At the time, I’d just completed my seminary coursework to become a Taoist Minister and was deeply entrenched in developing my thesis on how to bring Tao into the modern world. My marriage of ten years was crumbling and I’d finally summoned the courage to end it. I was completely disheartened, frustrated, and not at all like my strongest self: I felt vulnerable and exposed like a crab with no shell.
And yet, here I was, at the gym, obsessed with chin ups! Chin ups, of all things, which are particularly difficult, at a time when I was feeling my weakest.
Chin up: The flippant advice we give people when they need to be strong. Suddenly, it occurred to me why I was doing this: I wanted to strengthen my back—my back which offers protection. I also wanted to exercise my triceps—the muscles designed to push things away. I had spent most of my life basing my decisions in guilt, other people’s expectations, and a desire to please. Now, I desperately needed space to figure out what I wanted.
My body’s wisdom was greater than my own life’s experience.
I practically sprinted home and drew up a psychological map of the muscular body, drawing upon the philosophy of five elements and the natural physical function of each muscle group. I researched, explored, and finally summoned the courage to put my theories to the test with my group fitness class.
“Okay, now, your biceps are the muscles that pull desirables toward you. So while you’re doing this exercise, visualize something you’d like to pull closer to you. Whether it’s part of your outer world or your inner world, what would you like to create in your life?”
It was hands-down one of the scariest moments of my life. I was sure I was going to be laughed out of the studio. Instead, tears flowed. Students found release—experienced as relief—in their strength training.
That old, outdated fitness industry tenet that strength training has to be “no pain, no gain” came crashing down for me.
I realized then that the fitness industry at large was not teaching strength; it was blindly building the body’s greatest irritant—tension. It became abundantly clear through my work that you cannot build strength through tension because strength is the flow of force, whereas tension holds energy.
As my clients and I learned to integrate our emotional and spiritual selves into our exercise to release tension, I noticed a real and lasting strength emerged. There, in this merger, it was possible to become totally aligned; to create a body and mind strong enough to contain the divine wisdom inside us all.
My mission to bring Tao into the world through movement didn’t start as a spiritual quest—in fact, growing up, I never considered myself a spiritual person. It started as a question about strength. As a Broadway dancer, my body had always been my strongest ally and sharpest tool. But after a long, fulfilling, career onstage, I stopped dancing and began teaching fitness. The more I taught, the more I found myself less interested in using my body and more curious about how my body used energy.
I studied the power of food at Ann Marie Colbin’s nutritional cooking school, The Natural Gourmet. Then, onto John Lindseth’s Chinese herbology course and then, The School of Classical Taoist Herbology. I was like a sponge, absorbing any and all information on how to most optimally work with energy: I became certified in nutrition, meditation, herbs, acupressure.
I finally had a language for all of the theories I’d been putting into practice as a dancer my entire life.
I finally had words and methodologies for the meditative encounters that saved me in my darkest moments. The sun was rising on a new chapter for me, one in which I could not just survive but organize this information into a truly healing, transformative practice that could be integrated into all aspects of life.
That thesis, which flickered into existence over a chin up bar when I felt my absolute lowest, has completely changed the frequency of my life and countless clients. I have seen clients’ lives change. People who feel like their life is too crowded, their apartment is too small, their job is too stifling use this work to go inward and discover that they are actually too crowded inside. And alignment offers them expansion.
It is a practice that, when trauma crumpled me into ball after years of repression, gave me the strength to release my pain and change my story. Thanks to BodyLogos, I don’t muse about how glamorous or cool it would be to be anyone else—I am continually becoming the person I want to be.
My gift to you, my deepest, sincerest wish for you, is the power to do the same.
Visit https://bodylogos.com/about-tammy/ for more information.