By Mary-Justine Lanyon
Twenty years ago, David Milligan, owner of Refresh in Crestline, did yoga for the first time. He had come back from a youth retreat “hurting in places I didn’t know I had,” he told members of the Women’s Club of Lake Arrowhead.
His friend suggested he try yoga. “Which part of I’m not flexible did you not hear?” he asked the friend. But, after the friend sent him a DVD and told him to buy a mat, a block and a strap, Milligan did simple routines for seven months.
The result? “I felt 20 years fall off my body,” he said.
After that, Milligan brought yoga teachers into retreats he did. And then he went to see an energy healer. That was the second big change in his life.
“You are 100 percent energy,” he told the women. “Every bit of you is energy. Energy flows in multiple directions; within our bodies there is a preferred direction, just as there is with your blood.
“We are not taught about how our energy flows. We impact each other’s energy – we are interconnected.”
Milligan himself became an energy healer. He works with people undergoing chemotherapy, ameliorating most side effects.
Energy healing can help people heal faster and live longer, Milligan said. It works with pain and depression.
“How many of you were told to sit with your feet flat on the ground?” he asked. “Those teachers made you an ineffective student. Energy flows like a DNA helix. When it flows straight down, you get tired.”
The best way to sit, he advised, is with your arms crossed. “That protects your energy and causes it to flow. If you sit with your arms down, your energy flows down to the floor.”
He called Jo Bonita Rains up to the front and had her hold her arm out. Milligan touched her nose and her arm fell down to her side. “She lost her energy,” he said. He then “tracked” her energy, had her hold her arm out again and tried to press it down; he could not.
Milligan shared a handout with the women outlining a daily energy routine.
In the Three Thumps, the person taps several spots on their body while focusing on their breathing. This exercise is said to boost and restore energy and can also strengthen the immune system.
The Cross Crawl is an exercise Milligan said he does if he is feeling “scrambled.” This simple exercise has the person lift their right arm and left leg simultaneously, then switch to left arm and right leg.
The Crown Pull can relieve mental congestion and headaches, clear and refresh the mind. The person places their thumbs at their temples, with their fingertips resting on their forehead. They slowly pull their fingers apart. Then they repeat the pattern at the top, center and back of their head. (Editor’s note: I have done this exercise multiple times since the meeting and have alleviated my headaches.)
Other exercises in the handout are said to clear stagnant energies from the body and stimulate fresh energy to flow through the joints.
“I don’t believe in bad energy,” Milligan said. “Energy is energy. But energy can be dissonant like music. You can take dissonance, put it with other notes and make it beautiful, which is why community works. Some people are best for you to be in community with and not so much one on one.”
When you are willing to understand diversity, he added, it creates harmony.
Milligan said he defines “holy” as love, beauty and diversity – when “we spend our lives in a loving relationship with everyone around us, creating beauty and appreciating diversity.”
Refresh on the Mountain is a wellness center located at 536 South Dart Canyon Road in Crestline. They offer a variety of classes in yoga and tai chi. Milligan said he will be offering a daylong seminar on healing. For more information, visit www.iloverefresh.com.