11 April 2016

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YOUR STANDING ON EARTH 

It Concerns ... Your Standing On Earth 


This website will give you some tips and pointers toward living into more tangible balance in you own life.

More to the point, how you stand. That makes a difference, you know. On how you see the world. And, how the world sees you. 

It's a matter of balance. Merely standing on two feet is not the whole of it. Not nearly. There's the evolutionary possibility for we humans to stand fully upright. According to the design of the body and the dictates of Gravity. Adequate to the demands of the constant and ever present pull of Gravity. Most people fall short.

We know from science and its practical application in architecture how things should be put together. We make sure whatever we build is, at its core, what the trades call "plumb" and "square". This goes back to pre-recorded history when somebody figured out the simple fact that a stone fence would last if the stones were set one on top of the other. 

This applies to the human body too. The inherent natural design of the human body calls for everything to be level and even around a vertical line. Stacked up nice and straight. The center line of the body is supposed to match up with the vertical action of Gravity. When the two are aligned you are living in balance. Equipoise. This is not just a nice idea. A high concept. It's tangible. A percept. You feel it. And, it feels right. You see it for yourself.

There are implications here concerning health. Bodily balance is, by definition, healthy. Psychologically, bodily balance equates with being present, having a clear-eyed take on your world. What could be more ecological? Enlisting the energy field of the Earth as a ingrained standard for balanced living. Spiritually, balance and inner peace are directly related. Oh, yes. It feels good too.

This is all just plain common sense. But, you have to give the idea a moment to sink in. Most people aren't living anywhere near their natural potential for balance in the makeup of their bodies. It's so commonplace it goes unnoticed.

Take a look at these stills from the recent movie Birdman. What do you see?




My first take when I saw the image on top was that it might be a posture thing. A moment in time where the actor moved one shoulder higher than the other. I looked further, and it appears that is the way the gentleman is put together. I'll bet most people who saw the movie were only struck by the fact that he was levitating. I was. The other, just as obvious spatial imbalance, goes unnoticed.

To illustrate the point further, go somewhere where lots of folks are around to observe. Now, take a look at how they walk. Sure, one foot goes in front of the other. But, look more closely. Each person exhibits a different pattern of movement. This is a result to a very large extent on how their individual life histories have become recorded into the very fabric of their flesh. The seemingly simple act of walking is a complex motor function. The articulation of the feet and legs. The transfer of movement through the pelvis. Then upward, through the torso and into the shoulders. The neck and head also participate; or, don't. That is called "head strong".

Also, as you observe how people move, consider how some patterns are more efficient and graceful. Then, how some others (many), if extended over a long period of time, will lead to complications and disfunctions. 

This is not necessary. And, it's easy to correct. But, again, you have to want it. It does take doing. So, what to do?

KEY POINTER: Pay attention to how you use your body. It's called mindfulness. Just include your body sense into your total field of awareness. Your body is constantly giving you feedback on when it's happy, and when it's not. Pay attention to the signals. Adjust accordingly.

Additional posts on this website will be added to build on this basic foundation. 

If you want to get into it big time right away, here's a place to go. Click this













09 April 2016

The Dharma of Gravity



Dharma is a vast subject. What exactly is it? In Buddhism it means, "Cosmic Law and Order". Also, the teaching of the Buddha about the way of things. 

The Dharma upholds us. We uphold the Dharma. Buddhist or not, Mother Nature rules. The sun starts to shine at dawn. Rain falls. Gravity ... pulls.

At a turning point in my life I got in touch with the simple fact that I was not paying attention to "The Way of Things", to my True Life needs. I was neglecting my spiritual life. I hated my job as an advertising executive. I wasn't taking care of my health. Things changed rather suddenly and abruptly. Not the least being a divorce and that heartbreak. 

Around that time I had tremendous success with my own Rolf Structural Integration treatments. It helped resolve lower back pain. And, I discovered how my body could change to be more graceful, powerful, and effortlessly upright. I chose that profession to support a way of life which contributed in a tangible human way; one grounded in reality. 

