Blog

Category
  • Landing

    View this post on Instagram

    A post shared by Rolfing In Melbourne (@rolfinginmelbourne) on

     

    Our feet are remarkable! 

    In each foot we have 26 bones and 33 joints. The two feet contain one quarter of the bones of the body! 

    In landing our bones and joints spread and open but do not collapse. Landing is both an action and a moment of allowing.  In allowing we perceive the support of the earth and are receive or yield to that support. 

    At their best, out feet are incredibly dexterous and able to sense and move in very fine ways.  They are linked to our brain to constantly give feedback to our balance system about the surface we are on. But if our surfaces are mostly flat and unchanging this finely tuned system can become sleepy. 

    Luckily our brains are wired for change and our always aiming towards health.  We can take off our shoes and socks and watch the video again.  This time we can endeavour to feel some of the joints and bones that we see.  Use your hands to gently touch your foot, then use the internal sense of your foot and try to feel the individual movements.

    Can you let the video movement land in you and awaken your 26 foot bones?

  • Easter and Anzac Day Hours

    Friday 19 April Good Friday - Closed

    Saturday 20 April Easter Saturday - Closed

    Sunday 21 April Easter Sunday - Closed

    Monday 22 April Easter Monday - Closed

    Tuesday 23 April - Open

    Wednesday 24 April - Open

    Thursday 25 April Anzac Day - Closed

    Friday 26 April - Open

  • Understanding the Muscles of the Pelvic Floor

    We begin by visualising the boney landmarks to which the muscles attach.  These landmarks create a diamond shape.  At the top is the pubic bone (pubis symphysis) and at the base is the tail bone (coccyx).  Each side is located at each sit bone (ischial tuberosity). 

    Now divide the diamond into two triangles.  One triangle is at the front and one at the back. The front triangle I call the Anterior Pelvic Floor and the technical term on the image below is Urogenital Triangle.  The back triangle I call the Posterior Pelvic Floor and the technical term is Anal Triangle. 

    The muscle of the posterior pelvic floor is call Levator Ani.  Its fibers run front to back. If you tuck you tail under you are probably using this muscle. Its position is deeper in the body compared with the anterior pelvic floor. 

    The muscle of the anterior pelvic floor is called the Urogenital Diaphragm.  Its fibers run side to side.  If you draw up your vagina or scrotum you are probably using this muscle. 

    The diagram below looks at the pelvic from the front. Look at the difference in location between Levator ani and the Urogenital diaphragm. Whilst we call them anterior and posterior it is not a simple as that. This diagram helps us to visualise the respective locations within the body.  

     

    The anterior pelvic floor is responsible for supporting the pelvic organs and provides the base of the core support of the pelvis.   Its function prevents loss of bladder control or leaking. A very important role!

    Initially it is probably a subtle difference for most of us to sense our pelvic floor in two parts. Many pelvic floor exercises do not make this distinction and call us to draw up in front and back. The problem with this is that for many people we are already over active in the back and under active in the front.  So we may be exacerbating our imbalance. 

    Just like our mammal friends use their tails for balance (think of a cat walking on a fence), we need our tail free for us to balance well and move freely. The only time you see an animal with their tail tucked under is when they are scared. 

    Embodiment 

    Posterior Pelvic Floor 

    Try standing balanced evenly on two feet looking straight ahead.  Now gently tuck your tail under for a few seconds before slowly releasing back to normal.  You might like to do this slowly and mindfully a couple of times.  Track what happens in your body – your feet, your breath, your head.  What changes? For many of us when our tail is tucked our feet and legs become less apparent or less active in some way.  Or perhaps our breathing feels more restricted. 

    Practice for Tail Space 

    Now take a seat and sit towards the front of the seat.  Sit on the front of your sitbones (not on your tail), sit with weight in your thighs and in your ankle bones. Now imagine the space between the front of your tailbone and anus opening. You tail is like the tail of an Arabian horse, alert and free to move in the back space... 

    Now feel the space between your tail and your sit bones, can this space gently increase... 

    Now tune to the space between your tail and your pubic bone, can this space gently lengthen as you tail gets curious about the space behind you. 

    Take care, sometimes when we try to move our tail we tighten in our lower back.  Try to keep your lower back at rest.  This is a finally tuned practice.  Many of us have chronic tightness in our tail muscles, it takes time and space for them to lengthen.  Be gentle and curious rather than directive or forceful. After practicing for a few minutes stand up to notice any changes.  Taking a mindful walk can help these changes become apparent. 

