We are inundated with information. It’s coming from everywhere. The content is on so many subjects that it is overwhelming. It’s hard to know what’s true, what’s not; what’s relevant, and what’s inconsequential. It’s confusing and all consuming.
This morning during my meditation, I was unable to quiet my mind. Too many thoughts. Each time I reconnected to Center, bringing my attention back to breath, another crisis emerged. Australia on fire, war in the Middle East, crises in Eastern Europe, in France, in Africa, in India, in China, and in the US. My thought energy is scattered— fraught with anxiety – my resources are becoming depleted.
Mindful Whack-a-Mole is not helping anyone. It keeps my mind so busy I’m unavailable to have fresh creative interaction with my empathy and intuition.
The effectiveness of my intention depends on how focused and grounded I am.
Focus. Remember to stay grounded. I cannot pour from an empty cup. And I certainly cannot drink when the cup keeps moving.
Because of the exponential increase of all the distracting dissidence, it is now more important than ever to find a way to focus; to stay grounded, especially during my meditative times that I need to recharge and tap into my intuitive processes.
I experience a surreal meditative state while I am massaging dogs. When I am in “open state” I exist in another level; one where my receptivity to creative thought is heightened. I breathe. I move in my breath. I respond to the dog’s breath; their shifting nuanced expressions of claws, eyes, ears and coat.
But when I’m in a state of uber-stimulation, I catch myself slipping into thought. I’m responsible for the quality of life in the precious spirit in my hands. And yet, my mind is elsewhere.
Thoughts are powerful. When my psychic energy withdraws, I feel it. I am not participating. I’m filling time. Taking up space. Adrift. The dog feels it too. They turn, look, grow restless, and think about jumping off the table. It makes sense. If I’m not available, what’s the point of sticking around?
How do I restore my oneness of mind-body-spirit?
Spontaneous clearing. My hands are still on the dog and it takes but a moment, one breathing cycle, to regroup and recast the experience.
Here are two techniques that I find helpful.
- Visualize a clear path. Feel yourself moving easily along this path. Breathe and swallow. Swallowing is punctuation. It’s a conscious exclamation mark.
- Tantric yoga Cobra breathing reinforces your focus by intentionally following the cyclic motion of one contained breath. Again, you are focusing on staying on the path.
The cobra breath is a tantric breathing exercise. We use our breath to move kundalini energy. With our inhale it moves up from the root chakra at the base of the spine to the crown chakra at the crown of the head. And then with your exhale you return the energy back to the root chakra.
Cobra breath. Press your tongue on the roof of your mouth. Open your lips and breathe in through the spaces on either side of your tongue. It will make a slight hissing sound. Like a cobra.
With your inhale, pull the energy up from your tailbone and feel it flow up your spine. Feel it rush to the back of your head and around the top to the crown of your head.
Keep your tongue pressed on the roof of the mouth. As it transitions across the gap from the pineal gland in the middle of your brain to the back of your throat, swallow. Feel the pop of liquid pressure in your ears.
Slowly breathe out. Keep your tongue pressed on the roof of your mouth. Close your mouth and exhale through your nostrils. Follow the path of your energy breath as it flows down your neck, sternum, belly, and into your pubic bone. As it jumps across from your pubis to your coccyx, swallow. Notice how the shift in the pressures in your ears helps the breath dance across your peritoneum. Your breath moves up the Governing Vessel, leaps the gap to the Conception Vessel and completes the cycle, leaping back to the Governing Vessel.
With practice you will only need one breath to restore continuity. Caveat: the cobra breath does take quite a lot of practice to master.
These are two techniques that I use to stay grounded, connected, and receptive. When you find your attention wavering during meditation or canine massage, try them. Let me know if they help.
Also, let me know if you have any other ways that you use. Describe them in your Comments at https://petmassage.com/in-times-like-these-we-need-to-learn-conscious-grounding/
Other subscribers to this blog would love to learn how you overcome mindfulness distractions as well.
The prices on all PetMassage Children’s Canine Massage materials have been slashed.
We have boxes and boxes of brand new PetMassage produced books, DVDs and CDs. We need the space that we’ve been allocating in our PetMassage School to the PetMassage for Kids Program. We are preparing to install the new Canine Aquatic Massage pool.
Here’s your opportunity to load up for birthdays, holidays, and scout programs. If you are a formally trained educator or a by-necessity homeschool learning coach, we have curriculum for group after school activities and summer camp courses. Official PetMassage patches that kids can be rewarded for taking the workshop are also marked down.
Here is a list of how much they used to cost and what they are now. Links provided will give you in depth descriptions.
