I’m on a mission to resolve unnecessary pain. At age twenty, I experienced surprisingly big shifts in my awareness through practice of yoga and meditation. Ten years later a friend shared that she was going to live in a yoga ashram over the summer, and my first thought was, “Well, SOME people can do that!” Thanks to my practice, I recognized that my desire to connect more deeply with myself was at odds with my strong rural Minnesota upbringing to toughen up and take care of business. Not yet knowing what a wonderful journey I was beginning, I took a deep breath and stepped forward into the unknown.
My visit to Colorado in 2008 turned into seven months of living at the yoga ashram, where I at once loved and hated the rigorous schedule that had me focused from 4:45 am to 8 pm. Every day started and ended with meditation. I cared for the lodge and three beautiful temples, and began to practice Ayurvedic therapies. Even in this serene environment, I really struggled with my mind, so I was grateful for this time to listen to my breath and body, and to settle in deeper. After six months of serving the ashram I stayed the seventh month as a guest and was trained and certified to teach through the Shambhava School of Yoga.
Ready to step further in, I attended the Boulder College of Massage Therapy’s 18-month 1000-hr program for Massage Certification, then deepened my skills working in BCMT’s clinic as I attended their 500-hr program to earn an Associate of Occupational Studies degree, the highest degree in massage therapy. During a session a client told me that my style of work (listening to both sides of the body) reminded her of the work at the Institute of Phenomenal Touch. I studied with them for three years and earned a degree as a Master Practitioner of Phenomenal Touch Massage. During this time I also further developed my Orthopedic Massage skills with Whitney Lowe and other mentors.
Even though I loved working with people I still had tremendous social anxiety, so I dove into personal development. I attended numerous workshops and trainings focused on individual and group process. Within these groups I felt supported to face some of my greatest challenges and I built skills to more fully articulate my life.
Responding to my need to process charged energy in my nervous system, I joined an embodied meditation group guided by skilled somatic awareness teachers. Six years of dedicated study helped to develop my mind-body-spirit awareness, within three structures: my own somatic process work every few weeks, small-group process work (with three to eight people) every few weeks, and large-group three-day or five-day embodied meditation retreats (with up to seventy-seven people) every few months. We used the Diamond Approach (within the Ridhwan School aka Diamond Heart) with the intent of bringing the diamond clarity of the mind together with the embodied wisdom of the heart. I’m beyond words grateful for many teachers & peers who’ve helped me to relax into embodied awareness.
Relaxation invites deep healing.Tina Tongen, master massage practitioner & certified yoga teacher in Denver & Boulder, Colorado.
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Why neck and shoulder work?
I’ve felt myself maturing these last few years within an evolving partnership where my level of awareness is reflected back to me. It became difficult to ignore long-held patterns of strain. As I noticed my habits of overuse that lead to neck, shoulder, and joint pain, I shifted the way I work and committed myself to rehabilitating my own pain.
The first level of my healing requires me to recognize when I over-extend myself physically or emotionally, and to be more honest with what I can and cannot do… embodying self-compassion.
The second level of my healing requires me to learn about ease and effortless effort. I’m happy to be discovering the gifts in doing what actually feels good for me!
The third level of my healing has been about implementing massage tools to maximize the effects of my work. When I do deep-tissue work, I often add in cupping, massage percussion instruments, and electric point stimulators.
The fourth level of my healing has been to further develop my ability to deliver precise treatment methods for myself and my clients. I’ve deepened my studies of Trigger Point Therapy which I use along with myofascial release and movement to reconnect parts of the body that have been disconnected or hijacked by pain. As always, I do my best to bring science + spirit together to work with the body + breath in ways that produce the effect of actually feel good.
I’m happy to share what I’ve learned to bring more ease to your neck & shoulders and your life experience too.
-> Are you experiencing neck & shoulder pain and wonder if it’s from patterns of habitual strain?
-> Do you want simple tools to relax, let go of stress, and feel awesome in your body?
I’d love to welcome you as a new client. My practice Tongen Touch Massage Therapy offers advanced massage therapy techniques + yoga principles of breath & body awareness with movement to address patterns of strain and release neck & shoulder pain.
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