Structural Integration trains individuals to have an efficient and workable arrangement in the makeup of their bodies. 

That's where Gravity comes in.

Structural Integration was originated by Dr. Ida P. Rolf with the aim to educate human beings into a constructive and healthful relationship with that prime ecological fact — the constant and ever present pull of Gravity.

In a very real sense the force of Gravity is an item of Dharma. It is the Law. Ignorance is not an excuse. Ignore it at your peril. It will pull you down if you're not paying attention. Or, you're not in balance.

It's always there. It goes unnoticed as such. We take it for granted. Unless you want to go to the Moon, or you drop your groceries. Unnoticed or not, we do have to deal with it. Even a child learning to stack blocks is in a learning relationship to Gravity; albeit, it is a non-verbal process.

Dr. Rolf spoke eloquently. It sticks with me something she said, "Consign you body to Gravity". I take her to be saying, trust the force of Gravity. Trust enough in fact that when your body is stacked up in balance, you can see your way to letting go. Then, Gravity will heal you and support you. In a very real sense, the entire profession of Structural Integration is a project to demonstrate what it would look like to see humans correctly organized in their relationship to Gravity.

And, what I know of spiritual matters, a central point of the Dharma is letting go. Surrendering to what is. 

Oh, yes ... key point. Dr. Rolf had the genius to observe the obvious. Humans are not truly upright. In terms of the Anatomical design of their bodies. In terms of Basic Physics and what it takes in simple spatial terms to deal properly with the pull of Gravity. You can see for yourself. Most individuals live short of their easy natural potential for balanced order in their bodies. 

Quoting Dr. Rolf, "Some individuals may perceive their losing fight with gravity as a sharp pain in their back, others as the unflattering contour of their body, others as constant fatigue, yet others as an unrelentingly threatening environment. Those over forty may call it old age. And yet all these signals may be pointing to a single problem so prominent in their own structure, as well as others, that it has been ignored: they are off balance, they are at war with gravity."

In order to balance your body with Gravity you have to think in architectural terms. Just what is it about the body — which, by the way, is just like any other physical structure on Earth — that needs to be there to work with Gravity. Work so well, in fact, that you could just surrender it to Gravity, and ... find yourself supported. Most of us would assume that if you let go you would fall down in a heap. And, for most of us, you would be right.

In order to "consign" your body to Gravity you need to see to it that it is arranged in alignment according to the dictates of Gravity. In the design and construction of buildings it's called Plumb and Square. At their very center physical structures need to be stacked up neatly in a straight line, all even and level. No less so with your body.

From that balanced position you can give your body over to Gravity. Why would anyone want to do that? Well, it is normal according to the basic design of the human body. So, it's healthy. Also, it's a platform for top performance. Full creative expressiveness. Also, maybe, that's were it gets into more spiritual concerns. 

In the following video a respected teacher from my school, the Rolf Institute of Structural Integration touches on the spiritual side of the work.


11 September 2015

There's Not One Subject Not Affected By Gravity
HUMAN 
DESIGN ECOLOGY


THERE'S NOT ONE SUBJECT NOT AFFECTED BY GRAVITY.


Indeed. Nor, any object.

Except ... in how it is so commonplace to see people unaware of living at odds in respect to the dictates of Gravity. And, unaware that something rather simple can be done to correct the imbalance.

Living with a body out of balance is at odds with how things work. For not having a clue about this significant fact is to live in default of chronic stress and pain. Short of your reasonable potential for sound health, top physical performance, and flowing creativity.

Design Ecology is a field with the perspective toward sustainable living through seeking harmonious integration with living ecological systems. While this is typically a concern in Architectural design, it crosses over into environmental issues in areas such as Agriculture, Energy, Human Habitation, Ergonomics.

Human Design Ecology is a field which takes its insight from Human design itself. It's not hard to see that physiologically we are meant to breathe fresh air, to drink clean water, to eat uncontaminated foods. Psychologically, to live stress-free, in unpolluted surroundings.

In terms of considerations to Human Design Ecology, when you take the force of Gravity as an environmental factor, what do we see?

