Winter Solstice Reflections and 2019 Healing Retreat to Peru

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Winter Solstice Reflections and 2019 Healing Retreat to Peru

I hope this finds you well. As we rapidly approach the winter solstice this week (December 21st), nature offers us an opportunity to take a deeper look at the inner layers of our being. The winter solstice marks a sacred time in the seasonal cycle; it is the longest night of the year and offers us many symbolic and earthly blessings. For centuries, indigenous societies have revered this poignant turning point. Rituals were practiced, and in places like the high Andes of Peru, sacred temples were constructed in perfect alignment with the rising and setting sun, or other celestial bodies.

Winter lends itself to inner well-being and balance. Self-care becomes paramount, as we are given nippy nudges to promote nurturing activities, eat warming foods, and quiet down the buzz of life. We are reminded of the importance of parasympathetic nervous system regulation. This is the part of the autonomic nervous system that supports the “rest and digest” function, therefore aiding in relaxation, self-care, and relational connectivity. To learn more about relaxation and the nervous system, view my last blog post to read a presentation by polyvagal theory expert, Stephen Porges, Ph.D. Presented at Pacifica Graduate Institute, November 2018.

This time of year, our coats become literally and symbolically thicker, as we protect ourselves from both the elements, and from the negative thought patterns that often accompany darkness. One can imagine how important fire was back in the days of old, when people huddled together by warm hearths, preparing hot stews for life-saving nourishment. Moving into present time, most of us reading this newsletter are lucky enough to have food on the table and heaters in our homes. And yet even with our basic needs met, darkness may still penetrate the emotional and psychological field. When this happens, the lighter aspects of the self need additional tending. For a quick tip article on self care, click here.

Right now can be a sacred time to pause in quiet reflection, slow down, and find your own proverbial nest of light and warmth. Give yourself nurturing through healthy activities and nutritious foods. Visit a beautiful site in nature, book a massage, or take a yoga class. If darkness has a bit of a hold on you, being present with sensations in the body for just minutes a day can help clear negative emotions.

And lastly, accepting nature’s law of impermanence can lend much comfort during times of stress, grief, pain, and limitation. As the short days begin to stretch open with each beautiful sunrise, we are given the opportunity to experience the transience of darkness. And no matter how much that darkness feels all-encompassing, we can always make a choice to move forward and towards the light.

Healing Retreat to the Peruvian Andes
June 27th-July 4th, 2019
with Romi Cumes LMFT, CMT

 

Join me this June for a special travel opportunity that will guide retreat-goers through Cusco, Machu Picchu, and the Sacred Valley of Peru. For the last twenty years, Peru has been like a second home to me, and is where my mother Carol created one of the most beautiful retreat centers in South America, Willka T’ika. I have been leading yoga a cultural retreats to Peru since 2014 and am excited to facilitate the next journey this June. Located in one of the most stunning places on earth, the beauty of Pachamama (mother earth in Quechua) radiates throughout Willka T’ika’s grounds. From the hand-crafted guestroom design, to the breathtaking Chakra Gardens, organic vegetarian farm-to-table meals, Andean ceremonial spaces and devoted service by the local Quechuan staff, WillkaT’ika is a model of authentic artistry and sustainability.

Below you’ll find a brief overview of what we have to offer. For additional information, contact Romi

Retreat Overview

• Total Days: 8 days / 7 nights
• 2 days and 1 night in Cusco
• 1 day at Machu Picchu
• 5 days, 6 nights at Willka T’ika
• 7 days guided service
• Quality buses and tourist train
• Guided tour and enjoyment of the Seven Chakra Gardens
• Gourmet vegetarian meals
• Daily Movement and Meditation
• Authentic Andean offering and fire ceremony with Q’ero Pakko healer
• Visit to an Andean Mountain School (Willka T’ika Children’s Fund)
• Hiking the P’isaq ruins, ceremony, and shopping in the famous market
• Visit to Urubamba’s authentic market, Seminario Pottery Studio, and alpaca factory store

Total Cost Excluding Airfare: $3000

• $100 off if you register with deposit by February 1st, 2019
• $750 additional supplement for single-room accommodations

Peru 2014 from Romi on Vimeo.

