Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Shoshin Shiatsu – A Beginner’s Mind

Shoshin Shiatsu – A Beginner’s Mind

“Do you have the patience to wait ‘til your mud settles and the water is clear?
Can you remain unmoving ‘til the right action arises by itself?”
- Lao-Tzu

Shoshin Shiatsu (Beginner’s Mind) owes its origin to the very roots of traditional acupressure, Zen, and Thai style bodywork. Based on the awarenesses of the classic energy flows of the body, the emotional attributes of the spirit, and the pernicious influences of our external environment, this healing art provides pause and opportunity to calm the mind and heal the body.

The constant atunement at the proprioceptive level required in receiving, processing, and transmitting information between client and practitioner ultimately transforms this act of bodywork into the stillness of meditation, creating a spontaneous soul medicine of pure human touch.

As a manual therapy, Shoshin Shiatsu provides the framework to hold the client in “Soho,” the light of non-judgemental observation:

4 Observations
Bo Looking
Mon Listening
Bun Asking
Setsu Touching

Along with the four observations, our vehicle for offering healing and heartfelt compassionate touch are the three recognized pillars of Shiatsu, as put forth by Sensi Masunaga (

   1)   Perpendicular Pressure – A contact that like the universal awareness of Reiki, draws on all available energy – full transfer of our weight, leaning in with support from our center (hara), rather than pushing from arm strength and mind-based ego.

   2)   Holding Pressure – once in contact, we are guided by our breath in regards to the duration of touch – holding space for transformation and the opportunity for the removal of physical and energetic stagnation.

   3)   Concentration – A statement of commitment . . . our sustained focus and attention to the client’s needs in that moment. Being fully invested in that one, held area, technique or point (tsubo) – encouraging the flow of “life liquidity” in the channels (meridians).

Shoshin Shiatsu is both a hands-on manual art and an opportunity to address our clients’ specific needs and imbalances. In focusing on both the stillness and the conscious presence needed to connect with the spirit/chi of the individual (through practices such as meditation, breath awareness, movement through maka-ho exercises, body mechanics, and the process of active listening), we learn the art of Shoshin Shiatsu. In exploring the basic theory and techniques of Shiatsu as exemplified by the techniques of paired floor stretches, tsubo combinations, and soft tissue manipulation, we learn its practical applications.