We all take medicine to cure our illnesses, ease our aches and make us feel better overall, right? But, what about the pain of a broken heart or the sometimes overwhelming stress of everyday life? There’s no pill you can take to make those things better and it’s often that emotional pain that’s the most detrimental.
That’s where Energy Medicine comes in. We know what you’re thinking: this sounds like some new-agey, hippie kind of thing and Lauren Walker, the author of “Energy Medicine Yoga,” couldn’t agree with you more. Hoping to break through the preconceived notions, she has developed a “nuts and bolts” practice using science-based explanations about energy to help heal even the biggest non-believers.
“I’m not a ‘woo woo’ kind of teacher,” Walker tells 24Life. “I never talk about sprouting hearts through your toes or things like that. You’ll go to yoga classes where they’re telling you to feel the love and I’m like, ‘I’m not feeling the love; I’m in a class with 40 other sweaty people.’ But, when you start to talk to people about what energy actually is and how it works in our bodies, then it opens you up. With my work you learn specific ways to open up the energy paths, and it’s very mechanistic. I teach the science behind the idea that we’re all one. That gives people something to anchor into.”
Like many yogis, Walker was seeking that calming and healing nature of the practice and eventually became a yoga and meditation teacher in 1997. After a personal trauma, she gave up teaching for almost a decade, until she discovered Energy Medicine, taught by Donna Eden. Walker threw herself fully into learning the techniques and found her life transformed and her pain healed. She was inspired to incorporate it into her yoga practice and wanted to spread the word.
“I started doing some of Donna’s techniques and working with my own trauma and found they were incredibly powerful,” Walker explains. “Then I started teaching yoga again at Norwich University, the oldest private military college in the country, and worked on healing students suffering from PTSD with this Energy Medicine and yoga combo. The results and feedback from these people who thought yoga was only stretching was incredible.”
She has since written the book “Energy Medicine Yoga: Amplify the Healing Power of Your Yoga Practice” and teaches classes all over the world, helping people heal from both physical and emotional suffering. Her practical approach to the big idea of energy shifts makes the practice digestible for everyone.
EM Yoga incorporates multiple energy systems that are central to non-Western healing practices, including nine “chakras” or energy centers, the 12 organ meridians from traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), and auras. “I’ve woven together all of my yogi experiences and then added on this layer,” says Walker of her unique practice. “You can use the Energy Medicine techniques outside of yoga, but that’s my background so I’ve woven it in. We are just increasing the power of a yoga pose. It’s like you have chocolate and peanut butter, which are great apart, but when you put them together it’s like wow what a great combo! And it doesn’t take any more time to eat a peanut butter cup than it does to eat a piece of chocolate.”
At first, a lot of it will look like a traditional yoga practice; you’ll be doing many of the same poses and using the same gear. For example, a head to knee forward bend has all the benefits of bending, calming and relaxing. But in Walker’s Energy Medicine Yoga practice you take that same pose and hold on to certain points of your feet to activate the spleen meridian, which is one of the most important in the body, according to Walker.
The immediate benefits are more clarity, more energy, more calm and stability, says Walker, while long-term results include improved immunity, healed chronic pain and more. In fact, she tells the story about a three-hour workshop she was hosting in L.A. where a woman came up to her afterwards and said she had a chronic pain/injury that no one has been able to touch. It was gone after the workshop.
“One-arm handstands are great, but it doesn’t always move you farther along your path of who you’re supposed to be and we all have these layers of healing to do”
“I hear stories like that over and over again,” reveals Walker. “Yoga really is a healing practice, but it’s not always taught that way. It’s taught more often as a get-fit practice and people are looking for that healing nature of it. When people do my practice, they start to see relationships shift, relationships to themselves shift and things that have plagued them for years shift.
So, who exactly can or should do Energy Medicine Yoga? “Everybody!” Walker exclaims. “I’ve worked with cancer patients, lawyers, overweight people and my five-year-old niece. There are no limitations.” Whether in a group setting or practicing on your own, Walker says even just five minutes a day can lead to a personal breakthrough. “Classes are great because all of our energies come together and intermingle. It’s like a symphony,” she notes. “But your biggest transformation comes from your own personal practice. Come to classes, come to workshops and jump-start your personal practice.”
Lauren Walker says Energy Medicine Yoga is helpful especially during the hectic highs — and lows — of the holiday season. “If you want to dramatically change what’s going on for you energetically, then do the ‘Wake Up’ exercise. Make yourself a 31-day commitment to do it. Just that [one exercise] is transformational.”
HAVE YOUR OWN HEALING BREAKTHROUGH IN FIVE EASY STEPS:
- Press your first two fingers and thumb together, and thump with pressure, or massage if that’s more comfortable, along the slight hollows at the ends of your collarbones while breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth.
- Then drum or massage the center of your sternum, about three inches below your collarbones.
- Next drum along the sides of the breast about four inches down from your armpits in a triangular shape along the ribcage.
Lightly drum the cheekbones below the center of the eyes.
- Lastly, do a “Cross Crawl.” Lift your left leg and lightly hit it with your left hand. Then do the same thing the same on the right-hand side with the same-side leg and hand together in a march-like action. Repeat 10 to 12 times.
- Then brush your hands together like you’re dusting them off. March again, but this time use opposite hand and knee, raising your arms if possible. Repeat 12 times, all while inhaling through the nose and exhaling through the mouth.