Podcast: Episode 125: Massage Therapists Integrating Yoga Therapy with Carissa Alexander, Deanna McDevitt, and Lesley Ann Wernsdorfer


I’ve got a special treat for you today, especially if you are a massage therapist or other health professional. I have students from my Yoga Therapy Certification Program joining me to talk more about the integration of yoga therapy into their massage businesses.

If you have a desire to learn more or something is niggling at you about what it is like to integrate yoga therapy and massage, or any other health profession for that matter, you’re in the right place.

Listen in this week and hear from Carissa, Deanna, and Lesley Ann about how they’re integrating yoga therapy into their practices, why they’re doing it and how it might be meaningful for you. You’ll get some great ideas about integrating concepts around therapeutic yoga application and supporting people with movement, breath, and stillness, and what it can do for your practice.

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What You'll Learn from this Episode:

  • One of the realities I’m seeing in the certification program.
  • Some of the typical gaps the students have seen when it comes to massage.
  • What abhyanga is and why it is so delightful.
  • Their advice for anybody considering joining the program.
  • The differences in the way they approach their work since undergoing the training.

Featured on the Show:

  • If you are a health professional who wants to dig deeper into our certification program, or would like some one-to-one attention, drop us a note at [email protected] to find out more about both options.

Full Episode Transcript:

Male Announcer: You’re listening to From Pain to Possibility with Susi Hately. You will hear Susi’s best ideas on how to reduce or even eradicate your pain and learn how to listen to your body when it whispers so you don’t have to hear it scream. And now here’s your host, Susi Hately.

Susi: Hello and welcome, welcome back. I am so glad that you're here for this episode of From Pain To Possibility because I've got a special treat for you. Especially if you are a massage therapist or other health professional and, how would I say it? You have a desire or something niggling at you about what it is to integrate yoga therapy and massage or any other health profession, but really massage specifically because I've got Carissa Alexander, Deanna McDevitt, and Lesley Ann Wernsdorfer.

And they are each in my yoga therapy certification program at different stages of the game. And I want you to hear from them about how they're doing it, why they're doing it, and how that might be meaningful for you and really, for anyone who's a health professional. You're going to get some really good ideas about integrating concepts around therapeutic yoga applications or yoga therapy applications, however you want to use that terminology, and supporting people with movement, breath, and stillness, and what it can do for your practice.

Now, the reason why I've brought these three on is because one of the realities that I'm seeing in the certification program is that we are enrolling 35 to almost 40% of our current trainees that are running are massage therapists.

So this is becoming something that, there's always been an interest from massage therapists in what it is that I do, but it's really picking up. And I'm not too sure if it's because of what's been happening since Covid or just a greater desire to bring in more movement or what. But you're going to hear from these three about why they joined and what you can learn from it.

So welcome you all. Why don't we start with you, Deanna? You're in the current cohort that began in June. And you took the therapeutic yoga intensive how long ago?

Deanna: It was in the spring last year, in April.

Susi: Spring last year. So then why did you decide to come to the whole darn thing?

Deanna: Well, I've been thinking about adding yoga and yoga therapy to my practice for probably about 10 years. The timing was just never right, I didn't really ever find the right program. And then a client of mine, who's also a student of yours said, “Oh, you need to check out Susi's classes because they're very up your alley and I think it would just be a great fit.”

And so that's why I became interested in the intensive last year. And then throughout the intensive and at the end of it I just was like, oh, I know in my bones that this is the work that I need to do. And I need to somehow make this happen.

Susi: Very cool. So say a little bit more about, how long ago did you become a massage therapist?

Deanna: I've been in practice for 17 years.

Susi: And is there a style that you would say that you generally follow? What do people know you for in terms of the work you do with your hands?

Deanna: I would say probably people know me for this really great blend of therapeutic but also very nurturing, and relaxing, and caring, really. Yeah, so I focus a lot on stress relief, tension relief. Lots of my people have anxiety, stress, depression, but they're also very active. Like they're farmers, they're hikers, they're equestrians, they're bikers or runners.

