By Courtney Yates
I read bodies with my hands, it's a language I happen to speak. I discovered this ability in 2010 when I enrolled in massage school after years of feeling a strange pull towards this career. I've always been fascinated with people, what they do and why. Before learning massage therapy (and subsequently yoga and Pilates) my curiosity about human beings manifested in a variety of ways. I studied them obsessively - I read novels and watched soap operas, I got a job at an international airline and traveled the world. I waitressed in NYC, taught adult literacy classes and even voluntarily stranded myself on an island with complete strangers, all propelled by curiosity about humans.
Massage school answered many of my questions and sparked many more. Suddenly my curiosity found specific focus on human bodies and how people live in them. I became obsessed with skeletons, human evolution and the awkward transition from traveling on four feet to balancing on just two.
I began practicing massage in a high volume, luxury spa. Out on the front lines of the massage industry I saw first hand the effects of awkward body mechanics in every set of elevated, achy shoulders. I started seeing people's bodies as neglected machines that showed up to me in breakdown. Like a mechanic in a repair shop I became as efficient as possible in rescuing bodies with massage. I became certified in medical massage to be as precise and effective as possible in my effort to help people. I developed a loyal following of bodies that came weekly - always with the same issues in the same places. It became clear to me that prevention of breakdown would be better than chronic rescue and there was a piece missing to my practice.
I decided that a movement practice in the form of yoga was the missing piece. Suddenly it all made sense. Work on the table is static and human bodies are dynamic entities. Massage is passive and yoga is active, together they make a balanced circuit.
I practice yoga myself to counter balance my own physically strenuous, repetitive job. I became a teacher so I could use yoga as a tool. I had spent years lamely suggesting my clients "do yoga" like me and watched powerlessly as the interest in their eyes faded before I could complete the sentence. I figured if I learned to teach them myself, and since I know their bodies, I can tailor the session exactly to them which is much more interesting.
So the idea is this - think of me as a human body mechanic. Come in for massages. I monitor your body and we continually update and adapt your yoga program. By reading your body I can give you a highlight reel yoga session to restore the unique balance of your particular skeleton. Along the way your soft tissues and nervous system are soothed and nurtured and you learn a system of simple techniques to arrange your bones and balance your muscles.
Want to work with Courtney? Click here to request an appointment!
Courtney Yates is a licensed massage therapist, certified in The Strenta Method of Medical Massage as well as an RYT500 yoga teacher and Pilates instructor. Essentially a Human Body Mechanic, Courtney combines her knowledge, skill and experience across three modalities - therapeutic massage, yoga and Pilates to create a unique body maintenance therapy.Courtney competed on CBS's Survivor China in 2007 and Survivor Heroes vs Villains in 2010. Click here to learn more about Courtney.