Whole Body En-Lighten-ment
The image of Leanardo Da Vinci's Vitruvian Man, perfectly embodies the quote by the late Tibetan sage Tsongkhapa, in which he states: "The great wisdom dwells in the body. Fully away from all thoughts.”
In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities. In the experts, there are few.
—Shunryu Suzuki Roshi
Rolfing®️ works with the gross physical body and the descending force of the earth's gravitational energy field. Rolfing resembles a slow deep tissue massage but focuses on layers of restricted connective tissue in the entire body called fascia, rather than on isolated regions of contracted muscle tissue like during massage.
Rolfing treats the body as whole by systematically reshaping, reorganizing and integrating the physical structure into balance with gravity. Rolfing is interactive, self-empowering and more invigorating then massage.
Unlike massage or other forms of bodywork, Rolfing changes the structure of our body. The effects of this work are long-term and last many years. In addition to transforming our body, Rolfing empowers us to take charge of our own physical and emotional well-being, enabling us to rediscover our inherent inner beauty and body wisdom.
Most human beings are significantly out of alignment with gravity. Gravity is the basic shaper of the body. From birth until death gravity is always working on us. Over time, our bodies get pulled into unnatural positions which result in chronic patterns of tension, stress and pain. Mind and body are mutually sustaining and we can become rigid, inflexible and “set in our ways”. We function better when our bodies are aligned with the descending gravitational energy field of the earth.
In its optimal condition fascia (connective tissue) is a whole body matrix of white, loose, fibrous, moist tissue. Like a multi-layered stocking, fascia surrounds, supports and connects every muscle, organ, tendon and bone, giving our body shape and strength. Healthy fascia helps facilitate fluid movement between different parts of the body. The link between connective tissue and neural tissue is one of the most critical relationships in the whole body. Fascia is organized and set into motion and function by the Breath of Life, our life force energy. Whenever it is disorganized by “self” contracted inertial forces, our relationship to the Breath of Life or “life force” can resolve these inertia’s and restore natural function to the fascial system, and everything else.
Fascia is our body's only universal tissue. We are myofascial beings, all the way through. Psychological and spiritual depth has a bodily component. A fully embodied human evokes movement in all depths of their bodily being. Our body reflects our current lifestyle. Our lifestyle represents our intentions, our life goals, our values.
Our feelings and our bodies are like water flowing into water. We learn to swim within the energies of the [body] senses.
Much like a sculptor working with clay, Rolfing® works hands on with the body’s living matrix of malleable myofascial connective tissue, by lengthening and releasing age-old restrictions that inhibit fluid body movement, brought on by “posturing” and the fixed "identity" we have learned and been conditioned to express in the world. The repressive structures of a “self”-contracted, repressive, dysfunctional society, are mirrored in the inflexible, contracted, armouring of the human body.
These blocks and restrictions can be related to our daily habitual psycho/physical posture and movement patterns, or the times in our lives when our sympathetic (fight & flight) branch of our autonomic nervous system responded to protect us like during an accident, injury, or intense emotional experience, resulting in a long-term frozen holding pattern where we live in a constant state of contracted hyper-vigilance and sympathetic nervous system arousal.
Body awareness gets us in touch with our inner world. Minimizing, or avoiding feeling our sensations in our body increases our vulnerability to being overwhelmed by them.
Do not be afraid to suffer, give the heaviness back to the weight of the earth. -- Rilke
Feelings can move through us like the changing weather, and we can feel them and move on like the wind ... "Free" is not free of feelings, but free to feel each one and let it move on, unafraid of the movement of life. -- Jack Kornfield, A Path With Heart
Feeling is the process of non-thinking, non-interfering attention to the emotional state of the body. Muscle contraction against feeling is a physiological form of self hatred. Westerners in particular, are the most constipated people, both physically and emotionally. Overcoming our cultural, "self"-contracted, fear-based conditioning, by feeling an emotion can be likened to slowly digesting it, rather than contracting, by-passing and repressing it. When we relax into a feeling, we can gently absorb it into our experience. No matter how unreasonable our feelings may seem, we hurt ourselves by denying real experiences of them. Movement of emotion, like the ocean, has motion; it is a living process.
Neurosis is always a substitute for legitimate pain.
-- Carl Jung
Proprioception, also referred to as kinaesthesia (or kinesthesia), is the sense of self-movement and body position. It is sometimes described as the "sixth sense". Knowing where our bodies are in space is critical for the control of our movements and for our sense of Self. Our “sixth sense” not only enables us to control the movements we make, but provides us with the ability to perceive ourselves moving in space and acting in relation to our surroundings. One of the good things about the pleasure of inhabiting the body — how we feel the body from within, what we now call proprioception, our sense of the body as we feel it from inside — is that it’s an inherent pleasure that doesn’t have many stories at all. No “fixed” point of view.
Interoception is the awareness of our subtle sensory, body based feelings; the greater the awareness, the greater our potential to influence our lives. It is only by grounding our awareness in the living sensation of our body that our true presence can awaken. Tears for example are proof that emotions become physical. Imagine what stuck emotions can do to our body when they have spent years without being released or properly transmuted. Think about what parts of your body constantly ache or are in pain. Tears and feeling our emotions stimulate the relaxation response of our parasympathetic nervous system which can awaken our developmentally arrested instinct of self-compassion and intimacy enhancing empathy and compassion for others.
