Massage and Movement

with Shakti Andrea Smith

Massage and Movement Musings

Oct 25

Swan Spine

Posted in Visualization , Somatics , present , Meditation , Healing , Embodiment , Awareness , Animals , alignment

Swan Spine


May 16

5 Tips Towards Grounding

Posted in Visualization , Somatics , present , Practice , Nutrition , Meditation , Healthcare , Health , Healing , Grounding , Feet , Earth , Awareness


Having a Spacey, Anxious, or Off Center Day?
Try One or More of these Grounding Practices:
  • *Stand on some real earth (vs Sidewalk) for a few minutes, barefoot is ideal, but it still works with shoes on. This is part of why you see folks practicing Tai Chi etcetera outside in the parks--these practices connect with the elements, and help facilitate our balance, harmony, and connection with our bodies, the earth, and the world around us.
  • *Make a conscious connection with that Earth, by, on each Exhale, visualizing/feeling a cords going from your head, down your spine, to your sacrum, down each leg, thru your feet, and down into the earth. Try increments of 10 feet at a time until you are 80 feet down. On each Inhalation, 'drink' in the nourishing energy of the earth.
  • *Eat Rice and/or root vegetables (yam, potatoes, carrots, daikon.....)
  • *Do activities that put you in your body more: walking, stretches, yoga. If your energy is low, gentle yoga or simply being aware of your body can help alot (ie: as you inhale and exhale, feel the breath going down the airways, and notice the movement at your belly and lungs).
  • *Splash some cool water on the back of your neck, forehead, and hands


Apr 02

Excerpt from Contact Improvisation Class

Posted in Touch , Sound , Somatics , Proprioceptive , present , kinesthetic , Healing , Feet , Developmental Movement , dance , Contact Improvisation , Balance , Awareness , alignment

April 1, 2012

Stone Ridge, NY @MaMA, Marbletown Multi-Arts

"We start with the body, your Body, tuning into its connection with the earth the sky, and the space around you. Feel your feet on the floor, sensing through your crown the space above you. Feel your heart beating--coming more inside, strengthening your ability to embody, to be in this body. To sense through it, perceive/propreocept via smell, see, hear, sound, and touch. These senses that we are blessed to have alive and functioning...the information that we glean through them is helping us to use different parts of our brains, and shifting how we experience the world.

Feb 27

Contact Improvisation--a form so profound

Posted in Somatics , learning , kinesthetic , dance , Contact Improvisation

I've just come from teaching Contact Improv at Movement Research in Soho, NYC. Tonight, after 4 weeks of study with me, students reflected on learning. On how the clear teaching steered them to really getting and understanding the dance. The first hour of class found us in a deep warm up of the body, followed by an hour of Contact 101 Skill learning. We gathered in a circle at the end of class, and 3 or 4 students shared how Contact Improv teaching can often be very philosophical, dreamy, and imaginative; but not giving them the basic understanding that they crave. They found, in my simple and clear teaching that deep and profound 'ahas' occurred--in their bodies and their minds--understanding ricocheting through to many levels of mental and kinesthetic understanding.

This is why I teach! So good to be reminded, and to see learning in action.

Thank you

Nov 29

When that phone rings: Breathe

Posted in present , Practice , Meditation , Healing , Balance , Awareness


Remember to Breathe! Here's a great tip I learned from Thich Nhat Hahn, Zen Monk and teacher extraordinaire: next time your phone rings, instead of answering it right away, take a breath in and out. Then answer your call on your next exhalation. Use your phone ringing as an Awareness reminder. Be Present. Take that moment to breathe, and you may find that you have a little more space to bring to that phone conversation.

Aug 22

Benefits of Regular Massage

Posted in Touch , Session , massage therapy , Massage , Healthcare , Health , Bodywork , Awareness , alignment

Twice in the last week I have had clients comment with excited discovery, how beneficial regular massage is.

