Emerging from Jason Sager’s Rolfing sessions, I’m always in a bit of an altered state. I haven’t felt this as powerfully as in Session Five of the Ten Series, completed Friday. I’m almost preternaturally calm, my breathing is deeper and more even, and I feel relaxation in more areas of my body than I knew existed. I experienced all of this and then some in this session – but it wasn’t a total joyride.
Until recently, it had been over 18 months since my last Rolfing session. For whatever reason, I dropped out after session four in May of 2011. As I mentioned in my post from that time, Sager sees this alot – starting in sessions four and five, deep whole-body catharsis tends to release – in other words, $#!t gets real. In that sense, I am but a statistic. In my memory of it, though, I wasn’t thinking “This is getting too intense, I need to stop it.” I got busy; and then I had this thought in my head that I needed to lose weight in order to derive the maximum benefits from Rolfing. But in December 2012, I realized the silliness of letting business and other health goals from keeping me from the bodily reorganization and reintegration that Rolfing provides. After all, I had a Mayan Apocalypse Party to throw, and – I had no way of knowing it at the time when I resumed my ten series – I’d fall down half a flight of stairs on Christmas day at my aunt’s house. It was bad. According to the doctors, I could be expected to be laid up for nearly two months. Thanks in large part to Jason’s expert intervention on my muscles and bones, it was more like 2.5 weeks.
When I resumed late last year, Jason determined that it’d be best to begin the Ten Series over again, from session one. Not because all was lost – in fact, sessions 1-4 were easier the second time around because many of the changes wrought in 2011 were lasting – but simply to position me best to get the benefits from sessions 5-10.
And I just had session 5. RaleighRolfing.com describes it thus:
Session 5 continues the work from Session 4 to open and lengthen the rest of the front body. This covers hips to chest and deeper work includes psoas, pec minor, and front of the neck. For clients who tend to slump forward at the shoulders or hips, this is one of the primary sessions that will help.
Such a brief description for such an intense experience. If you’ve never engaged Rolfing first-hand, it can be difficult to describe. It’s not like a medieval torture chamber; my only experience is with Sager, but my impression is that skilled Rolfers do each movement with precision intentionality, designed to move fascia, muscle, and bone from stuck places into newfound freedom, mobility, and interdependence.
If it sounds like I’m veering from a matter-of-fact description of bodily movement and getting philosophical – I am. I’ve come to accept what initially sounded “woo-woo” to me: that our body stores unprocessed, “stuck” emotions at various places within us. (Incidentally, Sager is very soft-pedaling of the philosophy of energy work behind Rolfing; he’ll hardly bring it up unless you do…and of course, I do. : ) It’s clear to me, though, that he knows the “why” of what he’s doing inside and out.) In this session, in particular, he noted that my chest and lungs were almost frozen into place, like a block; and that my gut area, this part of me that I probably pay the most attention to – negative attention – is also stuck, and bloated…stretched to capacity.
And with Rolfing, Sager made room – within myself, for myself. Re-arranging the stuck places; letting hardened knots of muscle and tissue breathe, and relax. The process itself isn’t always “relaxing.” But the effects consistently are. “Rolfing” isn’t to “relaxed” as “Chinese” is to “eating” – 45 minutes later and it’s like nothing happened. As I type, two days after my session, I’m still aware of the differences in my body: Greater fluidity, groundedness, and just all-around “in-touchness.”
In addition to the men’s work I’ve been doing, awesome coaching I’ve been receiving, and the dietary and exercise changes I’m making, Rolfing thus far has proven to be one of my most rewarding investments of time and energy. It’s reinforcing, for me, the links between physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health – vitality – and power.
There’s too much life to live – I’m not delaying my Rolfing sessions anymore.
More in this series: