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Okay, so today we’re veering away from the philosophical mumbo jumbo and getting on the practical-tip train.  Are you ready?  Are ya? This may be the quickest, most effective tip I’ve ever learned.  So I hope you’re excited, because I’ve learned a lot of tips in my day.

Ladies and gentlemen, may I introduce to you, Super Brain Yoga!

It’s so exciting, I made a video.  But first, let me tell you why Super Brain Yoga is so damn exciting.

We know, from research and science and lovely things like research and science, that the brain works better when the two halves of it are communicating well.  For this reason, activities that involve contra-lateral movement are super good for the brain.  Contra-lateral means both sides of the body are being used in opposition, like when we walk, and our right arm swings forward as our left one swings back, but it’s balanced by our right leg swinging back, and our left leg swinging forward.  Get it?  So activities like walking, crawling, cross country skiing, and freestyle swimming, while super great for the body, are also super great for the brain, because they demand that the two halves of the brain work together.  Super Brain Yoga is like a condensed version of going for a half hour walk.  You won’t get all the physical benefits, but you will get the mental ones.  And the mental benefits of your brain halves talking to each other include improved memory, greater focus, and even getting smarter.

I was originally shown Super Brain Yoga as something I might want to teach a client who suffered from ADD and a general inability to focus.  But it seemed so easy (it takes 3 minutes and you don’t work up a sweat!) that I tried it myself.  I would do it in the mornings while I waited for the water in the shower to heat up.  And you know what? I noticed a difference.  More importantly, my boyfriend, who always made fun of me for my poor memory, noticed a difference.  Which was all the proof I needed.  Less teasing?  More remembering?  Done and done.  So, for a few months, I did Super Brain Yoga pretty much every morning.

Then I moved somewhere where it only took a few seconds for the water in the shower to heat up, and I couldn’t justify letting all that hot water just pour down the drain.  But even though I stopped doing Super Brain Yoga, my improved memory stuck around.  Now, I do Super Brain Yoga whenever I think about it.  Which, honestly, is probably about once a month.  But I should do it more.  ‘Cause it’s awesome.  And easy.  And effective.  And I like being smart.  Right now I do it when I’m tired, or feeling fuzzy, or unfocused, or ungrounded.  But really, doing it every day would be swell.  If you do it every day I’ll be so proud.  Also, I’ll be blown away by your superior intelligence.  So there’s that.

So, are you ready to learn how to do Super Brain Yoga?  Yeah, I bet you are!  Click on the picture to watch the video.  It’s just a minute long, so you have no excuse not to watch it.



Did you watch it?  See?  Isn’t it easy?  I told you it was great.  Just don’t do it right before you go to bed ’cause it’ll wake you up and then you won’t get a good night’s sleep and that’ll make you feel dumb, which is the opposite of what we’re trying to do here.

Oh, and Super Brain Yoga was on the news!!  Four years ago, but still.  It’s an interesting clip, I promise.

Now go, impress me with your super brain!  I can’t wait to be wowed by your intellect!

So, a few months ago, I wrote about how common and normal and not-at-all-a-problem it is for people to fall asleep during sessions with me.  And that’s still true.  But what about if you don’t fall asleep when you get Rolfed?  What about the times when the healing trance isn’t forcing your eyes to close and your breathing to slow?  Should you just think about your grocery list and that email you still have to send and what time yoga class starts tomorrow?  Well, obviously, you can think about whatever you’d like during a session.  But if I had my druthers, you would leave all those thoughts outside the office, to be picked up again on your way out, if you so choose.  And instead of thinking about what happened before your session, or what will happen after your session, maybe you could choose to focus on what is happening, right now, during your session.

