Soak, meditate and crash your way to better health – GR|MAG

Posted: February 12, 2020 at 5:46 pm


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These days, its all about relieving stress, shedding anger and tapping into our best selves. Therapy is a huge help with guidance from a qualified professional. But sometimes, folks would rather bash old computers, hurl plates at a wall or paint calming lake and tree scenes. Then theres ax throwing and floating in dark saltwater for an hour.

There has been a lot of research around mindfulness such as the benefits of yoga, meditation, breathing and body-centered psychotherapy as ways to relieve stress, reduce insomnia, reduce anxiety and depression, and handle social anxieties.

The Grand Rapids Center for Mindfulness offers classes and workshops on topics ranging from Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction to Eat for Life: Mindful Eating. So, where does plate-throwing and yoga with goats fit in?

All of these things are somewhat body centered which, therapeutically, has been helpful, said April Kaiserlian, LMSW, co-founder of Grand Rapids Center for Mindfulness and a body-centered psychotherapist. These types of activities are the lighthearted side of the healing journey.

And theres a place for lighthearted, said Kaiserlian. These activities get people out of their heads and into body-centered practices. Fun is an incredible way to cultivate healing.

Tyler Phaneuf runs Phlot, which offers individual float tanks filled with Epsom salt that allow floaters to relax in a dark, quiet, body-temperature environment. Floating helps reduce stress, anxiety, muscle tension and chronic pain, as well as lowers blood pressure and helps athletes heal, Phaneuf said. It also takes a meditation practice to a new level.

He dreams of adding another flotation room, saunas and massage rooms to round out the experience, noting that the number of floaters has increased as more people hear about it. Flotation helps people cultivate a more being mode, Kaiserlian said. The body knows there isnt much it can do while floating, which supports being.

She points to other healing modalities such as aromatherapy, acupuncture, taking a baking class, painting and even laughter yoga. Its about people getting out of their heads and into their bodies, Kaiserlian said.

Angela McElroy is owner of Dorr to Eden, which offers goat yoga during the summer months. Its yoga with goats sitting on the yoga mats, nuzzling a neck, wandering through the group and occasionally pooping on a mat.

Two years ago, we did two goat yoga classes. As people were leaving, they said how much the class brought them joy and made them laugh, said McElroy, a former social worker and now a doctor of naturopathy. If you can bring a little laughter and joy back into the world, thats great.

McElroy is certified in equine therapy, which she does at Dorr to Eden, too. She invites her miniature donkey into the yoga events and has a tortoise that kids can visit with and even paint.

Things like goat yoga keep you in the present moment; youre not thinking about the past or the future, she said. You can experience joy instead of anxiety. You can keep away from the woulda, coulda, shouldas.

Goat yoga and floatation aside, Kaiserlian encourages participants in these alternative well-being therapies to pay attention to the emotions that are prompting the desire to break things, shoot things or escape into an activity, as well as pay attention to when these things dont work.

Working through rage can be cathartic, but sometimes it can trigger trauma, she said. Notice that, and if you experience a trigger, you may need additional support. Also, you can smash something and have a release, but have you discovered the information behind that emotion?

Theres growing research behind mindfulness and body-centered psychotherapy, among other things, but not so much about things like goat yoga and rage rooms.

These things are outside the bell curve. They are on the edges and can be a doorway into deeper work, Kaiserlian said. They are less threatening, there is less judgment and less stigma.

Alternative therapies Looking for something to calm your nerves, de-stress after a long week or take your mind off the difficult things in your life? The list below provides an overview of the many alternative well-being therapies around Grand Rapids. Visit websites or Facebook pages, read reviews, get recommendations and choose the best alternative therapy for you.

Relaxation and healing therapies: Phlot flotation in a sensory-reduced environment; phlotgr.com Grand Rapids Center for Mindfulness mindfulness tools to manage your stress and increase health and well-being; randrapidscenterformindfulness.com Dorr to Eden-Naturopathy and Animal Enhanced Growth healing the mind, body and soul with animals and herbs; bit.ly/DorrToEden and dorrtoeden.org Yoga studios around the city offer varied times and practices Massage therapy locations around the city offer varied times and modalities Acupuncture of West Michigan customized treatment plans; cupunctureofwestmichigan.com Holistic Care Approach multidisciplinary wellness center; holisticcareapproach.com

Creative therapies: Brush Studio art class meets night out, also available for private parties; brushgr.com Bamboo Studio private parties and art classes; bamboostudiogr.com The Mud Room pottery painting, wood signs, pottery wheel studio, handprints; themudroom.us Pottery Lane six-week classes and Girls Night Out; potterylanegr.com Michigan Fibre Studio instruction in wide variety of fiber arts; michiganfibrestudio.com GRCC Cooks cooking classes for all levels; bit.ly/GRCCcooks

Assertive therapies: Break Room Therapy physically release emotions by smashing things; breakroomtherapy.com Grand Rapids Escape Room you have 60 minutes to escape or complete the challenge; grandrapidsescaperoom.com The Great Escape Room Sherlock-themed escape room adventures; thegreatescaperoom.com Target Axe Throwing combine urban lifestyle with rural action; targetaxethrowing.com Terra Firma bouldering (climbing without ropes) for all levels; climbterrafirma.com Inside Moves top rope and lead climbing, as well as bouldering; insidemoves.com CKO Kickboxing burn fat, reduce stress, tone up; ckokickboxing.com

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Soak, meditate and crash your way to better health - GR|MAG

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February 12th, 2020 at 5:46 pm

Posted in Yoga