Bigger Hands

Dear Woman, Sometimes, you’ll just be too

Soon, you may notice a new look to some of my printed and online materials. I’ve been working with designer/branding coach Virginia Mizuno to give everything I communicate a more professional and integrated look. This process has been quite surprising. In the SEED meditation training, we have a saying, “How you do one thing is how you do everything,” meaning the issues that come up during meditation or that keep you from meditating are the exact same issues that hold you back in your life. Well, that can also apply to what you think is going to be a simple, cut and dried business process such as redesigning your marketing materials…

Up until now, I’ve been doing most of the designing myself, and been pretty satisfied with my work. What Virginia brought to the equation is a lighter, airier look. When looking through her eyes, there is admittedly a certain “heaviness” or highly structured look to my designs. This reflects the way I approach most things in my life. I tend to be pretty serious, organized, persistent, and strucutred. Well, I thought, why not try a different look? What’s the harm?

After my first re-design session, I drove home in an energized and slightly agitated state. Hmmm…what’s this about? Thinking back, I realized that my earliest beliefs center around protecting and to some degree hiding my femininity. I used to think there were battle lines drawn in my family between the boys and the girls, and with four older brothers, my mother and I seemed grossly outnumbered, even after my little sister came along.

My father especially failed to cherish my femininity. Going back another generation, I can see that his childhood gender equation was the exact opposite of mine – many older sisters who were perhaps not the most respectful of his masculinity.

My father’s emotional attacks could come at any time, and I didn’t feel I could mount any defense or expect support from other family members. I depended on my own internal logic, stability and heavy freeze defenses to survive. Any lightness or unnecessary vulnerability on my part courted disaster, so I leaned to maximize the masculine qualities and leave the femnine to my girlfriends.

Lately, I have come to understand that every human being has both masculine and feminine qualities, and full integration requires the safety to express and accept both sides. We are slowly learning as a society that the actual physical gender assumed by our physical bodies is only one point on a continuum, and we have squandered generations of potential by trying to force each unique individual into rigid boxes of male or female, often with disastrous consequences. As more celebrities and others come “out of the closet” or are exposed by scandal, we learn to bring forth and accept these hidden parts of ourselves as well. We owe these individuals a great deal, whether their example has been conscious or not, as it serves as accelerators for the release of generations and lifetimes of toxic shame and limitation. If we choose to learn from these events and apply them to our own internal processes, that is.

As I delve into freeing up my feminine vulnerability and creativity, I find that a certain masculine decisiveness and action-ability are also coming into maturity. It’s an emotional mini-rollercoaster, but I find I’m enjoying the ride more and more!

This process of self-discovery and liberation is at the core of the work I do with clients as well. Most physical dysfunction can be seen as a result of trying to freeze or encapsulate “unacceptable” energies within our bodies. As a craniosacral therapist, yoga teacher, or meditation leader, I serve as a facilitator of the battle between the parts of the self that have been restrained and the part that has been critical and restraining. Just by getting a more loving dialogue going between these parts, true healing can begin. At times, the outcome is nothing short of miraculous. This is what keeps me going, at work with you and at home inside myself.

Just as I was posting this blog entry, I saw the poem above in my FaceBook news feed that seems appropriately related, and added a background to suit my new esthetic. Not specifically father-daughter or societal, but we know that ALL relationships attempt to fulfill the same needs, don’t we?

Here’s wishing you “bigger hands” in all of your significant others, and yourself,

Joy Signature


Centered n the Tao


Wellness Yoga Week 1 – Principles for Practice

Yoga pose yin yang chiToday was the first class in our Wellness Yoga series at the Church of the Red Rocks in Sedona Wednesday mornings at 7:30am. What a wonderful class of Goddess beings! Thank you for starting your day with me this morning. We started slow and steady, and my goal for you is to build on that foundation to expand our range of motion, both individually and as a group, increasing the flow of prana through our bodies and spirits. Some reminders for the coming week are listed below. Even if you were not in the inaugural class, you can work with these principles in your daily life:

How you do one thing is how you do everything. As you go about your day, reflect on your approach to movement and sensation. Are you allowing yourself to enjoy each moment? Are you slowing down to feel your body as you move, enjoying the journey and not just the destination?

Mindfulness is focusing your attention on your emotions, thoughts and sensations in the present moment, accepting and not judging your experience. Where do you tend to focus your attention thoughout the day? If your attention was a pizza, for example, with slices labeled “past,” “present” and “future,” which kind of slice would be the largest? If you said “past,” chances are you tend to feel sad or depressed. If you said “future,” you may tend toward anxiety or worry. The bigger your slice of “present” pizza, the more you will experience peace and joy in your life! What kind of pizza do you want to have?

The purpose of yoga postures is not just to mechanically stretch or strengthen the body, but to open the energy channnels and let the prana or chi flow. This flow is what enhances our circulation, induces healing, and reduces inflammation and stagnation. Yoga practice also brings to light thought patterns and attitudes lurking just below the conscious level that influence how we see the world and determine our experiences. With every pose, pause to observe the flow of chi in your body, and changes in the flow of conscious thought as a result of the physical challenge of each pose. This is the healing power of yoga on all levels – body, mind and spirit!

