Virtual Hands-On

Updated: Apr 15

The value of virtual training sessions explained.

Oftentimes the value of private training is attributed to in-person coaching or physical hands-on corrections. As we shift into an exclusively digital sphere as the world navigates a global pandemic, clients are questioning how to best maintain their movement practice.

"Don't make up a story because then you're closing the mind to the possibility of the openness that is actually possible." -Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen

If the story is that virtual sessions are less valuable than in-person sessions, what is the possibility and potential that is being missed?

Pivoting Online

I have learned how to "hold space" for different personality types to best support their learning. For the past five years, I have refined my skills for one-on-one sessions. I've learned how to quietly ground my energy when a client needs grounding so that they can subconsciously pick up on my body language. I've become intuitive in my hands-on corrections to the point where my hands just go where they need to go, often before my brain even processes. In Somatic Coaching and Reiki sessions I have learned how to curate an experience that allows for exploration into past traumas safely. In short, I pride myself on my ability to energetically and physically support someone's learning effectively and with comfort. For years, I delayed in building my online presence because I felt that my strength lied in private in-person sessions rather than speaking to a larger (and vague) online audience.

However, when Covid-19 led to the closure of my physical place of work, I was forced to revisit the (incorrect) "story" I had been telling myself. I took about a week to process that the world was truly facing an unprecedented pandemic and that I would have to pivot in order to maintain my services to clients [I took a lot of naps]. As I scrolled social media, I observed as peers quickly got online and started sharing free classes. I really felt like I was behind the game but knew I needed some time to wrap my head around what going online truly meant for the value I have to offer.

Just before the pandemic hit, I had begun offering Reiki (Intuitive Energy Healing) sessions and had harnessed a great deal of momentum. I felt like I was riding the wave of what I was really meant to do. I was transitioning my clients into a hybrid practice of Pilates, Somatic Coaching, and Reiki sessions throughout the week to maximize their healing and growth process. It was working. And I was excited. So when things quickly changed before my eyes, I was a little overwhelmed with how to shift into an online sphere, especially since I had finally yielded into my own understanding of the value I offer both energetically and monetarily... and now my peers were offering services online for FREE. How would a bridge the gap between where I had just landed career-wise and what the world had shifted into overnight?

I needed to do some initial research for my own understanding. Some clients quickly segued into private virtual sessions and I reached out to some friends and even perfect strangers to do some trial sessions with me. Would I be able to read energy in the same way over a screen? What would happen if I really needed to do a hands-on correction? Would people be open to energy healing in the digital space? Would I be able to read alignment with the same acuity as in person?

I had a modern dance professor in college who would require students to wear baggy "flowy" clothes. When someone asked, "Don't you need us to wear fitted clothes so you can see our body?" She replied, "No, I can see your bones through your clothes. I know where your bones are in space regardless of what you're wearing." It seemed a little crazy to me at the time, but now, after years of working with bodies, I understand. I can say with confidence that I can in fact still read energy over a screen. I can access alignment with just as much acuity, even when I'm sometimes only seeing body segments on the screen. And when I need to offer hand-on corrections, I can be articulate enough with my words to help clients place their own hands to guide their nervous system during an exercise. This is part of where the value of virtual sessions emerges: specificity and agency.

A shift of perspective will always lead to some form of enlightenment.

Shifting to virtual sessions caused a shift in perspective for both myself and my clients. It allowed for a form a "reset". With each of the clients I train we have set clear intentions for what the goal of each session will be and how we will attain it through Pilates, Somatic Coaching, and/or Energy Healing. As an instructor I always tell my clients that I don't want them to need me. I want to empower and educate them so that they become more informed movers even without my constant watch. Virtual sessions push this concept even further and require me to really be specific and articulate in my cues especially when it comes to cues that I would normally lead non-verbally by placing my hand(s). This ultimately leads to more self-agency for the client. Seeing clients move in a new environment (their home) and one that they're greatly familiar with also provides greater insight into their subconscious patterns. It is different than showing up for one hour to a space solely curated for the purpose of Pilates or movement.

Each week I am offering donation-based classes on Instagram @mindfulhealingtouch as a means of serving others during this time and as a means of building community through movement. To expand my private practice I'm also offering private and semi-private virtual sessions.

As a movement specialist, I must move. Move with the times. Move with change. Move with the demands of an ever-changing world to best serve those I am supporting. I'm so excited for the continued possibility for expansion moving forward.

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