YOGA SPARŚA INTEGRATION THERAPY
Touch of Unity
Yoga Sparśa Integration Therapy is a neurobiology-based bodywork therapy that considers the integrity of your body - from skin cell to sense of self - to improve posture, relieve pain, and optimize athletic performance.
ABOUT YOGA SPARŚA INTEGRATION THERAPY
Yoga Sparśa Integration Therapy is a method of bodywork therapy integrating DermoNeuroModulation, Rolfing® Structural Integration, and traditional principles of Yoga. It is informed by convergent evidence from fields in neuroscience, like pain physiology, polyvagal theory, and clinical neurodynamics, as well as clinical observations in various manual therapies and the exhaustive self-experimentation of its founder, Jackson Penfield-Cyr.
DermoNeuroModulation (DNM) is an up-to-date explanatory model and systems-thinking approach to manual therapy. (Dermo means "skin". Neuro means "nervous system". Modulation means "change".) It is a biopsychosocial framework, congruent with the science of pain physiology and thus applicable in working with people in pain.
Rolfing® Structural Integration is an interactive method of manual therapy focused on educating the body to express the natural integrity of its human form with an emphasis on the tensegrity within its structure. The hallmark of Rolfing® is a standardized, strategic “recipe” known as the Ten-Series, the goal of which is to systematically balance and optimize both the structure (shape) and function (movement) of the entire body over the course of ten sessions.
Yoga is a personal, experiential method of self-discovery as well as a holistic system of principles for health and well-being. As the practice of mindful embodiment, it serves as an opportunity for self-exploration that moves the practitioner into a greater state of integrity and reveals their inner and infinite potential as a dynamic being, gifted at transformation.
Yoga Sparśa Integration Therapy is a personal practice of empowerment. It offers you the opportunity for intentional transformation, through guided self-exploration of your nervous system (i.e. your mind), with hands-on therapeutic interventions and careful attention to your personal sensitivity to the work. Overall, you will learn neurobiological principles of health and well-being and how to embody your sense of yoga with integrity.
Health is not a commodity which can be purchased, it is an asset gained through work. By practicing Yoga Sparśa Integration Therapy, you gain access to your health.
“[Health] is a state of complete equilibrium of body, mind and spirit. Forgetfulness of physical and mental consciousness is health. The yogi frees himself from physical disabilities and mental distractions [through practice].” – B.K.S. Iyengar
Most importantly, you will learn to love your body, your mind, and your self for your being, and realize the truth:
Your body is not an impediment of accomplishment – it is your implement of attainment.
WHAT IS “SPARŚA”?
Sparśa [pronounced: spar-sha] is a Sanskrit term that is translated as “touch,” “contact,” “sensation,” “sense impression,” and “rapport,” among other translations.
Sparśa is defined as the unification of three factors: the sense organ, the sense object, and sense consciousness. For example, sparśa occurs when a client becomes aware (sense consciousness) of the practitioner’s hand (sense object) on the client’s skin (sense organ).
Because Yoga means “Union”, Yoga Sparśa may be translated to “Touch of Unity”.
THE PURPOSE OF PRACTICE
Now that we've defined our terms, Yoga Sparśa serves you as a practice for understanding how you embody your world. It is an invitation to notice your unique live and in-the-moment experience – to notice your sensations, your perceptions of those sensations, your interactions between them, and the meaning you create from everything you notice.
In sum, Yoga Sparśa Integration Therapy is your invitation to an empowered state of sensory awareness – your opportunity to resolve physical tension and achieve personal transformation, to be all that you always and already are.
THE MEANING OF INTEGRATION
Integration is defined the act or process of becoming whole. At Integrity Yoga, we call this work “integration therapy” because our practice aims to serve you in your process of becoming whole.
In fact, the integration of the mind is the practice of Yoga. By integrating the sensitive, cognitive, and affective aspects of your mind (i.e. your nervous system), you resolve tension within your body and within your self; thereby, inviting you to reclaim your sense of resilience and integrity, so you can love what you embody and embody what you love.
Additionally, the term “structural integration” refers to a method of hands-on, interactive manual therapy using slow, sustained skin contact to invite accurate sensory perception awareness within your body. Hand-holds are intentional, slow, intelligent, responsive, and effective, allowing your nervous system to resolve habituated patterns of tension, via neuromodulation, and to embody your natural integrity.
WHAT TO EXPECT IN A SESSION
Basically, you will receive guidance in sensory rehabilitation. It is a practice of relaxation, with expert direction on meditation and careful attention to autonomic change within your nervous system. This practice will help eliminate as well as illuminate the obstacles within your body as you release habituated patterns that lead to physical limitations and disability (i.e. tension and pain).
As you practice, you will learn how to ‘let go’ and discover a new sense of peace within gravity. You will learn how to translate your practice into daily life. Hopefully, you will learn how to embrace the joy within the work of uniting your body, your mind and your self.
There are several primary interventions you can expect within a session. These include Touch, Breathing, Movement, and Education – all non-invasive methods to promote your sense of self-efficacy, because each intervention respects your brain’s ability to choose how to change yourself.
Touch – A session involves you receiving therapeutic touch, because touch with care is the most direct way to influence your nervous system in its process of healing. The only physical target is nerve and nerve physiology, not tissues.
Breathing – A session involves your engagement in breathing exercises, because your breath calms your mind and directs every single process within your body.
Movement – A session incorporates movement as a means of sensorimotor rehabilitation and progress evaluation.
Education – The foundation of every session is education - conscious and nonconscious - to empower your process of mindful embodiment. Primarily, we focus on principles of neurobiological health and well-being, while giving consideration to the nature of tension within your body.
