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  • I'm Back

    I have just returned from the US.  I have been studying with Kevin Frank and Caryn McHose at their Resources in Movement Studio in New Hampshire.  The setting was idilic.  A rainy spring had given birth to an emerald green landscape.  The water of the pond was cool and the fire powered hot tub warm.  

    We were supported and nurtured by the landscape and by the Rolf Movement class.  I enjoyed getting to know a new group of dedicated Rolfers as we lived and learnt together for 7 days.

    Each afternoon we moved out onto the deck and learned the Flight of the Eagle sequence.  It was wonderful for me working with Caryn on the sequence which has facinated me for years.  Kevin had built enough benches for each participant and it was a beautiful sight as the class took flight.

    I am inspired to build my own bench for the clinic to offer this practice more.  Stay tuned.

    We also learnt some fun alternatives to the seated 'hands on the wall' practice.  Again Kevin had built a structure which allowed the client to grip a verticle 'grab rail' rather than push with flat hands against the wall.  This makes the practice much easier on wrists and hands and again I will be building and implementing some changes for my practice.

    I'm feeling well fed and inspired after my trip and look forward to integrating the new pieces with you. This last photo is on the final day, fun with my new friends.

  • Landing... again

    Sitting this morning after breckfast I began my awareness practice.  

    As I sat I could feel my right foot scrunched and almost hovering on the ground. When I checked in with my pelvis, I noticed this pattern in my sitting bone, along my right 'bicycle bone' (ramus) and into my inside thigh. I tried to correct by finding weight in my bones and clarity between the landing and moving part of my foot. No matter how hard I tried (or maybe because I was TRYING so hard) I couldn't find my desired coorination.  I felt a familiar old frustration.

    As a Rolfer I am often teaching a new coordination or movement sequence.  Its something I am very familiar with.  However sometimes new coordination is not what is needed.  Sometimes fresh perceiving and trusting in the intellengence of our body is far more helpful.

    So this morning I changed tact. I invited myself to stop trying to fix anything and to meet solely with presense and allowing. I brought my attention to the sensations of my body with no attempt to correct. I felt less space and more gripping on my right foot and pelvis.  I wanted it to go away and I needed perserverence to not start correcting.

    I tried to notice the feeling of contact with the surface of chair and floor.  I couldn't feel much contact. I sat a little longer.  Then I remembered the vocal sounds used in Continuum Montage.  I made the bussing sound "zzz jjj" and imagined my bones receiving the vibration.  All the way down my body into my seat and then all the way down my leg to my foot.  

    After a number of minutes I stopped.  In Continuum we are invited to offer these sounds into the body and then to allow the body time to receive and respond.  I opened my attention and imagined my body free to bathe in the sound.  I felt a slow dawning.  I felt a fluid feeling.  I was aware of tiny flowing movements. Like the feeling of water moving inside my body,

    I tried another sound.  This time a 'blown "ooooo"' where you make the "o" sound with closed mouth at the same time as puffing out your cheeks.  Its a very round feeling vibration.  I imagined this roundness and the roundness of my sit bones and heels being in concert.  I did this for a few more minutes.

    Again I stopped and waited in open attention.  Waiting to feel the fluid effects of the sounds.  Again I felt flow and my body started to reorganise. I imagine its the instrinsic intellegence of my body that is awakened. So I allow. Ny body weight shifts, muscles lengthen and awaken.  Finally I realised all this tension where my collar bones rest on my ribs.  As this tension softened I felt sadness tinged with relief.

    Slowly the emotions passed and my body gently landed a little more into the chair and floor.  Halleluja I could feel my body weight again! Here I ended the practice and went for a walk by the creek to harvest my new sensations.  

    I felt such a big change in my awareness of the space of the earth.  I was aware of much more space at ankle height in a blissful panorama all around me. I experiemented comparing the new feeling with the old more held up feeling until I got a clear sense of them both. I didn't realise how held up I had become until I landed once again. I didn't realise how decreased my awareness of space was until it had returned. I am smiling as I continue my day.

  • Heading to the US in June

    I am excited to be returning to the US for a Rolf Movement Workshop.

    My final day in the clinic is Friday 16 June and I will return to work on Monday 3 July.  

