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Interview with Ingrid May and Silvia Guersenzvaig

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In order to bring you closer to Esalen® Massage, we have interviewed Ingrid May, who has lived at the Esalen Institute for 18 years, and Silvia Guersenzvaig, who currently resides there; They will tell us about their personal experience in this wonderful paradise, cradle of Gestalt therapy and so many other healing tools. Now they bring us for the 2nd time the spirit of this place throughthe Esalen International Massage Certification.

Q: A few months ago we wrote


an article


about the history of Esalen’s principles and the beginnings of massage. So, I would like to know how you started with the Esalen Institute, how did you get there?

Silvia G: In 1981 I was living in Buenos Aires, working as an astrologer and feeling very overwhelmed, with a great depression about the meaning of my life, when by divine grace the Esalen catalogs appeared, and as soon as I began to read them my heart leapt with happiness and I knew what my next destination was.

I arrived in March 1982. I remember when I was arriving and seeing the paradisiacal pacific coast and those mountains that testify the natural strength of that environment and that I was going to stay there for a long time.
I knew I had arrived home,
and that I was going to stay there for a long time. Regarding Esalen massage, after doing the workscholar program, I immersed myself in the first Esalen training course, a 3-month course in March ’83 taught by Brita Ostrom, Peggy Horan, Vicky Top and Deborah Medow. After that course I was invited to join the massage group.

From that moment on, my relationship with Esalen began, first as a masseuse/staff and then as an educator. Currently I continue to work at Esalen as a massage therapist, astrologer and energetic kinesiologist.



Ingrid M

.:
My arrival was linked to something very magical that happened to me, in 1981, I had two dreams the same, in which I had to go to a place where the mountains meet the sea (with very strong images), to continue and expand my spiritual development. (I was twice in the Osho Ashram in Pune (India), exploring my personal growth and learning alternative techniques in the world of bodywork and meditation); it seemed very strange that I had to go to the United States to continue on my path. But I felt I had no other choice, so I packed my backpack and left my job of 5 years as a Kinesiologist in a school for handicapped children.

When I arrived in California, I had no idea where my dream place was (I had never heard of Esalen before). One day after two months there, hitchhiking along the coast of Big Sur,
I found the place of my dreams.
There I stayed in a small town in Big Sur. Very soon I started to hear about Esalen and its magical hot springs, I started to go with friends in the evenings, full of stars and an incredible beauty in general. I decided to do a training in Esalen Massage (with Brita Ostrom and Peggy Horan) there and soon after I started working in the Esalen Institute Massage team. This job for me was like a dream, working by the sea, listening to the waves and the songs of the streams and the whispers of the wind in the Sequoias. Eventually I began to give courses, first weekends, then 5-day courses and in 1990 my first 28-day training.

Q: What made you personally connect with massage?



Silvia G:

Massage came into my life as a personal healing tool. With my state of alienation I could not distinguish between thinking and feeling, that confused me a lot. When I started my journey with massage at Esalen, I felt that I started to be able to discriminate my feeling, my experience instead of rationalizing it all the time. Then I realized that massage was fundamental in my life and I started to train in many techniques that were offered here. Trager or hammocks, polarity, cranial-sacral, deep tissue, Rei-ki, chakras.

The body was transformed into a study of experimentation, a never-ending path that not only continued to awaken my curiosity but also gradually transformed my philosophy of life.
The body as a divine temple
a complex and marvelous instrument.



Ingrid M.:

From a very young age, I always wanted to do something with the body. I was an athlete in the German swimming team, it was very natural to choose a profession that would give me this possibility, I chose the career of Kinesiologist/Physical Therapist. Massage classes were included in the studies of this career, something I really enjoyed touching people. It is still my passion to touch from a loving and conscious touch. While I was working at Esalen with all the opportunities to study with the various pioneers in the Somatic field. I felt like «a kid in a candy store.» This exploration continues, because I feel that the body is the greatest mystery and new discoveries are always being revealed. I have worked with thousands of people on the couch and every session is different. I remember many of them, like a memory in my hands or even in my heart.