    Anterior Pelvic Floor Practice 

    Take a seat again.  The first few moments are spent sensing bones and gravity.  Move around and reposition to find the right spot. Begin to imagine your vagina or scrotum lengthening or drawing up.  This is very gentle.  Your bones remain heavy.  The effort used is like blowing out a candle or leaving fog on a mirror.  The effort is not restrictive to breathing nor does it tension the tail. Try this practice for a few moments then take a walk and once again see how you feel. You might notice support and length in the front of the body, you might notice your toes more, perhaps more vitality and space is available. 

    The anterior pelvic floor is part of the core system.  This is the system of muscles, space and presence that gives us an 'antigravity' effect.  They hold us up.  When functioning optimally we feel effortless elongation.  The rest of the time they help us on the way to this elongation.  We use the word eccentric to describe their optimal function.  Eccentric means away from centre, where concentric means towards centre. 

    In a concentric muscle contraction the body shortens, in an eccentric muscle contraction the body lengthens. Lengthening is the optimal form of core contraction, an eccentric, expanding feeling that makes movement stable yet unrestricted. We want to have support in our body that allows us to have the potential for movement in all directions.  

    Releasing our tail into the backspace frees our tail to work as part of the spine (which it is) to provide our uprightness and our backing. It frees our legs to provide support and locomotion. Awakening our anterior pelvic floor is part of the stream of core muscles that hold us up and anticipate our movement.  Helping us to move with grace and ease. 

     

     

  • Squeezing the Sponge - An Interoceptive Practice

    Laying on the floor, sweet piano music playing, incense burning.  I’m on my favourite blanket.  I’m sensing my skin in contact with the wooden floor, in contact with the air... I’m imagining the movements of the ocean, eddies, ebbs, flows, currents, waves and stillnesses... The ocean is inside me. The movements are my internal sensations, my internal processes, known through feeling and through imagining.  I allow my body to move.  Movements small and large, non-directional and multidirectional.  No plan.  I’m listening in the broadest way.  Listening to the natural inclinations of my internal space.  I feel too; little waves of emotion like sadness or joy.  These emotions ride the waves just like the beat of my heart and the rhythm of my breath.  I am participating in my interoceptive practice. 

    Interoception occurs when we sense our internal state. Noticing hunger or thirst is a clear example.  Also noticing the warmth of love or the butterflies of fear are examples.  It is one of our three methods of perceiving, the other two being exteroception (sensing the outside world) and proprioception (sensing our location). For more on Perception read this blog.  

    Interoception occurs through the myriad of sensory nerves that innervate our body including organs, muscles, bones and tissues. We have the capacity to sense and feel with incredibly fine detail and subtle awareness. The more we know about our internal state, the more we are able to know ourselves; our needs, our inclinations, our ‘yes’s’ and our ‘no's’, our own unique Truth. 


    We take in the world, the sights and sounds, the tastes, the feelings.  We are touched by the world, we take in the impressions of the world. We use the word empathy to describe this.  In empathy I can feel the experience of the other. Modern research has discovered the existence of mirror neurons – the empathy neurons. 

    In a world with many comings and going, many impressions and simulations coming quickly our system can feel overwhelmed.  Often we need quiet, serene and safe spaces, times and people.  We need nature and music and rest to balance and ‘digest’ all that we have ‘impressed’. 

    In an interoception practice we can be given time to ‘Squeeze the Sponge’; a term I learned from my teacher Susan Harper. Imagine a sea sponge filled with water.  It can take no more water in.  We squeeze the sponge to the let old water out then we submerged again the sponge can take in fresh water.  Our body is the sponge.  We lay down with music or quiet, with no distractions.  We allow all the impressions – sensations, feelings, movements – whatever they may be, to have to space to move, feel, express. 

    This practice serves everyone.  Especially those of us who do a lot of caring, tending and supporting of others. This practice is not corrective.  It has no right way.  It is about allowing our natural inclination towards homeostasis (balance) to play out.  To allow our internal experience to be known without judgement.  We hold in our heart the statement “yes, and...” rather than “either/or”. 

    We digest, we assimilate, we excrete - this is a natural cycle of our organism.  We absorb nutrients and release that which we do not need.  Our impressions are no different, they need to be assimilated, digested and ‘excreted’ (expressed) through movement, sensation and gesture.  

    We take the risk to allow ourselves to be touched by the world.  We laugh and cry, we express through gesture and language, through art and play. We squeeze the sponge so our cup can fill again, so we can keep ourselves in the picture, in the landscape of our life. Then the flow of life can continue in giving and receiving, impressing and expressing, in loving and being loved. 