Dr. Ida P. Rolf observed: "Some individuals may perceive their losing fight with gravity as a sharp pain in their back, others as the unflattering contour of their body, others as constant fatigue, yet others as an unrelentingly threatening environment.  Those over forty may call it old age.  And yet all these signals may be pointing to a single problem so prominent in their own structure, as well as others, that it has been ignored: they are off balance, they are at war with gravity."

What to do?

Well, as you may know I am a professional instructor offering individualized training to raise the level of the body to an unstressed, effortlessly upright, balanced, easy stance. This is normal in terms of Human Anatomical design. It also honors the Laws of Physics in terms of how structures work and endure under the constant pull of Gravity.

This is something available that will be a significant benefit to people of all ages, varying backgrounds, and different levels of physical ability.

Next Steps

First ... just consider the situation. See for yourself in a mirror how your body stacks up. Look at your fellows. Isn't it fascinating that with the same parts we all are put together so differently. And, how that translates to how unique we are in our movements. Our mentalities.

Something to consider ... Could it be that all the warring and struggling in the human drama are nothing but acting out of unresolved inner conflicts? The Dalai Lama spoke about how there is no world peace without inner peace. Word.

I'm not suggesting we go out and solve the problems of the world. I am proposing that we go out and solve the problem of "ME" in the world. And, by "ME", I'm including YOU along with myself.

Not to worry, balance along the lines of Gravity won't make everybody the same. Well, maybe the same in terms of having a positive working relationship to the Gravitational field of the Earth. It will go a long way toward making a positive effect on health, productivity, performance, and creativity. 

Simply put, we are designed to live on the Earth. Why not take advantage of that great renewable, inexhaustible resource — Gravity.

Let's make Gravity a verb:





05 September 2015

GRAVITY: FRIEND ... OR, FOE?
GRAVITY: 

FRIEND ... OR, FOE?



Gravity. Friend or foe? 

Now, there's a question. 

We know enough about Gravity to launch rockets into space. Every architect and building trade worker knows that things have to be stacked up straight, all level and even. In their parlance, "Plumb and square."

Even as small children we've all learned that a stack of blocks will stand on its own if they are arranged one on top of the other. Maybe not in words, as such. But, by pure trial and error, we come to directly see that it is so.

Yet, isn't it something, with all we know about Gravity in terms of science and practical technology, how we humans as individuals operate in Earth's gravitational field is still unexplored territory.

So, when it comes to the makeup of our bodies — how they stack up as we know any structure should — where are we?

The visionary Dr. Ida P. Rolf observed ... 

Some individuals may perceive their losing fight with gravity as a sharp pain in their back, others as the unflattering contour of their body, others as constant fatigue, yet others as an unrelentingly threatening environment. Those over forty may call it old age. And yet all these signals may be pointing to a single problem so prominent in their own structure, as well as others, that it has been ignored: they are off balance, they are at war with gravity.

Dr. Rolf didn't leave it at that. She bequeathed an approach for people to easily and gracefully cultivate and recover a body arrangement more in line with the dictates of Gravity. It's called Structural Integration. Individualized expert assistance to transform the arrangement of the body to an unstressed, effortlessly upright, even, balanced, healthy stance.

But, before even considering working with a professional in this peerless and definitive field, there are things anybody can do right now. Stand up straight. Sit tall. Walk moving your whole body. (There are pages on this website going into such things in depth. For now, noticing the situation in itself would be an epiphany.)

Here's an idea. Why leave such things to chance? How about including lessons on how to stand, to sit, and to move in cooperation with the action of Gravity in the general school curriculum? 

Again, in her words ...

Gravity is the tool. Gravity is the therapist.

This is the gospel of Rolfing: When the body gets working appropriately, the force of gravity can flow through. Then, spontaneously, the body heals itself.

What you should know:

The human body is an interconnected whole. Not only in terms of its various segments, but also in a very basic ecological, environmental way. We are rooted to the Earth. 

All the tissues of the body and all its bones and organs live in a 3-dimensional matrix of structural support. 

