"Más participación", interrupts Margarita, my massage course instructor, "y menos presión."
I nod without looking up and continue to knead down the back of Yvonne, my fellow student; this time, as per my Venezuelan teacher's directions, using more participation (namely from my entire hand) and applying less pressure.
"Muy bien", she proclaims when I'm done, "very good".
With a small towel, I wipe away some sweat from my forehead.
Onto the shoulders now.
My eager fingers grab, pinch and pull her stiff joints, bidding the cartilage to allow her shoulders the ease of movement they so desperately desire. I work vigorously. I stand stiffly as my fingers do their dance, their concentrated dance, upon Yvonne.
Deeper now, deeper. More pressure, more pressure. Get out all the knots. Dig!
I'm breathing hard and quickly.
Yvonne nudges me and points to our teacher. "Más participación y menos presión. Involucrate!" Margarita repeats herself. "More involvement and less pressure. Get involved! You need to involve ALL of your hand! Ease on the pressure!"
I roll my eyes and we all giggle. It's an ongoing joke, this constant reminder for me to slow down and focus on where my energy is coming from and where it's going to, rather than pounding away zealously.
I shake my wrists, take a deep breath and carefully resume my labor of love on my dear friend and classmate. "Victim", she claims with a wink.
I started this course about three weeks earlier and the classes are the highlight of my week. I'm absolutely in my element as Margarita lectures, demonstrates, tests, and guides us in everything there is to know about Masaje de Todo (Everything Massage). I knew a bit about massaging before I joined, having been blessed bywith 'hands that heal', but entering the world of the erudite and gentle Margarita was entering into a whole new sphere of healing.