Q: This work is now coming to Spain, how would you describe it to people who are discovering this massage?


Silvia G:
Esalen massage is an orchestration of pleasure, sensuality, warmth and containment. The giver must be receptively giving and the receiver must be actively receiving.. Yin and yang in perfect harmony.

I can describe Esalen massage as the art of continuous presence. In that presence the different movements are woven from the broadest movements of the outer musculature to the most delicate of the deep musculature, all in a flow that is in tune with the breath, the movement of the hands, and the body mechanics and posture creating the environment where the person can loosen their tensions and simply feel free. Everything happens as part of the session. That is why it is an art.



Ingrid M.:

I am very glad that this work is now coming to Spain. Now more than ever, we need to remember how it is, be touched with love and let the traumas and cellular memories accumulated in our lives transform into vital energy, compassion and love. I have had a school of this work in Argentina for 16 years, and not only do the people who train with us find dignified work as well as love it, but they can also see the transformations in their daily lives. The way they relate to others, in self-care, in respect for oneself, others and Mother Earth. They discover their individual gifts and bring them to work, because more than a technique, Esalen Massage is A LIVING ART.

Q: When talking about Esalen Massage, it is always said that the difference is in the approach, what is this approach?

Silvia G: The approach is holistic. That is, we aim to create the necessary environment for the person to feel comfortable, safe and confident, we start from that basis so that the relaxation process opens the healing space, where the cellular intelligence unfolds the subtlety of responses that point to the integration and harmony of the Self. It is a matter of allowing the personality to rest in each muscular relaxation and the Self to become present here and beyond its form. This is the moment that facilitates healing and the return to equilibrium.
psycho-physical-energetic.



Ingrid M:




This Focus
is a presence
that happens when we let the mind rest in the heart and put our heart in our hands. Thus, the massage becomes a meditation.

Q: Would you say it helps foster a sense of well-being and connection with oneself?



Ingrid M.:

One of the characteristics, beyond presence and quality of contact, which are of enormous importance, we use long movements. These movements have an important action on the nervous system, as they help to calm it and generate a sensation of three-dimensionality in the body. These movements generate a fluid rhythm, an enveloping wave in which the patient/client has the possibility of resting his/her mind and enters into a deep calm, allowing him/her to perceive
his or her body in its natural state.



Silvia G:

Absolutely, and it also allows us to feel complete and at the same time, relaxation and surrender…
expanded, free and in a state of deep rest.
relaxation and surrender…

Q: In 2013, will you be teaching the
International Certification in Esalen Massage
for the second time in Spain. I would like you to explain to those who are thinking of doing it, what does it consist of and how does it differ from other massage training courses?



Silvia G:

The most interesting thing about Esalen Massage is that it can include other modalities of work. My opinion is that the Esalen massage allows the masseuse to enjoy the session, unlike other modalities, this work is essentially nurturing for both client and therapist. While there are different movements of stretching, bending, twisting, elongation and more, there are also different movements of stretching, bending, twisting, elongation and more. All of this happens in a fluid manner, avoiding any demands. Perhaps I would say that the most important aspect of this training is that it aims to to develop the state of Presence which is expressed through the hands in contact, in connection and in movement, which is the essence of Esalen massage. The serenity, the fluidity, the presence, the openness and connection we establish both towards ourselves and our clients. Now in practice the difference that exists is specifically the practice of long passes, crosses, joint movements and other details that make Esalen Massage a technique like no other.



Ingrid M.:

Esalen massage is a technique that covers several fronts, and thus generates a truly holistic treatment, taking the person as a whole, both from the body as well as from
mind, emotion, personality and Spirit.
(the Mystery). From the technique we will learn to work with different forms of work: pressures, stretching, kneading, passive joint manipulations, rhythmic and subtle hammocks, integration supports, and sacro-cranial balances.

Q: Can you add a comment to inspire those who wish to train in Esalen massage?



Ingrid M.:

It’s difficult to speak for others, because each person has to find his or her own path in lifeBut I can share that for me this work that I have been doing for 40 years (30 years Esalen Massage) never ceases to amaze me: the richness, the happiness, the silence, the love, the compassion that I can experience giving a session or teaching this wonderful work?



