For those who are interested in green living and sustainability, those looking to spend money in wise and earth friendly ways, they often find themselves in a trap when it comes to education. Many educational pathways require a payment into the system, whether through financial dependency on the commercial banking industry, or teaching methods that are outdated and insufficient at breaking us out of the current paradigm of thinking. Our commitment to upholding green business values and maintaining certification through the Alameda Green Business program places us in a very unique position in being able to offer an education that is holistically green. Tuition is not going to pay CEO bonuses, financial assistance does not come from banking institutions, and the curriculum is not from a former paradigm of reinforcing domination over the natural world.
Massage and bodywork as a practice has inherent roots in a holistic, systems based understanding. People tend to explore bodywork as a profession out of a desire to help people, to be in a healing relationship. As people train in bodywork, they begin to understand how deep the work can be in transforming themselves, and their clients. That creating of space by an experienced practitioner/teacher for students to open and let themselves go into the experience of the work can take on much greater meaning and healing potential than can be gleaned from reading books about bodywork or being told about it by a non practicing teacher.
The art of teaching bodywork lies in the teachers’ connection to the work. Bell Hooks describes this engaged pedagogy: ‘The learning process comes easiest to those of us who teach who also believe that there is an aspect of our vocation that is sacred; who believe that our work is not merely to share information but to share in the intellectual and spiritual growth of our students. To teach in a manner that respects and cares for the souls of our students is essential if we are to provide the necessary conditions where learning can most deeply and intimately begin.” Much of what education has become is cookie cutter style curriculum fed to everyone in the same portions, and the depth and interconnectedness has been systematically distilled out in effort to quantify outcomes. Historically, learning has been the experience of living with elders, with masters of crafts, of hearing stories passed down from generation to generation, and spending time to understand the full scope of the implications of the craft and how it fits into a community, offering and developing a solid sense of place within the community by being able to have this craft to share. Since 1973 McKinnon has been committed to offering an education that is rooted in the philosophy of passing on the craft of bodywork by creating a space in which teachers and students can share that “intellectual and spiritual growth”, and in which we can “care for the souls of our students” so that they can, in turn, care for the souls of others. This is our commitment.