- Book: Dogs Kids PetMassage / Dog Massage for Kids. Was $16.95 Now only $1.99 + shipping
- DVD PetMassage: A Kids Guide to Massaging Dogs. Was $17.95. Now only $1.99 + shipping
- PetMassage Doggie Songs for Kids. Was $12.95. Now only $1.99 + shipping
- 4-part set includes the book, DVD, CD and patch. Was $45.00, Now only $ 5.99 + shipping
- After school/camp curricula. Was $220, now only $49.99 + shipping
- GSA -Girl Scouts of America’s Program for Skills Merit Patch. Was $75.00, Now only $19.99 + shipping
- Patches: Official PetMassage logo. Was $5.00, Now only $1.99 + shipping
Kids need to learn PetMassage. It’s fun for them and great for their dogs. They learn about massage, to become aware of their surroundings, to be responsible, and animal care.
Several years ago Anastasia and I attended an after school program convention in New Orleans. Colin Powell, Former Secretary of State and retired 4-star General was the impressive keynote speaker. He spoke about the power and value of the ancillary courses in his own early education growing up in New York, and how they shaped his extraordinary career. The trade show part of the conference was held in a massive conference hall. Hundreds of vendors. Everywhere one looked there was STEM. Stems everywhere, but few flowers. Math, science, reading, robotics, and computers. Nowhere, except in the little 10×10 booth in the middle of one of the rows in the back half of the hall, could you find something for kids and their pet dogs. What can be more wholesome, more natural, more essential in children’s education? We proffered PetMassage lessons in pet dog handling and care.
It was a remarkable experience. While some vendors sat waiting for someone to talk to, our little booth space was continuously jam packed with people. They just wanted to be in our energy. I can understand.
One of the good things we’ve learned during the pandemic is that dog owners are maturing in their appreciation of their dogs. Especially their older, more vulnerable dogs. They are demonstrating by their actions that they know how valuable their dogs are to them and their families. They celebrate them. Their companionship. Their emotional support. Their devotion. Their entertainment value. Their stability.
They are becoming more proactive in their dogs’ care and nurturing. They are seeking long term health and wellness maintenance; short term symptomatic relief.
They are learning that massages are investments that have proven to enhance their precious darlings’ overall quality of life. They are turning to massage to attend to their dogs’ chronic conditions, such as arthritis, obesity and instability; and arrange months or years of supportive hospice care.
I feel privileged to be requested to be part of the team that supports and honors these dogs.
Senior dogs are now a large part of my PetMassage practice. Each session takes on the flavor of an old time tent revival healing. The owners, elated to tears, witness the lame walk, the faltering steady, the dazed and confused realize clarity, the hurting, breath comfortably, and the still tails wag!
I had written “How to Massage the Senior Dog” a couple of years ago to encourage senior dog massage and offer instruction on it. With this newly expanded enthusiasm in taking care of these dogs I took another look at it and quickly realized it could be improved. In the name of space and brevity, I’d left out some important things. So it’s now revised. I changed the paper, the margins, justification, and font. It’s easier to read. I attenuated the order; so it’s easier to follow. And I added fresh content that I’m confident will give you more insight for your massage with your geriatric dogs. It’s really a new title.
This instruction is based on my 30 years of experience as a canine massage practitioner and instructor at the PetMassage Training and Research Institute in Toledo Ohio.
The new Massage for the Senior Dog describes senior dogs, their needs at their mature stage of life, and instruction for how to address those needs with the skills of massage therapy.
More specifically, in this book you’ll learn about variations in gait, behaviors, and aspects about the aging canine body that you must know to provide an effective massage. You’ll learn about the psychosocial needs of dogs, their pack mentality, canine body language, and instinctual behaviors. There’s a style of safe animal handling that we use during the massage which is taught in PetMassage hands-on workshops. You’ll be introduced to that too.
This book describes each massage skill and its application, in detail, with photographs, captions, and instructions for correct body and breath mechanics. Simple skills flow and morph into more complex skills. And it all comes together with a full massage sequence tailored to the senior dog.
If you are already a canine massage practitioner, we have a new PetMassage home study course that you can take as continuing education. Massage for the Senior Dog is one of the texts for the course Senior Dog Massage for the Canine Massage Practitioner.
Each dog I massage offers new insights and new approaches. Join me as we learn and grow our canine massage practices. It’s always fresh, always engrossing, and in all ways life enhancing.