The body is plastic. It takes shape in the course of daily living. Over time, with repeated patterns of use — and misuse — the body takes a shape which testifies to each of our unique personal histories.

Since the body is plastic it can change. Most people do something when they are looking for relief from chronic pain and stress. If they happen to have an appointment with a Rolf Practitioner they will be educated on how many conditions are directly related to, or exacerbated by body imbalances. And, fortunately, they also will discover in the course of a set series of sessions of soft tissue manipulation and movement coaching the joy and freedom of living in balance. A balance which is anatomically correct and healthy. A balance which is supported and nourished by the action of Gravity itself.

You feel it. Plain as day. And, it lasts. 

It feels right. It feels great!

In short, you can learn to make friends with gravity.







08 August 2015



Self-Help Tips


When it comes to raising the level of balance in the architectural arrangement of the body to an effortlessly upright, easy and balanced stance, Rolf Structural Integration offers peerless definitive personalized assistance.

Until you are ready to take such a constructive life changing step, here are some useful suggestions that will make a significant positive difference. Anyone can easily incorporate these self-help tips into the course of their daily living.

The trick now is to, as they say, just to do it.

My recommendation for anyone who sparks to the idea of becoming consciously active in raising the level of balance of their body . . . First do all the things that you already know you should do to improve your health.

Spend some time regularly sitting straight and relaxed, doing nothing, and observe how things tend to start to resolve themselves from a quiet receptivity in that place of simple balance. To keep from mental distractions while sitting, try following the flow of the breath. Better, and the simplest, sit focused on presence awareness. Also, do consider some active gentle discipline such as hatha yoga or Tai Chi. Low impact cardiovascular exercise like brisk walking, swimming.

Ready for more, then call give me a call. But, first things, first.

Personal Posture/Structure Assessment

Stand in front of large mirror in your underclothes. It helps if you create a plumb (true vertical) line as a reference. Just tape a long string high on the mirror and weight it with something small (a key will do) so it hangs straight up and down. Now position your body so that it lines up with the vertical string at the center of your nose.

Looking at the front of your body . . . Is there more of your body on one side of the line? Which parts? One shoulder higher…or lower? Wider? Larger…or smaller? Hips level, or one side higher/lower? Legs straight? Knees pointing directly ahead? Feet parallel?

And, now from the side…Is your head on top of your neck/shoulder, or jutting forward? Is the top of your body leaning forward from the waist? Maybe leaning forward from the ankle? Waist horizontal, or tipped forward? If you align the center of your ear with the line of gravity (same as that plumb line), does it scribe a line down to the middle of your ankle?

Some Things You Can Do Right Now

Spend more time in your body’s natural pattern. The hallmark is loose, easy, natural. Nothing forced.

The design of the human body calls for symmetry, horizontality, and verticality. This is basic Anatomy and basic Physics. If you see anything in how your body stacks up that is off this simple standard, make the necessary corrections to your posture for yourself. Just, remember, easy does it; nothing forced.

Standing . . .

For starters, distribute the weight of your body equally between both feet. Back your weight off your toes, more centered. Test this by raising/wiggling the toes. (It surprises many of my clients that when they raise their toes in a standing position, the line of their body very many times shifts rearwards.) Point the top of your head skyward. Let your waist move back a little. Repeat, let your waist move back a little. Drop that old habit of pulling your shoulders back. Instead, let your arms/shoulders rest easy on your rib cage. They may feel like they are hanging forward. That is usually because the arms are now forward of their familiar set. You notice the difference. It is not usual, but it generally is more toward normal. Verify in the mirror the verticality in this new way of letting the shoulders drape over the rib cage.

These suggestions are very basic. But, first see to making them conscious habits. In very short order your body will readjust to a new, healthier pattern. There are lots more tips, but this for starters.

