May Cause Bliss: why You Should Visit the dhyana Center...And Suck Your Thumb More Often!

New Years Eve 2019 and I was meditating on just one thing: Inspiration. Ok, well, maybe there were a few things, but that was the word I chose anyway. And when I ended up at The dhyana Center - an Ayurvedic education center, spa, event space, and apothecary - a few days later to seal that deal with the universe, it’s no coincidence the poster for DeAnna Batdorff’s ‘Subtle Bodywork’ class sparkled at me from on the wall. For those who don’t know me - tell me there’s an energy workshop with a cultivated master and I’m there. 

And while I had no idea what the course would actually consist of, when I saw DeAnna walk in the room, I knew it wouldn’t matter. With her eagle earrings, nod to the Earth, and knowing yet modest smile, she sat embodying total self-trust and presence. Because the gift of a true master of healing - regardless of modality - is in their ability to center the room. To know their knowledge, remain neutral, and let the information flow through and bounce around, even if it comes through a student…that’s a skill that takes cultivation. That’s a skill that empowers, teaches, and therefore heals. THAT is the definition of inspiring. Literally, to be in the spirit of it all.

And let’s not even talk about her love of Ayurveda, knowledge of practices beyond, her generosity in all she has to share, her visible excitement at all the details she’s gathered in over 30 years of practice, and really from all walks of life. Can you tell I enjoyed the course? Ok, good. Because the first thing we learned was a technique for feeling more joy in life. And I’m pretty sure it worked. :)

So here are the goods, because in this class / group healing, we learned techniques anyone can do at home. There were 2: Tibetan Palate Release and Tibetan Cranial Sacral, both taught to DeAnna by former Lama, now UCLA professor Dr. Lapsang.

Tibetan Palate Release: While there’s certainly more to it than you’ll read in this post, I’ll simply share that the palate is the gateway to the 7 chakras. Release tension in your palate, allow room in your life for more joy. Why joy? Because each chakra pulls in universal energy (or love, if you believe in it), and connects to a different glandular system in the body. When the glands are running smoothly, we produce appropriate amounts of hormones like serotonin, melatonin, oxytocin…all related to feelings of health, well-being, and the experience of pleasure. To work on your palate, simply stick your finger on the roof of your mouth and massage. An easy technique is to use your thumb and let the weight of your head just hang. Apply Castor Oil (and even some Cypress EO) for ease of softening deep tissue. What follows is the feeling of euphoria. Try it! And do it often, per DeAnna. The palate opens up pretty easily, you can’t really mess it up, and it might even help with other issues like dental pain and tooth grinding.

Tibetan Cranial Sacral: Well, this one I’m not going to give you a prescription for, because unlike the cranial sacral you may be used to, this one involves a heavier hand. If you look at the model of a skull, you’ll notice we each have plates on our crown, kind of like tectonic plates of the Earth, that shift and move like the Mama herself. Each is related to various energies, organs, and stories in our lives. If you put your hands on your skull, you may be able to feel the various sutures and rifts, and with intention, they will move back into place. In class, DeAnna assessed us all, reading the energy and anatomy of each student, giving tips on how to work on our plates, muscles, and tissues. You could literally see a student’s face re-align as soon as they got on the table with DeAnna. During my own, it released a long-held energy block in my hip and my heart and, well, since I see energy, my face looked like a swirl for hours. 

And while there is SO much more I want to share - from assessing the details of our doshas to the importance of using GuaSha to break up scar tissue in the body - it’s really the essence of being at this place with such a masterful teacher and a shiny group of students that was the true learning. Soaking in the radiance of each human (and one cute curly dog) at the center that DeAnna’s husband so lovingly built felt like coming home. From the drinks and products at her Apothecary Bar to her Self-Care Sanctuary (steam-room, saunas, tubs, and more…free on study days!) to her Ayurvedic Spa (treatments that feel more like going through a worm-hole), DeAnna is a true witch. 

When I commented on her teaching style after class, she teared up, and I have to put all her words here, because they’re just so valuable. She said, “Well, none of these practices belong to me, it’s all old medicine. I pass it to students so they can then pass it along. If I’m going to be witnessed by this many people in service work, it’s almost like a meditation - like how authentic can I get? How real can I be? Because there’s no room for the block of judgement, and no one has to think about judgement if I’m being 100% real about what I do. So the more moment to moment intentional I am, and being right with my truth - because all I’ve got is me, I don’t even have to be right - all I can do is use my voice and say what I feel…it’s the key to me being able to do group healing. Because I’ve noticed that holding a hierarchy becomes an obstruction - because we’re all capable, and it’s about having everyone see their own capacity. So if I get real, then how real can each student get with themselves? And with a client? And from there, you can build long-term relationships. That’s very important to me.”

And to that, I have to say: Thank you, DeAnna, for showing me what true communal leadership looks like… Mind. Blown. Go 2019. Can’t wait to see you back at the center.

For more info on The dhyana Center’s services, events, and upcoming training clinics, please visit: www.dhyanaCenter.com

…originally published on www.SFYogaMag.com