A leading teacher in the Garrison Institute’s Contemplative-Based Resilience program, Gayla Stiles teaches mindful practices for resilience and healing. Gayla joined her husband and fellow wellness practitioner, Aaron Stiles, to lead an embodied movement practice designed to transform stress into vitality.
Identifying tools that help us move from a place of stress and anxiety into a space of resilience and balance is essential for navigating the uncertainty before us, between us, and within us. For many, stress may manifest as physical, emotional, or social challenges that live in our bodies and charge our living environments. While we are learning to face ourselves and support our loved ones in very intimate ways, we may discover these times may be both testing and rewarding.
In this session, Gayla and Aaron led us through mindful movement and self-massage practices that are rooted in the Taoist teachings of Mantak Chia and Chinese Medicine. The practices soothe the nervous system, support immune and respiratory function, promote sleep, and aid with the circulation of the body so that we can connect with ourselves, access our innate resilience, and respond from a place of abundance and grace.
The three gentle, supportive exercises and forms of compassionate touch that Gayla and Aaron shared in this webinar are applicable for all ages and experience levels and can be engaged in as a joint or solo practice. They are flexible and can be broken up, played with, and used throughout the day. In any moment, Gayla and Aaron encourage us to pause, reflect, and consider what tool might benefit us and allow us to be our most loving selves. As Gayla says:
“Any tool can be the right tool. Sometimes I need to rub my heart because I feel a tightness in my chest… there are times when the practice of being present and laughing with my kid or turning on music and dancing like nobody’s watching is the right practice. It comes from this place of embodiment, reflection, and then action. What is my need, what is accessible to me, how can I imagine myself doing it in this environment, and then trying.”
With an integrated view of body, mind, and spirit, Gayla and Aaron emphasize that there is no right or wrong way to practice. The key is showing up, being attentive to oneself, and integrating compassionate practice into our daily lives.
To learn more, visit Gayla and Aaron’s wellness practice The Breathing Tree.
Aaron Stiles, M.S., L.Ac., L.M.T. is licensed by New York State to practice Acupuncture and its affiliated Chinese medical disciplines. For many years, he has practiced Chinese internal martial arts and is a Ba Gua Zhang Senior Instructor, a Xing Yi Quan Associate Instructor, a Universal Healing Tao Associate Instructor, a UHT Chi Nei Tsang I & II Practitioner, and a UHT Chi Nei Tsang I & II Teacher. Aaron did his core energetic training in Zero Balancing, Cranio-Sacral Therapy, and Biodynamic Cranio-Sacral Therapy. He has taught on faculty at the Swedish Institute College of Health Sciences and at Pacific College of Oriental Medicine.
Gayla Marie Stiles, M.S., L.Ac. is licensed by New York State to practice Acupuncture and its affiliated Chinese medical disciplines. She has training in the Tao of nutrition and Craniosacral Therapy and is certified to practice Chi Nei Tsang. For over 10 years, she has worked internationally with the Garrison Institute bringing Taoist Yoga, Qigong, and mindful movement to survivors of trauma. Gayla has also worked as an Acupuncture Clinician in New York Presbyterian’s pediatric and adult oncology departments and is currently an Acupuncturist in the FIT student health clinic, where she treats a wide variety of concerns in the student population.
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