A good whole body exercise is to first imagine a line anchored to the center of the earth and extending out to cosmic infinity. Then place your body so you stand around that line so that it runs from between the ankles upward and out through the center top of the head. This is close to what is called the Mountain Pose (Tadasana) in hatha yoga, and it is arguably the pinnacle of human physical achievement. Done right, that is. There is a slight difference between the Mountain Pose and what is suggested here. The yoga pose is, for lack of a better term, rather “pose-ish”; the components of the yoga asana/posture involve holding a form. That is fine in hatha yoga, but we are after something more completely surrendered and effortless.

Just standing there, you ask? Just because it looks easy, it isn’t. The paradox is that, when you do discover that possibility in the makeup of your body, it is in fact easy. Dr. Rolf, the originator of Structural Integration exhorted, “Consign your body to gravity.” In that pure balanced vertical place is where you can let go, and discover the uplifting, supporting aspect of gravity. There you can let go bad postural habits and deeply engrained holding patterns. It is a place of power, presence, grace, and ease.

Go there.

Sitting . . .

Nothing new here. Don’t slouch over what you’re doing. Sit up straight. Keep your head over your shoulders (not in front). Bring your reading up to eye level.

***The Chair Itself***

Please, this is not some rule about how you should always sit or the kind of chair that you must only use. Just a recommendation to spend more time sitting properly. Especially at the work station. Eventually, your own body will give you the signals when you are treating it right. But first, some new habits to form.

In order to sit properly, you need a proper chair. The chair, and specifically the chair height itself, are often overlooked. The suggestion is to go for a firm, flat surface basic chair or bench, and with a seat height that is right for your body dimensions. The kind of sitting described here is for “self-supported” sitting; a chair back is not involved at all.

Most average height individuals will do well with a basic flat firm seat chair or bench. Almost all chairs are designed based on a 17 ½ to 18 inch seat height. If you are shorter or taller, that height is not truly supportive. For smaller stature people the feet may not place completely or squarely on the floor. For taller types, the average chair requires extra effort to sit up straight; the short seat tends to force the body to collapse. Effort is needed to counter this.

If your feet don’t reach the floor, the simple fix is to give them an elevated platform. You determine what works. A stack of books, in a pinch. If you sit a lot at work, for shorter types it is recommended that you construct a more permanent foot rest for under the work station.

For tall folks, the seat height should be higher. You should get yourself a chair that is heighted to your body dimensions. Here’s a good rule of thumb. You are sitting in a self-supported posture when the thigh is dropping down at a small angle from the hip joint to the knee. Another way to get the right height is to sit with your feet flat on the floor and your lower legs straight on the vertical. Then measure from the floor at the back of the heel all the way up to well under the upper thigh, just in back of the knee joint. That measurement is generally, +/- a fraction, a good seat height for your body measurement.

A word about the seat surface itself. It should be flat/level, stable, and firm. And for firm, make that a hard surface, or only thinly padded. Sitting on a firm level surface is necessary to locate and sense the sit bones (ischial tuberosities) of the pelvis. These two bones are rounded front to back. You can sense this rocking chair like design for yourself by rocking your pelvis forward and backward gently. The firm surface will come into play when you put together these sitting instructions with the breathing pattern instructions that follow below.


Happy sitting!

Walking . . .

Walk with your feet/toes going straight ahead. Allow your arms to swing free and easy. Let your body twist naturally. That means the hips too. Walking is a flowing/gliding motion with the legs swinging under the torso, feet landing softly. In other words, the whole body enjoys the motion. Just because this instruction is brief, don’t overlook the elements.

There may be some psychological “investment” in your pattern of walking. Proper movement in walking has a salutary and energizing effect on the whole system. Break loose. (You better, or we’ll notify the Ministry of Silly Walks, forthwith.)

Breathing . . .

Yes, breathing. Just like with standing, sitting, and walking, who taught you to do that? Who taught you to breathe? Alright, there is an automatic event in breathing. Here, we are talking about working constructively with the breath.

When I ask clients in the context of an actual Rolf Structural Integration session to “take a big breath”, it is almost guaranteed that I’ll see a general tensioning of the body, with the shoulders and upper body pulled up and back sharply, and maybe even the chin nicely buried in the chest. Ask a little kid, and this is what you will mostly likely see. Now that you suspect that this is not what we are after, don’t bother to check yourself. You already are clued in. But to what, now? What is the correct/natural way to breathe?

