How I Learned to Self-Spa

In my seven years of Taiji practice, I realized that I have been accumulating my own self-healing practices - what I like to call my own "self-spa" - what I do to jumpstart my own self-healing and self-love. 

I got a few Thai massages when I was in Bangkok earlier this year. I enjoy getting them because I could feel how they released internal stagnation. But to my surprise, I felt fewer benefits after my sessions this time around. The massage doctor (as they are called in Thai) asked what I did that I wanted her to focus on my thighs, "Taiji," I said. To which she replied, "Oh. Well, I don't think I can get in that deep. For athletes who practice Taiji or Yoga, there's not much I can do." She proceeded to tell me how another client who practiced yoga complained that yoga wasn't doing enough for them... but at least they weren't catching colds like before!" She wrapped up my massage, saying she kneaded my muscles multiple rounds, that she didn't feel much tightness, and hoped I felt something! I felt some relief, but I not the "wow!" that I had in previous years. 

I realized that in the past few years, I've developed a steady routine for my Silk Reeling Exercises - rotating my joints and clearing tension at least 3 times a week as the foundation to my Taiji practice. I first started out with once a week, learned the sequence, and over time, my body began to crave them on its own. I found myself clearing my neck, wrists and ankles at the office, rolling my shoulders at the BART station. When I started to train more rigorously, I learned the importance of intentional rest and restoration, physically and energetically. And here is my list for personal body restoration, my "self spa" menu, to help inspire or jumpstart your own self-healing...

  • Silk Reeling Exercises for relaxation and clearing obstruction
  • Qigong standing meditations
  • "No movement" days (once or twice a week) when I sleep in or nap
  • Sipping tea to gentle music
  • Gym workouts followed by foam rolling
  • Salt baths or heating pads
  • Mini self-facials before bed (exfoliate, clay mask, toner, night cream)
  • Making herbal soups and homemade almond or soy milk
  • Adding powder electrolytes to my water and taking my vitamins

I created my Holiday Hibernation Series to introduce Silk Reeling Exercises and Qigong - because I wanted to feel restored during the winter months, to counteract our high octane, urban daily pace, and to slow down during the holiday rush. If this peaks your interest, the early bird rate expires October 20. For a similar, one-time introduction, I am also partnering with the Women's Wellness Center's monthly You Matter Meet Up in South San Francisco. We'll tap into the wisdom and satisfaction that comes from slowing down.

While I still love going to a spa to feel pampered and treat myself, I can't go frequently, and I also love knowing that I can reach for any of these options to restore with regularity, and the list keeps growing as I discover more and more about what my body responds to best. The discovery and learning continues... :)