Full Title: Muscular Anatomy and Effects of Positional Release on the Pelvic Girdle
Author: Ashley Peter
Date of Publication: August 15, 2020
Research Paper Text:
The pelvic girdle is a bony structure that serves many functions. It is made up of two hip bones or os coxae, which are composed of the ilium, ischium, pubis, and acetabular bones. The girdle shape encircles and protects the organs contained within the pelvis. It connects the hind limbs to the back by using a multitude of ligaments and muscles. The muscles also help to support the dog’s movement, and therefore, require an abundance of blood supply and nerve innervations. The muscles covering the pelvis are easily manipulated, and the positional release method is highly effective yet very gentle. To understand the effects of positional release on the pelvic girdle more easily, it is important to comprehend how far the ligaments, fascia, and muscles reach within the body and how positional release works.
There are five major ligaments that attach to the pelvis: The ventral sacroiliac ligament runs between the ilium and sacrum, the dorsal sacroiliac ligament runs from the iliac spine to the sacrum, the sacrotuberous ligament runs from the sacrum to the ischial tuberosity, the transverse acetabular ligament is connected to the acetabulum, and the ligament of the head of the femur runs to the acetabular fossa and blends with the transverse acetabular ligament (Hermanson, de Lahunta, & Evans 2020). These ligaments help to keep the pelvis attached to the sacrum and femurs.
The thoracolumbar fascia covers an exceptionally large area of the body. It begins at the thoracic and lumbar vertebrae, fuses with itself at the linea alba, spreads to the sternum and costal cartilages, and attaches to the ilium; This fascia also gives rise to the latissimus dorsi, the internal abdominal oblique, external abdominal oblique, the serratus dorsalis caudalis, splenius and serratus dorsalis cranialis, and the transverse abdominis (Hermanson et al, 2020). This fascia that attaches to the ilium, can affect the back, the abdominals, breathing, and even the neck by attaching to the deep cervical fascia.
There are over 20 muscles that arise from or near the pelvic girdle. There are five superficial muscles that are easily palpable and most relevant to the massage practitioner.
Nerve innervations for theses muscles include the dorsal branches of the thoracic and lumbar nerves, gluteus caudalis, gluteus cranialis, ischiadicus, and ramus muscularis proximalis of the of the nerve tibialis (Hermanson et al, 2020). All blood supply for the pelvic girdle stems from the aorta.
Left photo: Back is extended, hips extended, stifles extended, tarsals extended. Right photo: Back and abdominals relaxed, hips flexed, stifles flexed, and tarsals flexed. Both photos: Heavy breathing.
Positional release helps the dog to create a slight course correction in patterns of thinking and moving; the method assists the dog to unwind from physical, emotional, and behavioral holding patterns (PetMassage for Dogs, Foundational Workshop Manual, 2020). To use positional release, ground yourself and place both hands on the body of the dog. The hand closer to his or her body is gently holding the area of the dog, the other hand is doing more of the “work”. Gather the earth’s chi and envision a ball of energy between both hands. Feel for your working hand to be pulled in a direction, and very slightly move in that direction. This movement should not be easily seen or noticed. When you feel a release, follow the movement. Then feel for the follow through and move into that position. It is important to understand that this movement does not just affect the tissue between where your two hands are located. Within 24 hours, the movement will circulate throughout the entire body of the dog.
A canine massage practitioner should not claim to heal or treat any specific disease. If the dog chooses to unwind with the help of positional release, the effects may be noticed in the slightest of ways. The dog may have a muscle twitch during the follow on, a signal that a release was stimulated. The practitioner may experience a pain in an area of their body that suddenly goes away. The muscles in the hips may charge from being firm and rigid to soft and flexible as they relax. A limp while the dog is walking may not be as noticeable. The dog’s digestive tract may have been stimulated to excrete a buildup of gas. The dog may be more likely to return to old patterns of behavior such as going up stairs or jumping onto the couch or bed. Remember that positional release can affect emotional and behavioral holding patterns as well, relaxation or playfulness after the massage may be another effect.
Hermanson, J.W., de Lahunta, A., Evans H.E. (2020). Miller and Evan’s anatomy of the dog. (5th ed.). St. Louis, Missouri: Elsevier.
Rudinger, J. (2020). PetMassage for Dogs, Foundation Workshop Manual. Toledo, Ohio: PetMassage, Ltd.
Zidonis, N., Snow, A. (2018). Canine acupoint energetics & landmark anatomy. Castle Pines, Colorado: Tallgrass publishers, LLC.
