A Short Autobiographical
I still have the hard cover copy of Back to Eden which I purchased in 1969. Thus began my study of natural medicine and a Wholistic way of life. That study continues to the present.
Today as a Wholistic Health Educator Consultant and Somatic Therapist, I continue my quest for safe and natural remedies to maintain or regain health in our stressful, hectic, and often polluted environment.
In the past 33 years I have read hundreds of books, attended numerous seminars, attained many certifications, and earned an M.A. In the process I have helped myself and countless others, raised a healthy child, and tended to all our animals drug-free.
I began my formal study and practice of yoga in 1971 with Surat Shabd yoga. It is a meditative yoga of mystic transport requiring more flexibility and discipline than I possessed at that time. Realizing my need for the benefits of Hatha yoga, I undertook that study and practice as well. I completed my first teacher training in 1978 and received my certification in 1979.
1971 was also the year I was first introduced to Polarity Therapy. I was instantly drawn to this deep well of physical and metaphysical knowledge.
Polarity therapy is a wholistically oriented system incorporating hands-on energy balancing, body work, yoga, diet and nutrition, and lifestyle change. The intention of Polarity Therapy, as a therapeutic art, is to re-establish balance and harmony within the individual's physical, mental, emotional and spiritual continuum. The effects of thought patterns and the ability to direct our thoughts to create health and harmony is also a fundamental element of Polarity Therapy. "The view of health and wholeness implicit in Polarity Therapy encompasses continual self-development and growing self-knowledge as absolutely crucial requirements both for the patient and for the practitioner."
I was very fortunate to study with Dr. Randolf Stone in 1973. Stone was the originator of Polarity Therapy which he developed over his long career in the practice of drugless therapies. Dr. Stone was a remarkable being, years ahead of his time. He rediscovered, under the guidance of his spiritual teacher, the energetic cause of pain, suffering and disease. He was the first, in our time, to integrate the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual components of our being into a complete healing system. He held degrees in Chiropractic, Osteopathy, Naprapathy, auturopathy. Also incorporated in his work, one will find the influence of Zone Therapy, Reflexology, Yoga, Acupuncture and, most abundantly, Ayurveda. Cranial Sacral Therapy (although no one had yet used that term) is also imbedded in the practice of Polarity Therapy. Yet all of these degrees reflect neither his lifetime of study of the great teachings and teachers of the world, nor his inspired perception. Dr. Stone saw man's physical body as the epitome of the universe, his mind as a spark of the universal mind, and his soul as a spark of the Supreme Being.
Surat Shabd Yoga and Polarity Therapy have become the foundation of my life and my life's work. Everything I have studied since that time has broadened and deepened my understanding of these sister sciences. All have furthered my ability to further incorporate these systems into my life. Surat Shabd yoga is the study of the soul as it interacts with the mind and manifests in the physical body. And it is a meditation practice with profound impact. Polarity Therapy offers an in-depth study of the physical/metaphysical relationship and practical tools to maintain, create or rebuild health.
Another Somatic System I spent years studying, and continue to practice, is Ortho Bionomy™, eventually studying with the founder Dr. Arthur Pauls, a British Osteopath. After many years as a martial arts instructor, Dr. Pauls went to Osteopathic school where he learned manipulations for correcting misalignments. He felt these manipulations were too harsh for the body and knew there had to be a more gentle approach. He subsequently studied the work of another doctor named Jones who had accidentally discovered the power of positioning. Arthur, through insight and inner guidance, combined with his vast knowledge and experience created the art of Ortho Bionomy which continues to be an ever growing healing art around the word. Ortho Bionomy is a very gentle and very powerful system of positional release. Understanding the concepts, one is able to dissolve pain. Suppressed emotions, which are also a cause of pain, are often released leaving one feeling a sense of ease and well-being.
In the field of nutrition, in addition to the my own independent study and my Polarity training, I studied a system called Healthology. I was fortunate, in this system as well, to study with the originator, Dr. Robert Preston.