Imagine the breath as a fountain rising straight up from deep down inside your body. Let the body passively respond to the growing volume of the breath as it rises. In this visualization the action of the breath is a straight line. The rib cage in this pattern moves up and out front and back and sideways, in all three directions.

***A Helpful Tip for Low Back Pain Sufferers***

Spend some consistently regular time sitting in a self-supported posture, following the breath. If you haven't already, read and follow the instructions for sitting, particularly in respect to the kind of seat height and firm level seat surface that is integral to this instruction. You may notice that as the breath rises, there is a general filling of the entire trunk, both the rib cage and abdomen. This filling is pushing your lumbar spine (lower back) rearward/backward. Lengthening the spine. Yes? This may not be so easy to sense if you don’t have a lot of movement in the lumbar/sacral junction, where your lower back meets the sacrum of your pelvis, low at your waist. That is not unusual.

If you are having some difficulty sensing this rearward lower back movement on the in breath, you can help it along a bit and exaggerate the movement by rolling back the hips slightly rearward/backward with every inhale. (You now probably understand why the hard flat chair surface is necessary.) It sequences like this: On the in breath—rib cage expands and lifts, torso fills, lower back moves rearward, hips roll slightly back. On the out breath—rib cage deflates/compresses, pressure on torso/abdomen releases, lower back returns to a deeper arch, hips roll slightly forward. You will see that there is a general lengthening of the spine on inspiration, shortening on exhalation.

(This is a rudimentary exercise. As you become more proficient and sense the automatic movement as it naturally happens with your breathing, you will start to discriminate that the hips really don’t move all that much, but follow the sacrum slightly. The sacrum itself is moving downward on inspiration, up on exhalation due to the lengthening and shortening of the spine on respective in breaths and out breaths.)

This idea of regularly spending time sitting and breathing may seem like a low yield, slow results effort. In most chronic situations there is probably some component to low back pain that includes limited movement. Besides whatever else you may be doing for a low back condition, bringing gentle movement into the area with the breath will be a facilitator.

Personalized Assistance?

After you have taken it as far as you can on your own, you will discover that there is a natural and automatic aspect to healing. You never stop growing, really. Next, you may want to further this natural evolutionary process with some expert help. Rolf Structural Integration is definitive and peerless for bringing the makeup of the body to an effortlessly upright, unstressed, balanced stance. Think integrity, power, ease, grace, presence. The power and genius of this approach is how in a very short time such profound constructive change can be achieved.

At Your Service

David D. Wronski has several years experience in this kind of transformational life coaching. He is expert at effectively working with individuals of all ages and varying backgrounds to foster positive life change for everyday effectiveness, peak physical performance, refined artistic expression, and freedom from pains and stress.



Body Holding Patterns

This is about a new, self-empowering way to look at human health and performance. A basic part of which is to understand body holding patterns and how they influence our life experience.

Who wouldn't agree that balance is the thing. When you look at balance in the human body — that is, structural order in the the arrangement of the body, how the parts fit together — such balance is defined in terms of vertical alignment and symmetry. This is basic Anatomy and basic Physics.

As you probably know, Rolf Structural Integration is principally concerned with training an effective human stance in the world, based on having the body balanced in respect to the dictates of gravity. This just means that the human beings by design and potential can live with bodies structured to align with the constant pull of the gravitational force. There's the line of gravity; there's the vertical line of the body. When these two are in sync, you're really alive. Just basic science, folks. It's been around a long time. Mostly ignored, however.

Again, this is not a new idea. It's the same basic understanding every architect and trades worker takes as given. In their jargon, "plumb and square." It's as old, in fact, as the pyramids; even earlier, for as long as human beings have lived and been building on the Earth. 

But, it may be new to most people in terms of something to look at concerning their own individual level of health and well being. 

As I write this the 30th Olympiad is being staged in London. What a glorious demonstration of what potentials and capacities humans can bring forth. Certainly it should be easily apparent that balance of the body is a fundamental necessity for such athletic accomplishment.