During a recent dinner with friends, I heard the term “sacred geometry.” It was spoken in reverence. Sotto voce. So it got my attention. As soon as I had an opportunity I looked it up. I learned that sacred geometry ascribes symbolic and sacred meanings to certain geometric shapes and certain geometric proportions. It is associated with the belief that there is a spiritual constant, a universal mean, a geometer of the world.
It’s essentially repeated patterns found in nature that we ascribe meaning or relationship to.
There are recognizable repeated patterns everywhere we look. There are triangles, rectangles, and hexagons. Circles. The concentric circles like the ones that raindrops make when they hit the surface of water. Circles with designs such as the yin yang symbol. These images move us. They connect with us at the heart level.
One of the wonders of nature is the Fibonacci spiral. In geometry, it’s the golden spiral; a logarithmic spiral whose growth factor is φ, the golden ratio. The Phi symbol is the circle bisected by a staff. Interesting.
Spiral patterns are repeated throughout nature. From the tiniest of nautilus shells to massive galaxies with giant tendrils of life spiraling out from their cores, extending for millions of light years.
The designs in the shells of sea creatures begin tiny and young, and also spiral out into time, space, and life.
Some of the most repeated designs are reflected in our numbers. 1, the straight vertical line, is a powerful sacred geometric figure. Think of a single tree, the stem of the flower, a cactus, the lone cowboy, the staff of the crucifix, the stem of the ankh, the last piece of asparagus on your plate.
The number seven, an angled one with a top line, is considered a mystically powerful number. Whether it’s 7 as we write it, or seven backwards, it is a symbol used in every written language. Seven is seen by many cultures as the perfect number that holds creation and the universe together. Religious or mythological cosmology refers to seven heavens, seven chakras, seven planes of creation, the seventh son of the seventh son.
It’s interesting to note that the 7 is the first 2 strokes of the Reiki power symbol Cho Ku Rei. To complete the Japanese pictograph, continue from the bottom of the seven, drawing a large semi circle that flows up and around just underneath the top cross bar and spirals inward, to the core. Like the galaxy.
The word Reiki is derived from two Japanese words: rei and ki. Rei means “higher power” or “spiritual power.” Ki means “energy.” Put together, reiki can be loosely translated as “spiritual life force energy.” Cho ku rei, is used to increase or decrease power (depending on the direction in which it is drawn). Its intention is the light switch, representing its ability to illuminate or enlighten spiritually. Its identifying symbol is a coil, which reiki practitioners believe is the regulator of qi, expanding and contracting as the energy flows throughout the body. Power comes in different forms with Cho ku rei. It may be used as a catalyst for physical healing, cleansing, or purification. It may also be used to focus one’s attention.
I’m not a Reiki practitioner, yet to me, the potential in this power symbol is obvious.
I see the straight lines of the 7 as base lines, like the x and y axes on a graph. The spirals are not confined to a two dimensional surface; they are either spiraling down, penetrating through the paper or the body fascia, or out as a releasing tsubo, a vortex. The energy you are intending, your energetic intention, moves, cycling in and down, or withdrawing out and back up.
During a recent canine massage my hands were over a dense area that was not spontaneously responding to my stroking, compression, and myofascial positional release. I wondered what would happen if I imagined my fingers projected energy through the pattern of Cho ku rei.
I held my fingers still, maintaining constant pressure and visualized the pattern. A seven and 3 cycles spiraling inward.
My imagination slid across the top line of the seven, turned, and swept down to the bottom. I paused. The directions that patterns move are essential aspects of their sacred geometry-ness.and swirled up to just below the horizontal line.
I was using my right hand, so my natural tendency was to move in the rightward direction, counterclockwise, from the bottom of the 7. I continued coiling inward, until after 3 roundabouts, I was in the core.
The pressure remained constant yet I sensed the subtlest of movements in my fingertips. The energy projected from my fingers extended deeper and deeper and deeper into the dog’s neuromuscular fabric.
Something shifted. It was deep within the tissues. Whatever was in there that needed adjusting tightened and released.
As I withdrew, my fingertips tingled clockwise. So I reversed the direction and followed it out. I smiled as I reflexively murmured “lefty-loosey, righty-tighty”.
Here was a repeatable pattern I could follow to flow in, connect and influence, and flow out.
- With the 2 strokes of the 7, I aligned my energy with the tight resistant area within the dog.
- Spiraling in, the energies of the dog and I connect and wind further into the tightness.
- Reversing the spiral, the resistance is loosened and pulled (to safety) free.
This is very similar the “pain drain” technique of Healing Touch.
You are the geometer. Imagine the sacred geometry patterns and make them part of your practice. They will transport your intentions and help your PetMassage be even more powerful.