Emily Jones Structural Integration

Whole Body Alignment

Structural Integration -The 10 Series

Structural Integration is a system used to align and balance the physical body within its gravitational field by freeing and reorganizing the myofascia (connective tissue) that surrounds the muscles. Dr. Rolf discovered that the body is organized in layers and that in order to create lasting change, the Structural Integration Series must create length and space in the outermost layers before working with deeper, more core layers in the body. Structural Integration is a system of ten sessions. The first three sessions are called “The Sleeve” and cover the superficial fascia, the middle four sessions are called “The Core” and cover the deeper myofascial structures, and the last three sessions are called “Integrative” and create structural and functional adaptability within the whole body.

Components of the series

  • Bodywork: Hands on bodywork organizes the fascial layers to relieve tension, pain and restrictions from the body.
  • Dialogue: In each session we discuss an emotional theme that brings awareness to how emotion is stored in the body.
  • Movement education: Movement education teaches new ways to use the body in order to maintain structural alignment.
In order for my clients to have a better understanding and expectation of the 10 series I have broken down each session into its physical terrain, emotional theme and movement re-education.

The Sleeve Sessions: 1 to 3

These are the superficial sessions. The “sleeve” of your body is the outer fascial layer. This is the part of your body that does the “doing”, the fast movements. You can think of it as a thin wet-suit just underneath your skin. The goal for these sessions is to open, lengthen, and organize these extrinsic layers. This will create space for the deeper layers to unwind and release.

Session 1 - Opening the Sleeve You will get a sense of lift in your body. Your breathing pattern will be addressed by releasing the superficial fascia of the ribs and thorax. The emotional relationship of this session is awakening and acknowledging what inspires you. For the movement education you will explore a way to sit that increase oxygen intake and energy. You will also learn how to shift weight from seated to standing.

Session 2 - Support for the Body By working the terrain from the foot up to the pelvis, this session will impart a stable foundation and a sense of grounding. Your feet will be more fluid and adaptable as they support the vertical dimension in your body. The emotional relationship explored in session two is how you achieve balance, stability and grounding. Our movement lesson is standing balance, a way to stand and find your line where gravity supports you.

Session 3 - Lateral Line You will experience the dimension of depth (front to back balance) and freedom of the arms and shoulder girdle from the spine. The goal of this session will be achieved by working the lateral side line of the body. We will relate the physical terrain to the emotional expression of "reaching out" and how you choose to embrace yourself and others. You can now practice the movement I like to call "pendulum arm swing”, in which the arms can swing effortlessly in walking.

The Core Sessions: 4 to 7

Now that we have prepared the surface layers of the body through session 1-3 we are ready to enter the core sessions.  These are the “deep” sessions. The core of your body is the inner fascial layer. It is where movement is initiated from, comprised of the postural stabilizing muscles. The goal of these sessions is to open, lengthen, and organize these intrinsic layers.

Session 4 - Medial Line We are establishing a medial midline in the body in which we can open up the core of the leg. We would like to achieve a balanced,responsive floor to the pelvis. You will experience more core support and lift in your body and start to get a sense of “the Line.” The line refers to a vertical axis that we visualize running from in-between the feet, up the spine and through the crown of the head, this line lifts and supports us in gravity. The emotional goal of this session is to explore the theme "grounding" and how this plays a role in your life. The movement education is relaxing the pelvic floor in order for the legs to move through the pelvis and into the lumbars.

Session 5 - Anterior Line You will extend your line of support up to the head along the front of the spine. This will further your sense of front-to-back balance in your body. You will also get a sense of leg movement from the core, rather than from the hips. Here we relate trusting feelings and instincts with emotional centering. For the movement you will awaken the Psoas and learn to walk from the top of your leg.

Session 6 - Posterior Line Here we aim to create more extension and fluidity of the spine. You will feel a sense of length in the front and the back of the core. You will experience movement from your legs to your undulating spine, this will lubricate joints and increase space between the vertebrae. Session six brings awareness to patterns of holding and suppressing emotions. This is now the time to explore "letting go" and expressing communication more freely. Movement education for session six surrounds seated and walking spinal undulation.

Session 7 - Adaptability You will feel the relationship of your head and neck as a fluid extension of your spine. We work to release the top of the core and align the cranium so it can receive support from the pre-vertebral line. The theme of this session is "Knowing”. You will be encouraged to notice what you "know" in comparison to what you "feel" and what emotional quality these two topics create in the body. You will explore releasing the head when picking something up and the undulation wave from the sacrum through the top of the head in walking.

The Integrative Sessions: 8 to 10

The first seven sessions are about taking the body apart to improve the flexibility and length of singular parts. The last cycle of sessions is about putting those individual parts back together into a restored, functioning whole. This is the place where the sleeve and the core meet and interact. You will begin to experience motion, initiated by your core layer, smoothly and efficiently transmit out through the sleeve layer of your body.

Session 8 - Structural Integration You will experience a secure foundation in the pelvis and legs to support the upper body, neck and head. We will take care of whatever imbalances are left and achieve length by unwinding rotations. This creates a sense of stability and adaptability in your body.The theme of this session is "Being”. Being and doing must exist simultaneously together and now is the time to relate the two. You will play with the movement of ground force reaction, the driving action of pushing down into the earth to come up in gravity.

Session 9 - Functional Integration You will experience contralateral movement in your body. You will feel the transfer of motion and energy from the core to the sleeve. All movement will start to initiate from the lumbodorsal hinge -the area in front of the vertebral column at the mid to lower back. Now that we’ve looked at the emotional theme "Being” in session eight, we can explore its other half, "Doing." How can you achieve more of a yin-yang, being-doing balance? The movement exploration of this session is lift and core extension. You will learn to reach from the spine and relate core and sleeve movement.

Session 10 - Integration In the tenth session we put the body back together. You will have a sense of “the Line” and of everything being connected. You will have a full sense of your body in three dimensions and moving in any direction with equal ease. We add span to the joints and distance to the bones. The expression of session ten brings awareness to integration, asking yourself where in your life do you feel integration and wholeness? What does complete integration (emotional and physical) look like for you? Last but not least, the movement of session ten compares core and sleeve balance along with establishing a "sky hook" that increases length throughout the body.

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