ROLFING AND POSTURE
We Rolfers see structure as a series of interconnected and inter-related bony segments. Our bodies are designed to provide internal support for all these segments. Large sections provide support for sections that are above them as well as rest upon sections that are below them. An example of this is the relationship between the pelvis and the legs: Some people have developed a habit of storing tremendous amounts of tension through their hips, buttocks, and legs. This prevents their hip girdle from easily resting upon their leg bones in a way that provides maximum energy, range of motion, stability and stamina.
The more we overload our musculature to compensate for our inability to move with grace and fluidity in our bodies, the more we tire ourselves unnecessarily. The more we allow for this system of internal support to operate in the way it was designed to operate, the more our bodies become a vehicle for our full physical expression. Through Rolfing we let go into ideal posture rather than hold to achieve it.
Rolfers and teachers of Rolf Movement Integration address these disruptions in structural balance in the bodies of our students and clients. We teach through hands-on manipulation and provide cues and prompts that help people regain structural integrity. We are interested in the ways our feet contact the ground as well as the ways our heads float effortlessly on top. Through the use of metaphor, we teach elongation without effort.
One of the hallmarks of Rolfing is the attainment of improved posture as a function of surrendering tension and strain, as opposed to learning new ways of working hard. Clients often hear that they are not coming to learn to work harder in their bodies; they are coming to work less hard.
Dr. Ida Rolf, who founded this system, often clarified the difference between posture and balance. The Latin word, ponere, has the same root as posture and means "to put or to place. As a result of interpreting posture in such a manner, people often acquire the habit of holding a static, correct position. Through Rolfing, however, we continuously seek out a dynamic, creative balance in our bodies that is quite different than putting or placing body parts in one place and then keeping them in that place. Posture, as is taught through Rolfing, is a creative, fluid process. We move with correct posture, we do not hold. We learn the inherent balance of a properly aligned structure and let gravity do the work of providing support.
Rosie Spiegel has been an Advanced Certified Rolfer, a certified instructor in Rolf Movement Integration, and has taught yoga, bodywork, and movement since 1973. She is the author of Bodies, Health, and Consciousness, Lessons in Embodiment, and Yoga in Motion.
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