I learned my trade at the Guild for Structural Integration. I chose the Guild for several reasons. One reason was simply that it was where my practitioner had studied. Another was that the faculty included the first two teachers whom Ida Rolf chose to provide training on her method.
The Guild recently revamped its website. Updated sections on the “about us” tab include a summary of Dr. Rolf’s career. Here is a nugget from the page about the process of structural integration that I hope you will also find a useful reminder about the work we do together.
While Structural Integration is primarily concerned with physical changes in the body, it affects the whole person. We are made up of emotions, attitudes, belief systems and behavior patterns as well as the physical being. All are related. Align the physical structure and it will open up the individual’s potential.
I studied with David Davis when he used to teach at the Guild for Structural Integration. He is a gifted practitioner and instructor. Here, he talks briefly about integration, gravity and its effects in the body.
Wanting to achieve a goal can be useful to get us motivated. However, “keeping your eye on the prize” does not give any clues about how to get to that goal. Whether it’s completing all 10 sessions of structural integration, walking 10,000 steps per day, or accomplishing results on a project, the path to success is often a more gradual process rather than one eureka moment.
Making a plan is an effective way to get to the eventual goal. Identifying steps needed to get to the goal and some milestones along the way is a good start. Thinking ahead about how to get around roadblocks that might come up and establishing routines for your project can be really helpful.
Obviously, things will occasionally come up that put us off track. No need to give up, just return to the process. Some advice I received is to follow the plan 80% of the time and ask for support or assistance when needed. I try to keep that in mind, be patient, and enjoy the moments on my way to the eventual goal.
I recently received a news update from my school, The Guild for Structural Integration. A quotation in the message was from one of the founders, Emmett Hutchins. Emmett was also a primary teacher for my SI training. I thought his words were a good reminder and inspiration for the new year:
Structural Integration is about the whole person.
It is about fascia and feeling.
The sensation of moving from weakness into strength,
the exhilaration of owning a new part of oneself,
the immediate and simultaneous reeducation of one’s being and action,
the joy of self-empowerment,
these are the experiences of Structural Integration.
Saucha (or sometimes, sauca) is one of the Niyamas in the Yoga Sutra of Patanjali. It is often translated as purification or cleanliness. In the sutras, we learn that both the body and mind need to be made clean and ready for the practice of yoga.
Off the mat, there are also a number of benefits to cultivating saucha, in the sense of self care. People often put themselves last when they are busy when the opposite approach would likely serve them better. If you take good care of yourself, that’s when you will have enough physical, mental and emotional reserves to also be able to manage your responsibilities. Receiving bodywork, either on an as-needed basis or on a regular schedule, is an important way to take care of your body.
Here are some thoughts by Rolf Gates about sauca, from his wonderful book Meditations from the Mat.
The people I admired seemed to be treating their bodies well … I had a sense that these habits were an extension of the love these individuals felt toward themselves and others … Our body is the home of our spirit. It is the means by which we enact our beliefs. Therefore, the maintenance of the body is a spiritual duty, an act of love not only toward ourselves but toward all humanity.
May 19 was the 120th anniversary of the birth of Dr. Ida P Rolf. This video includes Dr Rolf talking off screen. She guides the practitioner (Peter Melchior) on where to work. Her ability to perceive what the client’s body needs is impressive.
Rolfing can be like making your bed in the morning. You think you’re going to get by without pulling that bed apart, so you pull up this cover and the next cover. When you get all the covers puffed up, you’ve got nine ridges running across the bed. Now you’ve got to go to a deeper layer and organize the deeper layer, and make your bed on top of that. Then you’ve got a made bed. Well it’s the same with the body: you’ve got to organize those deeper layers.
Ida P. Rolf, Ph.D.
Several months ago, a friend recommended a book called “The Upside of Stress.” I finally picked it up at the library. I learned a number of new ideas on what science says about the role of stress in our lives. Lots of times, and I’m somewhat embarrassed to admit this, I feel stressed about the stress in my life. No need for that! Research shows that embracing stress is the way to go. Here are highlights that I found useful.
There are more kinds of stress states than just fight or flight. Another type of stress condition is a beneficial one. That’s when you rise to a challenge or are in a state of flow. Your heart can benefit from certain chemicals released in such times. These types of experiences also help build resiliency and confidence.
Having a meaningful life generally includes stress because stress arises when you deeply care about something.
Stress is harmful mainly when you think it is. Re-framing an issue (changing your mindset) really does work as a stress-management tool. One example is to understand that stress can help by giving you energy. Another approach is to think about your core values, priorities, long-term goals or what other people are experiencing. When put into a larger context, daily hassles become less irksome. People suffer less after a stressful event if they are able to find a way to learn or grow from it.
Stanford News Article on Embracing Stress
TED talk by Dr Kelly McGonigal: How to Make Stress Your Friend
Washington Post interview with Dr Kelly McGonigal