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I love Boulder Colorado! It is home to three important schools of my favorite disciplines: Rolfing, yoga and meditation. This is where I studied Rolfing back in 2006 and now I’m back to study yoga with Richard Freeman at his studio, The Yoga Workshop. On my way to and from class I walk right past the Boulder Shambhala Center which has a spectacular meditation room that is open to the public all day!
I used my free time to check in with one of my first Structual Integration (Rolfing) teachers, Liz Stewart, whom I adore! Liz is genuine and down to earth with a fantastic laugh and a great sense of humor. I’ve always felt at home around her. I admire her as a teacher because she poses great questions and is skillful at helping you figure things out for yourself. She is creative, fun, non-dogmatic and practical.
Today Liz invited me to do a four-handed Rolfing session on one of her clients. This means we worked together on the same person. The trick to four-handed work is to connect to the other practitioner and work together. I’ve rarely done four-handed work so today was a treat and an honor. What follows is a recap of today’s session:
Our client today was Wendy. After a visual evaluation of her posture, the session begins. I rest my hands and listen to the liquid sensation of fascia swimming under my fingers. Soon, I can feel Liz. It is easy to feel the continuity between our hands as we work with Wendy’s body. It feels good, Wendy’s muscles relax as she gets more comfortable.
Liz and I take turns leading then following. As the session progresses I notice that my hands know what they’re doing, I don’t have to think about it. I’m participating in a tactile dialogue with all of my senses, I feel open and relaxed. Our hands pulsate back and forth, giving and receiving, surfing the waves of information that come in through our fingers. It is a whole body experience, my senses are engaged, I am alert, open, attentive.
I notice that the less I think about what I’m doing, the more everything is working in concert, effortlessly. It is easy to hold a light conversation while my hands are free to follow what they feel. Wendy is very receptive to our touch, she’s enjoying the session and so is Liz. The session has a relaxed and comfortable feel, of course with four hands we do twice the work with half the effort. It is very nice.
The little gem I take from today’s experience is about how tricky my rational mind can be. I have painstakingly learned tons of useful though somewhat complicated models to understand the body’s structure. The only problem with that, however, is that they can cloud my vision and make me lose sight of the actual person I have right in front of me. Today has been a wake-up call to tune into a more energetic, empathic and symbolic way of perceiving my clients. I need to let go, at least temporarily, of the more analytical techniques and follow my hands.
Can you relate? What are your thoughts?