Here now, however, we are addressing the question of human balance as an everyday option for average men and women; people of all ages, varying levels of physical ability, and life circumstances. Simply put, doesn't it make plain sense that you live better with balance in the makeup of the body? We suffer unnecessarily for having imbalances and, sadly, for not recognizing how these holding patterns are prime culprits. And, this continues for not being informed that these issues are easily resolved. 

I am not just making a case to call your nearest Practitioner of Rolf Structural Integration. (That would be me.) It's how I earn a living, so I must admit a certain natural bias. But, as an educator committed to training human self reliance, I am duty bound to inform you that there are things you can do yourself. Just look at some of the other items on this website for self-help tips. But, of course, Rolf Structural Integration is peerless and definitive if and when you would choose to speed things along and get some expert assistance. (Again, that would be me.)

It is rather easy to get that imbalances in the makeup of the body are prime contributors to chronic pains and stress. What is not so commonly recognizedcould it be simply because it is so widespread throughout the general population that it is ignoredis that the average individual is at odds with gravity, living with imbalances and their compensations, below their natural potential; further, unaware of how these holding patterns themselves are a drain on energy, limiting not only general health, but effective performance and expression.

Another way of looking at imbalances in the makeup of the body is to call them "holding patterns." Simply defined, they are ineffective and inefficient ways of moving the body that have become ingrained into the body's fabric with repeated use over a period of time. Add in reactions to accidents and traumas that have not been resolved, and you can  begin to understand how the average individual arrives at adulthood with a life history showing a random set of unique imbalances in how the body fits together along with an equally unique pattern of compensations to maintain some semblance of normality. The tendency is to identify with this complicated situation; we say, "That's me!"

But, let it be stressed, while this may be the usual, it should not be confused with normal. Normal in structural terms—again, think pyramids—has been established from the dawn of creation to be vertical and symmetrical. This is solid science and practice worldwide, but now to apply it to the human condition itself. That would be new.

As was stated, the peerless and definitive approach to balance in the makeup of the human body is Rolf Structural Integration. It defines the category.

Naturally, I would love to keep you reading for several more pages so that I could fully educate you on the subject. There is plenty of information here and on my other websites and through an Internet search.

For now, I would like to make one point. About those imbalances, holding patterns. There are a lot of fine treatments and therapies that address such things. Many apply their techniques to local symptomatic areas. Others work more generally, taking into account broader sets of relationships. So many wonderful choices.

Rolf Structural Integration does not address imbalances and holding patterns per se. This doesn't mean that in the process such issues don't get handled. The main idea, however, and what makes this approach unique, is in how it cultivates verticality and symmetry as the first order of business. Resolution of chronic pains and stress due to bodily imbalances then resolve automatically as a by-product of having inculcated a more global framework of order. This may appear to some as a purely semantic distinction. The difference, however, is one of goals and intentions. The result of having head to toe balance introduced into the makeup of the body, is relief of symptoms of chronic pain and stress, and—very significantly—long term retention of those resolutions. And, a lasting ingrained foundation for self-evolution to higher levels of potential. Rolfing New Jersey
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Healthy Breathing Explained

Spinal - Cranial - Pelvic/Sacral Response



When you take a breath the spine responds . . .


With the in-breath the spine lengthens. The spinal curves become more shallow. Upon inhalation, as the secondary spinal curves become more shallow, there are also two significant secondary effects:

1. As the lower lumbar curve/lower back lengthens the sacrum moves downward, the tail bone tucks under slightly, and the pelvis rolls backward.

2. As the upper cervical spine/neck lengthens, the head tilts downward slightly with the jaw moving inward.



Why is this important for you to know?

This is basic bio-mechanics, after all. But, how'ya doing with that? Check to see how you breathe. Take a breath. Go ahead.

Notice whether you pull your shoulders back, arching your back, pulling your head backward/raising your chin? A lot of people breathe that way.

