By: Erin Johnson, LMT
I read an article a while back by one of my teachers, Damo Mitchell, that continues to inspire and intrigue me. He entitled it “Investing in Loss”. In it he speaks about building a strong foundation by adhering to internal principles that would cause him to seemingly “lose” in the moment but would only benefit him and his goals for the future of his practice. Now, in this article, my teacher was speaking of the art of Tajiquan and the principles of Qing and Lin which can be loosely translated to light and agile. To really understand and apply these principles requires years of practice in learning how to relax the large muscle groups and begin to unify the body and move through jing jin lines (what we have come to understand in western body work as fascia). This concept transferred into life is the equivalent of when I speak to my daughters about the integrity of doing the right thing even though for the most part it’s the harder path.
I have been presented with an opportunity to train for two weeks in Sweden with my school Lotus Nei Gong School of the Daoist Arts. I will be living in a tent nestled in the forests of Sweden outside of Linkoping. Training 8 hours a day, we will spend plenty of time increasing the value of simple movements that carry with them incredibly complex concepts of an internal martial art. Our syllabus includes Alchemical Meditation, Daoist circle walking, Peng Hong balancing exercises, static activation postures, and the Yi Jing classical teachings. I find this to be a brilliant opportunity to hone my skills to continually fuel my Qi Gong and Pilates practice and teaching.
I have certainly had moments when I cannot fully connect with my body or my breath or even Grace in movement, but these are just perceived losses. Eventually, these moments allow me great understanding about the process of walking a path. Truly in my opinion, bodywork (and life for that matter) is about continual practice, messy side steps, and the wherewithal to not just muscle through it. So next time your wonderful instructors at Body Balance Institute challenge your balance or center by making you work from a Foam Roller, Orbit, or even so gracefully stick you on an Oov (stick the registry mark) just invest in that loss for the moment because it will only refine you and deepen you. And if by chance you have an opportunity to travel to a foreign country and live in a tent for two weeks to spend your days engaging in an intense Spiritual practice of meditation and Qi Gong…….. Well don’t because that just sounds crazy. Wish me luck.
See you on the other side.
ErinMarie Johnson LMT