    I will be studying with Kevin Frank and Caryn McHose the authurs of How Life Moves: Explorations in Meaning and Body Awareness.  Its a residential retreat at the beautiful Resources in Movement studio situated on the shore of White Oak Pond in New Hampshire.

    I'm looking forward to connecting with my community, meeting new friends and engaging in lots of new learning and discovery.  As well as expanding and deepening my knowledge, these trips are of profound importance to my own practice.  Being the student again is essential to the health of any practitioner or teacher.

    I look forward to sharing with you new perspectives and skills I develop on the trip.

    Love

    Meran

  • Courting the Unknown

    In our sessions, just like in life, there are times of 'knowing' and times of 'not-knowing'. When I discover a new awareness of my body or my movement, when I know myself more, it is often a good feeling. However when I meet the unknown, when something is unclear or still forming, I can feel afraid, confused and vulnerable.

    This not-knowing space is furtile ground.  It is like the soil before the seed has sprouted.  It is like the womb where the baby is growing.  Just like winter is an important phase in the seasons, so to is the not-knowing place.  If we can develop the willingness, the support and resources to hang out here, to court the unknown (so to speak), then we are ready for the sprout of new awareness, new life, new ways of being to come forth.

    Culturally we have a bias towards 'knowing'. From early in our school life we are taught that 'knowing' is good and 'not-knowing' is bad. Given this history, its no wonder that we are challenged to be here.  

    To support our capactiy to 'not-know' we need our body.  We can bring attention to our orientation.  To our awareness of our physical weight and the earth that holds us.  To the wide open space of possibility that is our environment.  We can feel our spine like a cobra snake anchoring our soft organs from behind. Backing not only our organs, but our feelings and our heart.

    We can remind ourselves that this place that rests 'in between' is a natural part of the rhythm of our being, its our winter season.  We might like to image a snow covered mountain in Tibet, the awe, the wildness, the vastness of nature.  We can be supported by this image. Just as the natural world can hold the cold and the dark of winter, so can we.

    I have created the following video as a practice to share with you.  We can journey together in this creative, somatic meditation where we rest in the space before the full stop, where we court the unknown. 

    Finally I would like to acknowledge and mention my teacher and mentor Susan Harper. It is through her that I have discovered much of what I offer to you. You can listen to her on this podcast talking about courting the unknown.

  • Restoring Natural Movement: Flight of the Eagle

    I began the Restoring Natural Movement series last year.  In the first video we played with ways of Receiving Sensation.  We continued in the second video with a way of Moving from Sensation.  I invite you to revew these videos.

    We continue the theme by beginning Hubert Godard's practice Flight of the Eagle.  Inspired by the yoga practice Salute to the Sun, Flight of the Eagle adapts the emphasis from stretching and strength to sensation triggering movement.  This is movement with the least amount of effort.  It is about getting out of the way and creating the conditions for movement to occur.

    Flight of the Eagle is an invitation for our hands and feet to make full contact with the world of sensation.  This triggers our antigravity muscles to coordinate our movement.  This is the best type of movement - graceful, effortless, beautiful.  But its also movement that requires the most patience, trust and peace - not a simple task!

    It is such a different way to think; non-doing rather than doing.  Here we bring attention to that which orients us - space, weight, pressure etc and we wait....  In this sense it is in equal measure a movement practice and a practice in mindfulness.

    I've been contemplating different ways to teach this online.  This video is one way.  You get a glimpse into a movement session with my dear collegue and friend Katie.  She learns a snippet of the full practice (which you can watch here).  This is my first effort doing video editing.  I hope its clear, I'm still developing this skill!

    I would love to hear what is helpful and what could be explained further.  Your feedback will assist me in creating the next video.  I will continue to play with different ways of teaching the Flight of the Eagle practice over the coming months.

    I hope you enjoy it.

  • Happy New Year

    Happy New Year

    I'm smelling the sweet gardenia in my garden and looking out on the sunny day. I'm remembering you with affection. The injuries and upsets that call you to visit me. We share the hope for ease and balance and freedom from pain and suffering. I'm wishing from the skin of my heart to the tips of my toes a year where we are all backed well, suffer less and are touched by the sweet smells of life. Where grace holds us when we suffer and when we laugh we do so from deep in our belly.

