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Natural Awakenings North Central New Jersey

Rolfing and Yoga

Aug 31, 2013 02:22PM ● By Ed Hemberger, CMT

Rolfing and yoga complement each other by improving structure, balance and flexibility. Dr. Ida Rolf, developer of what is now known as Rolfing, first used yoga to address back problems related to scoliosis when she was a young mother in the 1930s. Yoga wasn’t exactly mainstream at the time, and there were very few teachers available in the United States.  Dr. Rolf's personal study of yoga, osteopathy and homeopathy contributed to the evolution of her Rolfing principles. She aligned her vision of Rolfing with the goals of yoga to develop“a physical system that enriches the student’s body, mind and spiritual well-being through an understanding of structural balance.”

“Dr. Rolf always investigated what was new and was never afraid to take what she learned and use it,” says Rosemarie Feitus, certified Rolfer, in the introduction to her book Ida Rolf Talks: About Rolfing and Physical Reality. “In those years of practicing and discussing the principles of yoga,[Dr. Rolf] was establishing the basis of her future work: that bodies need to lengthen and be balanced, and that a balanced body will give rise to a better human being,” says Feitus. “Slowly she realized that the asanas did not achieve length and separation of the joints, that in too many cases there was actual contraction of the joint surfaces. Something else was needed.” Sometime later, Rolfing was born.

Rolfing works primarily in two ways, with hands-on manipulation and movement education. It physically changes the body’s structure and energetically improves movement and function. Yoga and Rolfing both work subtly with energy inside and outside the body, and both can help people:

  1. gain relief from chronic or acute tension or pain
  2. increase flexibility or coordination
  3. improve posture and alignment
  4. learn to relax and obtain more body awareness
  5. offset deleterious effects of aging
  6. release emotional blocks stored in the body
  7. have more energy and stamina
  8. find relief from breathing difficulties

For more information on Structural Integration, see

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