So they're very active in their lives and they're very busy in their lives. And so the forces and stresses on their systems are significant. And so they're dealing with sort of the whole range of that.

Susi: And you're in a rural area, right?

Deanna: Yeah, I'm in a very small community. So my practice is from my home on an acreage and so I'm drawing from like, yeah, a rural community.

Susi: Really interesting. Okay, so then, Carissa, you're also in the current cohort. What had you decide to join?

Carissa: Yeah, I feel like for me I was in a big transitionary period in my life already. But massage has always sort of been that initial stepping stone and I think I was just looking for that next kind of stone to land on.

And so I have looked into so many different modalities and done a lot of research in and around that. And, I don't know, I just landed on an email one day from you that was talking about yoga therapy and decided to do a bit more research about that and spoke to people from previous cohorts and just sort of knew that that was the next step for me in my journey.

Susi: And so was it something that you were seeing, like was the movement exercise, stretching, sort of strengthening piece, was that something that was missing for you in your toolkit? Was there a gap in what you were being able to deliver to your clients? I'm trying to draw from you like what part there was missing?

Carissa: Totally, I actually feel like it was an awareness piece. And I don't think I recognized that until this last week. Being with clients, you see them in the initial sort of assessment and sort of as they're coming into the space. And then you're really hands on with them and so you're feeling your way into their body.

And so I don't think I realized the piece that was missing, but that piece that kind of started to click for me is this awareness around really seeing the person. So in terms of, did I have this thought of, oh, I need more movement, or more stretching or strengthening? Not necessarily, but there felt like this gap. And I think, for me, I'm starting to recognize what that is and step into that presence of seeing the person in front of me and showing up with the person as they are, if that answers your question.

Susi: Yes, because what's interesting is that we've got people who will be listening to this and they're the kind of people who are researcher, researcher, research. Like they'll research, research every single program that is out there, and they will follow my Instagram account. And we've had people say this, this is why I know this. And they’ll follow my Instagram account for years and they’ll need to get to a certain point and then they'll say, “Yes, okay, this is the program that I want to do.”

Other people will just intuitively and innately like know. Like she's the one, this is the thing, I am going to do this. And there may have been some research that's involved, but there was just this like depth of knowing of just jumping in. That sounds like it was more you.

That you you knew something was missing, you looked around at a bunch of stuff to kind of figure out maybe sort of what it was, but then something knocked on your heart or your head and then said, “This, is it.” Is that more accurate?

Carissa: I think so. I mean, I feel like I really sort of just dove in headfirst, like before even taking the intensive I was like, “I'm going to do the whole thing.” So it was sort of just this knowing that, like I said, that was kind of the next stepping stone for me. Because I had looked into other things and there was lots of, like I had a lot of interest. But something just felt right about this.

Susi: Isn't that interesting? And remind me too, when you're unsure whether you are going to leave massage therapy entirely, or whether you're going to integrate this into what you're already doing. Because we've had and graduated massage therapist in the past who've integrated, we've had them leave completely, like where are you at in your headspace now, knowing that it could possibly change. But what are you thinking about?

Carissa: Totally, I feel like, again, I always have sort of felt like massage was that stepping stone. So not something that I had planned on staying in indefinitely. But I can see where the hands-on portion is really supportive of being with that person. Again, sort of like the layers of presence with them.

So I might integrate it to a degree, but I can really see myself stepping into the yoga therapy side of things more. After taking my 200 hour teacher training, I found that teaching is really where I have like a lot more flow. Not that I don't feel that in massage, but there's just this different level there.

And so yeah, I can see myself shifting away, but maybe using that massage as a supportive sort of mechanism.

Susi: Yeah. And how about you, Lesley Ann? Because of this three, you are the one who has almost completed their program. So when you came in, I remember like you had heard something about me, you went to the website and said, “This is it.” And then a week later, I think you had registered for the entire thing, or at least the intensive and then, what two days later it was the whole thing, right?