  • New Year Wishes

    I’m sitting here quietly, listening to the silence of summer holidays.  The streets are quiet, birds singing and bees buzzing.  Outside I smell warm nectar and cut grass.  I love the way Melbourne slows down after Christmas.  People are walking without hurrying; smiling, enjoying this moment in the season.  It is fleeting.  The population and energy grow again through January as people return from beach holidays.  The pace returns. 

    My wish for us as we begin the new year is to hold dear in our hearts a piece of this silence and carry it with us through the year. That we can access slowness.  That we can dwell between activities in moments of summer flavoured ease. That we can value an unhurried way of being. That this quietude can be a balm to overactive lives.  That doing nothing can provide an antidote to all the times we are doing too much. 

    For our worth is not only bound up in our activities and achievements.  Our worth is also in our awareness; spacious, open, here and now.  There is something wonderful about summer which gives us permission to let go and do nothing and dwell in this mindful state of being 

    I’m imagining a year filled with nature baths, long strolls, silences and wonderings.  Contemplation and slow tempo.  Languid meals and belly laughs. 

    For movement instead of exercise, for bird watching instead of screen watching.  For holding hands with the unseen, poetic, unexplainable beauty of life. 

    Here is a poem by David Whyte that speaks to me at this time. 

    Your great mistake is to act the drama 
    as if you were alone. As if life 
    were a progressive and cunning crime 
    with no witness to the tiny hidden 
    transgressions. To feel abandoned is to deny 
    the intimacy of your surroundings. Surely, 
    even you, at times, have felt the grand array; 
    the swelling presence, and the chorus, crowding 
    out your solo voice You must note 
    the way the soap dish enables you, 
    or the window latch grants you freedom. 
    Alertness is the hidden discipline of familiarity. 
    The stairs are your mentor of things 
    to come, the doors have always been there 
    to frighten you and invite you, 
    and the tiny speaker in the phone 
    is your dream-ladder to divinity. 

    Put down the weight of your aloneness and ease into 
    the conversation. The kettle is singing 
    even as it pours you a drink, the cooking pots 
    have left their arrogant aloofness and 
    seen the good in you at last. All the birds 
    and creatures of the world are unutterably 
    themselves. Everything is waiting for you. 

      -- David Whyte 
      from Everything is Waiting for You  
      ©2003 Many Rivers Press

  • Bare feet

    On a recent walk by the Merri Creek one of my sandals broke. I walked the rest of the way in bare feet.  Sometimes on concrete, sometimes on grass and sometimes on sandy paths. In this experience of different surfaces my attention was brought freshly to my feet. 

    I felt the density of concrete, the soft and springy nature of the grass.  I felt cold and damp at times and warm and hard at others. I felt pebbles, sticks and cracks. I had to walk more carefully; I was aware of my footfall and my bodies shock absorption system.  This occurred particularly when walking on the unforgiving concrete.  I needed to land precisely to avoid jarring my knees and hips. 

    At the end of the walk I felt brightly awakened through my core system and my fascial web. I felt so alive, my mood elevated, my senses awakened, my embodiment. “How delightful” I thought, “I should do this all the time!”. 

    Later however I felt my old sacroiliac instability triggered and my hip overcompensating and tight. Both these feelings passed in a few days, but my initial excitement was tempered.  

    This experience got me thinking about our time barefoot. There is so much that is beneficial about barefoot time.  We awaken the sensitive receptors and tiny muscles located in the soles of our feet.  We need these structures awake and functioning in order to balance well, have good earth support and core activity. 

    However modern landscapes include so many hard, flat concrete surfaces that without the cushioning of our shoes we we are likely to jar our joints on these surfaces. It’s a catch 22.  We need our shoes for protection but our shoes deprive our feet of good sensory stimulation which depletes their functioning even more. 

    So yes, we need times barefoot to keep our feet awake and supple but we need to use caution around hard surfaces. Especially if we aren't used to barefoot time or have any injuries. Furthermore, many people reply on shoes and innersoles for some additional arch support. So we must be pragmatic and work within the confines of our individual needs.

    If we can choose soft and uneven surfaces like beaches and parks for our barefoot time we get the benefits for our feet and a nature bath at the same time. Even walking around the house barefoot can be good for some of us. 

    We can also think about the shoes we walk in. Aside from aesthetic I look for a balance between the following when choosing new shoes. 

