The Side Body Squeeze
A few years ago, pre-doga, I was listening to a story on NPR about an autistic woman who discovered that hugging or gentle squeezing was very calming to her hyper-sensitive nervous system. She actually built a squeezing machine to gently squeeze her entire body. The squeezing machine seemed to have a soothing effect on her super sensitive nerve endings.
I must have filed the information from the story in the area of my brain that's marked "someday could be useful" because I recalled the squeezing machine story at the oddest time...years later in a one on one doga session .
I was teaching a young, energetic and dominant dog and her human one afternoon. The dog wasn't settling down and I was pulling all the calming tricks out of my doga magic hat, but nothing was working. Then, the "someday might be useful file" opened up and lit the idea light bulb above my head (ding!).
Here's what I was inspired to instruct the dogi's "mom" to do:
I had the her place her hands wide, full palm and fingers, on either side of the dogi's shoulders and firmly, gently and confidently squeeze inward (not too hard)...move a few inches down the side body and squeeze again...move a few inches, and again....all the way to the hips. She did this while breathing consciously,calmly and deeply. And guess what? It totally worked!
I used "the squeeze" again in another class with more yogis and dogis and later had a student share with me that she used it on her dog out of class as an effective calming tool in a stressful situation.
So wherever the squeezing machine lady is today, I thank her for being the inspiration for The Side Body Squeeze. Let me know how it works on your own dogi!
P.S. Remember with any calming tool we use, our own intention and calm energy is very important in the success of soothing our keenly observant and sensitive dogis.
Breathe and be confident.