YOGISSAGE Q & A WITH JOSEPH CARMAN
We asked our teacher and massage therapist Joseph Carman a few questions about YOGISSAGE, his special combination of yoga and massage that he will begin offering on Saturday afternoons in January, by appointment.
What is the main intention behind Yogissage?
Yoga practitioners with a steady practice can get in touch with their bodies and breathing in a way they probably haven’t before. Living in New York, it’s easy to see people dwelling in their heads with little awareness of their physical selves. In a similar manner to yoga, massage allows the recipient to become present with the physical body by setting the focus on allowing the body to release tension.
As an avid yogi, I’ve been practicing massage for over 20 years and have seen first-hand how the two methods, essentially healing in nature, can work in tandem to create a greater consciousness of who we are. Both massage and yoga promote easeful bodies and peaceful minds. I wanted to design a system that would allow a person to deepen the experience of both. Yogissage combines light shiatsu with passive stretching, yogic breathing, restorative postures, and deep relaxation techniques that, in my opinion, allow for the best of both possible worlds. It’s also wonderful for people who are burned out by too much adrenalized energy, which is epidemic in today’s world.
How do yoga and massage complement each other? How are the benefits of each enhanced by this combination?
The benefits of massage are extensive. Massage relieves tension in weak, tight, or atrophied muscles and allows for increased blood flow to the muscle groups used in yoga. It can also increase joint flexibility and range of motion, which is helpful in a yoga practice. Massage can release endorphins that act as the body’s natural painkillers. Yoga, on the other hand, can improve poor posture that causes muscular tension and imbalance. By increasing respiratory function, improving balance, focusing concentration, and reducing adrenal stress, yoga works hand-in-hand with massage to create more easefulness in the body. The awareness of the breath that yoga cultivates allows for less stress on the body. The two modalities enhance each other exponentially.
What kind of body knowledge can be gained from Yogissage?
In a typical Yogissage session, I ask the client about physical limitations, injuries and areas of chronic pain. Usually within a few minutes of the session, they’re recalling other areas as well. So it’s a great reminder of what’s going on in the body, as well as addressing those issues from a healing perspective. Just bringing awareness to the breath, which I work with extensively in Yogissage, can bring a sea of change in how a person experiences her/himself. After those areas are discovered, I can also recommend yoga asanas (postures) to increase stretch or strength, helping to create more spaciousness in the body. When you feel present and healthy in your body, you can discover remarkable things about yourself emotionally and spiritually, as well.
What does Swanand offer that you won’t find elsewhere?
I think what makes Swanand so exceptional is the heart that the owner, Sonal, brings to the studio, along with the support of her extended family. Sonal has a deep belief in the dynamic, multi-faceted nature of yoga–the physical, emotional and spiritual aspects of an ancient practice. She has imbued her immaculate sense of taste and style into the studio which offers a more personal, intimate experience of yoga. It is a pleasure to teach and work in that environment.
Thank you so much, Joseph! More details on Yogissage can be found here.