The keywords that come to mind are revolutionary, deeply transformative, conscious, grounding, in control, self-care, self-love, self-respect, trauma release, happiness and deep relaxation.
If I hadn't tried and also put in the effort into this method long-term my life would stay the same as it was and even worse, which is miserable, in pain, arrogant, under extreme stress, going round in circles, disconnected to my body and my needs, living in my head, putting too much burden on myself, not being in control of my life, being paralyzed with fear, unaware of the fact that having a tense body was for me the norm, pushing myself harder than I was built for, not really loving myself, lacking focus,... Aleš taught me so much over the last 1,5 years and gave me so much new knowledge which expanded my horizons in unimaginable ways. I found peace and understanding of trust and surrender for the first time. If my body was a car I was driving 300 miles/hour every day while carelessly destroying every single piece of the engine along the way. I got high from the adrenaline and false power. Now I drive in a slow speed, a speed that makes me comfortable and enables me to see all the pretty flowers, trees, rivers, horses, birds and humans on the journey. It makes it possible for me to maintain eye contact with people and really be present for them, connect with them, offer them love, safety and enjoy life together with them. I highly recommend Aleš, he is an amazing mentor and teacher, he has a brilliant mind and it is wonderful to see how he is bravely leading us into a completely new world with humility and respect.
It all started in 2014 for me when I had severe back pain and couldn't walk for 2 weeks at the age 28. I was without a job for 2,5 years and I was going through severe depression, I was in a bad place going through a very personal emotional death where I lost everything in my life, my boyfriend, my job, money resources and therefore the ability to continue University, I didn't feel connected to my friends anymore,... My whole world was destroyed and the only way I could deal with this heavy period of my life was to hide in my apartment in isolation and wallow in one big nothingness. No purpose, no vision, no ideas, just dealing with fear, anger, abandonment and sadness every day. I had a difficult childhood full of emotional and mental abuse, nobody knew how to deal with me and my intense emotions, how to love me and raise me properly, they barely knew how to love themselves and it was all just accumulating and accumulating over the years... My brain was still going 300 miles per hour, constantly searching for jobs and new ideas but my body started to slow down for the first time in my life. I was resting more and more with nothing to do in a small town. There was a huge abyss between my mind and my body, I can see that clearly now because I am putting conscious effort to minimize it every day. My journey to acceptance and surrender began. I was very wounded and scared human being because nobody ever gave me a real reason to trust them so it just wasn't programmed in me how to trust, feel safe and go with the flow. Besides that, I used to work mostly as a waitress in hotels and restaurants which as you know is a very demanding and high-pressure job. Gradually, almost a year into my unemployment my body started calming down more and more, even though my ego was stubbornly resisting it, and because of lack of exercise, repetitive movements and stored emotional trauma one day the muscle pain hit me so hard and so unexpectedly that it blew my mind.
This is one of the worst pains a person can have where it hurts so much and all the time, you can't sit, you can't stand, you can't lie down, you can't do anything! After a few days, because I was completely oblivious to what was going on, I tried to get up from the couch like I would normally do but I just collapsed on the floor in extreme back pain with no body strength at all. I was terrified. I was shaking with fear, panic and pain like in a horror movie. I was literally and physically facing one of my deepest fears: being powerless. I went completely pale and just though this is the end, all that is left to do is to call an ambulance. Fear drove me over the edge. All the previous abuse left me with mental and emotional illness that was stored in my muscles and my mind and distorted my view of reality. Luckily my mom was there to help me with her calming presence, she cared for me, helped me survive that dark period of my life, massaged my painful parts and gave me emotional support, while no one else knew what was going on and also wouldn't understand. She held space or a safe »container« for me where I could express what was hiding in my subconscious. I had to confront and deal with heavy, suppressed things that I wasn't able to deal with before, because I never felt safe and respected enough to be who I was. I also had to mature and grow up, take responsibility for myself and become emotionally independent which was hard because I didn't know how to ground myself for long.
