Kimiko, the Massage Ninja

As the marketing manager at Radiantly Alive I enjoy the fact that my desk overlooks a beautiful Bali jungle and I get to work barefoot! Not many other marketers in the world can say that. However, like many of us, I have a desk job that requires computer work for long periods of my day, which can sometimes lead to pesky neck pain.

kimiko What to do? Call Kimiko! If you haven’t heard her name already, Kimiko is our resident massage therapist. I’m even hesitant to use that title for her, as she is so much more than someone who massages. In a recent conversation with Kimiko, learned that she never planned to do body work, but from a young age as a child, friends and family quickly identified her innate gift of the healing touch and urged her to take it up as a profession. But Kimiko resisted as she had dreams of traveling the world as a jet-set CEO of a major company. But Kimiko’s gift just wouldn’t let her go and she naturally fell into the profession of healing massage, much to our benefit.

Kimiko is a petite and spunky Japanese woman, often sporting a pair of her signature wildly patterned leggings. Although she dances around like a mosquito, her energy is very calming and grounded. But don’t be fooled by her pint-sized stature and gentle demeanor. There is incredible power hiding beneath the surface, as I would quickly come to discover.

She takes my hand in a most nurturing and inviting way and guides me to the treatment room. Immediately, a look of empathy washes over her face as she can feel the pain plaguing me. I undress and lay down on the table, completely unsure of what to expect. The first thing Kimiko does is carefully hover her hands just above my abdomen. She looks at me with concern and I know why. My stomach has been rumbling for the past few days. She places her hands on my abdomen and gently massages, moving some things around as if rearranging the furniture in a room to allow for a better flow of energy. The rumbling subsides.

Intuitive MassageIt was quickly evident that this was not going to be your typical Bali massage, where they divide your body up into sections and mechanically work their way around until everything has been rubbed down. Kimiko works in a precise and targeted manner, working where she feels needs the most help. Her tiny, yet oh-so-powerful fingers manage to reach right under the skin to grip onto the problematic fascia holding onto my ligaments for dear life. She’s like a ninja that lurks cat-like until ready to strike and is able to attack in such a focused and potent way – quickly and with skill. Oh yes, there is pain. But such sweet, sweet pain that you know will provide incredible relief once the few seconds of discomfort are over. She finds a tendon on my foot that apparently needed quite a bit of attention. Wow. I will never forget the existence of this tendon again.

The ninja goes back to gentleness as she has me turn onto my stomach. I lay there, curious to see what would come next. A beautiful fragrance that smelled of a mix of herbs and grapefruit filled the room. Although I could not see what she was doing, I felt the approaching warmth just before a hot herbal compress was placed along my troubled areas. A most pleasurable release from the heat application was felt by my neck, shoulders and down through my ribs. Kimiko had just prepared these areas of my body for the coup de grace. She goes to work like a surgeon, her tiny fingers going deep in between my ribs and underneath my shoulder blades, pulling apart fascia that had been so tightly bound together that it would take the jaws of life to get them to let go. Or a few sessions with Kimiko. As she worked, I breathe deeply and we find a rhythm of breath and pressure and I work to tolerate as much of this medicine as I can. But Kimiko, with her ninja intuition, senses my limits and knows exactly when to back off and when it was ok to push a little harder. She feels a person and gives only what they need and what they can handle.

And just as the sweet, sweet pain began to become less sweet, her motions transform into a beautifully flowing massage over my skin, erasing any prior discomfort from memory and causing me to melt into the bed. I let out my deepest breath yet, releasing even more tension, stress and anything else that I was holding onto.

The session ends (this part is always so sad) with me on my back and Kimiko cradling my neck with the utmost care as she provides mild traction to create space between my vertebrae. Her ninja fingers move through my hair and kindly massage my scalp, leaving me on the edge of a blissful sleep.

And the ninja silently vanishes from the room, leaving me to slowly return to reality, refreshed and with renewed mobility.

To book a session with Kimiko, schedule at reception or purchase online.

This post was contributed by Claudia Eslahpazir, Marketing Manager at Radiantly Alive

Nourishing the Spirit Through Naturopathy

- Contributed by Carmel Elmore, Naturopath and Nutritionist

Have you ever taken the time to sit and think about what happens to the food you put into your mouth and then ask your body to digest? Have you observed in awe the mysterious transformation of the things that enter and leave your digestive system?  The affects that colours, textures, tastes and smells have not just on the physical body, but also the spiritual or emotional body? Do you practice mindfulness when eating? Are you a conscious or unconscious consumer?

The digestive system is one of the most powerful tools we own. Not only can it break down the food we ingest, supplying the body with nutrients, but it also houses our innate immune system. 80-90% of our serotonin production happens here and controls our base line melatonin level – the hormone that helps us to sleep – and has the ability to destroy microbes that enter into the body. Not only is the physical function of the digestive system important, it is also the place where our solar plexus  and sacral chakras reside: our emotional energy centre, our gut instinct. So it is important to understand that everything that you request the body to digest affects it on a physical, emotional and spiritual level.