Please comment below to let me know how you are doing with the practice, and also share any questions or concerns you may have. I love hearing from you, and I love to incorporate your questions and insights into future classes.

Joy Signature


Rise and Shine Yoga Class at Unity of Sedona

Sedona Yoga Class

Rise and Shine Yoga class for Everyone

Tuesdays 7:30-8:30
Unity of Sedona, 65 Deer Trail Drive, Sedona

This class is suitable for EVERYONE – therapeutic yoga is those who are dealing with a health challenge currently, and those who just want to stay well. The class combines simple yoga poses, breathing exercises, and deep relaxation to increase flexibility, circulation, and overall well-being. A great way to begin your day. Open to all. By donation.


Avoiding Shoulder Surgery

12987358_sA torn rotator cuff occurs when the small muscles that hold the shoulder joint together tear. Traditional medical treatment starts with putting the arm in a sling and taking painkiller or muscle relaxer drugs. This “conservative” treatment often fails, leading to trials of corticosteroid injections and finally, surgery. It can take a year or more to fully recover from rotator cuff surgery and resume normal activities. In my practice, I have worked with people years after rotator cuff surgery who do not have full and complete range of motion in the affected should joint.

It is difficult to let the shoulder joint rest completely. In addition to the many activities we use our arms for, the weight of the arm is constantly pulling on the shoulder joint when standing or sitting, and we put weight on our shoulders when sleeping on our sides. It’s a very busy joint!

I was very interested to learn about a very effective exercise program put together by doctors at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Called the “MOON” program (Multicenter Orthopedic Outcome Network), it combines range of motion, flexibility, and strengthening exercise. When performed properly and regularly, this program is 85% effective at avoiding surgery, based on a trial of 452 patients with rotator cuff tears. Although recommended for use with supervision by a physical therapist, you can download the entire program (booklet and video) at

Most of my clients are very hesitant to seek surgical solutions for injuries or problems. If you have been diagnosed with a rotator cuff injury, I recommend looking in to this exercise program, and at the same time, getting some good bodywork or yoga therapy to examine the holding patterns in your body-mind that have lead to this particular area of the body being vulnerable. The two together make a very strong non-surgical alternative that is worth investigating.


Door Latch


Introduction to CranioSacral Therapy

Introduction to CranioSacral Therapy – April 4-5, 2014

Presented by the Upledger Institute and Joy Pamela Nanda, PhD, CST
12 CE Units – Tuition $250.00

Dr John Upledger performing CranioSacral Therapy

Dr. Upledger Treating (photo courtesy Upledger Institute)

Here is your opportunity to sample The Upledger Institute’s CranioSacral Therapy I (CST) workshop studied by more than 100,000 healthcare practitioners worldwide. This twelve-hour program is a mix of lecture, demonstration and hands-on practice designed to teach you the benefits of CST along with some basic techniques you can use in practice and for your own health.

CranioSacral Therapy is a gentle, hands-on method of evaluating and enhancing the function of the craniosacral system — the physiological body system comprised of the membranes and cerebrospinal fluid that surround and protect the brain and spinal cord. Developed by John E. Upledger, DO, OMM, CranioSacral Therapy enhances the body’s natural healing processes to improve the operation of the central nervous system, dissipate the negative effects of stress, enhance health and strengthen resistance to disease.

Among the medical conditions for which CranioSacral Therapy has shown to be effective are:

  • Migraine Headaches
  • Chronic Neck and Back Pain
  • Motor-Coordination Impairments
  • Central Nervous System Disorders
  • Orthopedic Problems
  • Scoliosis
  • Infantile Disorders
  • Autism
  • Learning Disabilities
  • Post-Surgical Dysfunctions
  • Traumatic Brain and Spinal Cord Injury
  • Emotional Difficulties
  • Stress and Tension-Related Problems
  • Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction
  • Chronic Fatigue
  • Neurovascular or Immune Disorders
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Fibromyalgia and other Connective Tissue Disorders

Course Outline:

Day 1:

9:00 – 10:00 Introduction, History and Concept
10:00 – 11:00 Palpation Lecture/Exercise
11:00 – 11:15 Break
11:15 – 12:30 Listening Stations Lecture, Demo, Hands-On Practice
12:30 – 1:30 Lunch
1:30 – 2:30 Fascia Lecture
2:30 – 2:45 Break
2:45 – 5:00 Diaphragm Lecture, Demo, Hands-On Practice

Day 2:

9:00 – 9:45 Sacral Techniques Lecture, Demo, Hands-On Practice
9:45 – 10:45 Dural Tube Rock/Glide Lecture, Demo, Hands-On Practice
10:45 – 11:00 Break
11:00 – 11:45 V-Spread Lecture, Demo, Hands-On Practice
11:45 – 12:30 Stillpoint Lecture, Demo, Hands-On Practice
12:30 – 1:30 Lunch
1:30 – 2:45 Review Demo Two Day’s Techniques, Hands-On Practice
2:45 – 3:00 Closure, CranioSacral Therapy I and The Upledger Institute, Inc. information

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