Silvia G:

Recognizing that technique is a combination of energetic, postural and intentional elements. I can describe the Esalen massage in a rather poetic way: I would say that it is like setting out on a path that leads us around every bend to a new depth of Being, where we discover in a mysterious process that the place we are arriving to is in our time and in every instance, as healing for us as for all those we touch…

I arrived in March 1982. I remember when I was arriving and seeing the paradisiacal pacific coast and those mountains that testify the natural strength of that environment and that I was going to stay there for a long time.
I knew I had arrived home,
and that I was going to stay there for a long time. Regarding Esalen massage, after doing the workscholar program, I immersed myself in the first Esalen training course, a 3-month course in March ’83 taught by Brita Ostrom, Peggy Horan, Vicky Top and Deborah Medow. After that course I was invited to join the massage group.

From that moment on, my relationship with Esalen began, first as a masseuse/staff and then as an educator. Currently I continue to work at Esalen as a massage therapist, astrologer and energetic kinesiologist.



Ingrid M

.:
My arrival was linked to something very magical that happened to me, in 1981, I had two dreams the same, in which I had to go to a place where the mountains meet the sea (with very strong images), to continue and expand my spiritual development. (I was twice in the Osho Ashram in Pune (India), exploring my personal growth and learning alternative techniques in the world of bodywork and meditation); it seemed very strange that I had to go to the United States to continue on my path. But I felt I had no other choice, so I packed my backpack and left my job of 5 years as a Kinesiologist in a school for handicapped children.

When I arrived in California, I had no idea where my dream place was (I had never heard of Esalen before). One day after two months there, hitchhiking along the coast of Big Sur,
I found the place of my dreams.
There I stayed in a small town in Big Sur. Very soon I started to hear about Esalen and its magical hot springs, I started to go with friends in the evenings, full of stars and an incredible beauty in general. I decided to do a training in Esalen Massage (with Brita Ostrom and Peggy Horan) there and soon after I started working in the Esalen Institute Massage team. This job for me was like a dream, working by the sea, listening to the waves and the songs of the streams and the whispers of the wind in the Sequoias. Eventually I started giving courses, first weekends, then 5-day courses and in 1990 my first 28-day training.

Q: What made you personally connect with massage?



Silvia G:

Massage came into my life as a personal healing tool. With my state of alienation I could not distinguish between thinking and feeling, that confused me a lot. When I started my journey with massage at Esalen, I felt that I started to be able to discriminate my feeling, my experience instead of rationalizing it all the time. Then I realized that massage was fundamental in my life and I started to train in many techniques that were offered here. Trager or hammocks, polarity, cranial-sacral, deep tissue, Rei-ki, chakras.

The body was transformed into a study of experimentation, a never-ending path that not only continued to awaken my curiosity but also gradually transformed my philosophy of life.
The body as a divine temple
a complex and marvelous instrument.



Ingrid M.:

From a very young age, I always wanted to do something with the body. I was an athlete in the German swimming team, it was very natural to choose a profession that would give me this possibility, I chose the career of Kinesiologist/Physical Therapist. Massage classes were included in the studies of this career, something I really enjoyed touching people. It is still my passion to touch from a loving and conscious touch. While I was working at Esalen with all the opportunities to study with the various pioneers in the Somatic field. I felt like «a kid in a candy store.» This exploration continues, because I feel that the body is the greatest mystery and new discoveries are always being revealed. I have worked with thousands of people on the couch and every session is different. I remember many of them, like a memory in my hands or even in my heart.

Q: This work is now coming to Spain, how would you describe it to people who are discovering this massage?


Silvia G:
Esalen massage is an orchestration of pleasure, sensuality, warmth and containment. The giver must be receptively giving and the receiver must be actively receiving.. Yin and yang in perfect harmony.