Healthology is another natural healing art. With Healthology the focus is building health naturally through proper nutrition. Dr Preston is in nutrition, as Dr. Stone was with Polarity, on the cutting edge of awareness. Much of what I learned in the 70's, I have seen come to mainstream awareness in the 90's and much of it is yet to be broadly utilized. Healthology is a system of building health which is very different from Dis-ease care. From Doctor Preston I received a wonderful foundation and understanding of the use of nutrition as a healing art.
I continue with my independent study to this day and use my Healthology training as the foundation of my own health skills and nutrition class which I call, Taking Responsibility for My Own Health. I also studied academic nutrition as part of my undergraduate work.
My study of Herbs continues as it will for the rest of my life. Along the way, I had the good fortune to study with a Native American woman, Harvest McKampbell. She learned first from her grandmother the wise ways of the native people of this continent. I learned also of the horrors impacted on these people in an attempt to exterminate them as their lands were confiscated. It is a great good fortune that the few who survived were able to preserve and bring forward some of their vast knowledge to the benefit of those of us interested in living in harmony with our surroundings. I feel I am a far better and vastly richer person because of the time spent with and the knowledge gained from Harvest, as well as a more accomplished herbalist.
I completed my Master Herbalist certification with Dr. William Horash, a wonderful old-time herbalist who also learned the art and science at a young age from others who had spent their lives studying and practicing herbology as a way of life. It is really important, as Harvest used to point out to us, that one learn about an herb from one who uses the herb. Nothing can replace the wisdom use, practice, observation, and feedback. We are so much more than a body of nerve impulses and chemical reactions.
Dr. William Horash is also a master Iridologist. And after many years of independent inquiry, I received my Iridology certification training from him as well.
During my undergraduate work I attained as many units in women's studies as I did in my major, psychology. I found this to be an incredibly insightful course of study. Learning how the process of socialization has imprisoned us all, women and men alike, was invaluable. I share this knowledge freely in my process work. I hope to help others gain freedom from the thick cloud of socialization, which chokes our culture, to discover their authentic selves and to reach their full potential. Maintaining health is much easier and much less work than rebuilding lost health. A hope, I think, we can all hold for ourselves and our society is: As people become healthier, so will their behaviors. The more of us who make health a priority, the healthier our society and environment will become.
Although I was fortunate that my original study of yoga was a therapeutic style, in the mid-90's, I attended another therapeutic training. In the 70's I studied with Mukunda Stiles in a system he called Structural Yoga. Since them he has written a beautiful book, Structural Yoga Therapy. He is a knowledgeable and thorough teacher, as his book demonstrates. This form of Hatha Yoga was perfect for me as it blended well with the Therapeutic Body Work/Somatic Therapy discussed earlier.
Integrative Yoga Therapy was the system I chose in the 90's. This program, created by Joseph LePage, was the foundation for my master's degree program through Sonoma State University with Yoga and Mind Body Therapy as the focus of study. This program blended with and expanded into my base of knowledge and experience of the body, mind, emotion, spirit continuum, and furthered my ability to support a healthful integration of that continuum for myself and others.
Examples of some of my areas of expertise include: 1) The Technology of Asana and Its Therapeutic Application, which covers the proper alignment, purpose, benefits and cautions for each asana. 2) The Technology of Breath and Its Therapeutic Application, which covers both the technology of basically being able to breath, and which is the ancient yogic science of breath control. Breath and prana and their healing abilities are brought into consciousness with pranayama which then enables us to benefit from their powers. Just plain proper abdominal breathing is something a surprisingly few if us are able to do correctly. In yoga one finds references to the correlation to improper breathing and disease states. 3) Yoga and Mind Body Health, which correlates the many yogic technologies with body systems, functions, the aging process and disease states. 4) Stress and Its Management with the Technologies of Yoga especially breath and Asana. 5) The Application of Meditation for Stress and Healing. I have written volumes on these subjects, as evidenced in my Master's project, entitled, "An Investigative Study of the Effects of Yoga Therapy."
This concludes, for now, a short synopsis of the highlights of my 30
years of study, but by no means includes all my certification and
non-certification studies. And the process continues.
In Fair Oaks and Citrus Heights, California, U.S.A.