'Keep coming back to your body as a river. Let everything flow through you,' Roland Torikian emails me between treatments, in a welcome continuation and holding of our healing sessions. Roland describes our energy system as a warm medicinal river, in which we always need flow. It is important to consistently create space and allowing, otherwise we block our own energy and growth.
'Your body is divided into three parts. You are holding on where you want to be free flowing', he says. I have long standing issues with digestion, constantly amending my diet, eliminating gluten, diary and sugar, but ignoring - or not even being aware of - the holding in my abdomen which is apparently creating the blockage.
This shifts what years of talking therapy have failed to do, although Torikian uses this method too, in an incredibly intelligent and perceptive way. Yet most of what he does is unspoken. The letting go had begun at his sweat lodge in Kent. This seemingly created a spaciousness within me, which continued in a follow up session at triyoga in Camden.
Here, Roland points to a dark orange area in the yellow yolk representing the 'shot gun of trauma' in my system. He holds an egg in a glass of water up to the light at Neals Yard therapy rooms. The practice of egg diagnosis may seem bizarre, but what it shows up is spot on, with the egg bubbles indicating my anger that is as yet unexpressed.
Photo Credit Dom Hatcher
'We are born in the ancestral and family barn', Roland gently continues. 'We try to escape, to live our own lives and often apparently end up doing something very different from our parents and grandparents, but our tails are still stuck in the door.' I had a sense for the first time in my life that any anxiety was not mine, but an ancestral one; an idea that felt at the same time like both a relief and a responsibility.
The next day I have an overriding sense of calm. I return later that week to work with the residue of what remains and to carry on 'working through the swamp' as Torikian so vividly puts it. I feel like a shaken snow globe. Except the flakes are not of pure white snow but of a concentrated gunk like that churned up from the rim of a dirty washing machine. In a powerful massage that appears to work on many dimensions, Roland finds a deep long wound of tension down the right side of my back, my female side. I brush this aside as scoliosis, but come to really feel in an embodied way through this treatment that so many of the problems I had dismissed as physical have an entirely different and emotional root.
Massage therapists always comment on my tight neck and shoulders, which I had always happily put down simply to being a by-product of my writing profession. Roland gently and perceptively describes it as an emotional holding, which then seems so obvious. My neck is a valve held in a vice like grip; my neck like a hundred-year-old rooted tree trunk.
Through the massage, I feel energy released and rushing through my body at such a rate that I get pins and needles in my hands. Emotions get locked in our bodies on a cellular level, I know, but somehow I have never experienced this on a physical level. With a smile, Roland says: 'you don't need to hold on', recommending more yoga and meditation which for me is already a daily practice.
'An emotional colonic,' is how Roland describes the shift that I feel. It could also be described as a detox for the soul; a psycho-spiritual rubbish removal. As I lie in the massage I feel my body sinking towards the earth, in release, in grounding. The treatment is nurturing and intuitive and much of what went on I am sure I am not even aware of. I get a sense of intense emotional and physical blocks starting to dissolve that were so deeply held that they felt not so much part of me, but felt as if they were me. It is so easy to forget how much of our identity is tied up with our pain.
Afterwards I have a sense of being cleansed, more expansive, lighter and clearer. I feel more relaxed, more energy and more love. I also, with surprise, note the falling away of two of my most deep held desires – coffee and travel. It is if they had been the means with which I created the emotional and physical movements in my blocked self, which I now no longer needed. There is more ease in my relationships with others, the past and with the world. The muddy swamp of my inner landscape, compacted over the years, the dirt and the grit begins to loosen and even to wash away.
Torikian is dedicated to creating space within, as a means of transforming pain into wisdom and allowing healing, sacredness and real magic to take place. 'We are all space', Roland reminds me, and the forgetting of this keeps us in duality. He explains that this work has been on the small vehicle, but that there are two more of the three aspects of Tibetan medicine, which include the large and the tantric. He has a deep knowledge of this tradition, along with the Mayan, and for those who want to explore his healing treatments he holds regular sessions of each in London and Shoreham.
Roland practices at:
Neal's Yard, Covent Garden, Mondays 12.00 - 4.00pm, tel 020 7379 7662
Indaba, Marylebone, Mondays 5.00 - 9.00pm, tel 020 7724 9994
triyoga, soho, Tuesdays 5.00 - 9.00pm tel 020 3362 3355
triyoga Camden, Thursdays 5.00 - 9.00pm & Fridays 12.30 - 4.30pm tel
020 7483 3344