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Yoga, Without The Yoga….???

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……Yes, that’s right –

“Yoga, Without The Yoga”

This is the name of the newest addition to my healing toolkit and I don’t mind admitting that I am pretty excited about it!

It is an idea that has been brewing for a while and came about as a way to combine my skills and experience, and also to fill a ‘gap in the market’ here in Wells by providing a class for those who would love to feel all the wonderful benefits of yoga, but feel unable, or do not wish to join a yoga class.

I have been a practitioner of yoga for over 34 years, with a daily practice that spans much of that time, but I have never actually taken the step to train as a yoga teacher.

Then, around 20 years ago, Qi Gong also became part of my daily practice.  I qualified as a Qi Gong instructor in 2010, but it has taken me until now to feel ready to start sharing the practice and YWTY is my medium for doing that.

YWTY is a course of 6 classes, with the focus on having fun whilst improving the health of your mind, body and spirit! I think of it like a mid-week micro-retreat to leave you feeling Revitalised, Replenished, Restored and Nourished.

To give you some idea of what will happen during these sessions, here is a rough description of each class :………….

  • We will start with some simple stretches and movements to Energise and Revitalise your body.
  • Next, you will learn how to Replenish your body’s energy using simple, repeated movement patterns which promote vibrant health and well-being.

After a brief break to grab a cuppa, we will reconvene for the second part of the session.

  • I will teach you a range of Self-care techniques, to take home.
  • We will end with a relaxation session to leave you feeling deeply Relaxed and Restored.
  • To ensure you leave each session Nourished,  fully grounded and ready to face the world, there will be a handmade raw chocolate to finish!

The venue is a lovely, light loft space in the centre of Wells which should be ideal for us.

If you are local to Wells, and like the sound of this, here are the details:

INVESTMENT: 6 weekly sessions £48  (payable in advance to secure your place)

WHERE: The Drawing Room, Heritage Courtyard, off Sadler Street, Wells

WHEN: Thursdays 17, 24, 31 Oct.   7, 14, 21 Nov.

TIME: 10-1130am

Do get in touch if you would like more information, or for booking:

Email: enquiries@StephanieHiller.co.uk

Until the next time.

With Love

Steph 🙂

The Healing Power of Sound

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Merging with Nature on Cley Hill

The recent spate of beautiful Spring-like weather has seen me out and about in the local countryside, soaking up the blue sky and absorbing the rich tapestry of healing nature sounds deep into my being.

Whether it be wind in the treetops above my head, sheep calling in the distance, the crunching of leaves and twigs under my walking boots or the trill of birdsong, I find the tones of nature to be deeply healing to the soul.

In fact, this week, nature’s healing vibrations have extended right into my treatment room, as clients around 5pm have experienced an amazing ‘live performance’ by a local blackbird outside the window.  One day it went on for a full half hour, and my heart unfurled as it absorbed the beauty of the song.

Whilst on the subject of nature sounds, I must share with you a gem of a programme I watched recently.  I don’t have a TV but recently at mum’s I watched ‘Judi Dench: My Passion for Trees’.  (https://bit.ly/2DX2YlI ) It was delightful and included a section where national treasure, Dame Judi, was shown how to use a special device to listen to a tree drawing water up from its roots to the leaves – a ‘popping’ sound apparently.  How magical to open an auditory window into the secret world of trees!

I have been working with sound as a therapeutic medium for over 10 years now and my awareness/perception of sound has altered considerably over that time. On the one hand this can be wonderful, as I feel the effect different sounds have on the layers of my being: first reaching my physical body, then weaving their way through my mind and emotions.

At other times it can be frustrating, most often when I can hear niggling sounds that others are unaware of.  A friend of mine teases me, saying ‘Don’t start that again, hearing sounds that no-one else can hear!”  He remembers two occasions:

Me: “What’s that jingling noise?”

N: “What noise?  I can’t hear anything”

…… his car keys were gently touching each other as we drove along

Me: “What’s that hissing noise?”

N: “What noise? I don’t hear hissing”

(you see the theme developing here!)

……. his inflatable meditation cushion had a tiny leak

At the extreme end of the scale, my sound sensitivity can be painful and send me running from a room.  Crystal bowls (which I never use), except when played with great care, have the worst effect with their single, piercing, harmonic-free tone.  I am not alone in this –

A fellow sound therapist told me she once physically threw up after a particularly intense crystal bowl session led by another practitioner!

