The Conscious Body and Rolfing®
Our relationship with our own body is one of the most fundamental relationships in our lives. We think about many others - with our parents, our siblings, our friends, our spouse, children, job, and so on. Yet we often avoid the most basic relationships - with our body, mind, and emotions, even though these are the major part of our experience of life. We notice them when they give us trouble. Even a minor discomfort in our body, for instance, a tiny paper cut on our finger, can alter our experience of life. A significant injury, pain, or pattern of use will alter our experience much more.
As we go through life we tend to get more and more out of relationship with our body. Starting from being a baby, dealing with hunger, being touched, learning to crawl and walk, getting hurt; we begin to go unconscious in relationship to parts of our physical being. We do this when we cut off unpleasant sensations and thus lose our connection with some part of our body. We do this we learn enough to just get by, and then go on to something else. For example, we can see walking patterns in adults that arose in infancy through such things as wearing diapers. These patterns were picked up when we started to walk and still persist decades later. Walking patterns that we used as infants, or that were developed as a result of an injury may persist indefinitely, even though they are inefficient or even the cause of pain to us. We get older and maybe judge parts of ourselves as weak or ugly or no good, maybe we push our bodies as if they are machines that serve our wants and desires, instead of realizing the wondrous sensitivity, natural intelligence, and inherent beauty in the living human organism. We often reach a place where our body is just a burden - a source of pain or trouble. We cut it out of our awareness, except for nagging pains and momentary pleasures.
As a Rolfer, I focus on this relationship with your body. Through a broad range of touch, from very subtle to very deep, and through education and guided movement, I work to restore consciousness to your body. I restore the freedom, flexibility, balance, and joy of having a wondrous, living, sensitive human body. Aligning the structure of the body to work with gravity increases our ease and grace of movement and reduces pain and discomfort. All these qualities are the basis of most of our happiness and pleasure as human beings living the physical world. They form a base of being, and a grounded ness in reality, that enable healthy emotions and the ability to make friends with our thinking mind. From there we can further develop our awareness and our spiritual dimensions.
How far can we restore this ideal functioning and reach a place of ease and grace, free of chronic pain; a place of happiness with and in our physical expression? How much consciousness can we bring to our bodies? These are the questions Rolfers ask. We are at the cutting edge of this enquiry. Ida Rolf created the field of Structural Integration and Rolfers continue to work, struggle, and ponder these issues. The power of Rolfing is truly remarkable. We see wonderful change in people as we do this work, some of it is truly miraculous.
Bringing consciousness to the body involves several aspects. Part of it is bringing awareness to all parts. As the Rolfer works to integrate the body some areas need to be connected to the whole. This involves bringing feeling to areas that have become partially numb or disconnected from the whole. These parts may be too tight and have difficulty releasing or they may lack tone. The degree of conscious control may be diminished. These symptoms may be due to patterns of habitual use; beliefs about how the body should be or should move; injuries; mental, emotional, or physical traumas; to list a few possible causes. The therapeutic techniques may involve hands on work to release holding patterns or scars in the connective tissue (fascia) or in the muscles. It may involve guided movement or guided awareness.
Another aspect is bringing all the parts into order, into structural integration. With a high level of this integration, movements can originate from the inner core and smoothly unfold outward into movement that is easy and graceful. Stresses on the body arising from movement and contact are dispersed through the whole body rather than jamming up in one area and possibly injuring joints and tissue. Part of the goal is also greater range of motion that comes as the parts are freed and the body is integrated.
A further aspect is integrating the sensory awareness. Along with structural integration comes both a sense of groundedness, of being present and inhabiting the whole body, and also a clearer sense of the environment around us. As a Rolfer I work with this aspect of integration.
As we put all these parts together we develop a more conscious body. We can take more delight in using and being present in our body, while stiffness, heaviness, pains and discomforts can diminish. A lighter, more erect, more present body will affect our emotions and mood. Our groundedness along with greater sensory awareness of our surroundings can give us greater ease and clarity. We seem to have more space around us and more time to respond to events. Our thinking can be clearer and less stressed. This clarity and space results in our previous patterns of behavior and habits having less dominance over us. This creates more possibilities in the moment about what we can be aware of and what options we have in our movements and behavior. This body consciousness is a basis for living a life of developing more awareness at all levels.
Jim Gates - Certified Advanced Rolfer™
My goal for you is for your body to support your freedom, your well-being, and your joy.