European Institute of Body Oriented Healing Arts (now called Integral Body Institute)

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Kasia Patzelt visits the institute founded by Giten and Nisarga, in Poland.

It always amazes me how life has its own mysterious ways of guiding us. Like the way I heard about, EIBOHA. I met Nisarga (also from Poland and a body worker) whilst doing a Panchakarma retreat in India. Instantly I was interested and excited to hear that there was a place that offered body-oriented healing arts, in my country!

I had left Poland as a child and undergone all of my education, healing and spiritual explorations overseas, always feeling a big longing to share those new ways of being and healing with friends and family back home, but never quite knowing how to go about it.

Still, I had no idea what to expect from the place and the workshop I had booked at EIBOHA. I’ve been a therapist and body worker for over ten years and, even though I try to be open to learning, I feel as if I’ve become more sceptical toward new approaches to healing that are available on the market.

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Slightly apprehensive and guarded I arrive in Kikow for my first Module of Biodynamic Breath and Trauma Release after a two-hour drive through the countryside of South Poland. A friendly taxi driver had picked me, and another participant, up from Krakow airport. The pickup was organised by the workshop coordinators as it’s the easiest way to get to the centre.

We arrive quite late, too late for dinner but just in time for the introductory talk. We sneak in as everyone is already seated in a big circle and Giten announcing the importance of being on time, which causes a welcoming laughter from everybody. I am surprised of how many of us there are, forty plus it seems. I am about to learn that people have come from all around the world to participate: England, Nicaragua, Spain, Norway, Germany, Holland, Italy, France, Australia and of course, Poland. The same variety in age – from about 20 to 65.

The course is open to everyone and only a few are already practising therapists and body workers. The way the Breath course is structured is that it allows participants to join at any time, i.e. first-timers and people who have attended before mingle together.

The amount of people and diversity slightly overwhelms me, especially after a day of travelling, but I feel soothed by the surroundings. The workshop room in which we are gathered has warm colours; it is round with many windows looking out over Poland’s serenely undulating hills, forests and paddocks. It appears we are in the middle of nowhere and feels spacious and peaceful.

The rest of the building makes me feel at home, too. Over the days I am contemplating about how well designed it is; a large workshop room downstairs to the left, and to the right the dining area and kitchen with a big common area in between; most accommodation is upstairs and many bedrooms are shared. A natural flow seems to purvey the whole complex. Michal and Ela, the owners of the centre, have done a great job of creating a welcoming and safe environment and take good care of the property and its guests.

We start the morning with a 7 am meditation that varies each day. First day it’s Osho’s Dynamic, then Sufi Dance. Breakfast gets served at 8 am and I begin to understand what the instructors mean by “please be conscious of not overeating even though it will be tempting as the food is very delicious!” After waking up so early and doing Dynamic in the morning, part of me feels I well deserve a good meal despite the well-meant advice not to go for seconds. The food is indeed delicious, healthy and fresh throughout the week. It’s a quite traditional vegetarian Polish cuisine with plenty of variety to suit all palates.

After breakfast newcomers have an hour off, whereas older students meet for a theory class. This is great news for me as I get to relax and take in my new surroundings, and is a wonderful way to get to know some of the other new students. I go for a walk outside to get some fresh air and am delighted to discover the beautiful nature under the clear sky. There is something very romantic about that part of the Polish countryside, which can only be described as soothing and nurturing. It is June and we are blessed with beautiful sunny weather almost every day; great for stretching out on the grass after meals and in between sessions.

On a free afternoon I go visit Kielce together with a few others, just a ten-minute drive by bus from Kikow. It’s a small town with shops, a bank and, above all, a delightful spa – very helpful for the bodies to revive and integrate the changes that these courageous and crazy people have gotten into to heal the traumas stored in their bodies.

As the week unfolds I feel like a cork bopping around on the ocean waves of my emotional states. Also the others are processing, releasing, integrating, dealing with defences and vulnerabilities, feeling resistance to themselves, to each other and to the process. But there is also so much courage and trust, a willingness to let go, to heal, to expand and, above all, to love.

During the week, watching the facilitators I develop a deep trust and appreciation for them, too. They are holding a wonderful space of presence and integrity, a space in which I can truly be who I am. No judgements, no expectations and a load of compassion for each one of us, a deep respect for where we are in our journey. These qualities transpire to the participants and each day, as we journey deeper together, the trust and intimacy between us grows. Amid the intensity of the sessions, joy and laughter naturally arise and lighten us up.

After a second module I decide to participate also in Satyarthi’s Myofascial Energy Release training. Although Giten and Satyarthi’s way of teaching is very different, they emanate the same quality of presence and unconditional positive regard. Both their work is grounded in compassion and understanding for the body/mind mechanism. Giten’s work is, of course, more focussed on breath and Satyarthi’s more on the body and the myofascia. Both modalities complement each other perfectly to help restore the free and natural flow of energy in the body. Ultimately, both trainings teach how to stay present to the felt sense in the body, how to move beyond judgement (‘I don’t like this pain’) and into surrender, therefore not only facilitating physical healing but also spiritual growth.

Since attending these trainings, my whole approach as a body worker has changed. I feel more compassion towards my clients and have a deeper appreciation for the wisdom of our bodies. I feel very grateful for EIBOHA’s existence and for having connected with Nisarga and Giten.

The institute was born after Nisarga and Giten set out to offer workshops in Eastern Europe and discovered that the demand for new ways of healing was huge. It’s been three years and the school has been growing with each course. From what I saw and experienced, there is no sign of that changing any time soon. They are planning to expand their offers to a Yin Fascial Yoga Teacher Training and Japanese Face Massage Kobido soon.

Article by Kasia Patzelt

Note July 2017: the name of the institute has been changed to Integral Body Institute

Related article
Nisarga: From Engineering to Bodywork – interview with the co-founder of EIBOHA

KasiaKasia was born in Poland and, at age of 5, moved with her family to Germany where she completed her education. At 19 she moved to Australia where she studied Remedial Massage Therapy, Counselling and HNLP (Humanistic Neuro Linguistic Programming). These last three years she spent in Ibiza where she has been exploring meditation, dance/movement and more. She plans to travel between Australia and Ibiza to get further training in Breathwork.

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