KM: Hey, it’s Kasia May. Today I am here with Kasia Kaminska to talk about emotional recovery through bodywork. Kasia is a very experienced yoga teacher who connects a lot of approaches in her work, including straightly therapeutical ones like Aleksander Lowen’s bioenergetics, Somatic Experiencing by Peter Levine or Body-Mind Centering by Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen. We met last Sunday at a workshop dedicated to the pelvis. Kasia, working with you there was a great experience for me and I am honored to have you here.

KK: Hello, I’m also happy to be here and to be able to talk about my work with you.

KM: I have in my head that talking therapy is still the most popular when we feel we need some help to change something in ourselves, in our lives. You are not a therapist, but the things you offer to people during workshops and classes can support them in self-growth and emotional recovery a lot. How does it work that movement and exercises can help us in healing our emotions? Do you think it is good to do something like that additionally when we are in talking therapy?  

KK: Well, answering the first question it is very important to talk about our body being able to contain emotions. Everything we experience from the very beginning of our lives, even before we were born, is contained by our bodies, and it occurs as different types of tensions in different areas. And what is very important is the work that we do in a very conscious way to release the tension. And through that tension, we are able to detect some emotions stuck in our body. Sometimes it’s pleasure, sometimes it’s pain, sometimes it’s fear. And then to do some other work. So everything we experienced is already written in our bodies, and that’s why it’s good to combine these two approaches, the verbal one and the non-verbal one – the bodywork, because it gives us the ability to first, be conscious in our mind about what we are going through, about the mechanisms that guide us, about our patterns, and then it gives the body the possibility to feel it, to experience it once again. It is very important to know that we don’t give ourselves permission to express ourselves, to react in a way that we need to react. And it is necessary for the body to react not to create this tension. And first, in our childhood, we are being forbidden by our parents to scream, to shout, to kick, to jump, so it’s not only about these hard emotions but also the good emotions – joy, some spontaneous reactions, and then also anger, and fear and all of that. So as adults also we are not really used to express that. And through that bodywork, we are able to experience that once again, so first it’s kind of come back to that time, but we are able to have a perspective of an adult person seeing ourselves what we’ve been not able to do as kids.

KM: So how to work with our bodies to release emotions? What kind of classes, activities we can choose to reach this goal?

KK: Ooo, there are so many of them. I think that the very first thing in this work is intuition. So there are many many different methods starting from yoga, dance, some intuitive moves, Body-Mind Centering, GAGA, a lot of methods. But it is good to start and then to choose the things that we are attracted by actually, the things that we feel good with, the things that really affect us. Because we are very different with very different needs, very different willingness to do something so it is good to give a try to different methods, different classes, different teachers as well with different approaches and then to choose.

KM: Is there something you would like to recommend to people from your own experience?

KK: From my experience, the variety is what I recommend. Like try different things, try new things, also not to get stuck, not to stick to some method to challenge yourself all the time but at the same time to have this safe area you are able to come back and to use it as a way to soothe yourself in the very hard times. So if you need support, if you feel you are going through some harder times, it is good to have this kind of method. For me personally, it was yoga always but that’s my personal story. Maybe it also can change. But then when you feel good, when you want to experience something new, it is very good to experience something completely different than that.

KM: At the workshop, you repeated many times it was necessary to breathe constantly. Even when the position was a bit uncomfortable and it was natural to hold the breath. Why breathing is so important?

KK: Our breath is like a key to our bodies. If we are not in very good contact with our bodies through breathing we can easily feel. And also it is a very safe way to access your body because it’s like a process. You breathe and when your body is ready it goes deeper, and you also have some access to some deeper emotions and states. Because as we cut ourselves off from our bodies which is very necessary and needed at some points when we are going through some very very hard experience and we are not able to contain all the emotions to survive, we need to cut the body off, we are not able to feel that much. So when we are coming back to that feeling or to these feelings and to these states, we can do it through the breath. And that’s why it’s very important. Also in daily life when we are very focused on the outside world, on the work, on the surrounding, through breath it is the easiest and the most accessful way to stay in touch with ourselves. That’s why breathing is essential in this work. And also in this very, let’s say, physiological way, through breathing we can get the impulse to vibrate. Breath itself is a vibration as well. So when we start to break, our body starts to shake, and this kind of shaking, vibrating is the key in many many methods. And as the shaking release the tension we come back to the very first question.

KM: We did exercises with our reflections in the mirror at the workshop. I feel it is something everybody can repeat themselves at home. No instructor needed. But what exactly to do and why it is helpful? I experienced how helpful it was for me, you know. So why and what to do?

KK: The work with the mirror is a very easy way to stay in touch and connect to our body. It is like also one of the ways to build acceptance. So it is helpful because we are able to see ourselves as we really are, our reflection not basing on the image what we have. Also, it is very helpful because we can look in our eyes. It doesn’t happen that often. So we are able to see other people, another person but to give this kind of attention, this kind of tenderness, this kind of presence to ourselves is not very common. That’s why this work is so extremely helpful. And also so moving. People start to cry. Sometimes it is unbearable to see ourselves for more than two seconds, you know, just to fix the makeup or whatever. So we don’t need the instructor here but this work can be very moving and very deep as well. So I would not recommend it to people that are going through some very hard time because it can deepen some states and probably it would be good to cooperate with a therapist doing that.

KM: It is good advice…

KK: Yeah, actually, it is very important to remember that working with our body should be maybe not always with a therapist – but always in contact with some therapist. It should be done that way because also depending on what we are working at and on our personal experience and our personal stories and all the subjects but it should be moving, it should touch some hard stuff but also we should not be left alone with what we are facing. We need support in that work. And it is – as every other therapeutical work – should be supervised by someone. So I would not recommend anyone to do some very deep exercises, even yoga exercises which are pretty safe, which are probably the safest in this emotional way. It should be always done with someone who knows what we are doing.

KM: I’d like to share something. We talked about breath and I realized I am very uptight here. I started breathing deeper and now I feel better and I feel our talk is flowing better. We have better contact and we are even laughing a bit. And you know, I told you before we started, this is my first time when I have an interview with someone so a big thing for me. And breathing is a key. Now I know it.

KK: Yeah, definitely. It’s also a key when we are in a relation, even if it is a very short relation like we just met and talk and give ourselves this presence here. It is very important to stay in touch with yourself as well as being with the other person.

KM: And now when I am in touch with myself and we have a flow here this is the time to end this interview…

KK: Yes, as always.

KM: So the last question is what would you say or maybe advice to a person who just starts some bodywork in order to support self-growth or emotional recovery? You said about having a therapist, someone who can support the process but maybe there is something else you could advise.  

KK: Actually, I think it is very good not to expect much, to give ourselves time and space to feel whatever we feel, to go as slow as we need, to not rush, not want to solve something because in this process the harder part is just to let go, to let your head be like one of the parts of the body, totally equal. And just leaving the control and just stay in what you are and not really expect much. The slower, the better – that’s good advice. Not to tense in order to relax.

KM: I like it ‘the slower, the better’. Ok. thank you so much. You shared so many things! What you shared was interesting and helpful a lot to me and I am sure many of people who will listen to our talk. Thank you for sharing your time, experience and knowledge with all of us.  And thank you, everybody, who is listening to us now. We both (two Kasia’s) wish you good work with your body. If you live in Wrocław, check Kasia’s yoga classes and workshops – here .

KK: Bye!

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