After the pain went away in the next couple of weeks I decided to educate myself about my body and what happened. I was severely shaken by it and I understood by then that if I don't fix this problem it will come to haunt me again. I learned how to do Yoga and went to group classes for a year. It felt amazing and liberating, I felt my body for the first time, I felt strong, bendy, relaxed and alive! It was incredible until it wasn't. After a year of again pushing it too hard, over my limits, just to satisfy my ego, I felt more and more pain everywhere and I realized that I am not able to follow all the other people in my class which really demotivated me and left me again lost and confused. I felt stressed and tired instead of happy and grounded. I did so many mistakes and failed so many times flat on my face. But I persevered and kept looking. Then I found a Pilates teacher with a lot of certificates from different areas and she seemed to be knowledgeable and worthy of my time. I was desperate because I stopped doing Yoga and I really needed someone to help me. Everything else was an option except going back to that weak, collapsed body on my apartment floor. After only one session with her, I came home and I felt like my body was destroyed. She gave me so many exercises at once that my body couldn't handle and it left me so tired and in pain that I needed days to recover. I thought I was crazy! In reality, I was just not aware of my boundaries and not in control of my ego. I knew immediately that if she couldn't evaluate that I needed a different kind of therapy that she wasn't the right teacher for me. The annoying search continued. I was getting more and more depressed about it because I was losing trust in people again. The pain was coming back again and again screaming with red flags. All I wanted is to be healthy and happy. It took me exactly 2 years from that back pain incident to find Aleš. I went to a spiritual workshop created by Marjan Ogorevc where I first heard of Aleš. A few people there recommended him and I don't know why but something felt right so I wrote down his name. Marjan is also an amazing teacher, the whole workshop was mind-blowing so I decided to trust his recommendation. I then found Aleš on Facebook and explained my situation to him and he was so caring and helpful from the very beginning. He gave me so many links and explanations and kindly invited me to try out AEQ method®. I jumped into the unknown and something very unfamiliar, completely against my previous beliefs and this one small decision altered my life direction on such a profound level that it makes me teary just thinking about it - where else would I be today if we hadn't crossed paths?
AEQ method® is not anything like you've ever seen or experienced before. It's like a dynamic meditation, a conscious practice of connecting your mind to your body, where you become fully in control. You learn that your body is a mechanism who needs a fair, loyal, loving, wise and mature leader – you, of his employees – your muscles. So far as a society we haven't been reflecting this state. What we are reflecting is illness, abuse, aggressiveness and delusions, we are doing the opposite of being a good example of self-love. We need to change that and AEQ method® is the key which opens that door. Aleš also always stays in touch and to nudge you and remind you of your most important goals. He is always here to offer support and a wise, grounded opinion. He gently guided me throughout this whole journey from the very beginning which was very challenging. Compared to other teachers who gave me too much he only gave me one exercise in my first therapy session. One! The rest was mental preparation with the goal to become aware of my situation in a completely new way. He reads you like an open book and knows exactly what to say to get your attention! This whole process goes very slowly with a lot of conscious conversation and gradual changes in your destructive and unrealistic behavior. Shortly after the first few sessions I felt an extreme change and transformation in my body; I was waiting my whole life for someone to help me turn on the light in this area! I could sense certain muscles for the first time and felt true power (love) instead of false power (ego). I was starting to feel a whole new dimension of life, which as I understand it now, is real life, earthy, grounded life. The only way you can find peace, trust, love and abundance is when you are fully on Earth. Before that, both of my feet were not touching the ground at all. I couldn't do what I really wanted to do, to be me and live an authentic, full life. I was living through my mind and my emotions, full of ideas and passion but with no tangible and reachable results. I was chasing my own tail in a labyrinth of fears, castles in the sky, deformed images of reality and a great deal of sadness for sensing that my dream life was elusive and materially unavailable. I was putting and maintaining a thick wall between »me« and »life« because of all my bad past experiences and when you are closed like that, blocked, tense and emotionally wounded you unconsciously project it all onto the world and people around you and you hide your true self while proudly wearing the »mask« of arrogance. You become inauthentic, fake and suppressed, disconnected from the real, important things: love, vulnerability, emotional safety, naturally flowing emotions and inner peace.
