement of energy.
Now take the small stone and place it under one of your heels. You’re going to roll the heel around on the stone, standing and pressing into the stone at different points under the heel.
The main shock point is in the center, at the fleshiest part of the heel, and there are similar points in line with that closer to the center of the foot and closer to the heel. When you find a point that is particularly sore, spend a bit more time here. Once you find a shock point, pressing it should feel good and relieve your pain. You can spend as much time as you like on the first heel and then switch the stone to the other heel, or take two stones and do both heels at the same time.
You’ll feel a natural internal impulse to stop this practice when the body has released enough.
Although this may seem like a simple technique, the results can be quite large, so don’t take this lightly. We all have old shock or trauma in the body, and when it is released it can cause physical or emotional symptoms to arise and release.
Be gentle with yourself, and go slowly. Don’t try to release a lifetime worth of shock in one yoga practice. Take some hot baths, and let your body surrender.
Excerpted from Energy Medicine Yoga: Amplify the Healing Power of Your Yoga Practice, Sounds True 2014. Copyright © Lauren Walker. Used with permission.