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The Synergistic Effects of Yoga and Rolfing

Posted by Adriane Anile on May 5, 2011 at 6:14 PM

The Synergistic Effects of Yoga and Rolfing®

Ever since Dr. Ida Rolf created Rolfing Structural Integration, there has been an amazingly effective physical, mental and spiritual relationship between her bodywork and the practice of yoga. Rolfing is a form of structural bodywork that focuses on the connective tissue network in the body that covers our muscles, tendons, ligaments, organs and bones which gives our body its shape. Any strain patterns in this network can create restrictions, chronic pain, decreased flexibility and many other negative effects.

On a physical level yoga, like Rolfing, focuses on the structural alignment of the body which increases flexibility, better range of motion and improved posture. The synergy of yoga and Rolfing becomes apparent when many yogis that have practiced for quite some time still experience restrictions in their body while in certain poses. These restrictions oftentimes do not resolve with movement alone. This is where Rolfing comes in. Through the hands-on manipulation of the work, the Rolfer can target and free up those restricted areas creating more balance in the body. This allows for a deepened and more effective yoga practice.

Not only is there a synergy between yoga and Rolfing on the physical level but also on the mental and spiritual level as well. A large portion of Dr. Rolf’s work focused on how the body’s structural imbalances affected one’s emotional state. She believed that if the imbalances were corrected by Rolfing, an improved sense of well-being would occur, mainly because freeing one’s bodily restrictions in turn often frees the mind to focus on other more positive aspects of life. Over the years, countless anecdotal evidence of her client outcomes proved this theory. Practicing yoga is right in alignment with achieving these goals. Receiving Rolfing along with yoga can only deepen this sense of heightened well-being.

It is integral to be doing some type of movement like yoga on a consistent basis to balance and strengthen our structure along with the Rolfing bodywork because Rolfing alone cannot strengthen the muscles and bones and yoga alone cannot always correct certain structural imbalances. Yoga is also an extremely effective way to maintain the changes achieved in Rolfing not only on a physical level but also maintaining the improved sense of well-being and increased energy that is so often a side effect of the bodywork.

–”Bodies, Health and Consciousness”, by Rosie Speigel, SRG Publishing, 1994

–”Yoga and Rolfing Lead One to Wholeness”, by Mark Powell, yoga.com, 2004

–”Deep Impact”, by Linda Knittel, Yoga Journal, August 2002

Written By: Adriane Anile

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