Yoga Sparśa Integration Therapy is a personal practice of mindful embodiment, so expectations and objectives within a session or a series of sessions will be unique to you. In general, our objective is to empower you through an educational experience that will serve your health and happiness for your lifetime.
HOW TO DRESS FOR A SESSION
Wear light clothing that will keep you comfortable while laying down, standing, sitting, and walking, and be prepared to dress down to underwear to allow direct skin contact, if necessary.
Men – briefs or boxer briefs (typical), athletic apparel, swimsuit
Women – briefs and bra (typical), athletic apparel, swimsuit
The most important thing is that you are comfortable in what you wear, so you can be at ease in a therapeutic setting. The bodywork itself is adaptable to the attire that invites comfort within you.
OUTLINE OF A SESSION
Preparation: Prior to the first session, you will fill out a confidential health questionnaire.
Introduction: In the first session, we will begin with an introductory conversation, in which you express your intentions for the session/series and review your health history. I will listen to your condition(s), interest(s), and goal(s), answering your questions and offering you information about the practice of integration.
Pre-Bodywork Assessment: You will be asked to stand up and move around the space, allowing me to perform a visual assessment of your posture and movement patterns.
Bodywork: We will practice therapeutic bodywork in a quiet, heated room. The majority of the session will be performed on a bodywork table.
I will interact with you throughout the session, guiding you through the practice of interventions that are safe, systematic, and strategic to meet your personal needs. Generally, I will contact your body, with an attuned quality of touch, involving various degrees of pressure, ranging from light to deep; with hand-holds that are intentional, slow, intelligent, and responsive; with the aim to gently influence your inner process of self-regulation toward a greater sense of integrity.
You may be asked to stand or walk at various times for us to assess your sense of change. The bodywork portion of the session usually concludes with seated bench work.
Post-Bodywork Assessment: The session will end with another assessment to invite your awareness of the progress achieved. I will offer homework (i.e. embodiment exercises) to support your integration in daily life until our next session.
In each session, our objective is to guide you within a practice mindful embodiment to affect sensory transformation. As the client, you are expected to be present with your body, your mind, and your self.
Personal responsibility is required to do the honest, tough work of listening, to instruction from Jackson and the intuition from yourself. This represents the constant work of ‘give and receive’ – giving your body direction and receiving its feedback – in order to learn how to grow a healthier relationship with yourself.
This is your process of personal transformation.
YOGA SPARŚA TEN SERIES
Most clients choose to practice mindful embodiment via the Yoga Sparśa Ten Series,
a series of ten sessions inspired by Dr. Ida Rolf’s classic Rolfing® Ten Series.
WHAT IS THE YOGA SPARŚA TEN SERIES?
The Yoga Sparśa Ten Series serves as a systematic approach to integrate your nervous system, producing greater alignment and optimization of both the structure (shape) and function (movement) of your body. Each session builds upon your last and prepares you for the next, and the series is organized in three sections:
The Surface Sessions (Sessions 1-3) serve to educate yourself about how to notice tension and restrictions at the superficial layers of the body and how to release patterns creating posture and movement limitations.
Session 1: Your Breath – the anatomy of your respiratory diaphragm
Session 2: Your Roots – the anatomy of your feet
Session 3: Your Space – the anatomy of your peripheral body
The Core Sessions (Sessions 4-7) serve to alleviate deeper tension and restrictions that traverse and impact territories within your body, particularly along the spine, that obstruct optimal function within your structure.
Session 4: Your Midline – the anatomy below your spine
Session 5: Your Forebody – the anatomy around your anterior spine
Session 6: Your Hindbody – the anatomy around your posterior spine
Session 7: Your Crown – the anatomy above your spine
The Integration Sessions (Sessions 8-10) serve as an opportunity to fine tune and clarify the body in order to achieve resilient posture, optimal movement, and natural integrity.
Session 8: Your Body – integrating the anatomy of your lower or upper body, usually
Session 9: Your Mind – integrating the anatomy of your lower or upper body, usually opposite of prior session
Session 10: Your Self – integrating the systemic anatomy of your whole body
There is a standard anatomical territory for each session; however, no two sessions are alike, due to the distinct physicality of every human being. Each session and series is as unique as the person within it.
Overall, the Yoga Sparśa Ten Series provides a map to guide you on a sensational journey of integration.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD I SCHEDULE MY SESSIONS FOR A TEN SERIES?
Clients benefit most when they enroll in sessions on a routine basis. As always, it is entirely dependent on personal needs.
The ideal schedule for most clients is 1 session per week for 10 weeks, with a lower limit of one session every 3-4 days and with an upper limit of one session every other week for 20 weeks. This is not arbitrary, consistency is critical.
The Yoga Sparśa Ten Series is all about momentum. It is a progressive process, in which each session builds upon the last and prepares for the next, as we retrain your nervous system via a strategic step-by-step process of sensory rehabilitation.
As a Ten Series client, it’s important that you offer your body the appropriate time and space and input necessary to invite neuromodulation within your nervous system toward a greater state of integrity.
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER MY TEN SERIES?
The Yoga Sparśa Ten Series is meant to teach you how trust your inner sense of resilience; so ideally, after ten sessions, you won’t feel the need for more appointments with me. However, in reality, there’s always more work to be done, as I’ve learned both personally and professionally. It depends on how far the proverbial ‘rabbit hole’ you’re inspired to go.
Even so, once you’ve completed a Ten Series, I recommend that you give yourself some time for our work to settle and integrate before your next session. Our work together will have changed your body’s course of development by conditioning your nervous system to shift intentionally into a greater state of harmony whenever it has a chance. Therefore, the momentum you’ve gained will continue along your new course toward a new destiny, unless an accident intervenes or your stop listening to your body. Therefore, subsequent sessions will only be necessary if you choose.