My practice is grounded in the three primary pillars of Rolfing, mindfulness, and movement. The way these tools are used with each client is unique; a reflection of where each person is on their developmental path, their goals, and what organically presents itself throughout our sessions. Sometimes our work is specifically in one individual area, perhaps primarily focusing on one of the pillars or progressing from one to the next. Sometimes the methods blend together within or across sessions, creating a unique unfolding of the body and Being as we go. The body, in every case, is our gateway to growth and change, and so we always begin there.
“Man is an event on a line connecting heaven and earth. Rolfing organizes man around that line so that he can be a more fully-functioning human being.” — Ida P. Rolf, Ph.D.
The human body has a fundamental desire to be upright. From our earliest efforts to stand, walk, and climb, to our efforts later in life to evolve along our growth path toward higher levels of awareness and mastery, the impulses are always upward. When our bodies are balanced and at ease, we have a powerful, adaptable, and resilient vehicle that supports these explorations.
Living in the field of gravity can make these efforts difficult. Your life in gravity forms your structure, and adaptations made by your body – from postural habits, the aging process, repetitive activities, injuries and trauma, and even emotional and psychological states of being – force your body to work harder to simply stay upright under the constant downward force of gravity. Your whole system has to adapt around places that don’t move very well and it becomes inefficient, and we’re often in pain, have low energy, and are not really running optimally. Your physical self, the aspect of you that is meant to support your growth and expansion toward your higher Self, becomes the sticking point in your development.
Rolfing is a process of transforming the body so it can be adaptable and resilient in gravity again. Developed by Ida P. Rolf, Ph.D., a Columbia biochemist, Rolfing is a system of bodywork that brings postural balance and support back to the structure so that it can once again move efficiently and comfortably through your world. By removing strain in the fascia (or connective tissue) and creating balanced movement in the joints, Rolfing lengthens the body, reorganizes it, and connects your body’s various ‘parts’ into a more cohesive, higher-functioning system that is adaptable to stress and resilient enough to bounce back quickly and effectively from overwhelm. It creates a system of ‘You’ in which the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. You will move better, function better, and feel better.
“You can’t do what you want till you know what you’re doing.” – Moshe Feldenkrais
Sometimes the challenges our bodies experience have a pretty straightforward origin – some sort of accident or ailment leads to discomfort and limitation. More often though, the ways we inhabit and use our bodies over time are the issue. Chronic misuse may be functional – constant computer use without taking breaks, holding our neck and shoulders in tension when we inhale, or shuffling our feet when we walk. Body image and belief-oriented habits are also tremendously impactful – the roles you take on in life, the ways you respond emotionally when stressed, and how you orient to yourself and others are all reflected in your body, very often below conscious awareness. If you’re addressing the physical impact of these habits through bodywork without bringing awareness to the habits themselves, you will most likely continue the patterns that created the pain in the first place, and the symptoms will probably return.
Based on the principles and techniques of the Hakomi Mindful Somatic Psychology, my work to bring awareness and understanding to these patterns is not therapy, but facilitated self-study. Guiding you through mindfulness – a slower-paced, reflective state of self-observation and non-judgment – allows us to study your body’s subtle responses to the world, and at times, to draw a deeper understanding of the habitual patterns we sometimes hold.
Your body’s experience is the most intelligent measurement for whether or not some aspect of your life is working for you. Adding mindfulness to our work with the physical body helps you understand the signals your body is sending you every day, and to recognize the patterns you unconsciously hold that create pain, immobility, and limitation. Studying those signals will teach you to slow down and make more intelligent, more connected, healthier decisions, and will give you the basic skills necessary for sustaining and deepening the changes Rolfing makes to your body long after our work together is complete.
To support these explorations, I completed a two-year, 360-hour training in the Hakomi Method through the Hakomi Institute Southwest in April 2016.
“Watching a child makes it obvious that the development of his mind comes through his movements.” – Maria Montessori
Most of us take movement for granted. Unless you’re experiencing an acute or chronic condition that restricts easy and comfortable movement, or you’re a high-level or professional physical performer or athlete, chances are you don’t think very much about how you move day-to-day.
In our culture, we’re simply not trained in the movement basics of breathing, sitting, standing, and walking. Most of us learn to stand and walk at around 12 months old, and if things are working well for the most part, that’s the last time much attention is paid to how things are progressing. Similarly, we spend years of our lives seated, and except for the times when a teacher or family member is telling us to stop slouching when we’re teenagers, we don’t give a lot of attention to this basic action.
Compound this lack of attention with your history – injuries or trauma, chronic stress, psychological and emotional states of being, the aging process, and your perception of yourself and your health and well-being – and an innately adaptable and resilient system becomes overwhelmed. Very often the body simply breaks down under this stress and can’t easily recover. More frequently than not, this is what brings people into my practice.
To reconnect to your true being, your authentic Self, we need to build a new “You”. If your body is an intelligent machine, Rolfing balances and resets the hardware, learning mindfulness rewrites the software, and bringing a new level of skill and awareness to movement creates your new users’ manual, resulting in a higher-performing system of You.
My work with movement is derived from more than two decades of practice in martial arts, yoga, and other movement disciplines such as parkour and natural movement, along with the functional mechanics training of Rolf Movement® Integration. It’s inspired by the desire to help you find power, ease, and comfort in your body, and designed to give you basic awareness of the movement choices you make every day coupled with more intelligent options in both active and restful postures and activities.
At times, movement work will directly support one of our Rolfing sessions, giving you simple homework exercises to help you integrate change while improving your awareness of how different parts of your body function. Sometimes we’ll break down a specific activity or action to create more biomechanically sound, whole-body oriented support or movement to wire in healthier habits. And, we may occasionally leave the treatment room altogether to put all of our work to the test in a more real-world scenario. The skills you learn will coordinate all your individual “parts” into a unified system of posture and movement, giving you a strong foundation for the discovery of your own unique ways to engage and interact with your environment, whether that’s your office or the natural world. You will learn to move through your life effectively, comfortably, and joyfully!