At a nearby shop, tourists relish testing out the biggest crystal bowl, with the sole aim to play it as loudly as possible.  It should be policed IMO – noise pollution at dangerous levels!  I have had to exit the shop at the speed of a bullet on more than one occasion!

Needless to say, in my Sound Therapy sessions (whether 1-to-1 or groups) I remain alert to the powerful effect sound can have on an individual.  I play my instruments sensitively, with care, and remain conscious of the changing energy in the room.  Each session is different, and everyone’s experience varies from one occasion to the next.

I will be restarting my monthly Sound Baths after Easter, with the first one Thursday 25th April 7-815pm (£15 per person).  Numbers are limited to 6 and usually sell out fast.  Do get in touch if you fancy exploring this fascinating and powerful method for deep relaxation and healing.

With love

Steph

How to Choose the Right Therapist – and What to Expect When you Come to Me for A Massage

What a daunting task it can be choosing a therapist.  How to start?  How to navigate your way through the sea of therapists out there to find the ‘right one’?

To begin with, it can be helpful to give yourself a period of trying out.  Don’t rush this process.  Take your time to find someone you have a connection with, someone that has an approach that resonates with you.

Bear in mind that it’s usually best to have a few sessions with a therapist to give you a chance to really know if it’s right for you.

I always say that the first massage with me is rather like ‘shaking hands’……………..

Your body is unfamiliar with the new surroundings and ways of working.  By the second time you visit, your body and mind will relax far more quickly and deeply, knowing what to expect.  With each progressive session, your body learns and can release a little bit more – and at the same time, I will be learning more about how your body responds to the treatment, adapting the session accordingly.

The only way to truly find out how I work is to bite the bullet and come for a session.  However, I have tried to paint a picture with the following points:

  • To facilitate your feelings of comfort and nurture, I work from home so can guarantee you a warm, cosy and friendly environment with essential oils diffusing into the air to enhance the experience.
  • An Epsom Salts foot bath will be waiting for you on arrival, to enjoy whilst we briefly discuss your session.
  • I warm both the massage couch and the massage oil, and begin each session using a heated wheat bag – all contributing to deep relaxation of mind, body and spirit
  • Your massage is your time to release, relax and focus on gaining what you need from your time with me. Chat only inhibits this important process, so I advise against it when you are on the couch.
  • Lastly, I offer bespoke massage, not working to a generic ‘pattern’ regardless of your body’s needs, as massage therapists with limited experience do. Between us, we discuss and decide what each session will comprise, depending what you need on any given day.

You can find out more by going to the ‘Massage’ page on this site.

My approach will not be right for all, but I believe there is a therapist out there to suit everyone.

Most of all, it’s important that you enjoy the journey of finding who is right for you, and know that nothing is wasted – every treatment you receive, whoever it is from, will form part of your healing journey.

To encourage you to try out my way of working, I offer an ‘Introductory Offer’ price for the first session, to all those local to Wells.  (£45 for a 1.5 hrs, usual price £55).

Just drop me an email if you fancy taking advantage of this offer. (enquiries@StephanieHiller.co.uk)

With love

Steph x

Happy New Year! What did you miss most over the festive period?

The long break over xmas/new year is great – a time to totally switch off, what could be more healing?

This year found me away from work and home, catching up with family, eating delicious festive food, drinking mulled wine (a particular favourite of mine!), reconnecting with the child within as I joined in games at family parties….and so on.

I had a great time and thoroughly enjoyed myself.  However, am I alone in thinking that by the end it’s really rather lovely to get back to the familiar old routine?

I derive great comfort from the day to day ‘timetable’ I set myself.  It reminds me who I am, and I find it nourishing and nurturing to mind, body and spirit.  It creates that true feeling of ‘coming home’, both physically and spiritually.

Of particular importance to me is my ‘daily practice’ – a combination of meditation, chanting and yoga, completed before breakfast and after which the ‘day proper’ commences.  Whatever my day throws at me, I feel well prepared to handle it as long as I have set myself up with this triangle of grounding practices.

Yesterday, I was chatting to someone about finding time for meditation – how to fit it in to an already busy day.  I explained what I do is consider that my meditation is not actually a part of the day – it happens before the day starts.  This way, I don’t feel I am squeezing it in to my day.  Equally, there is no sense whilst sitting that I should be doing something elseIt takes place out of time, as it were.

Another reason my body feels a certain relief to be back to the familiar, is a return to more regular sleep patterns.  Holiday times tend to find me late to bed, late to rise – making me neither healthy, nor the other things we won’t even mention.