Self Regulation depends on having a friendly relationship with our body, without it we have to rely on external regulation from medication, drugs like alcohol, constant reassurance, social validation, busyness, overspending, control, frozen dissociation, spaciness, hypervigilance, or boundaryless, compulsive, people pleasing compliance with the wishes of others. We can only be fully in charge of our lives when we can acknowledge the reality of our body, in all it's visceral dimensions. When feelings are not allowed to flow freely, they condense into stagnant quagmires of dense emotional suffering.
Learning how to honestly express “no” and or “yes” is the cornerstone and fundamental foundation of developing positive self esteem and true intimacy. As a culture we are trained to cut ourselves off from the truth of what we are feeling. Only by getting in touch with our body, by connecting viscerally with our true self, can we gain a sense of who we really are, our priorities and true values.
One of the clearest lessons from contemporary neuroscience is that our sense of ourselves is anchored in a vital connection with our bodies. We do not truly know ourselves unless we can feel and interpret our physical sensations; we need to register and act on these sensations to navigate safely through life. While numbing (or compensatory sensation seeking) may make life tolerable, the price you pay is that you lose awareness of what is going on inside your body and, with that, the sense of being fully, sensually alive.
Page 274 from the book The Body Keeps Score by Bessel Van Der Kolk, M.D.
Embodied alignment is the perfect balance between the descending gross physical and ascending subtle spiritual forces of manifest existence. An inner “line” expressed and felt within the constant relational field of earth's gravity and the unknown infinite space of sky. In Indias esoteric tradition, it’s called Shiva/Shakti: The union of masculine and feminine.
Over a series of sessions, both client and therapist work to “lift” head, shoulder, thorax, pelvis and legs, into vertical alignment. Each session builds on the cumulative results of the previous one. Chronic discomforts often disappear immediately, or soon after the series are completed. A sense of lightness and fluid internal “rightness,” along with more energy and greater mobility are often the result.
Rolfing® creates long-lasting change by addressing the underlying cause of psycho/physical tension and pain. The goal of Rolfing goes beyond relieving tension in isolated body regions, instead, the entire body is integrated in gravity so the body as a whole functions more efficiently.
People who have received this work move with more surety and grace and often report positive changes in their outlook on life. Benefits include improved posture, Self-confidence and body awareness. Increased vitality, mental clarity and relief from chronic pain.
I have worked with thousands of individuals from all walks of life including many world class athletes, students of yoga and meditation, professional dancers, artists, actors, writers, business people. Physicians, musicians, Roshis, Rabbis & Rinpoches. As well as many ’ordinary’ people, riddled with everyday tension and pain, who are seeking relief and improved performance in their professions and daily activities.
Rolfing® is offered in a series of ten to twelve sessions, which are usually spaced one week apart, in a structured, mainstream, working environment. Or as often as ten sessions in seven-to-ten days during a retreat, or in a similar calm (parasympathetic) retreat-like environment. Individual non-series sessions are also available.
People of all ages and backgrounds use Rolfing to optimize the experience of living in their body and to come into a more personal and profound, intimate relationship with earth, Spirit -- Self and others.
To Learn More about Rolfing® Schedule a Free Introductory Consultation
"The body stores the trauma of our lives in muscular rigidity, thereby keeping us stuck in the past. When we release tension in the body and align ourselves with gravity, we take a new stand in life. This allows us to be at ease with ourselves and in harmony in our relationship to others and to our planet." ~ Joseph Heller
"Health is not merely of the body, It is the natural expression of the body, mind and soul when they are in rhythm with the One Life. It is not merely a question of physical fitness, but rather is a result of the soul finding free expression through the mind and body of the individual." ~ Randolph Stone
If you can imagine how it feels to have a fluid, light, balanced body free of pain, stiffness and chronic stress, at ease with itself and the earth’s gravitational field, then you will understand the goals of Structural Integration.
- Ida Rolf
Ten Session Series
Open the breath and align the rib cage over the pelvis.
(The outer shell)
Align the legs the knee and ankle joints and help distribute the weight of the body over the arches of the feet.
(Stability and support)
Release tension in the shoulders, arms and sides and help bring vertical alignment to the sides of the torso.
(Let the arms hang)
Release the bottom of the core and bring alignment
to the middle of the inside of the legs.
Lengthen the front of the core and release
the deep muscles of the pelvis.
(Relaxed graceful gait)
Lengthen the back of the core, spine and sacrum.
Release and lengthen the top of the core, align the head over the torso, and release tension in the face, head and neck.
(Free the head)
Release rotations in the lower half of the body – legs,
hips, pelvis, and balance the deep and superficial
muscles of this area.
(Connection to earth)
Release rotations in the upper half of the body – the arms, shoulders, chest, back and neck and balance the deep and superficial muscles of this area.
(Connection to sky)
Establishing the overall integrity of the body.