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What is a brain body approach?

Updated: Feb 21

And how my signature Body Dialogue coaching sessions were created

When my career as an interpretive dancer was waning, I started teaching Pilates. My job was to help clients develop body awareness and control by incorporating as many muscles as possible into each person’s workout. For some, it was fairly straightforward—flex this, push that, develop strength, feel better—but for others it was more complicated—it was more like a puzzle of re-membering all the different body parts and how they work together. The process seemed mysterious and frustrating.

Alora is assisting a person with the straps on a pilates reformer

For these people, I noticed that the gap between their body and their brain was quite big. It was like they would forget certain body parts even existed. At first I chalked it up to a lack of exercise, but no amount of exercise seemed to fill the gap for them which usually made them feel defeated. There was no roadmap for how to re-member these parts, not for them or for me, but I was determined to figure it out. What I didn’t realize at the time was how important it was that I heal my own relationship with my body.

I dedicated years of study in modern and traditional approaches to the body in search of some kind of key to understanding the brain body connection; hands on, hands off, therapeutic, esoteric, you name it, I tried it. I worked five years on staff at an integrated health clinic and had access to incredible amounts of knowledge, each modality promising to have the magic ingredient, but never quite hitting the mark. Eventually, I started to study the nervous system and brain-based approaches and things began to change.

By understanding the different ways our body collects and responds to information it then becomes easier to address the disconnect between body and mind. The nervous system transmits a complex and ongoing conversation between brain and body with physical, emotional and social information. The brain is constantly receiving messages from the body but doesn't always read them accurately which is exactly what exacerbates pain and chronic conditions.

And I am no exception. For much of my life I have endured chronic pain and mysterious conditions. At my worst I was dealing with fatigue, dizziness, vertigo, incredible face and jaw pain, depression and anxiety. During that time, I had months, without having energy for climbing stairs, or getting out of bed. It was a time when I was giving up hope for living the life I wanted to live and felt as though my body was against me. And yet, I KNEW deep down that my body had the potential to heal, I had seen others do it.

It became a real inside job; slowing down, getting curious about what was truly going on in my body and where the disconnect was to my brain. This time, instead of studying with others, I needed to deprogram myself from all the stories and beliefs that had led me astray. Stories that were based on what fitness and wellness culture needs me to believe in order to sell me their programs and keep me coming back for more. The same ones that had separated me from my intuition and agency.

This is when the Body Dialogues were formed. It was a gentle process of re-introducing my brain and body to each other; with touch, with words, with music, with intuitive movement. It helped me feel whole again. And one by one, I have introduced Body Dialogues to clients to re-acquaint their mind and body with great success.

I now teach my clients how to trace the information gathered by the body and how to decode the messages relayed to the brain. I use bottom-up, somatic (body-based) tools in combination with top-down, neuroscience backed approaches to help your brain re-member your body. I fill in any gaps you may have in anatomy, physiology, rehabilitation or developmental movement patterns. I connect you with your impulses and intuition. Because I’ve seen all sides, I can see the gaps between what you hear from others—your therapist, your physiotherapist, healer and coach, social media—and I can help you integrate it all in a way that make sense in your bones.

But the most important thing I’m here to do is to be with you, human to human, and help you remember that your body loves you.

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