Today we’d like to introduce you to Rachel Skinner.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Rachel. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
After living in Brazil for almost two years I returned to the states to continue studying Portuguese Literature. While attending graduate school and on my way to pursue an academic career with a Ph.D. in Gender Studies, I found a local yoga studio. I remember feeling connected to my body for the first time as I sat in my first yoga class and slowly everything began to shift. Gradually, I discovered practicing yoga satisfied a deep craving for inner connection realizing that I wasn’t living my life. Instead, I was living life for others making decisions based on the expectations of a certain religion and the opinions and criticisms of other people, like family. I think the word hijack described my situation, allowing myself to surrender to a stressful, busy, meaningless life instead of unlocking the limitless potential and possibilities of what my life could be if I chose to take on the responsibility to connect and express my true desires. I believe all humans experience trauma on some level and we become wounded. Our body remembers what our mind will repress and sometimes it takes something like yoga to wake us up and show us our wounds and show us a path so we can heal and start living life from our core essence of who we truly are.
After a yoga teacher training, advance chakra therapy training, restorative partner yoga training, yoga nidra therapy training, massage school and continuing education courses, plus years of developing a personal practice and relationship with these different therapies I have finally arrived. I am here as a healing arts practitioner and entrepreneur to serve the Los Angeles community.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Much of my business and success is a direct reflection on my personal growth and development. It’s never a smooth road when the ego is involved. I have had to develop a close relationship with my inner critic and recognize that voice of self-sabotage. To run a successful business there’s a certain cleansing period needed to detach from the negative conditioning of past beliefs and attitudes. My success is founded upon a self-care routine, setting goals and intentions, writing affirmations, internally visualizing and listening as well as building a supportive community.
Besides the personal aspects of running a business, I have bumped into all sorts of marketing issues. The big one is answering the question what do I do? Because my background is in Yoga and Thai Massage many people have already experienced businesses that use the same words to advertise their services, therefore, will associate what I have to offer to those past experiences when it’s most likely completely different. So this requires much clarification. Beyond the stumbling blocks of modern popular vernacular, it’s finding people curious about their body and how it works. Unfortunately, for a lot of us, we don’t find an interest in our bodies until we are suffering. It can be in a form of an injury or accident, uncovering past trauma, recovering from surgery or just fed up with medication and being thrown around the current medical system of treating symptoms instead of healing the core issues. Like most people, my clients suffer from emotional and/or physical pain and are committed to healing and curious to try new things. My mission is to teach people self-healing tools to develop self-care regimes for preventive and long-term health and wellness. I offer tools and support for people searching to transform pain into hope and healing and live in complete vitality. This concept is where my business name comes from, Experience Vitality. Due to the fact that we are not just a body, we are not just a mind, we are not just a spirit; we are all three and possibly much more making us complex and mysterious beings. And because being human is so mysterious makes what I do just as mysterious. This reminds me of the quote by Sol Petersen that I have on my website that says, “To work in any aspect of the field of healing and health is to labor in the world of mystery”. The world of mystery he refers to is this mystery of life and being human. I am still searching for ways to simplify and explain to people exactly what I do.
Experience Vitality – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
This might sound like a poor business model but I am not interested in business schemes. A lot of massage companies will accept gratuity, will pass out a punch card, coupons, first-time specials, will recommend massage once a week. Even yoga instructors advise students to only attend their classes, to only go to this particular yoga studio, to only practice this specific yoga style. Where’s the fun in that? I believe in empowering all my clients. I challenge my clients to explore new experiences with acupuncture, dance, martial arts, Qi Gong, Tai Chi, and explore all forms of movement and healing. I believe we can only know if we like something or will benefit from something after trying it first hand. I also challenge my clients to listen to their body to know when they need to come back for bodywork. Some clients need a weekly massage, some need monthly and so on. The moment we start limiting ourselves to just one teacher, one doctor, one way of healing we are closing off the potential to experience deep healing and vitality.
I specialize in vitality by listening to people and their bodies and holding safe space. I specialize in many techniques. I manipulate soft tissue through different massage strokes, compression, stretching, more traditional medicine techniques like cupping, gua sha or scrapping, Tok Sen, herbal compresses, as well as modern techniques like myofascial release and neuromuscular therapy. I also offer private yoga sessions and specialize in helping clients develop a personalized yoga practice. Lastly, I specialize in yoga nidra therapy and teach clients in five sessions how to reduce stress, increase clarity of thought, increase body-mind awareness, and emotionally heal by connecting to all aspects of Self. I am known for my professionalism, passion, and thoroughness in what I do.
What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
My proudest moment, rather moments, in my career has been graduating massage school, publishing a beautiful website and gaining my first client and seeing the profound healing results of the work I do.
Photos by Keith Chandler
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