I can describe Esalen massage as the art of continuous presence. In that presence the different movements are woven from the broadest movements of the outer musculature to the most delicate of the deep musculature, all in a flow that is in tune with the breath, the movement of the hands, and the body mechanics and posture creating the environment where the person can loosen their tensions and simply feel free. Everything happens as part of the session. That is why it is an art.



Ingrid M.:

I am very glad that this work is now coming to Spain. Now more than ever, we need to remember how it is, be touched with love and let the traumas and cellular memories accumulated in our lives transform into vital energy, compassion and love. I have had a school of this work in Argentina for 16 years, and not only do the people who train with us find dignified work as well as love it, but they can also see the transformations in their daily lives. The way they relate to others, in self-care, in respect for oneself, others and Mother Earth. They discover their individual gifts and bring them to work, because more than a technique, Esalen Massage is A LIVING ART.

Q: When talking about Esalen Massage, it is always said that the difference is in the approach, what is this approach?

Silvia G: The approach is holistic. That is, we aim to create the necessary environment for the person to feel comfortable, safe and confident, we start from that basis so that the relaxation process opens the healing space, where the cellular intelligence unfolds the subtlety of responses that point to the integration and harmony of the Self. It is a matter of allowing the personality to rest in each muscular relaxation and the Self to become present here and beyond its form. This is the moment that facilitates healing and the return to equilibrium.
psycho-physical-energetic.



Ingrid M:




This Focus
is a presence
that happens when we let the mind rest in the heart and put our heart in our hands. Thus, the massage becomes a meditation.

Q: Would you say it helps foster a sense of well-being and connection with oneself?



Ingrid M.:

One of the characteristics, beyond presence and quality of contact, which are of enormous importance, we use long movements. These movements have an important action on the nervous system, as they help to calm it and generate a sensation of three-dimensionality in the body. These movements generate a fluid rhythm, an enveloping wave in which the patient/client has the possibility of resting his/her mind and enters into a deep calm, allowing him/her to perceive
his or her body in its natural state.



Silvia G:

Absolutely, and it also allows us to feel complete and at the same time, relaxation and surrender…
expanded, free and in a state of deep rest.
relaxation and surrender…

Q: In 2013, will you be teaching the
International Certification in Esalen Massage
for the second time in Spain. I would like you to explain to those who are thinking of doing it, what does it consist of and how does it differ from other massage training courses?



Silvia G:

The most interesting thing about Esalen Massage is that it can include other modalities of work. My opinion is that Esalen massage allows the masseuse to enjoy the session, unlike other modalities, this work is essentially nurturing for both client and therapist. While there are different movements of stretching, bending, twisting, elongation and more, there are also different movements of stretching, bending, twisting, elongation and more. all of this happens in a smooth and undemanding manner. Perhaps I would say that the most important thing about this training is that it aims at to develop the state of Presence which is expressed through hands in contact, in connection and in movement, which is the essence of Esalen massage. The serenity, the fluidity, the presence, the openness and connection we establish both towards ourselves and our clients. Now in practice the difference that exists is specifically the practice of long passes, crosses, joint movements and other details that make Esalen Massage a technique like no other.



Ingrid M.:

The Esalen massage is a technique that covers several fronts, and thus generates a truly holistic treatment, taking the person as a whole, both from the body and from
mind, emotion, personality and Spirit.
(the Mystery). From the technique we will learn to work with different forms of work: pressures, stretching, kneading, passive joint manipulations, rhythmic and subtle hammocks, integration supports, and sacro-cranial balances.

Q: Can you add a comment to inspire those who wish to train in Esalen massage?



Ingrid M.:

It’s difficult to speak for others, because each person has to find his or her own path in lifeBut I can share that for me this work that I have been doing for 40 years (30 years Esalen Massage) never ceases to amaze me: the richness, the happiness, the silence, the love, the compassion that I can experience giving a session or teaching this wonderful work?



Silvia G:

Recognizing that technique is a combination of energetic, postural and intentional elements. I can describe the Esalen massage in a rather poetic way: I would say that it is like setting out on a path that leads us around every bend to a new depth of Being, where we discover in a mysterious process that the place we are arriving to is in our time and in every instance, as healing for us as for all those we touch…

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