Rolfing is all about alignment. But what does that mean?
To be in a line – to have all your bones stacked in a way that they support themselves, like a house resting on its foundations and the roof resting on the house.
If we can make it more comfortable for your head to be on top of your neck and your neck supported effortlessly by the rest of your spine, then life for your body gets easier.
We know a lot about what happens to a body when it’s out of alignment. But what does it feel like when you’re in alignment?
“My muscles have stopped having to hold me up…”
“Moving is easier and fluid. I feel light and strangely younger.”
When you’re not in alignment, your body uses valuable energy just to hold you up. You may well be so used to it by now that you don’t even notice how much of your energy is being wasted. In fact, we only really become aware of the difference when we find our way back to alignment.
As Ida Rolf said, many other symptoms can be put down to misalignment:
“One individual may experience their losing fight with gravity as a sharp pain in the back, another as the unflattering contour of their body, another as constant fatigue and yet another as an unrelenting, threatening environment. Those over forty may call it old age, yet all these signals may be pointing to a single problem so prominent in their own structures and the structures of others that it has been ignored: they are off-balance, they are at war with gravity.” (Ida Rolf)
Until you try it, it might be difficult to imagine what coming back into alignment will feel like for you. As I’m writing this I’m sitting in a hotel lobby on a badly designed chair. The actual seat is too deep so I’m forced to adapt and curve my back. Interesting to sit here and write about alignment! Sometimes the architecture immediately surrounding us in our daily lives doesn’t sufficiently support our bodies and we are forced to adapt.
“The upright human being is subject to the laws of physics. The body must contend with the force of gravity and does so by organising itself, as best it can, around a vertical line.” (Paul Zimmerman)
I often hear my clients say “I feel out of kilter.” It’s an interesting expression and one that really sums up this point. In business we know when our figures are imbalanced and out of alignment; if we’re hanging a painting we quickly know when it’s not quite straight. Similarly, if our bike wheel is not in alignment we’ll know that very quickly when we try and ride it a few metres down the road.
But does your body know what alignment feels like?
Do you wonder what people are feeling when they talk about alignment?
Rolfing is one of the most renowned treatments for bringing the body back into alignment – it does this gently with the backing of science and the knowledge and passion left to us from Ida Rolf. Before I was ever a Rolfer I found that it was actually quite uncomfortable and sometimes painful to sit up straight. Rolfing changed that and now my body reminds me when poor posture creeps in as it enjoys sitting up straight!