From the first therapy session onward all of this changed radically. It felt like a strike of a lightning bolt through the core of my being. I felt the new mind – body connection immediately where before that I was more in touch with the spiritual part; I never really feel whole, I felt like I wasn't there, like a part of me was lost. I know now I was missing myself, and the most important thing: I couldn't love myself because I couldn't feel myself. You can't love someone you don't know or is absent. Lightbulbs of consciousness started flashing all over my brain, I was in shock. And suddenly I also didn't feel as tired as I before, my whole body started to function differently and a whole new life started for me at that moment even though I wasn't aware of it yet fully. I felt so much power and in touch with reality for the first time that I quit my high-pressure job 3 months later, bought a one-way ticket to another country, packed my bags and instinctively went somewhere where I would have a lot more possibilities to create a better life for myself. All of a sudden everything that I dreamed of was possible. I wanted to do it for years but I was too afraid! It was still very hard but I definitely could not do it without AEQ method® exercises.
I needed to internalize the AEQ method® philosophy and knowledge to be able to function healthily in a new and completely different environment otherwise I would return home to the same situation I was in before. My body was not strong enough before to handle these high-pressure changes. I started my own business, I am now a writer and an astrologer and I am doing what I really love for the first time in my life! I took responsibility for my life on all levels. I am writing my first book and I am so grateful and excited for all that is coming my way! I did a lot od spiritual work in the last 10 years but I could never put all of this mental and emotional energy into a quality material form and be present with myself, my challenges and intense emotions without AEQ method®. What also happened was that all of the traumatic memories that were stored in those sleeping muscles had awakened when I started paying attention to how to contract and relax my muscles in the right way. Quite a few situations occurred where I had to re-live and re-evaluate those traumatic events and when comparing them to the ones I had prior to learning AEQ method®, the difference in how I processed them was profound. My understanding and my awareness rose to a whole new level. You operate in very different states of mind and body when you operate from love, peace and relaxation instead of fear, aggressiveness and tension.
I used to be so stressed all the time because I am naturally very anxious and sensitive and without constant self-care and self-love I fall into the same pattern. That is the reality. Now I can catch myself before the anxiety and tension rises and do the exercises to relax my body and with that my mind. It has become my priority. I also started doing Yoga again and I combine both together, and I started running again after a very long pause and I feel amazing! I respect my boundaries now which also reflects in how I am able to set boundaries in relationships – it's all connected! I also don't do Yoga beyond my capabilities anymore, just because my ego thinks that it could or because everybody else in the society is destroying themselves by overdoing it. No, I do it at my own, very slow pace, in a way that I enjoy it where the base and foundations for it always come from AEQ method® philosophy and practice. I am also learning how to breathe fully now because my lungs and my chest have been so compressed for all of these years from all the emotional burden I was putting on myself and all the traumas I couldn't handle when I was little. I literally suppressed my whole personality because I wasn't accepted for who I was, I learned that I got some of their attention only when I was likable according to their standards. Aleš helped me become aware of a lot of things, he encouraged me and pointed me in the right direction. I was hiding in a shell and been stuck in a pattern for all of my life and now, at 32 years of age I am finally, lovingly and gently opening my body and my personality so I can do what I came here to do, to share my gifts with the world! My back has fully recovered, I am no longer under constant stress, I am in control of my movements, I am aware of my body and listen to its needs, I am more flexible and know how to prevent chronic pain! And another big miracle that has happened? Because I stopped abusing my own body, new people have started coming into my life who are reflecting that fact to me, and you can guess how they are treating me? Yes, they shower me with the same unconditional love, care and respect just like I shower myself.
Thank you Thomas Hanna, the founder of Hanna Somatics, and thank you Aleš Ernst for developing it into AEQ method®!
Your forever grateful student,
Janja Gabrijel, London, UK