Lesley Ann: Yeah, the intensive. And I did manage to get through the intensive before I decided to continue with two and three. But it was pretty rapid. A friend of mine mentioned your name when I told her that I needed better skill at the one to ones because I was already doing a few of them. Since Covid I had a few massage clients who called me and said, can we do something online?

And I was also in the middle of creating a home massage course. And so it worked really, really well to start combining the teaching of yoga and massage for my folks at home. And I was like a horse out of the gate. You know, I just kept going, not really knowing why. I think I told you in my first note to you, it was sort of like love at first sight when I went to your website.

Yeah, somehow I just knew. And I had never really considered whether I was going to be what we call a yoga therapist. It had not occurred to me that that's what I was becoming. Until I saw your website and then I just knew and then I just kept going. And here I am just a couple of months out from finishing.

Susi: It's so interesting because each of you had this sort of knowing that this was the thing that was going to be your thing. And it was like kind of a round peg, round hole, and then off you went. And now, Lesley Ann, you actually have your self-massage course, like in teaching others, right? Can you say more about that? Because that's actually ready to go now, I think, right?

Lesley Ann: It is, yes. It's a little beyond beta, but not quite as a signature offering yet, I'm still collecting data. And I'm mostly doing that with my yoga therapy students, I make it part of their package. And I'm not a taskmaster with it, I just let them know that the course is there and then I suggest based on what happened in the session, what lesson they should do.

The course is actually set up to do an abhyanga first, that's actually the first lesson. It’s just a really quick one, like a 10 minute one, just to show people you really can massage yourself every day without a whole lot of effort and a whole lot of time. And then I break it down from head to toe, we do parts.

And so that's a little more in depth. And people learn how to work their head, their neck and shoulders, and all, theoretically, at least, without taxing other parts of their bodies as they learn to massage themselves. And it was great fun, it was a whole lot of work.

A friend of mine calls it a talking textbook, which I think is a very good description of it. It takes people through the anatomy, the pertinent anatomy for the head region. And then there's a video and I say what they'll be doing, and I demonstrate what they're doing. And then I talk over the demonstration at the same time.

I think it's really neat. It's supposed to mimic being in a classroom learning from someone. And it works pretty well, the feedback I've had so far is that it works pretty well. And I'm looking forward to getting more data, really. I'm getting ready to do an evaluation form from the students who have gotten me through this program to see how much they've really gained from using the course. And so I can report back to you in a month on that.

Susi: That's really, really great. So for those of you who didn't know what abhyanga was, abhyanga is an Ayurvedic oil massage, which is really lovely. And yet it's not quite as detailed as doing like the massage that Lesley Ann is referring to. But holy smokes, integrating the two sounds really delightful.

Lesley Ann: I hope so.

Susi: Yeah, really delightful because we have a large component of Ayurveda inside the yoga therapy certification program. And part of it is your own self-practice. And so one of the tools that are used is the self-oiling process which, I mean, it's funny because I don't typically, when I'm doing mine I don't typically like get right into all the sinew and all the various aspects.

But even just you're saying that kind of opens up my eyes to like, huh, I wonder what that would be like if I really, if I really spend some time with the oil and self-massage. Really, that's really, really cool. Really cool.

Lesley Ann: I know a course you could take.

Susi: Yeah, I know. I'm very curious. I'm really, really curious. So just off the top, in case I forget near the end, if people wanted to learn about your self-massage course, how would they find you to get access to it?

Leslie Ann: The best way is just to go to my website, which is bebodiful.com, B-E-B-O-D-I-F-U-L.com.

Susi: Okay, great. And what we'll do is put that in the show notes so that people can find that easily on the website. So if you think about it, guys, like it's a question I have for all three of you. And, Carissa, we'll start with you, when you think about the gaps with massage, like what are the typical gaps that you have seen as a practitioner with your client base? And maybe even gaps that you know, your colleagues experience?

Like what are those typical gaps that maybe have always kind of niggled at you, but really started to niggle at you?