I like to think of it as meeting me from the inside.  Wherever I’m working, bring your awareness there.  For some people, that means bringing your breath to that place.  Trying to breathe air and space into the tissues I’m working on.  For others, imagining light coming into those muscles or tendons is a better image.  I know some of my clients like to picture everything getting super juicy and extra-hydrated, like the tissues are water balloons, slowly being filled up.  For me, I literally imagine a piece of my brain breaking off (don’t worry, it doesn’t hurt) and traveling down to my leg or my abdomen or wherever to bring its wisdom to that area.  I’m sure there are a gazillion different ways to meet me from the inside, but whatever image works best for you, go with that one.

The thing is Sassypants, you and me, we work better as a team.  There’s only so much I can do on my own.  And while I don’t mind if you think about your grocery list, your session will be more effective if you’re working toward the same goals I am during your sessions.  If I’m pressing on your quads, asking for length, and you’re also asking on the inside for your quads to lengthen, chances are, your quads are going to lengthen; and it’s not going to take as long, or hurt as much, as it would have if I’d done it all myself.  So if for no other reason than to avoid pain, next time you’re in, try to meet me from the inside.  See how it goes!

Hey there!  Today we’re talking about the weirdest thing Rolfers do, which is saying a lot, considering just how weird Rolfers are.  And that strange thing is nose work, or intranasal work.  Traditionally, this is done in the 7th hour of the 10-series, along with some work inside the mouth.

First, let’s talk a bit about the 7th session.  This session is devoted to the “upper pole” or the top of the thorax, the neck, and the head.  The goal is to create space front to back, differentiating the visceral cranium, or the face and the associated tongue, throat, and viscera (guts), from the neural cranium, or the back of the skull and the associated brain and spine.  This session is the last of the four “core sessions” before we move on to the “integration sessions” of 8, 9, and 10.  And since it’s the last core session, we Rolfers decided to go out with a bang and stick our pinky fingers into our clients’ noses.

We wear gloves for this, but let’s be honest, that doesn’t really make it any less strange.  While the mouth work is odd, we’ve all been to the dentist and are somewhat familiar with having someone else’s fingers inside our mouths.  Nose work, on the other hand…  What can I say?  It’s just plain weird.

Also, in my opinion (again, I’m a Rolfer), it’s totally awesome.  I love receiving nose work.  It makes my head feel spacious and open.  It feels like my sinuses are cleared out afterwards.  I feel like my peripheral vision has just been polished and shined and I can see twice as much.  I can breathe easier.  In fact, I want some nose work right now.  Too bad the dog isn’t a Rolfer.  But I digress.

Mouth and nose work can also be emotionally intense.  Our face is where we express to the world all of our emotions.  Sadness, grief, anger, joy, excitement, fear, nervousness, regret, apathy, frustration, and the like all come out, hopefully, through our face.  Every issue we have around eating, or not eating, starts here, at the mouth.  The throat chakra is smack in between the heart chakra and the third eye, or the head chakra.  It’s where your will rests, and until you can get your head and your heart to agree, your will is going to have a hard time making itself known.

It’s not all emotional roller coasters and sinus clearing, though.  Intranasal work can be super helpful for people suffering from chronic headaches and migraines.  The intraoral (mouth) work can be great for TMJ sufferers.  And since you already know, as an A+ Rolfing client, that everything in the body is connected via the fascia, you also know that work in the cranium can affect everything else in the body, all the way down to the bottoms of your feet.  Which is pretty crazy.  But not as crazy as having someone else stick their fingers in your nose.

Let’s talk about body awareness, otherwise known as your relationship with your body.  I’m sure you’ve heard people talk about someone who’s really “in their body.”  Or maybe it’s phrased as “she’s really grounded,” or “he has great body awareness.”  Maybe you know a professional athlete and their body is pretty much their whole life.  Maybe you are that person.  But for the rest of us, that can be really confusing.  What does that even mean?  In a culture where living exclusively from the neck up is not only acceptable, but is generally admired, something gets lost in translation when we hear about people who are “in” their bodies.