    • Support vs flexibility 

    • Cushioning vs palpatory capacity (ability to feel the ground) 

    • Space for toes 

    When trying on new shoes put one on and walk with one foot bare.  Try to feel the difference, asking the question “what is the shoe providing for me?”. Try the same comparison but this time wear the new shoe and a familiar shoe. Ask questions like; is the toe box allowing full spread of my toes or are they being squished?  Do I feel comfortable? Stable? Can I feel the ground? Can my feet move as I walk?

    Hold the shoe in your hands. Check if the shoe sole flex at the toes and can it twist along the arch (think ringing out a wet towel).  

    Each person has unique requirements that will change over time.  When in doubt go gently and listen to your feet. 

    Happy walking!

  • The Art and Act of Perceiving

    Click here to read Part 1: The Sky and Earth of Orienting.  

    What is Perception? 

    Perception occurs moment to moment as we notice our environment (exteroception), how we feel (interoception) and where we are (proprioception). 

    We perceive using our 5 senses, and our inner ear and nerve receptors that are located in our fascial web. We could say we have 7 senses. 

    • Seeing – through our eyes 

    • Hearing – through our ears 

    • Touching – through our skin 

    • Smelling – through our nose 

    • Tasting – through our tongue 

    • Balancing – through our inner ear 

    • Body sensing – through our fascial web

    The Three Modes of Perception 

    Exteroception  

    Occurs when we perceive the outside world. 

    It is an active engagement with the world through the senses and it is the most familiar style of perceiving for most western people.  

    • Yang (masculine) 

    • Outer 

    • Space orienting 

    • Expression capacity 

    • “I actively see, touch, smell the world and I penetrate the space” 

    Embodiment: Can I consciously notice myself as I actively smell, touch, hear, taste and see the world? Can I penetrate the space with my gesture or voice. 

    Imagine a person shooting with bow and arrow. I am the arrow.

    Interoception 

    Occurs when we are aware of our internal experience.  We know our internal space through body sensations. These body sensations are registered by nerve receptors in the fascial web. We feel physical needs like hunger, thirst, need to urinate, sleepiness etc. We also register our emotional experience through these body sensations. 

    This is a receptive mode and tends to be less familliar than exteroperception. 

    • Yin (feminine)

    • Inner 

    • Ground orienting 

    • Impression capacity 

    • “I receive the sight, touch and smell of the world, I feel my internal space. 

    Embodiment: Can I open to allow myself to be touched by the world.  Can I consciously feel the ‘impressions’; the sounds, touches, sights, smells and tastes of the world.  I feel the impressions as body sensations. For example, the vibrations of the music touching my bones. 

    Imagine a person shooting a bow and arrow, I am the bow. 

    Proprioception 

    Occurs when I perceive my body in space.  Proprioception utilises the eyes, the inner ear and the nerve receptors located in the fascial web. 

    • I can feel where my body is,
    • I can judge distance,
    • I can feel where I am in relation to others. 
    • I am graceful, efficient and stable.   

    Embodiment: I am alive in my fascial web, I feel myself from my toes to my nose, from my fingers to my sit bones, my eyes perceive the landscape and my feet feel the gravity.  When I move I am whole like a martial artist.  

    Imagine a person shooting a bow and arrow.  I am the person.  

    Perception is not static.  Perception is an ongoing participatory event.  The way I perceive the world depends on my history and my expectations.  It depends on my mood and my beliefs.  We can perceive in narrow familiar ways, where we expect what has come before.  Or we can perceive freshly each moment, each day, taking in our experience as it is right here right now. This way is a creative way, it is more vulnerable, and it allows us to continue updating our beliefs, our expectations and our life narrative.  Living ieverchanging, flowing like a stream, rather than a safe but restrictive fish bowl. 

    Embodiment: Imagine seeing the world for the first time.  Imagine you have the eyes of wonder like a baby.  Every new smell, colour and sound is unique and deserving of attention, of interest.  How does this affect what you see, how you feel and the way you are in your body? Does it change your fascial expression? Does it change the way you move?

  • The Sky and Earth of Orienting

    As living beings on planet earth, we have a lot in common with the other creatures.  We all are held here by gravity - we all need the support of roots (be they literal or perceptual).  We all rise up towards the sun, to the nourishment coming from the environment (water, air, food etc). 

    But in a technological age, we can lose touch to these fundamentals. Most of us know intrinsically that we suffer with too much screen time, with too much time spend in our heads.  This suffering is not abstract, real physical changes are occurring.  When we are not feeling and moving our body and when we are narrowing our senses to a small frame in front of us, our fundamental orienting and sensing capacities are diminished. 