Carissa: Yeah, I feel like, again, this last week has been very enlightening for me. But our conversation last Monday around releasing without support, and that was like a huge aha for me. I find I do it in my own practice still, and then also with clients, whether that be in the yoga therapy setting or on the table. Which a huge part of massage is working the muscle, being sort of zoomed in and helping with that release.

But what was so insightful for me was this piece around having the support because the release without the support lacks the integrity. And so in my mind or in my understanding of it, it's more likely to result in sort of returning back to that original state more readily than if the support is available for that release to happen.

And so that's something that was huge for me, and I feel like in talking to other colleagues it would be really huge for them as well.

Susi: So what Carissa is referring there to is we had a conversation, one of our cert training calls, where we have weekly video reviews and teaching calls. And what I was referring to is like that classic psoas release. That's the one that I'm very familiar with and that people will refer like, oh, to get my psoas released is just heaven.

And what we see in yoga is people stretching their psoas and stretching their psoas, and stretching their psoas, and stretching their psoas and feeling really good for a short period of time, and then it tightens right back up again. So similar to with the bodywork, is what we see often is that that's what happens, is the release feels so darn good. But then, because there's not the integrity there, that it doesn't remain remain long term.

And so if you think about adding movement and then add in better stability, then that release will actually happen for a longer period of time. And where I actually thought you were going to go, Carissa, at the beginning of that was like so often inside of body work, and in aspects of yoga too, is there's a focus in on let's just release whatever is going on, let's just release it and then add stability after.

And what we're saying in movement, at least in the way that I'm teaching it to these guys, is let's help create stability so that release actually occurs, right? So the more stability you have in your system, you'll find that your tissue just changes a lot quicker.

Carissa: Yeah.

Susi: Really, really cool. Deanna, what would you say was a gap for you or a gap that other massage therapists could articulate?

Deanna: Yeah, I think the movement piece was a big factor for me that was missing too. I mean, exercise rehab is within my scope and that was definitely within my training. But in my experience of it, it was very segmental. So like, okay, you have an issue with your arm, let's look at your arm.

And so what I'm learning now it's like, oh my god, there are so many connections between the body. And I mean, I've been doing this for 17 years and I'm understanding and realizing connections in the body now that I haven't really connected before. And so I'm starting to integrate some of these concepts into even passive movements that I'm doing with my clients hands-on, and it is making such a huge difference.

And like Carissa, that concept of the body will not release without support, I just was like, “Oh, I totally get it now.” Because I've got clients that I've been seeing for a long time and they have these patterns of chronic tension. And yes, I can facilitate some release and some ease in the session, but it just comes back and it's there the next time they come to see me, right?

So it’s just was like, okay, so where are they lacking support within their system, within their body, within their movement patterns that is potentially contributing to the tension that they're feeling? So yeah, that was a really big aha moment for me too.

And then, I mean, just in the grander scheme of things all the stress and the instability and the uncertainty that everyone has been facing through the pandemic over the last few years. So many of my clients have been dealing with anxiety, and depression, and stress.

So where are they feeling this greater lack of stability and support externally, right? And so I just was like, okay, so can we just turn back to the body to find stability within the body and within the system? So yeah, that's kind of the concept that I'm noodling on at the moment.

Susi: That's really great. I love that because I remember when I first started teaching and I was very clear that my scope was not to go into mental health. It was just like that was not available. But what I quickly saw, like you're seeing, is they're inseparable, right? The mind and the body are one, and yet I didn't have the ability to speak to it because I come from a kinesiology background nor, frankly, did I want to because I didn't want to. I wasn't a counselor or any of that.

But what I did notice is how that was being expressed in their body. So that how someone pushed or over pushed in their body, there was a correlation with what was going on in their personality or in their mental state, or how someone didn't push in their body. Like you could start to see the way that their mental state was and how it was playing out in their body.

Or I should say, I was seeing that more and more. And when I was able to bring in more stability to their system, they then were able to see more clearly the relationship outside of themselves. So I didn't have to actually say anything, they simply started to pinpoint this relationship between what was going on in their bodies. And as things became more stable or having more stability in their bodies, that started to bubble over into the rest of their life. So I didn't have to even go down that road.