With all of that in mind, when you sit down to eat, do you consider what impact your food choices will have on your digestive system or your mind? Acknowledging your current state of energy and emotions contributes to a grounded state of being. Often no heed is paid to the state that we are in when we sit down to consume food, therefore placing unrealistic expectations on the digestive system. When we sit down to consume food consciously, we breath, we say a pray or give thanks, we look, smell, taste and enjoy what has been prepared.

By doing all of these things we begin to appreciate not only the physical, but also the energetic benefits of food. Food is there to fuel and nourish the body and the mind. When we choose foods with this is mind, we begin to consume from a conscious, rather than emotional perspective. Seek food only for nourishment rather than comfort. In times of high stress or anxiety take 10 deep breaths and allow the body and the mind to relax before eating. Remain conscious try not to eat on the go, chew your food three (3) times more than you think you should, avoid consuming liquids with meals and most importantly be grateful for the opportunity to nourish your body.

Hippocrates said, “Let thy food be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food.” Earl Nightingale said, “Whatever we plant in our subconscious mind and nourish with repetition and emotion will one day become reality.”

Hippocrates said, “Let thy food be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food.” Earl Nightingale said, “Whatever we plant in our subconscious mind and nourish with repetition and emotion will one day become reality.” If we combine the two statements and choose food that not only nourishes the body but also the mind, then it is clear that not only will the body flourish but so will the mind as the internal environment remains clear, pristine and sacred place.

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A passionate advocate of holistic health and well being, Carmel joins us as our newest RA Vinyasa teacher as well as our resident Naturopath and Nutritionist! Her naturopathic consultations investigate what is happening inside the physical and emotional body that has brought a state of dis-ease. Based on this information, Carmel will create a full treatment plan to take home and implement. This may include specific nutrients, herbal medicines, diet and life style changes to return the body to a state of homoestasis, a place where the body rests in physical, mental and emotional ease.

Carmel teaches RA Vinyasa on Tuesdays and Fridays at 4:00pm. Private naturopathic sessions can be booked by appointment by emailing yoga@radiantlyalive.com or signing up online.

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Letting Go of the Ground: Jump so You Can Fly

Contributed by Radiantly Alive student and resident blogger, Karali Pitzele, who bids us farewell after a beautiful run with us in Ubud, Bali. Karali, we will miss you! Continue to fly high, no matter where life takes you!

Dear friends, I wrote this last week, as I took stock of the lessons I am taking home from this time living in Bali and reflecting on my life.  I wrote them this way to encourage myself to sustain my learnings/earnings.  I share them humbly in case they might benefit others. – Karali

Now you know that there is nothing to be afraid of.  There is always enough.  You are on the right path.  There is nothing you need to do.

There is no need to hope that the road will rise to meet your feet when you jump – you are already flying.  The less fear you have about landing, the more the air buoys your wings.  Now you know.

No one needs anything from you.  You do not have to fill the silences, to advise, fix, or do for.  Others around you do not need your help, though you may see their need, and perhaps know better than them (or think you do).  They are here to work it out themselves.

Wait to be asked.  Until asked, you can just be.  Receive.  When asked, you can listen deeply to your most gentle response.

You know when you are crossing out of your own border.  You can feel the strain in your voice, the grasping in your body – the fear underneath.  You can read the tea leaves of your response to people, and choose the path of less resistance in yourself.

Your strengths and gifts find a way to present themselves, you don’t have to make it happen.  The part of you that knows, or God, or the Universe, is already causing it, you can just flow.  Your desire to help others opens up opportunities to do so, very naturally.  You allow that, so you fill rather than draining your cup in the process.

Now you know that your difficult choices generally lead to the same end.  Choosing the rockier path takes you to the same place as the gentle one.  Because you are totally honest and earnest with yourself along the way, the part of you that knows takes you where you need to go no matter what.

You know that following passion and joy takes you the furthest.  You might fear it looks selfish in the moment, but now you know that it is just the way your life gives you direction.  You take the path provided: in the route of passion and joy.  They lead to the big contributions you hope to make.  The part of you that knows is taking you there more directly because you don’t let the judgments of your small self govern your actions.

Now you know that you are perfect, that this is perfect, whatever it is.  Your ailment that is slowing you down and limiting your choices is opening a new door for self-discovery, a perspective on the world that was not available to you before.  You see life through a new prism, and learn a new side of your own coin by embracing each difficult circumstance as a welcome teacher.

Now you can hear the silence, the stillness, that is the home inside you.

You are on the path.  You are already flying.  Now you know how to glide.

Karali at "home" in Bali