Advanced Rolfing Fort Worth Dallas & Advanced Rolf Movement

Health & FitnessExercise & Meditation

  • Author John Barton, Advanced Rolfing Fort Worth Dallas
  • Published April 5, 2024
  • Word count 1,440

Advanced Rolfing Fort Worth Dallas and Rolf movement have become an integral part of what Rolfing is, for the simple fact that in order to fully enable a more integrated being, something has to enable the integration of mind/body. Rolfing is about relationships; therefore structure and function have to be congruent and dimensional for the full potential available in each of us to emerge. Rolf Movement provides a strategy that a Rolfer uses to navigate towards achieving biomechanical goals and integration. Ultimately, all movement is a product of the nervous system and the connective tissue matrix; the autonomic nervous system is essentially the biodynamic dance between the parasympathetic/sympathetic branches or “fight or flight” reflexes. Conventional phenomenal data begins at the quantum level then abstracts, or filters, into sensation, e-motion, belief, and then finally into activation or expression. Rolf Movement works within the relationship between the tenets of gravity/structure, coordination/pre-movement, impression/perception, and expression/meaning, known as The Tonic Function Model, as a way to approach and evoke more desirable and efficient movement through sensation. Elements of somatic patterning and the potential to enhance performance and form has always been a resource to athletes when articulating full expression, as well as obvious sport specific benefits.

How you think is how you move, and how you breathe is how you live. Movement manifests from a pre-movement or an automatic override response, which is an organic compound of a collective body of experiences acquired throughout life. From the moment of conception a human being is shaped and formed from a genetic code that has been further conditioned by a conscious/sub-conscious overlay. Consciousness and subconscious overlays are the sum total of object relations or relationship to “other,” and this subject-object relationship fosters the subsequent emergence of the deeper dualities that drive our structure and function. As a result of our relationship to our environment and primary care giver, our original perceptions were birthed that would form the way we would move in the world. Corticalized movement is that which is done consciously or voluntarily; sub-cortical movement is sub-conscious, or involuntarily. Ironically, the first physiological structure to form in embryo is the primitive streak that quickly evolves into the central nervous system, the heart then mushrooms out of brain and digresses to its known position where the respiratory diaphragm emerges and resources to form the fascial matrix of the body. The fascial matrix is what gives the body its structural and functional orientation of space in gravity. So the primary contributors of a sustaining life force manifest first; energy, breath, blood, or thought, word, action. Therefore, as the being grows and is conditioned in thought or perception, he or she is subsequently being conditioned to move or express as a result of the role of the autonomic division of the peripheral nervous system, hence, as a man thinketh so is he.

Everyone breathing has experienced some situation or environment that has either caused them to breathe rapidly or hold the breath. This impulse comes from the way you perceive the environment, and this perception is based on a collective body of experience that has already calculated and decided for you in advance of what you would do in this type of situation. Again, this is based on the primary dualism of a subject-object relationship in which certain somatic preferences were adhered to and compounded into consciousness that is sensory activated. This is why just thinking about someone can either cause a calm, pleasant response or an anxious, negative reaction, or walking into unfamiliar territory causes reason for processing if the environment is threatening. This constancy is a necessity for survival and is part of a feedback loop reflex of the nervous system. (What might not be necessary is the specific response or reaction that emerges.) The parasympathetic and sympathetic divisions of the nervous system are in a constant ebb and flow dance to keep the body safe, vertical, and expressive in gravity given certain virtues, anomalies, and asymmetries. The position of a Rolf Movement Practitioner is to consider the premise of the structural differential that states that conventional phenomenal stimulus bombards the sensory division of the peripheral N.S., filtering into sensation before e-motion, belief, and finally expression. A shift in sensation can mean a shift in resource. This shift is nothing less than the potential sum total of a person’s symbolic imagery about himself and his world shifting and manifesting as potential uninhibited, dimensional, and supported movement.

Breath is expression (or meaning manifest) and all of the diaphragms of the body are constantly self-regulating according to perception, coordination, and gravity. This self-regulation is again based on the collective body of experience known as your consciousness integrating with new stimulus to either produce or inhibit breath. This ability of the body is so very vital to movement. Diaphragms are viewed as laterals that serve as fluid containers strategically placed at the primary and secondary curves of the body. These thickened pressurized fascial valves regulate and stabilize the flow of the fluid body and breath to foster or inhibit movement. Keeping in mind effecting sensation can change the whole context or meaning of a movement allows the trained Rolfer to evoke a new resource for the client seeking more ease, which translates into less suffering in most cases. The way a Rolfer seeks new resource and potential that is sensory stimulated is viewed from the context of The Tonic Function Model.

French Rolfer and Rolf Movement Instructor Hubert Godard, is a dance and movement professor for the University of Paris, France, and is the primary contributor to what is known as the Tonic Function Model. This model suggests that tonic function, or the human being’s ability to orient to space in gravity, is affected by four entry points; structure/gravity, coordination, impression/perception, and expression/meaning, with each one possessing the potential to influence tonic function, and one or all of the other entry points. In other words, these four elements of the Tonic Function Model are always in relationship working simultaneously to keep the being safe, vertical, and expressive in gravity given all the considerations of the model. Rolfers can work within these relationships initiating changes in sensation to structure, coordination, perception, and meaning to evoke a shift in resource; changing sensation of any one or all of these can evoke the system to orientate to a new resource and ease of movement. Simply bringing awareness and embodiment to specific areas of relationship coupled with a new sensation can promote a shift in ease or efficiency of movement. Injuries can cause an overlay to the structure and inhibit its ability to move, and it is necessary to take injuries into full consideration. Posture, or holding patterns can be indicative of movement patterns that have not utilized use of the gravity response system. Proprioception activates the gravity response system and this activation is located in the skin, specifically the hands, feet, and face, and stimulate gamma activity in motor control. The way proprioception influences gamma activity, or the feed back reflex, is why embodiment and awareness of sensation may evoke a change in resource.

It seems that Advanced Rolfing Fort Worth Dallas and Rolf movement have compiled and condensed much of the language that qualifies and quantifies theories of successful movers over the ages. When I see great gymnasts, martial artist’s, yogis, dancers, runners, cheerleaders and many of the other countless movers from time, I think there had to be an idea of these relationships and resources, even if there was not a homogenous language to communicate what was being done or taught in terms of tonic function. Gross and fine motor movement skill is obvious in some and elusive in others. These shifts take commitment to the desired outcome, nothing happens instantly but dramatic results can be achieved quickly. What counts in terms of success is knowing how to communicate these somewhat abstract concepts into digestible bite size bits of discernable data that someone can use to improve or master their movement. Rolf Movement can be experienced as a whole session, as part of a classical Rolfing session. Power yoga is an art and resource that can enable someone to grasp or master a skill level in the yogic, martial, and living arts. Rolf Movement is not psychotherapy, although there is a psychology to everything we “do”. Rolfers and Rolf Movement Practitioners deal with fascia and the associated relationships with somatics. How you think is how you move, how you breathe is how you live.

John Barton, Certified Advanced Rolfer ® & Rolfing ® Fort Worth-Dallas

Certified Rolf Movement ® Practitioner

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