And yet a lot of physicians and other health professionals and psychologists started to refer people to me because there was this availability of, I want call it like relationship that was there, where they knew I wasn't going to go outside my scope, and yet I understood, right? Because they were seeing the results play out with their clientele. And you're seeing that same thing, right?

Deanna: Yeah, totally. Like I'm seeing a lot of like, I mean, we've all been just so braced in the last couple of years, and rigid, and bracing in apprehension of what might come down the road. And so like all of our power muscles are so engaged at the moment. Like the glutes, and the psoas, and all of those power muscles are working really hard right now to just get us through and help us survive.

But the stabilizers don't have a chance to even work because those muscles are just taking over, right? And I mean, you could go into that so much and how metaphorically that shows up in a person's overall expression of their life and how they're moving through it, right?

Susi: Mm-hmm, so interesting. So, Lesley Ann, how about you? What have you seen that led you to the program? What were the gaps? Perhaps what are the gaps that remain, whether it's with your colleagues or with yourself with massage?

Lesley Ann: Initially the gap was I was doing these privates and doing okay with them, but not feeling completely confident that people were getting the results that I knew they could if I had a little bit more skill. Even just a little bit more skill. And then it all kind of morphed as things began to come together into my teaching becoming how to use movement to feel like you feel when you get off a massage table, you know, like an hour's time.

And so looking back at my 30 year career, what was always missing was the movement part, because I never had any credential in that. I was a massage therapist and an English teacher, but I was never a movement teacher, or PT, or anything like that, or even a personal trainer.

So it all came together pretty rapidly during the program. I would say, within a month of starting the third module, this idea of wanting to use movement to help people relax, to teach people to relax began to formulate. And all of that includes the stability. It starts with the relaxation, and it includes stability, and it includes finding support. And as I get deeper into the program, more and more support from all of our planes of existence.

Finding ways to support our thoughts. Finding ways to support our emotions. Finding ways to keep breathing when you're doing the hardest thing you've ever done, which is get through a pandemic. And it just all comes together in this program. And then also teaching people how to massage when they're in the midst of movement to make it all even better. It's just been really wonderful.

Susi: There's a memory that I have, Leslie Ann, at the beginning. I'm wondering if Carissa and Deanna will relate to this because it's something that comes up with almost every massage therapist. Every health professional with an anatomy background has this same thing that comes up.

I remember, and I might not get it exactly right, but I remember there was a real focus on this muscle and that muscle and this muscle and that muscle. And I haven't heard a conversation like that with you for a while now. Do you remember that? Like you would really want to target certain muscles?

Lesley Ann: Yeah, I do remember. And I think that comes more from having to talk to other people in the professions, less about my clients. You know, I have a few clients who nerd out on anatomy, but most over the years don't and haven't. But less and less in the work does it matter to me.

I mean I've always been a regional worker, I've never gone after a single muscle. And I've always talked in terms of at least a region, like a shoulder region, I would never just work on one thing attached up here. But even it just doesn't even matter anymore.

I'm thinking back to a question that I posted for you and Kirsten and I was like, “Yeah but, yeah but, yeah but,” wanting to get more and more answers and, you know, finer grained. And then yeah, finally I just decided it really doesn't matter. It really doesn't matter. What matters is that people feel the freedom of a muscle moving purely. And they can feel that. I don't need to know what muscle it is, they don't need to know what muscle it is.

What matters is that there isn't any compensation going on. There isn't any movement in another plane. It's just that muscle doing its movement, however small it might be and that’s all that matters. And does it feel free? And does it feel good? And does it give you pleasure to make that movement? And if it doesn't, then we figure out something different. But we don't need to name the muscle in order to check it off, or move on to the next one, or figure out what fascial compartment it's related to.

I mean, some of that referral stuff is really interesting in the yoga therapy. But again, I don't have to have a chart to know that something that's happening here might be related to something that's happening there. It's just the experience that the student is having. And I know that sounds horribly unscientific and unmedical, but that's what matters.