That's wrong! Here's why. First, you are not really getting your full lung capacity. Also, the body is not moving in response to the the action of the lungs filling up, but initiating the movement with muscles that don't need to do that work. It is inefficient, energy draining. And, over time, that pattern of pulled back shoulders, arched back, cocked head gets set into the pattern of you flesh. Then it's just something to drag around, limiting your vitality, range of motion, and sense of ease and power. You might not be able to put a finger on it, but it looks, well . . . off.

Here's what extrinsic breathing looks like. Doctor says, don't do that!



If that is the way you breathe, you may want to know about an option for healthy breathing. Let's call it core breathing.

Healthy breathing is sometimes called core breathing. The simple hallmark of healthy breathing is this: It is effortless. The body responds to the movement of the breath. In contrast to this there's surface, or extrinsic breathing. There the body parts move first in an effort as if to aid breathing. As if. Note well: effort. As in, energy. Not necessary.

So what?

One key point is that if you do not have core, intrinsic breathing activated in your system you are wasting energy. All that pulling shoulder, arching the back, bringing the head up and back . . . that gets patterned into the body over time. And then, the very pattern you used thinking it was facilitating your breathing, it's actually making it harder to breathe! I bet you did not see that coming?

Consequently, you are not receiving the natural benefit of keeping the necessary healthy flexibility in the lower back and hips. Also, the lengthening of the neck on the in-breath maintains a healthy flexibility and ease of the head and shoulders. The shoulder and hip girdles stay young and flexible with correct breathing.

What to do?

Sit straight on a chair with a firm surface for a few moments regularly. (If you are tall check out the tip for chair height below.) Find your sit bones; they're directly under your buttocks as you sit on the chair. As you breath in, notice how the body moves. Particularly, the rib cage, the shoulders, the lower back, the hips and the head and neck.

The practice of noticing itself may be new to you. Be patient. If you don't sense any movement in the lower back/hips, mock it up by tucking your tail bone under/rocking the pelvis backward slightly on the in-breath. Then, rocking the pelvis forward slightly/letting the lower back arch on the out-breath. That will put some healthy oil into the lower back and the junction with the lumbar spine and the pelvis. Once you have that down, on the inhale, also lengthen the back of the neck/let your jaw drop downward and in slightly. On that latter point about the jaw, that's let it drop and move in. Don't pull it down. The initiation comes from lengthening the back of the neck. No effort, remember.

For us tall and short folk: 

Chairs in general are scaled for an average height person. If you are tall, chances are the average chair is too low for you. Short, you know how your feet dangle off the floor. In any event, proper stable sitting requires your feet to be solidly on the floor.

When a chair is too low, it takes muscular effort to sit upright, and the temptation is to slouch. And, you can probably imagine what slouching does for your breath. Too high, you are not grounded.

Look. We're not saying not sit in whatever chair you happen to have. Just when you make the effort to spend some time regularly, consciously sitting and breathing in the way discussed above, it behooves you to sit on a chair with the proper height. Believe me, if you do take up the practice of regularly sitting, breathing, and seeing what happens, you'll thank me and sing my praises when it becomes a habit and starts to bear fruit for your health, healing, vitality, awareness, and presence. No joke.

So how to figure the right chair height? 

While seated on a firm surface place your feet in front of you, with the lower legs straight up and down. Now measure the distance from the floor just behind your heel to the place way up in back of the knee solidly touching the upper leg. Round up the measurement to whole inches. And . . . add one (1) inch more. That measurement will give you a chair height appropriate for your individual build. If you need convincing about the value of this, click to read an excellent article on the subject. You will be a believer.

From here you're on your own. Most chairs are manufactured to measure in at 17.5 to 18.0 inches. If you want a proper chair for the kind of mindful sitting being suggested here, you may have to have one made, or cut one down to size. A simple option would be a simple wood stool with the legs cut to give you the correct height. Other than that, an online search will give you lots of options.

NB: We're not talking about adjustable office type chairs, but something with a very firm surface. That firm surface is necessary to feel those sit bones and to get the most out of your mindful sitting exercise.

Happy Sitting!