He’s got a good head on his shoulders.  But does he have a good belly beneath those shoulders?  Why should we care?  The thing is, your body is a super-duper-awesome source of information, but most of us aren’t paying attention.  Take a minute and think about all the information you’re getting from your body, not your brain, right now.  You know the texture of the floor your feet are resting on, and whether or not it’s level.  If you were to step on a patch of ice, your body would immediately know the difference between that and the dry sidewalk.  Your skin is telling you how warm or cold it is where you are, as well as if there’s a breeze or not, and what texture and weight your clothes have.  Your stomach is telling you not only if you have to eat, but if you’re nervous or relaxed.  And that’s just the beginning!  You know how you can feel it when someone’s staring at you?  That’s your body, not your logical brain.

Unfortunately, most of us learn to disconnect from all the signals our body sends us pretty early on.  We learn not to cry when that’s all we want to do.  We learn to pour a cup of coffee when our body asks for a nap.  We learn to sit still and get the work done when our body asks for a walk.  And if our body says “this situation is uncomfortable, I’d like to leave now” we tell it to hush up, sometimes with drugs and alcohol, sometimes by simply staying in a place that’s wrong for us.  In extreme cases, like trauma, we sometimes pretend that nothing’s happened and everything’s fine, when everything is exactly the opposite of fine.  And just like a toddler throwing a tantrum, if you ignore your body for long enough, it gets quieter and quieter until you really can’t hear what it’s saying anymore.  What a shame.

The fact is, your brain and your body are one thing.  They’re you.  Trying to separate them, or to pay attention to one and not the other is like saying you’re only going to eat the flour and sugar out of a cake, but not the eggs and the vanilla.  Good luck with that.  Also, even if you could accomplish that, it wouldn’t taste very good, nor would it resemble cake.  And if you’re only paying attention to your logical brain without paying attention to your body, you’re only getting some of the story, and it doesn’t taste nearly as good as the whole story.

This is part of the reason we see so many ailments that are normal in our culture today.  If you stop listening when your stomach says “I’m full,” you end up overweight.  If you don’t pay attention when your bones say “I’m tired,” you end up with colds and flus and depression that force you to finally lie down.  And don’t get me started on all the anxiety disorders that are so popular today.  Perhaps your body is telling you that something’s not right in your life.

If you’re one of the people who believes they’re a head with some other stuff below it, maybe you can try checking in with that thing carrying your head from place to place.  I know, that can be unfamiliar and strange just to think about.  But there are some really simple things to try to get you started.  First, take off your shoes, and take that body for a spin.  Think about all the information you can get from your bare feet.  What’s the texture of the ground you’re standing on?  Temperature?  Hardness?  Can you feel what’s underneath the floor?  Another thing to try is meditating on, or bringing your awareness to one specific body part.  Meditate on your stomach for five minutes before eating.  What is it really craving?  Protein? Sugar?  Fat?  Does it need a bowl of ice cream, or would two bites be enough?  Bring your awareness to your pelvis.  Can you sense the front and back?  Are your sit bones contacting your chair evenly, or is one more solidly connected than the other?  What about your breath and your lungs?  Does your breath fill only the front or only the back of your rib cage?  Maybe it only fills your belly or more of your right side than your left.  To start with, just notice these things.  This is your body talking to you.

Oh, and a couple more things:

Body Awareness is one of the big goals of Rolfing.
I know my ability to live “in my body” went through the roof with my first trip through the ten series.  And since then, I’ve been able to stop worrying about my weight for the first time since I was little, since my body takes care of it for me.  If you’re struggling with your own body awareness, schedule a session or three and let’s see what we can accomplish.

Thank you so much for your help with Demo Day!
Yesterday was my first ever Energy Work Demo Day and it was awesome!  Thanks for coming in yourself and/or sending in your friends!  Next month’s Demo Day will be a “normal” Demo Day where each mini-session will be a blend of structural work and energy work and it will be on Wednesday, December 14th.