The most surprising and unexpected experience during my short stay at Six Senses Kaplankaya, at the beginning of June, happenned the Spa. I experienced for the first time the Watsu technique with the therapist Banu Alagoz. Watsu is practiced in a swimming pool, where you are invited to float with only four inflatable cuffs attached to your hands and feet. This kind of therapy can mentally take you in different places (in my case from my childhood to Bagan, Myanmar or on Bangkok’s rooftops), and Banu will then tell you a number of things that relate to your personality and can recommend a series of therapies.
I was discreetly advised to take a 90 minutes session of Emotional Detox Massage, which can be described as the most beautiful and intense experience of my life. I have fully understood the concept of Integrated Wellness, the spearhead of the Six Senses resorts. A vacation is not only for relaxing, you can get so much more than that. By going to Spa therapies, meditation sessions along with specialists, various energy-based and Ayurveda therapies you can also mentally heal.
Banu Alagoz is the type of therapist, so special and so rare, it’s worth jumping into a plane and travel half of the world just to have some sessions together. Here is a short interview with Banu, from which you can find out more about her therapy techniques.
How did your career as a Therapist start and how did you come to work for Six Senses Kaplankaya?
In my journey into myself, I always used professional trainings to go deeper into layers, and then shared what I learned with other people. I started with yoga and meditation twenty years ago, had massage trainings while I was working in Thailand, but got quite serious about this profession when I became a Kundalini Yoga Instructor in 2007. At that time, even though I was trained as a therapist, I wanted to work with groups and was not ready to see someone face to face. As I became intrigued by the feminine energy and the womb, I started to feel this deep pull into the unknown. It was a time of facing fears, acknowledging longings and healing ancestral wounds of separation. Towards the end of this period I started to want to touch people. To create a connection, to make it OK to go into the corners I have been to. I took therapist trainings in Tantra and Taoist healing arts in Chiang Mai, and Aquatic Bodywork Therapy (Watsu) in UK. I studied attachment theory, trauma healing, somatic experiencing and meditative dance-movement therapies. Until I learned and combined all these tools, I didn’t know what to do with all this energy that was wanting to flow through me. I am very grateful to have found an outlet for it now. After working in London for almost a year, I moved back to Bodrum where my family lives, and started to work in Six Senses Kaplankaya in April 2018. Here I am the resident expert on emotional wellbeing and energy healing, doing specialist therapies like Watsu and Emotional Detox Massage.
Being a therapist is a gift. You are helping people not just to relax, but to discover more about themselves, to reconnect with their inner person. Is it hard? Is it exhausting? (not just physically but also emotionally)
It is not really hard for me to see and feel where somebody has lost connection into themselves and to life. The body never lies and I am a good observer of the body, how it moves or does not move, how it circulates energy. With listening hands, I look and feel into the person’s body and soul. The energy flow is a good indicator of where a person is. The therapies I do take them into this deep relaxation, kind of like a trance state where they are awake but feel like sleeping. This is a place we are scared to go because it resembles death to us. A yogic sleep. When the therapist has done her own shadow work and has been to these places, it makes it safe and easy for another to go into there. In the presence of a guide, the person can travel the distance to himself and touch his own truth. However, of course there are difficulties for me physically, like working in warm water for long hours or working with my body in Emotional Detox Massage. I have defined my limits and everyone is respective to those here. Emotionally I feel almost all the time pure love flowing through me, which charges me and helps me open my heart and heal as well. As long as I keep following my own self care routines, I can recharge and be ready for another day.
Give me some details about the therapies you do in Six Senses Kaplankaya. What is Watsu more precisely? What can people understand from Emotional Detox Massage?
Watsu comes from Water Shiatsu. It was found by Harold Dull, an American practitioner who started to incorporate his Shiatsu practice in a hot springs in US. To me Watsu is a physical and energetic opening in warm water. A combination of water and fire elements. Basically, the person is floating on the surface of the water with the help of some float support on their legs. With gentle stretches along the spine, and alignment of the head and the sacrum, the energy starts to flow and the body starts to move in its own way. The energy that has been suppressed is released and the body becomes a leader in finding its own expression, creating healing experiences. It is a subtle and gentle form of therapy where the mind is at rest and the body takes the lead. There are some memories that we forget but the body remembers. Through kicking in its own healing mechanism, a deep state of awareness and release in the body can be experienced in even one session.