Happy Holidays,

-Romi

 

(Upcoming Workshop) True Self Exploration: Introduction to Somatic and Relational Psychology

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True Self Exploration: An Introduction to Somatic and Relational Psychology; Tools for Empowerment & Growth

Sunday March 19, 1:00 – 3:00pm

Location: Santa Barbara Yoga Center. 32 East Micheltorena St.

Cost: $45 

Somatic Psychology is the study of the lived experience of the body as it pertains to psychological exploration. Somatic and relationally-based awareness practices can support us to elucidate innate body wisdom, while uncovering valuable insight about emotional processes. Similar to yoga, such practices assist us to ease protective or adaptive mechanisms, often manifested as body armor, tightness, pain, and emotional distress. These techniques are distinct from specific yoga and cognitive therapies however, in that there is no pre-planned asana or scripted protocols.This workshop will assist you to get in touch with your most authentic state of being. From a place of somatic authenticity, we become more present, and can therefore show up in the world in a more peaceful and powerful way. This workshop will offer both a lecture, and experiential exercises to support participants to tap in to innate body wisdom. We will also work with a few basic yoga postures to explore how somatic awareness is inextricably linked to yoga and other mindfulness practices.

Other elements of this workshop:

-Review of Polyvagal Theory (evolutionary stress response, social communication, self soothing behavior)
-Tools for interpersonal connectedness
-Utilizing somatic awareness in your yoga and mindfulness practices
-Partner exercises exploring nervous system response
-Relaxation/Guided mindfulness practices

Romi Cumes MA, MFTI, LMT, is the founder of Transformative Healing Arts, which offers counseling, yoga instruction, bodywork, performance art, workshops, and international retreats. She received a masters in clinical psychology, with an emphasis on somatic psychology from the Santa Barbara Graduate Institute and The Chicago School of Professional Psychology; and completed advanced training via the Three Fold Way program in Southern California. Romi is currently a psychotherapist part-time at Hospice of Santa Barbara and is completing hours towards a California M.F.T. license. Romi has been a certified yoga instructor since 1998 and a massage therapist since 2001.

www.RomiCumes.com

Facebook Page: Transformative Healing Arts

Instagram: @romicumes

 

(Video) Five Poses a Day with Romi: Yoga for Inner Balance

Five Poses A Day: Yoga for Inner Balance

This video was filmed in the wilderness in the Okavango Delta, Botswana. Utilize these postures to feel more present with yourself and create a feeling of inner balance and calm. This sequence can be completed in fifteen to twenty minutes. Or, add a few of your favorite poses or take some extra breaths in each posture to create a longer practice.

To stay in touch with us about Romi’s upcoming 2018 Yoga Safari in the Okavango Delta, email us at romicumes@gmail.com or call (805) 448-4111

Five Poses a Day with Romi: Yoga for Centering from Romi on Vimeo.

Five Poses a Day with Romi: Centering

Five Poses a Day, September Sequence

Happy Friday!

I have many clients and friends that want to start practicing yoga, meditating, or exercising more, but find the process daunting or unapproachable. Even though I have been practicing and teaching yoga for many years, I can relate and often find it challenging to simply get on the mat. One thing I find extremely helpful with this yoga/exercise quandary, is to simply commit to five postures. That’s right FIVE POSTURES or simple exercises. We can all make time to do five poses and by setting the intention to just do five, we usually end up wanting more and extending the practice. Doing five poses a day is not overwhelming and only takes fifteen to twenty five minutes, depending on how fast you work through the sequence and how many variations you add.

Today is a new moon and a new time to commit to taking care of your body, mind, and spirit. Here’s a sequence that can help you jump start your day and motivate your self-care practice.

plank-1

Pose 1: PLANK 10-20 breaths if done without variations. With variations, 5-10 breaths each

(Variation 1 and 2 Pictured below)

plank-2

plank-3

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Additional Pose/Rest: Child’s Pose or Wide Knee Child’s Pose

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POSE 2: Low Lunge with Rhomboid Squeeze

5-10 breaths holding lunge. 10-20 shoulder/rhomboid squeeze reps (pulse and squeeze shoulder blades together behind you, keeping hands active)

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Variation 1: Gentle twisting low lunge (left arm not visible in photo and can reach above head to activate psoas/hip flexor stretch)

side-bend-1Pose 3: Side Stretch with Hip Opener; keep feet and arms active (both sides, 5-15 breaths)

Variation 1: Side Stretch with Hip Opener and Neck Release

side-bend-2

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Pose 4: Knee to Chest (both sides, 5-15 breaths)

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Pose 5: Spinal Twist (both sides, 5-15 breaths)

 

Have a beautiful day!

