Many bodywork practitioners struggle to stay inspired on a daily basis in their practice. They might lose inspiration, get bored, and lack the discipline and direction to keep themselves motivated and engaged. There are specific things you can do to address this issue. We wanted to share them with you so that you get the most out of your classes, continue to grow as a bodyworker, and enjoy your work.
But before saying anything further, here are some quick ideas if you have little time, energy or will to do much of anything. These are for those emergency moments, when you need a boost but are too overwhelmed to fit much in:
- Crack open some of those books that are gathering dust in your treatment room and read something related to bodywork that motivates you.
- Watch a video from our YouTube channel or another bodywork video.
- While sitting or lying down, imagine that you are gathering energy into your physical body. Take your thoughts, emotions, sensory perceptions.... and imagine that you press them into yourself. Imagine sunlight and earth and ocean and press that into your body.
And now, for some more involved ideas, there are a number of different approaches on different levels. We have grouped them into three main categories: Self-care, Integrating New Material, and Keeping Things Creative.
Pick one of these options and do it for at least 5 minutes before a treatment OR any time you feel scattered, uninspired or low energy:
- Do-In, especially self-hara treatment
- Proprioceptive exercise & light body activation work
- Breathing, meditation, qi gong, yoga
- Walk in nature
- Have a cup of herbal tea or eat a quality meal; this will get your blood more alkaline and immediately give you a boost
Maybe the most important thing that will keep you inspired in your practice is to realize that your practice is integrated with your own development. It is constantly giving you opportunities to expand your understanding of yourself, your family, and cycles and patterns of life. Recognizing what we get for our growth from giving treatments can help keep them interesting.
On a practical level, various kinds of self-care/self-development exercises are integral to a good practice. They help make our condition more in tune with what we are doing. They help us to see more clearly what is needed during a treatment, and to convert our technique and information into a creative process during the work. When we are in a 'creative' mode we feel better and things are more satisfying.
Integrating New Material
Pick one of these options:
- Choose 1 technique and use it with every client for a week
- Do 5 full practice sessions this week using all the material from a course or protocol
- Do at least 10 minutes of new material during each session you have this week
- Get a family member,pet, or neighbor and practice on them for 10 minutes
To integrate material from the online courses (or other classes you have taken), it is important to be specific with yourself about practicing. Determine how many sessions you want to sit down and work with the material. Then make an appointment with yourself so that you outline how much time you want to spend on it and see it through. There is always some work involved to maintain the quality of our practice. It pays off in our own satisfaction when we give better quality treatments to our clients.
For those of you who might not have much of a practice, do whatever amount of practicing feels right for you. One example is to set up at least one session a week with a friend or family member and do that for a month. If you set small, specific goals you will be more likely to stick to them, and not get overwhelmed with a huge, vague 'I've got to learn more shiatsu' goal.
Keeping it Creative
One of the best ways to keep your practice creative is to let yourself make variations of techniques. This leads to the discovery of new ideas and keeps your practice fresh. When working, be aware of the condition of the client. Notice how you can adjust the technique or even the protocol to be more appropriate in the moment.
Being lazy and checking out is not easier, it makes things more difficult! You will miss out on important information and miss out on opportunities to create what is most effective in each moment of a session. Keep your eye out for a future article/video about the process of making variations to techniques.
It is Not Luxury to Take Care of Yourself - It is Part of Your Job!
Working on your own in a secluded treatment room is a practice in and of itself. It is solely up to you to stay engaged and present during each treatment. Most of us do not have a boss, we don't get reviewed, and don't have to answer to anyone else other than our clients. It can be easy for the mind and heart to drift. Maybe you think that the next session will be more interesting.... or that you will pay attention more once you can use a certain technique, or you finish doing the laundry, or go on a walk, or your client really needs you, etc. etc. You get the picture. We've all been there.
Schedule a certain amount of time each month to work on these things that will keep your practice alive. Taking care of your condition and honing technical skills is necessary to have a thriving practice that you find stimulating. The great thing is that you probably enjoy doing most of these things! But we think we should not take the time for them, that they are a luxury. Well they aren't. They are a necessary part of being an effective bodyworker who facilitates true transformation in their clients.