Emotional Detox is a slow, gentle but quite deep body and energy work that is done with warm oil. It is a fusion of Asian massage techniques and Taoist energy healing. It works on grounding and opening the body, clearing its energetic pathways and releasing any accumulated tension, unprocessed emotions or negative imprints. It is healing and very nurturing. For people who are ready to explore an awakened state of energy and consciousness, it adjusts the body to a higher vibration of being. People feel lighter and in harmony afterwards.
For both therapies I focus on giving my full presence and attention, holding space for the person to open, feel and release. With the help of unconditional love and touch, anything that is not love is transformed into love and the person feels in harmony with themselves and the world around them.
Most of the people choosing to spend their vacation in a place like Six Senses Kakplankaya are searching for peace. What meaning does this word, “peace”, has for your?
To me peace is a state of rest from inner conflict. There is always a push and pull inside, between our masculine and feminine energies. This duality or separation makes us uneasy and feel not safe. There are moments when the two merge, either in a relaxing session, while being in nature, or witnessing a beautiful sunset. We remember we are not separate from the Source, which is pure energy. And at that moment, there is a state of peace inside. In Six Senses Kaplankaya, our vision is to reconnect our guests to nature and to themselves so they can experience this inner bliss where pure rest and relaxation can happen.
What’s your favorite therapy from the ones you are specialised in and why?
I love all the therapies I do, but mostly Watsu and Emotional Detox. They give me a chance to touch people from their very core and take them on a healing journey. They work together in taking the person on a deeper level so whichever one serves as a starter, the other one takes the experience further.
What do you do to recharge?
I spend a lot of time in nature. I love to connect to the father sky and mother earth to feel expanded and supported. In years I have developed a beautiful relationship with myself where I look within and gather all the inner voices around a table in my heart. All are welcome to be heard, seen. I dance 5 Rhythms which is a movement meditation found by Gabrielle Roth. Music, spending time alone, painting, dancing are my resources.
How important is yoga and meditation in nowadays?
Yoga and meditation is available everywhere. It is good to follow classes, teachers, workshops. But yoga can never really work unless you develop a personal practice. To me they will always be a part of my life and I am not strict on ways of doing it. Sometimes I do a warm up, sometimes I sit for hours just watching the sea. My meditation is being in nature and my yoga is any movement that flows.
Everybody is talking about being centered. How can a person learn to be more focused and present during his stay at Six Senses Kaplankaya?
Being centered is physically being grounded in the body. If you move and adjust the energy flow in your body, release anything that slows you down, your spinal fluid begins to flow and the mind slows down, being awake and aware in the present moment. In all my sessions I focus on creating this experience, so the person remembers how it feels and can come back to it again and again once they return to their life.
Any type of good bodywork, where the practitioner is present will create this effect. Also eating healthy, fresh and non processed foods, sleeping well, spending time in nature are helping to achieve this. In Six Senses Kaplankaya we provide all these for our guests. Aegean Sea and land has been home to many healers and philosophers since ancient times. It is a privilege to offer these services in this land.
Which is the most important thing you have learned in your career?
That work is a big part of your life purpose and one should be passionate about it. I learned everything I know through my work as a therapist and teacher. At the end, it all comes to loving and accepting yourself more everyday. There is definitely an order and flow to life. As long as I surrender into it and humbly be of service, I will end up in success and abundance. One needs to follow their passion, feel alive, be curious, connect with others and give all they have into what they do.
How many types of people are there?
In Hands of Light, Barbara Brennan separates people into 5 different categories. The main thing that defines the character, expression and even the physicality of these people is their main wounding. She defines each type by looking at their trauma, the timing of it in terms of development (prenatal, baby, early childhood etc), their main craving and need, and also their biggest fear. This sounded so right to me, as we are all adjusting ourselves around a way of being, working all our lives on healing a part of us that has been damaged. This effects how you make choices, where you aim to go in life and how you define happiness.
Everybody needs it but few really get it in this life. What does love mean for you and how can you help your patients to open themselves for love?
I had the word love tattooed on both of my wrists. In energy body the left hand is the receiving and the right hand is the giving one, and the arms are an extension of the heart chakra. I guess love is this complete acceptance of something, with all its parts, in fullness and without any conditions. It is quite difficult to maintain this state, as we often forget that everything is energy and instead we cling on to people’s identities, liking some part of it and not liking others. To me if there is a judgement, there is no love. So whenever I fall into this mindset of separation, I remind myself that all is energy. There may be energies that you don’t like to resonate with, but that doesn’t mean they are wrong.
In my sessions, I open myself and take the risk of loving that person. This is a neutral and unconditional love that gives them the feeling of union.