A Healing Touch
Tell us about your bodywork offerings at EmBODYment. Why do you love sharing these offerings?
Willoughby: I am a dancer and a mover for life! I am both analytical and intuitive, and the manual therapy I practice is primarily Structural Integration. I firmly believe in the innate wisdom of the body. The work I do is results based, so there is continued tracking of the gains made during each session and throughout the treatment plan. Structural integration is guided by visual postural assessment and other forms movement assessment. It is informed by osteopathic modalities such as nerve and artery mobilization, myofascial release, visceral manipulation and cranial sacral therapy. I am passionate about deepening my knowledge of the body, both in anatomical and physio-emotional ways. My understanding of functional movement helps me provide healthier movement options for my clients who are suffering from pain or restriction that is limiting their day to day activities. My intention is to create a compassionate space while providing support for my clients so they feel safe opening up and letting their individual process inform each session. During the hands on work I like to think of the manual therapy as a nonverbal conversation between two intelligent systems.
I love sharing this work because it has it has become one of the most rewarding and nourishing things in my life to both give and receive hands on therapies and explore movement through telescoping awareness between interoception and proprioception— in other words I love having the opportunity to invite someone into a new way of experiencing his or her internal and external sense of self.
What does embodiment mean to you?
Willoughby: For me, to be embodied is to inhabit one's self with integrity in a way that attends to the interoceptive, proprioceptive and physio-emotional needs of the body. If we can allow ourselves to check in with how something truly feels in our body before acting on those decisions, I believe we will be better equipped to make informed choices that are in alignment with nourishing us as a whole individuals.
What inspired you to offer bodywork at this retreat?
I had so much fun the first year I did it I'm super stoked to do it again. I love helping people find more grace, ease and efficiency in their movement. It's always a treat to work with people who like to move and dance. It's an honor to come together with such a wonderfully skilled group of movers and shakers to support Mikka's Vision. I love that there is ample time and space for each person attending to pick and choose their own adventure on this somatic path of inquiry.
What are you most excited about at EmBODYment this year?
Willoughby: I'm super excited to spend this time in inquiry exploring movement, dance and somatic practices in this beautiful place with beautiful people—All while soaking up the life force of the earth, sun, sea and sky.
What is your favorite quote? What does it mean to you?
"The more that I know, the more I know that I don't know" "More is more, Less is Less, and sometimes Less is better." " Be what you is, and not what you ain't because if you is what you ain't you ain't what you is" I don't know who originally said these different quotes but when I think of them they remind me to stay true to my ideals and not lose my center.
What advice do you have for someone who wants to receive bodywork from you for the first time?
Willoughby: If you are interested in receiving bodywork from me I encourage you to arrive with an open mind. I invite you to have a sense of curiosity about the work and your own internal experience and felt sense of your body. To get the most out of your session I ask that you wear minimal clothing that shows as much skin as possible while still maintaining your modesty. You should feel comfortable getting onto and off the table and standing in front of me in this attire.
For women: A plain, unrevealing bra and underwear or two-piece bathing suit works just fine. If you want more coverage, stretchy yoga shorts and a tank top can also work. The important thing is that I’m able to get a good sense of your structure and access the places on your body that I need to work on. (Clothing that does not work well are bras with overly stiff strapping or rigid underwires. Some sports bras may fall into this category but others work just fine.) Anything you wear should be comfortable and easily stretched or moved to the side to allow access.
For men: Boxer briefs work best for ease and comfort during a session. Briefs also work well. Boxers are not as good because they tend be less stretchy and more prone to accidental exposure.
What do you imagine retreat guests will experience after one or more of your sessions?
Willoughby: One can expect reduction of pain, greater ease of movement, and an improved ability to find a balanced and upright posture. Because I work directly with the nervous system one can find a deep sense of relief or dialing down of an overactive sympathetic nervous system. People often experience this as a sense of lightness, buoyancy, being grounded in their feet, or like all the parts of their body are working together.
Get grounded and discover a relationship with your body this year at EmBODYment Maui!