Throughout our AYM technique trainings, we try to help our students to develop into discerning, intuitive practitioners, who love what they do. AYM practitioners use their understanding of AYM to work on their bodies and minds too, and they use their understanding of their own bodies and minds to inform their AYM treatments.
How AYM training can help us understand the body-mind connection better
Giving and receiving AYM is a brilliant way to improve our understanding of bodies and minds, including our own. AYM is unique in that it includes oil massage, tractions, mobilisations, stretches, working with the breath, and working with the mind, as appropriate for the client. We observe the body, mind, energy and breath closely, and we start seeing interconnections.
- We connect with the client, and we try to understand where they are at on the day, how they are feeling, and what they would like to gain from their treatment.
- When we give an oil massage, we feel the quality of the soft tissues, and how they respond to touch, and to pressure.
- When we offer assisted stretches, tractions and mobilisations we start observing how bodies move, how they respond to movement, and we can connect that with the quality of the tissues. These movements also make it easy to observe when the body is soft and relaxed, or when parts of the body are “holding”.
- We can see if the client can release areas of tension either through the massage, or through the movements, or consciously when they become aware of their holding patterns.
- We can feel whether limitations to mobility come from the shape of the joints, or because of soft tissue tightness (hypertonic soft tissues), or because of nerve sensitivity (e.g. neuropathic pain).
- We can observe how the client’s energy, ability to relax and breathing change during the course of the treatment, and give the appropriate instructions, or use appropriate techniques to help bring more ease.
So we really want to use all the techniques that we are learning, already from Level 1, to help us understand the client and start putting a picture together. We then use this understanding to think critically. When will each technique be useful for our clients? How do we need to adjust techniques for different clients? What does each client need from their session? How can we use each technique to understand the client better? When will each technique not be helpful for our client?
How is the AYM approach similar to yoga?
Like in a yoga practice, throughout each AYM session we are trying to encourage mindfulness, centeredness, equanimity and ease of breath, both for ourselves and for our client. So we become tuned in to how we ourselves, and other people feel, how we/they breathe, where we hold any tension, how much of it we can release by relaxing, and where massage (and yoga/other therapies) can come in and help with bringing further softness, awareness, freedom of movement and ease of breath.
How do we make sure our training is well suited to students with different backgrounds?
Our training courses are suitable for beginners, but also as a specialisation for therapists trained in other modalities and as CPD for yoga teachers. Everyone comes to trainings addressed to adults with different skills, different learning styles, life experience.. It is nearly impossible to find two people who have similar backgrounds, knowledge, learning styles and life experiences. So our trainings are always small, with a maximum of 8 students. We tailor the style of teaching and pace of the training to the group, and we make sure that everyone has some food for thought, and all students have the opportunity to learn from each other’s unique experience and backgrounds. Every student is also a case study for our trainings, so we learn from using the techniques to work on our wellness during the trainings. So therapists come out of the trainings having experienced the AYM themselves as a client too, and thus being as well prepared as possible to understand their clients.
We make sure we communicate with each student in a way that makes sense to them, based on their previous experience and understanding of the body and mind. So different people might take slightly different things from our trainings, but everyone will learn to offer an amazingly effective treatment, and everyone will make considerable progress during their training, both as concerns their learning of the technique, and their understanding of their own body.
How is the training structured?
The theory part of the AYM technique training is taught online before and after the practical part of the training. So we can use as much of the time that we have together in the classroom as possible for practical technique training, which is not as effective to teach online. The online parts of the training help to make the training easier to attend, as students can attend at their own convenience, and also help to make the training better value.
At the end of the practical training, students receive one year of free access to videos covering the whole of their training, theory and practical, so they can have more, supported practice at home at the end of their training. We don’t expect students to memorise the techniques during the training. Memorising things takes a lot of practice for most of us! Rather, we focus on developing students’ understanding of the techniques and critical thinking enough, so that when they go away and practice, if they don’t remember something they can watch the videos, and the videos will make sense to them. Students can also join two online mentorship meetings via videocall, so they can ask any questions, or practise any techniques that they have questions about, and get live feedback. From our side, this is a good way to keep track of students’ progress when they start practising.
We also offer an ongoing, low cost weekly mentorship programme via videocall, with two different times available every week to suit all students. So our graduates can have as much support from us as they like in-between the practical parts of their training, and for as long as they find it useful afterwards.
The regular mentorship sessions, trainings and keeping in touch with our active community of therapists through online forums and real life socials and publicity events, are all parts of our commitment to helping our students succeed as therapists. We use our experience of working with hundreds of students to guide our graduates in overcoming any obstacles, and we like to celebrate successes together. We all do better as part of a supportive community of practice, and we believe that it’s a better way to do things. Besides, our mission is to help more people benefit from AYM treatments. What better way is there to achieve that than being there to support our graduates?