-Romi

 

 

 

 

 

 

September Santa Barbara Dance Tribe Music Set by DJ Romi

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Greetings,

The Santa Barbara Dance Tribe community really threw down a few Sundays ago and I wanted to share my mix from the event. This playlist follows different themes of movement to evoke various somatic expressions. It starts slow and flowing, builds up for wild expression, and then drops back down again.

Enjoy and Happy (almost) Autumn Equinox, Jewish New Year and whatever else you are celebrating right now

~ Romi

Dance Tribe September Set by Romij on Mixcloud

The Magic of You

Sedona, Santa Barbara Healing, Myofascial Release Southern California, Healing, Connective Tissue, Romi Cumes, Healer, healing Santa Barbara, Cranial Sacral, Mind-Body, Fractals, Consciosness, Interconnected, Spiritual Healing

Happy New Moon in Aries and Spring Equinox from Sedona!

Today marks a special phase in our seasonal cycle, as we celebrate a full solar eclipse (was visible this morning in parts of Europe) and the beginning of Spring. This is a day to welcome new growth and transformation and say goodbye to the colder, more binding aspects of the self. During this magical phase, it is a good idea to spend quality time on the land and take in the aromas and sounds of the plant and animal kingdom. As you walk or meditate outdoors, soften your eyes and with practice, you will be able to see the soft outer layer of vibrational energy surrounding the landscape and all living things. This is life force energy and is what we are all composed of. Its essence is high-octane, juicy, energetic, invigorating, and alive.

As humans, we have endured and continue to endure challenging circumstances that take a toll on mind-body-spirit. Such traumas may be pre/post natal, developmental, accident-related, or inflicted by others, and each incidence reaps havoc on the body’s vitality and systems (muscular, respiratory, nervous, emotional, endocrine etc.)  The beautiful matrix of energy that we are composed of, that surrounds us, and that connects us with all living things can become disrupted like an beautiful spider web torn by a wind-swept branch. Repair of our inner web is needed.

sedona low resMetaphorically speaking, this web houses the unseen: emotions, memories, intellect, and mental pathways. Within the physical plane of existence, this web is tangible and wraps around every living cell in our body. It is called fascia (connective tissue) and it is one of the most psychedelic, wondrous substances you can get your hands on. Within us exist a fractal of liquid, crystalline energy that takes the form of collagen fibers. It moves, shifts, tears, and transforms depending on what kind of impact has been placed on the system. It can sustain two thousands pounds of pressure per square inch and either houses, or composes every structure in the body.

Why is this important?

First of all, it is trippy as hell and when you really dive into your body’s inner matrix, mind-blowing things start to happen. But more importantly, once you start to understand what your inner world is made out of, and how it responds to stimuli from the outside world, your path to healing becomes more clear and user-friendly. As you start to understand how to heal yourself, injuries and pain become less frequent, and for some, non existent. This healing process is completely congruent with that kind of presence you bring to your own life, including learning about your nervous system and how it responds to past trauma and present challenges.  

I began studying bodywork and teaching yoga in 1998 while I was in college at U.C. Santa Cruz. I had been a gymnast my whole childhood and started practicing yoga in my mid teens. Like many people starting off with Vinyasa-flow and Ashtanga, I thought that was the yoga path for me. As gymnastics and power-yoga injuries started to flare up, I “pushed through” because I thought yoga would eventually correct those injuries. I was wrong. I continued to practice the same kind of yoga for another eight years until my SI/L4 strain and shoulder instability finally got their messages across. My conscious mind, drive-centered acrobat, and pseudo-yogini ego had a hard time listening to these messages. Eventually, I got it, and now after twenty years of practicing yoga, I have learned to slow down, work gently with the areas of strain, and stop practicing forms of yoga and movement that feel forceful or invasive. I practice for my body and my needs and teach others to do the same. 