Susi: And it's so interesting, because I know in the information pack that people have an opportunity to download when they come to our site seeking information about the certification program I speak about, like one of the gaps in the rehabilitative world, which I also include massage into, is that there's so much focus on, for good reason, on evidence-based protocols. Which for good reason that we have that.

And yet, what you're referring to is this piece that I write up in the info pack, which is there's a human being that's in front of us, not a petri dish. And so when you have a human being, we can't ignore the fact that we have all layers of that human being who are in front of us.

And very quickly, I remember when it seemed like everyone who I saw, whether it was a private client, or I'd be going across Canada teaching, or sometimes into the states, I'd hear people say my glutes aren't firing, my glutes are weak, and they wanted to do glute exercises. And then what they started to then realize is, oh, it has nothing to do with my glutes. My glutes aren't engaging, or they're not being active because of something further afield.

And in some cases, it was the bottom of their foot. In other cases it was their shoulder girdle. And in some cases, we could get really specific like a subscapularis. Sometimes we could go to a certain area and be very, very drilled down. But the bigger point was, it's like you can strengthen or attempt to strengthen your glutes till the cows come home. But sometimes those glutes aren't firing, not because the glutes aren't firing, but because they're responding to other forces at play.

And so we can know all the muscles and get so granular and get regional and segmental about something. And yet, as you mentioned, one of the main things you've learned is that when you really just simply reduce the compensation pattern, you get more efficient movement, you feel better.

You can tune into your body so much better because we can't, unless you're really really good at this, you can't really feel a muscle. You're feeling the bone move in the joint. Like that's what you're training your people to do, right? Like they've just got a better view overall of their, or sense overall of their overall movement, right?

Lesley Ann: Yeah, I remember the first time that I was able to lift my arm with only the bicep working, I didn't feel the bicep working, what I felt is nothing else working and the arm bone moving. Yeah. And no pain in the bicep. It was truly a beautiful feeling.

Susi: Now, Carissa, you’ve got a total smirk on your face. And during most of Leslie hands conversation here you were like nodding your head. So do you want to add more to that?

Carissa: Yeah, I feel like this just like really hits home, again, on some of the things that I've come to realize within, again, this last week. And just this piece of you said something, again, in one of the calls, I think it was last Monday about not worrying so much about the muscle.

And that was, I don’t want to say such a huge focal point for me but it's something that I definitely wasn't aware that I was focused on, is looking at how the body was moving and then trying to connect that to a muscle instead of a plane of movement or a segment of movement and kind of zooming out.

And so I'm nodding along because I think also it's inspiring, I suppose, to hear Lesley Ann coming out the other end of the training and where her headspace is at, because I went through this week with this excitement in the potential of growth, but also in feeling kind of that slog we were talking about, where I was like the gap is there, but I'm not sure how to kind of make that leap to the other side of the gap.

So the smirk is there for two reasons. So hearing Lesley Ann talk about it was really like okay, we'll get there and just be in it right now. And so I'm really excited.

Susi: Really cool. And how about you, Deanna? When you're hearing Lesley Ann say that what comes up for you?

Deanna: Yeah, I was totally smirking through that too because through our first intensive training week of certification I totally had my skeleton and my anatomy textbook out, like looking at the origin insertion and giving myself an anatomy review, right? And so, yeah, I know I've made a joke at some point, I know, I know, it's not about the one muscle. I can’t help it, that's kind of where my brain goes right now.

But I mean, muscles don't work in isolation of each other. The arm doesn't move in isolation, there are stabilizers that are working elsewhere and other muscles that are synergistically helping that movement. And so yeah, it makes total sense to sort of zoom out and look at the bigger picture of what is actually happening in the whole system versus just one particular muscle. So yeah, I can relate to that for sure.

Susi: So Carissa and Deanna, I’ve got this question for you two, because you're actively massaging right now. And Lesley Ann you're not actively massaging as much. Are you finding that how your hands are on a body is different now? Even in the short period of time that you've been in the training, knowing that, for example, it's not just about like getting a particular muscle released, but there's either neighboring or distant relationships.