    Love Meran

    PS I'm back in the clinic today and every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

  • Holiday Hours

    I'm so looking forward to my summer break.  Beach time, gardening and fun with friends are some of the things I'm looking forward to.

    My last day is 23 December and I'll be back in the clinic from 4 January.

    Wishing you all rest and play, reviving times with loved ones, nature time and letting your hair down.

    Happy Holidays!

    See you next year!

    Lots of love

    Meran

  • 10 Years of Rolfing

    I first discovered Rolfing during the second year of my massage training.  That's back in 2002. Michael Stanborough was the teacher for our Myofascial Release class. He brought a depth of presence to the class that I had not experienced before.  He explained about Rolfing and I knew that I wanted to become one!

    Whilst working as a Massage Therapist I began my Rolfing training with Michael.  By 2004 I had completed the first two Units.  It was another two years before I moved to Sydney for 2 months to complete my third and final unit.

    In June 2006 I graduated as a Certified Rolfer™. 

    Here we are. Back Row: John Smith (Assistant Instructor), Moira Mills (USA), Marnie Fitzpatrick, Patrick Ellinswood (Lead Instructor).  Front Row: Su Tindall, Meran Cassidy

    I worked for the next 5 years developing my practice and starting to discover where my interests lay. I love working with movement and discovered the french Rolfer and Dancer Hubert Godard whose approach to movement has revolutionised Rolfing.

    It was a dream come true to study with him at Portals of Perception in Vancouver in 2011.  The retreat blew my mind and changed my life.  Susan Harper was the co-facilitator of this retreat.  Her work has just as huge an impact on me and my practice.  

    From Hubert (and later Pilar) I get the perception and movement piece, from Susan I get the emotions and relating piece.

    Hubert is in the top row second from the left, Pilar is in the bottom row to the left of me and Susan is on the right on the bottom row.

    I was very lucky to have attended this retreat as the next year Hubert took a sabatical from teaching.  

    I am also lucky as since then have been learning from Pilar Martin who trained from Hubert for many years.  I'm been to the US most years for Susan and Pilar's retreats.  This final photo is of our Body of Perception retreat in 2013.  I particularly loved this retreat.

    The past 10 years have been a discovery of myself and my work.  I feel so blessed to have a calling and a profession that I can live off.  I am so grateful to all the teachers for helping my find my way and to my CLIENTS who have taught me so much.  Without you, I would not be here.

    Thank you!  I'm looking forward to what the next 10 years bring.

    Meran

  • Discovering Natural Movement part 2: Moving from Sensation

    In this post we are exploring the way that receiving sensation can change the way we move. In the video I ask you to receive sensation in the hands (and feet) which taps into our natural movement capacity.

    Perhaps before playing the video, try sitting facing the wall and pushing the wall.  Without thinking too much about it, notice what happens in your shoulders, chest, wrists and pelvic floor.  Do they tighten, shorten or contract? Do they create the effort to move?  

    This will be a good contrast to how it feels after following the practice in the video where we play with the movement from a place of minimal effort.

    When effortlessness is occurring, it can feel like no muscles are working.  But of course some muscles are.  The muscles that work with a feeling of effortless are those of the ‘core’ aka antigravity muscles.  The muscles that work to keep us from falling down.

    Now for a little bit of anatomy.  The primary core muscle of the shoulder girdle is called serratus anterior.  It attaches on the front surface of each shoulder blade (scapula) and wraps down to attach on the sides of the ribs.  It creates the movement we play with in the video where the shoulder blade slides forward.  

    I’ve borrowed this image from How Life Moves which illustrates the movement of serratus anterior beautifully.  Not shown here is how much the healthy functioning of our shoulder girdle not only supports freedom in the arms, chest and head but also assists the capacity of our anchoring down into the heals.  We will explore this in greater detail next time.

    I do hope you enjoy the movement practice.  If you, like so many of us, spend a lot of time at the computer then this could become a practice the you do two or three times through the day.  

    Please do get in touch if you have any questions or comments.  I’ll be continuing with part 3 in this series next month.