I became a massage therapist in 2000, which is when I also began working with healing from an esoteric perspective. For years I studied and practiced energy healing and deep bodywork modalities. Although those approaches offered good results to my clients, the effects were temporary. Something was missing (massage therapists reading this know what I am talking about). People felt better after their sessions but were they really transforming their system, or understanding why they hold their patterns in the first place?

In order to better understand that question, I went to graduate school to learn about the body in reference to psychological processes, and received a clinical degree in Somatic Psychology. I work with all ages, but primarily college-aged young adults between the ages of 17-28. The work is profound, yet does not target the physical structure, just as most physical bodywork modalities target some kind of structural component, but do not address the psyche and patterns of imbalance in the inner matrix.

Finally after twenty years of yoga, movement, bodywork, and in the last six years, psychotherapeutics, I found the missing link for all these beautiful approaches: Myofascial Release (MFR). It is difficult to explain this work, as its true essence is about moving into the unknown, unseen, and non-intellectual aspects of the system, both inner and outer.  It is a hybrid of structural work and deep somatic-emotional release. Myofasical release targets the profound, ever-changing, liquid matrix of our inner selves, both physiologically and psycho-somatically. Transformation is powerful, succinct, never injures, and the body’s inner intelligence is given a voice. This is not unlike a somatic psychotherapy session, where the therapist utilizes subtle, physical interventions to elucidate sympathetic nervous system responses. Yet in addition to having a sounding board like one has in psychotherapy, the inner system has a tangible experience of transformation, as indicated by movement in the fascial system. The entire experience can be completely non-verbal.

In MFR,  the therapist facilitates piezoelectricity in the system, and a phase transduction can occur (like ice to water).  The vibrant, fluid energy that our beings are composed of can flow more freely, like water flowing over rocks in a canyon (John Barnes, 2015). In as little as one myofascial session, clients will feel more ease in their body and a light, magnetic buzz, which is the body vibrating from new-found space and vitality. This work eliminates pain, reduces stress, and supports you to become more aligned with who you truly are. Consistent treatment also ameliorates innate body wisdom, which therefore assists us to eventually treat ourselves without a practitioner.

A whole mind-body shift can occur when we make an active choice to dive deeper into the parts of ourselves that have been injured, neglected, abused, and avoided. I am thrilled to have added this powerful healing tool to my belt and invite you to book a session with me soon.

Much love and Happy Spring,

-Romi

Book an appointment

Upcoming Workshops:

Introduction to Yoga Weekend

Where: Santa Barbara Yoga Center
When: April 24-26

True Self Exploration & The Art of Somatic and Relational Psychology: Tools for Self Empowerment and Growth

Where: Lucidity Festival
When: April 12th, 2015

Yoga Retreat to Peru: May 21-30

 

 

Transformative Healing Arts: Writing, Yoga Retreat Recap, Bodywork & Energy Healing in Santa Babara

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We had such an amazing time with Peru this year, doing yoga, laughing, connecting with the community, and galavanting around sacred sites. What a blessing. I am currently starting the planning stage for our Retreat to Peru and Machu Picchu, 2015. Email me if you would like more information.

My article “Attractive Love Through Self Love: A Somatic Inquiry” was recently published online on Rebelle Society Click Here to Read

I am currently in Santa Barbara, California seeing private clients for massage, healing work, counseling, and yoga instruction. Email or call me for an appointment. Current group yoga class offerings include: Mondays & Wednesdays at the Santa Barbara Yoga Center 5-6:30pm. 32 East Micheltorena St. 93101.

Much love,

Romi

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Introduction to Somatic & Relational Psychology: Tools for Empowerment & Growth THIS SATURDAY 2-4pm

Hi Friends,

I will be teaching an Introduction to Somatic and Relational Psychology Workshop: Tools for Empowerment and Growth.

THIS SATURDAY 2-4pm

At Santa Barbara Yoga Center: 32 E. MICHELTORENA ST.

The workshop will offer some lecture material and practice exercises. The intention behind this is to educated people about body (somatic) responses, nervous system regulation, and relational coherence/connection.

Click Here to Read More