What is Structural Bodywork?
As a student of Anatomy Trains Structural Integration, I am excited about the truly holistic perspective through which this work approaches the body. Rather than being symptom-oriented, the body is addressed as a whole over a series of sessions. Through myofascial manipulation and somatic education, the goal is to bring increased adaptability, support, and resiliency into your body. Posture will be be assessed, but there is no striving toward an ideal. The veiwpoint of this work sees 'neutral' and 'alignment' as a spectrum, rather than a fixed point. The focus of the work is to bring awareness to patterns of tension and inefficient movement, helping your unique body to move toward its natural balance and alignment, thereby bringing ease, comfort, awareness, and sustainable movement possibilities. This is a process-oriented approach to bodywork, with the understanding that the benefits will continue to unfold, even after you have finished your session or your series, as your body continues to integrate the work through the movements of daily life. Structural bodywork is meant to be experienced as a series, with a beginning, a middle, and an end, rather than as an on-going treatment modality.
My Personal Experience With This Work
I am interested in embodied agency. Agency becomes more possible when we can develop better awareness of our bodies, how they move through and interact with the world, and how we feel about our embodied experiences. What I love about structural bodywork is its particular emphasis on somatic education. Awareness is empowering. The more I understand my body and my postural and movement patterns, the more I can be an active participant in my own wellbeing. Finding a better sense of balance and adaptation, I am coming to understand that stability can be achieved through change. Structural bodywork has given me a felt sense of what is possible and an awareness of ease and comfort that I know my body is capable of experiencing, even while navigating and moving through life's various challenges and uncertainties. Long held tensions and habits have slowly released, and I have a greater sense of the patterns that cause them in my body, enabling me to continue to work with them as I move through my life.
The 3 Series
The 3 series is a wonderful way to introduce yourself to the benefits and possibilities of this work. Typically, postural imbalances in the body are approached as a process over a series of 12 sessions. For the 3 series, the focus of the sessions are concentrated into lower body, upper body, and integration through the spine. In each session, we will work together to bring increased awareness to postural patterns as we work to restore your body’s natural balance and alignment. The sessions will be conducted partially clothed, in underwear, yoga shorts, or a bikini swimsuit, so that postural alignment can be assessed. As with myofascial release, movement is a vital part of each session. This work is collaborative and experienced through active participation and communication. You will be asked to experiment with movement through the different techniques, to stand up, walk around, and explore different movement assessments as we track the way your body takes in the work.
A breakdown of the series might look like this:
Balancing the lower limbs and pelvic girdle
Finding more lift and support from the ground into the feet and legs
Balancing the ribs, shoulder girdle, and upper limbs
Bringing ease to the neck/shoulder relationship
Opening the breath in the ribs and abdominals
Connecting the pelvic and shoulder girdles
Bringing ease, balance, and movement to the spine
Opening the breath in the back of the body