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Jason // Session 8 // Before & After

One of the greatest gifts I can give someone is feeling good in the skin they’re in.

My best friend, Jason, has been my guinea pig from day 1. We strength trained in preparation for his spinal fusion. While I wasn’t able to use my knowledge to stabilize and support his pelvis, low back, and core, we did great work in supporting his recovery from the fusion. At his 2 week checkup, Jason’s doctor announced he surpassed the progress most people make in 6 months. Progress not perfection.

Jason has been instrumental in my business growth. He helped me pick out a name, organize my plans, as well as design, build, and outfit the gym. His blood, sweat, and tears are a foundational part of Mavericks Fitness.

If you know me, you know I have a strong drive to learn how to do my job better. I’ve focused a lot of my studies on understanding what I could do to help Jason move better without pain. He’s a great case study and I can immediately apply what I learn. It's my way of giving back where and how I can.

I’ve taken course after course on anatomy, strength, movement organization, human psychology, culture, environment, mindfulness, nutrition, and bodywork. My goal is to help a person feel more empowered in their own body through alignment and organization and create a better relationship between them and the world. It’s more complicated than a fitness program or an exercise class. It’s redefining how you experience the world.

My latest deep dive was structural integration. I was invited into an extensive anatomy-first structural integration program by the renowned author, speaker, and creator of Anatomy Trains, Tom Myers. The CEO and staff believed in and supported me through the entire process. Although I had no hands-on experience prior to applying, they precision guided my exploration in learning how to not only feel the body, but also see it at its core. They found the holes in my foundational knowledge and taught me a whole new way to see movement. Anatomy Trains Structural Integration (ATSI) changed my life.

Back to Jason.

He’s currently going through the 12 Series of ATSI. Session 8 is the head session. We started working the core from the ground up in sessions 5-7. In session 8, we balance the head on top. This involves working inside the mouth and nose.

In the nose???

Yes. We all hold tension in our face in a myriad of ways. I held a lot of tension in my jaw and forehead from a challenging childhood. Before ATSI, I didn’t know that stress pattern was baked into my posture. Through the 12 series, I was able to let go of a lot of that tension. I don’t grind my teeth at night anymore. It feels easy to smile. It’s been a real gift.

I’ve known Jason for almost 9 years. He’s cheerful and quick to smile. The strain held in his face was invisible to me. I looked at him with appreciation and adoration instead of analyzation. ATSI helped me look at him through a new lens in order to create strength with ease.

We spent a lot of time in the mouth. This was the first time I’ve made Jason cry in Mavericks. My workouts make him want to cry, but that’s another subject. There was a lot of tension on the left side, which makes sense considering his history. He had 5 surgeries on his left ear and part of his mastoid process was removed as a child.

After cleaning off and improving the function of his masseters (chewing muscles), I cleared muscles at the back of his mouth by holding my finger in the right place and letting the tissue melt under my finger. I’ll be honest, I didn’t even know these places existed before ATSI.

Next we went in the nose. It’s one of the most invasive feelings I’ve ever experienced. I thought Jason would have an easy time because he has a big frame. He’s 6’4” and has a large skull. I have small hands. Boy, was I wrong. I could only fit 1/4 of my pinkie in before hitting resistance. For comparison, I fit my whole pinkie up my own nose in school.

We finished off with some facial smoothing and working on some of Jason’s wrinkles. He had a vertical fold on each side of the face. I am only working on the right side and the fold is almost gone. The tissue right below the eye is more sensitive so I have to progress slower. This session made a noticeable difference.

We’re both really happy with how the session turned out. He looks and feels more relaxed. There’s more space in his mouth and he feels more aligned. I’m excited to see how his face continues to grow.

I see my best friend and my art. What do you see?

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