Both women, in their 40's and 50's,  came in to see me originally for injuries. The first is a corporate woman turned dog walker with a shoulder injury, the second had a bad back. Both came in to see me last week for the third or fourth time, and remarked at how, now that their injuries are healing, they are experiencing other benefits. 

Coming in regularly, once a week or every other week, has helped them become aware of other body issues before they became difficult to treat. Plus they just feel better overall.

May 06

Energy Healing: A case study

Posted in Thai Yoga Massage , Reiki , massage therapy , Massage , Healthcare , Healing , energywork , Bodywork

Massage Therapy Healing

This painting is from Janet Morgan's Healer Series (, it's hanging just outside the door to my office right now. The serenity and peace in this healer's face, is the perfect image for my clients to to see as they walk out of the studio, after a session. I've been working with energy in my sessions for many years, but one in particular this past year stand out.

One man, who has had trouble sitting for 2 years, comes in for treatment. He is unhappy, not sleeping well, uncomfortable for most of the day. I treat the muscles of his legs and suggest he see a chiropractor, as his legs splay out. He comes back one week later, with a hopeful diagnosis, from the chiropractor. The chiropractor believes it will take a year for him to get better. But with each weekly massage session, this man changes profoundly. His discomfort lessons, his attitude changes, his posture improves, and he comes to the door a friendly upbeat human vs the grumbling man who first came to the door. There is light in his face.

Apr 22

Walking Barefoot in the Woods

Posted in Plantar Fascitis , Movement , massage therapy , Healing , Feet

brook winding through evergreen forestLast June I left New York City for the Berkshires, for 12 days, for a 'leg' of the Somatic Education program that I am in. I was so looking forward to being in the country--to sitting in the sun on my friend Deborah and Davio's deck in between classes, to visiting local nature spots, and to enjoying the light streaming in through the floor to ceiling windows of the dance studios at Earthdance.

It rained almost every day.

 (forest illustration: painting by Heidi Smith:"Spring Runoff in Santa Barbara Forest",

Apr 13

Developmental Movement and German Culture

Posted in Sound , Proprioceptive , Movement , German , Developmental Movement , Berlin

My mother is German, and on a recent visit to me in Brooklyn, we were talking about a law in Berlin that just changed. Before, if children were loud, anyone could call the Police. Imagine! Even laughter, children playing too loudly, were warrant for this call. It was common for pre-schools and Kindergartens to get shut down because of this law. My mother grew up with this law in the 40's, and until 2009, I believe, it stood.

I think children learn through making sounds. What kind of repression or developmental delay, or non-development happens when children are not allowed to make noise? During my Mom's visit, I went to my developmental movement class, and my teacher shared, (unprompted I think, it came up in conversation separate from news of my mom's visit) that when she teaches in Germany, she has to be really careful in the public pools. Here in the US, people have an awareness in the space of the pool. Folks stick to their lanes, and when in the open pool, people have a sense of the space around them. But not in Germany! My teacher explained. In public pools she has to watch out for her safety, and often gets hit. It seems adults there, and this may be a generalization, but its my teacher's experience, do have less of a proprioceptive awareness, of what is outside of their bodies.

I find this incredibly interesting. Is sound expression as children and babies part of what grows our awareness of what is outside of ourselves, and our awareness of where we are in relation to what is outside of our own skin. It makes sense to me. Don't bats use sound to 'see' in the dark...their sound bounces of the walls, giving them information as to where they are in space.

Feb 09

Thoughts on Energywork

Posted in Session , Reiki , massage therapy , Horses , Healing , energywork , Bodywork , Awareness , Animals

I've been doing energywork for over twenty years ( I just thought back to my first class, and realized its been that long, wow.)  It's a part of every session I do and every class that I teach. But I don't always talk about it. Its simply part of how I work. Some people do not understand it, or are unsure that it exists. Even so, it is an important part of every session. When a client brings up the subject, it is always nice for me, to be able to talk openly about energy--discuss it, answer questions about it, etc. 


Hands of Light

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