Awaken the Spine
It is amazing how the journey through an embodied life is full of surprises. I have recently embodied a new way to wake up my spine at a deeper level than ever before, enlivening lethargic muscle tone and finding a clear horizontal. Ida Rolf liked to call this embodiment “The Line”. Over the years I have learned to know it and show others ways to find it, but The Line is a fleeting and illusive experience. Embodying The Line means to embrace fluidity and unimpeded movement with the adaptability required to navigate what life throws your way.
It not only is a way to move closer to geometric symmetry in my body, it is also a way of embodying the concept of tensegrity in my structure. I am feeling parts of my spine open up that have truly been contracted for a while; other parts of my spine are gaining tone and recovering from the chronic lethargy that they have been accustomed to for so long.
I started this journey towards improved alignment and function in my body consciously in 1999. That is when I received my first 10 series of Structural Integration. I had caught wind of this technique when I heard Ed Maupin, Ph.D. speak at an open house in Pacific Beach at IPSB, I was 18. As a trained psychologist as well as a product of the Human Potential Movement in the 70s, Ed spoke words that got me interested in bodywork in a very real way. He connected our physical structure to our psyche and he presented the idea that they are one, inexorably linked. I was amazed at the concept, it spoke to me and I immediately began to know it more and more in my own body.
He was of course speaking of Somatics, the study of the entwined and inseparable mind/body relationship. The concept that the body was a reflection of who we are in our internal world intrigued me. I had grown up thinking of art making in this same way, as a way to communicate with your own subconscious. Could the body also be a vehicle for this same type of communication?
I have come to understand that Structural Integration is first and foremost an exercise in developing self awareness. As a practitioner I can only guide my client through this process of self discovery, but it is their journey of awareness. With awareness comes change in the body, the more we listen to our own internal signals of distress the more power we have to change unhealthy and habitual patterns. This can happen on so many different levels, but the body is a great starting point.
It’s so easy to get caught up in the business of bodywork. After so many years of working with others I can get distracted from my own process. I experience their triumphs and frustration and at some point inevitably plateau in my own awareness. This is a natural cycle that I do my best to embrace, but it feels so good to return to that sense of increased awareness. This new realization in my body is a return to my roots, it reminds me why I started this work and why it matters so much to me.
I’m tearing up a little right now as I write, because I can feel the gratitude flowing out of me. I want to say thank you to all of my clients past and present. You are the reason I do what I do and you are also the impetus for me to continue to look inward and move forward. You are my inspiration.