Rolfing and Yoga as Complementary PracticesJan 30, 2017 07:29PM ● By Ed Hemberger
Rolfing, a system of soft tissue manipulation and movement education, affects the body’s posture and alignment by manipulating the myofascial, or connective tissue, system. It’s been shown to promote improvement in balance, flexibility, total range of motion, and a general sense of well-being.
Yoga similarly focuses on lengthening, balancing, strengthening, and flexibility through poses or postures, each offering specific physical benefits. The poses can be done quickly in succession, creating heat in the body through movement, or more slowly to increase stamina and perfect the alignment of the pose. In attaining and maintaining certain postures, yoga helps to relieve stress and, like Rolfing, promote an overall sense of well-being.
It’s no surprise, then, that Dr. Ida Rolf, the developer of Rolfing, was influenced by hatha yoga. She researched and practiced it to alleviate her own back pain from scoliosis, and that practice contributed to the evolution of her Rolfing principles. She aligned her vision of Rolfing with the goals of yoga in enriching body, mind, and spirit through an understanding of the importance of structural balance.
Many who do yoga now reach out to Rolfing to improve performance in their practice. Since Rolfing eases movement, it makes doing yoga that much easier. Rolfing can also help to regain flexibility that is lost due to age or inactivity. Rolfing’s influence on alignment and posture will also help those hoping to achieve more advanced yoga poses.
Combining Rolfing and yoga leads to an even more enhanced sense of well-being and reduces everyday stress, leading to higher levels of happiness. Yoga and Rolfing are twin paths to alignment, a synergistic method of relaxation that allows practitioners to achieve better body awareness. The pairing offers increased flexibility and coordination, improved posture and alignment, and much-sought-after relief from chronic pain and tension.
Edward Hemberger, LMT, has been a Rolfing practitioner for the past 15 years with offices in Livingston and Boonton. Mentored by Thomas Findley, M.D., Ph.D., Hemberger was also selected to work with two U.S. Olympic teams and works for the Veterans Administration Hospital in East Orange, NJ. Connect at 973-462-3112.