    Luckily, just as easily as we lose them, we can reclaim these capacities.  But we have to do a challenging thing.  We have to stay more present, slow down, feel, smell and see freshly our physical selves in our environment.  As we begin to learn some language of sensation we begin to learn the language of the body. 

    I’d like to spend two blogs inquiring into this.  In this blog we will consider the question "What is orienting?".  The topic of the next blog will be ask "How do we sense?"  Finally we will learn about the fundament ways we perceive ourselves and our flow of life.

    Orienting 

    As creatures of this planet we orient through two poles.  Earth and Space (sky).   

    Earth orienting 

    • Sensing the earth through our feet (or any body part touching the ground) 

    • Feeling our weight (gravity) 

    • Receiving support 

    • Like the roots of the tree 

    • More related to the back line of the body 

    • The arrow head is pointing down 

    Space orienting 

    • Perceiving the environment through our senses 

    • Feeling our buoyancy 

    • Relating to the world 

    • Like the leaves of the tree 

    • More related to the front line of the body 

    • The arrow head is pointing up 

    Each of us will naturally tend to a preference to one pole.  A balance between poles will provide the safety to engage creatively with life.  

    Embodiment

    Earth orienting: Where ever you are (sitting, standing, walking, laying) take a few moments to feel the ground beneath you. What sensations do you feel?  Is it pressure, touch, temperature?  Do you feel the hardness or softness of the surface you are on?  Do you feel stable?  Is there anything you can do to feel more stable? Perhaps shifting your weight slightly.  Perhaps connecting to the bones or the waters of the body. How is this?  Can you name the sensations you associate with gravity? eg heaviness, solidity, anchoring, safety.

    Space orienting: now as you feel the qualities of weight with you can you also notice the environment.  Can you soften your gaze to include yourself in the landscape?  Can you feel the space behind you from the skin on your back?  Can you imagine the horizon omnidirectionally in the landscape around you?  Can you imagine your own equator? How is that? Can you name sensations here? Perhaps you feel volume, spacious, soft, light, or vulnerable. 

    Now slowly let go of the practice and return to your usual self.  Can you notice any changes in your body shape as you return to the familiar?  Get up and walk around.  Observe for a few moments any sensations you feel.  You could try transitioning back and forth a couple of times to feel the contrast.  You might notice the overall body shape or postion of your body parts, or notice the internal sensations of your body.  A third option is to notice how you experience the space – perhaps it feels wider or narrrower, perhaps volumous or flat...

    A final way for this inquiry to land is to take a walk outside.  Try walking feeling weight in your body, feeling contact of earth in each footstep and observe how it feels.  Add the awareness of landscape, eyes including a wide view and even imagine the space behind you.  Again check how it feels and how it compares to how you normally walk.

    In part 2 we will cover the act and art of perceiving. Until then, thanks for reading and do pop your comments or questions in the bottom of this page should you have any. I'd love to hear your experience.

  • Price Increase

    Hey folks

    Just letting you know that as of 1 August 2018 my prices will increase by $10.

    New prices:

    Initial Consult $160 full ($140 conc)

    Standard Consult $140 full ($120 conc)

    I really appreciate your understanding in this.  It allows me to not only pay all my ongoing costs but also to attend regular Professional Development overseas. These trainings are essential to keep my skills growing and to keep me connected to my community.

    If you do have a concern please do get in touch.

    Best wishes

    Meran

  • My Practice is Moving!

    I am delighted to announce that I am moving my practice. I have a beautiful, big room in my home that is becoming my new Studio space. It is lovely and light and located upstairs which means no more closed blinds. We will be able to tune all the more to our space orientation as we view the surrounding trees and sky. 

    I am located just near Ceres (environmental park) in Brunswick East. I feel the location is far more harmonious with my practice than noisy High St. You can stroll around Ceres before or after your session or take a walk by Merri creek to integrate. 

    I'm in the process of organising Hicaps/Eftpos and a split system hearing/cooling system so we will be comfortable all year round. I am also happy be able to offer more timslots for sessions as well.

    Address:199 Stewart St Brunswick East 3057
    First day: Monday 19 February 2018.
    New hours:
    Monday 530-830pm
    Tuesday 1-830pm
    Wednesday 1-830pm
    Thursday 10am-230pm

    I look forward to sharing my new Studio with you.

    Cheers

    Meran