Bodies like to know where they stand.  They understand rhythms, cycles and thrive best with regular patterns.  I can’t say I always stick to the rule of 8 hours a night sleep, plus rising and retiring at the same time each night, but I do my best.  I almost have a sense that my body has missed the early mornings most of all.  It seems to thrive on being up before everybody else in Wells!

Furthermore, it goes without saying that I missed all my lovely clients, my chocolate-making, my walks and bike rides in the beautiful Somerset countryside, my weekly choir rehearsals, my friends and many other things.  However, in answer to the question I set in the title, the 2 things I missed the most were my good old meditation cushion and my trusty yoga mat.  All seems well in the world when I make time for these in my life.

So, here I am in 2019, wondering what the year holds for us all.  It will be an interesting year, that’s for sure!   Whatever happens in it, I wish you all a happy, healthy year ahead with much sunshine and joy-filled days.

Until the next time

Steph x

 

 

 

A Week in Solitary; ‘Healing the blows of sound’

I recently returned from a week on silent, solitary retreat, staying in a small hermitage, set in an acre of its own woodland.  The ‘Kuti’ is a small timber frame construction with straw bale infill.  It is basic, but cosy and provides everything you need for a week of living simply.

There is a profound softening whilst spending time in such a way.  All life’s demands fall away, in particular those you set for yourself (or so it was for me).

From day one, I released myself from all need for the schedule, so carefully constructed before my departure for Devon, and simply ‘went with the flow’.

Each day was framed by the arrival and departure of darkness, as there is no electricity in the Kuti.  Between these times, I ate, read, meditated, chanted, practised yoga and sat on the veranda soaking in the surrounding nature.

The Kuti has a perfect meditation space at the back of the hut, complete with mat and cushion and this served well for early morning/late evening sessions whilst enfolded by a blanket of darkness and the surrounding woodland.

However, during daylight hours, I sought nature and took to the woods with my sheepskin rug to sit on.

At the far edge of the boundary fence, I found the perfect spot – a large beech tree provided a huge natural canopy.  Multiple layers of leaves, like a 3D tapestry, stretched above me, providing shelter in all weather.  This became my place of choice for the week.  I sat under those leaves for many an hour, with only an occasional squirrel for company and a solitary robin who enjoyed doing circuits around me, chirruping from every angle.

Modern day life is increasingly hectic, with little let up from the constant onslaught of news, social media and other stimulation.  I read a quote once that said ‘and silence, like a poultice, comes to heal the blows of sound’ (Oliver Wendell Holmes).  On my 2nd retreat day, I misjudged my timing and was just leaving the vegetable garden as all the retreatants from the main house (non-silent, non-solitary) arrived to carry out their morning ‘service’ in the garden.  Making my way quietly through their friendly, happy chatter, I felt a kind of assault on my ears.  It doesn’t take long to grow accustomed to silence and our souls, as well as our ears, crave the healing power of it.

The idea of silence unnerves many, and frightens some.  Yet it is only through silence that we can return to who we really are.  It is only then that true healing can begin.

Knowing Your Limits..

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‘Knowing Your Limits’ – or

Being all ‘Grown Up’ and getting a proper website!

Those of you who know me will be aware that I’m not exactly a computer whizz kid! In fact, I do everything I can to avoid having to spend time in front of any kind of screen – I don’t even have a TV!

I would much rather be out walking in the Somerset countryside, practising Qi Gong, playing my Shakuhachi (Japanese bamboo flute), nose in a book – well, just about anything to be fair!

However, I’m aware that these days, you are expected have a website. People want to check things out first –

They want to get a feel for the therapy;

Imagine themselves at the Laughter Club;

Know what’s expected of them at a Sound Bath.

At this point I can only extol the benefits of knowing someone (in this case, the wonderful Sarah Logan – sound the trumpets!) who is prepared to swap website-designing skills for massage!

Self-employed therapists like myself are notorious for trying to do everything themselves. We know it’s not enough to excel at the therapies we offer in order to make a success of our business – we also need to be PR and Marketing Manager, Book keeper, Office Manager, Secretary, and on and on…

At times, however, I believe there is great value in sticking to what you are good at and utilising the skills of others. This is one such time for me – I am no website designer!

So, here it is folks – please give a big hand

for my brand new website!

Check the site for dates of events such as Sound Baths and for special offers. Even better, sign up to my mailing list to guarantee receiving notifications of all forthcoming offers and events.

I look forward to meeting you in the future.

Wishing you all a peaceful and tranquil festive season

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