Are you actually, with your hands on a body, is there something, like Deanna, your head is nodding right now? Like, are you following, we call it in that program, following the breadcrumbs? For you it may be following the fascial lines or I don't know, like are you following other messengers as it relates to what you feel underneath the skin with your hand?

Deanna: Yeah, 100%. Like your phrase, where the pain is is not the problem, is really, really with me right now. And so when people come in with their certain set of symptoms I'm like, okay, where could this possibly be stemming from? Because where the pain is is not the problem, right?

So I think it's maybe more my way of thinking and my intention with the treatment that has changed a little bit. And just going back to the previous question of just sort of zooming out and looking at the whole picture, I'm definitely looking at that in a much different way now than I was before. Because like I said earlier, connections are starting to come in now that haven't been there before.

So yeah, I mean, my practice is definitely shifting and changing and evolving at the moment. Absolutely.

Susi: Interesting. And what about you, Carissa? Are you noticing anything in terms of what your hands are picking up, or even what your intuition is picking up? Because there is that element inside of massage where you might just be pulled somewhere as you’ve got your hands placed, are things like that happening more for you?

Carissa: Totally, I really liked what Deanna said about intention, because it feels like this different level of awareness. Sort of this conversation we've been having around zooming in versus zooming out and looking at muscles versus component parts, or like the larger structure or layers of being. And it's this awareness piece that I didn't know that I didn't know.

And so kind of like Deanna was saying, you just have this understanding because that's the way you're taught, that's how you learn, and then that shows up in your practice. And you don't know what you don't know, until you find out you didn't know it. And so it's this awareness piece of like, maybe I had those senses before, but I might not have trusted them in the same way because I didn't know that that was the bigger picture, I guess.

Susi: That is awesome. That's a really, really, really great response because it's so true because something might be niggling at you, but you have no idea what it is to even start the discussion. So I hope that those of you who are listening, whether you are health professionals, like other than massage, or you are a massage therapist and this is starting to resonate for you, I'm going to start to wrap this up.

And, Leslie Ann, if someone's considering like, holy smokes, this is like a commitment and all the things. But if they're sort of teetering towards the edge, what would you say to them in terms of helping them make a choice?

Lesley Ann: You mean besides just do it. Consider the results you want for your clients, for your students. And if you want them to be able to move with more freedom and ease, whether that's with massage, or with movement, or a combination, try the first intensive. Try it. I mean try it.

Not everybody's going to sign up like I did within a week and head on through for a whole year and a half. But it's a cliche to say you've got nothing to lose, but you've got nothing to lose by doing the first intensive. And just I think that intensive really gives us a very clear idea of what the whole program is like.

Susi: Love it. Great, thank you. How about you, Deanna, what would you say?

Deanna: Oh yeah, 100% just do it. One of my big phrases is movement is medicine. And man, it really is. Yeah, this has been a big missing piece for me and I don't know, there's just so much potential in movement and becoming aware of how we are moving through our lives, through the world. And so yeah, I mean, if you're even considering it, just just do it. You won't regret it.

Susi: And anything final from you, Carissa, that you have for folks listening?

Carissa: Yeah, I mean, just to echo what everyone else is saying, just to take that leap. I think one thing that comes up as we're having this conversation is sort of if you're feeling that this gap is there, just trusting that next step also, whether that be to take the intensive.

I talked to so many people that were already in the program, and I found that that really was supportive as well in sort of deciding or making that decision. But there's so much support within the community and within the Functional Synergy team to kind of get you going that, like Lesley Ann was saying, you have nothing to lose.

Susi: So good. Well, thank you, all three of you, for your time. This has been such a great conversation and I know it will be useful for those people, whether they are massage therapists or health professionals, really thinking about the way that yoga can integrate therapeutically into a practice, whether you continue on with typically what's considered passive hands on work and integrate it or whether you move right into the therapeutic movement, breath, stillness type of work that yoga therapy offers. So thank you again so much.

Deanna: Thank you.

Carissa: Thank you, Susi.

Lesley Ann: Thank you.

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