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I was finishing a long, deep stroke on a client today—we were doing work on the gastrocnemius (calves). When the tip of my elbow was coming off her ankle I asked her about the stroke. She said one word….”Spicy”.

Clients have different words and descriptions for how a deep tissue stroke feels or affects them. I asked her to elaborate. She told me that sometimes she might be wary of a food that has spice because you never really know how hot it might be. But you always feel the good overpowering that burn—going through that heat. We can handle it. And in the end, you are going to love it.

In Sanskrit the word is "Tapas" The word means to "tap" or "to burn." The traditional interpretation of tapas is "fiery discipline. It's the intense commitment necessary to burn off the impediments that keep us from being in the true state of yoga. It's the kind of fiery heat from a forge and changes metal. It's that alchemical process that creates change.

Sometimes, when working on a client, I approach an area that I know will be painful, however always beneficial—having received a good deal of bodywork I know how these strokes feel. But I also know that both of us will get through it.

Yes, there are many modalities, the relaxing Swedish, the stretchy Thai….but sometimes you just want and need it “Spicy” .

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