Marrying Meditation & Rolfing (Structural Integration).....
As you read this, I’m whizzing through the solar-eclipsed skies to come back home, after an intense, yet successful, couple of weeks in the US.
I took part in an integral workshop at my school, highlighting the importance of body-work (Structural Integration / Rolfing) to mind-work (having a meditation practice)- and vice versa - which was fascinating and super helpful; we all improved dramatically in a matter of days; incredibly powerful stuff. Then I embarked on an ambitious 10-sessions-in-10-days bootcamp (not for the faint-hearted, I may add) to try and kick this (not so little) body of mine into shape. It is truly amazing how one small thing, such as a broken foot - and the subsequent knock-on effects, can have huge implications for the structure as a whole. I can’t lie, it wasn’t a breeze; in fact, you might well have heard me screaming from LA. It’s not my first, second, or even fifth ten series, but it was by far and away the most uncomfortable. Take note: look after your body, your mind and your soul - and be proactive in self-care, rather than re-active - it’s absolutely worth the time, expense and ‘effort’.
Yikes, how has a fortnight flown by?! I literally have not stopped since my crazy schedule just before I left. I’ve been on the go from dawn ‘til dusk every day and sleep has taken a back seat to exploration and discovery. Still, I’m super content when doing just that, so my happy batteries are charged up and ready to go.
The meditation training was far more profound than I expected. I went with fairly low expectations, I must admit, and the first evening was not comfortable at all. When exhaustion and jet lag collide, it’s usually not so pretty, even though I do my best to pretend that neither happens in my world. But the teacher, who was trained by Dr Rolf, was kind, generous, and receptive to ‘western' sitting complaints, so a sympathetic ear made things easier to deal with. He has been embraced by the Buddhist community in the US, who traditionally think that pain (through sitting) must be good, as the first Noble Truth is that there is always suffering. Pain is suffering, so they must be onto something, and therefore becoming more ‘Buddha-like’ (I’m para-phrasing massively - apologies to the Buddhists amongst you!) However, by embracing bodywork as an important component of mind-work (meditation), one can make the whole sitting procedure a lot easier. I don’t know about you, but being asked to sit still and empty your mind almost inevitably leads to immediate pain and a long to-do list pouring into my brain, which hitherto had never put in an appearance in my consciousness. Amazingly, we ‘sat’ (meditated) every morning and exchanged bodywork every afternoon, and life became a lot easier and simpler. I say ‘sitting’ but actually there was a lot of standing, dancing, walking and lying down too. There is no ‘correct’ way to meditate; it’s up to you and whatever is most comfortable. Usually I would be dead on my feet after so little sleep, long-haul flights, and days at school, but by the end, I was rejuvenated and refreshed beyond belief. Ergo, if you want to improve (or start) your meditation practice, then ensure your body is well tuned up to help you start/sustain it.
My time in LA was fun. I met old friends, made new ones and was just overjoyed to see the sun putting in an appearance every day. I’m happiest up a mountain or on a beach, so quite what I am doing in London is anyone’s guess. I wholeheartedly recommend doing a series of Structural Integration (the original ten series, according to Dr Rolf), if you haven’t already done so, and keeping a steady tune-up is equally important. I let too much time pass, got injured, and paid for it in terms of a very sticky and painful set of sessions. However, I feel much better, despite the occasional squeals, and know I will continue to change and assimilate the work over the next few months. Diet and exercise are important considerations too; nothing is exclusive - everything works together. It’s all too easy, particularly living in London, to forget this, and do one thing but not another (diet or exercise; body or mind; western or eastern) but an integrative, proactive and varied approach will do far more for you than popping a pill or giving responsibility away to someone else for your health and well-being.
As always, questions, comments, compliments or concerns are welcome. Just drop me an email or pick up the old fashioned ‘phone!
With grace and gratitude,