Experiencing Rolfing allowed me for the first time to feel my own patterns of holding and movement and their profound physical and psychological impact. As those patterns changed and gave way to freer, more efficient patterns, I discovered that I could move and inhabit my body more expressively and openly. Finding support in my feet and hips for my spine was a radical shift from my held-up, ballet-informed posture. The feeling of an easy, more comfortable posture had deep, long-lasting effects on my body and movement.

It has been my intention since high school to work with the body in some form—I had studied dance, beginning with ballet. Dance and movement became clear openings for exploring and understanding myself and my world. In college my experience of dance changed: What was until then my own very personal relationship with dance and my body expanded as I studied contact improvisation, a form of dance that is about a constant improvisatory listening and response between two or more people moving together. Contact improv opened up my world of movement to include all of the other people around me—not just other dancers, but everyone, at all times. I began to see and feel how so many layers of our experience—communication, isolation, touch, joy, fear, and all the rest—are conveyed, held, and expressed continually among us, body to body. The liberating feeling of practicing movement consciously and openly with others deeply affected my sense of what having a body means and can mean.

For me a natural next step was to work at a job that was physically challenging and engaging. I trained as a river guide in Moab, UT and for four summers learned to push myself and understand my body’s limits. resizerIt was wonderful to work so hard physically and at the same time to become very in touch with the cycles and movements of nature. I also enjoyed helping people feel their own minds become less cluttered in the natural world without cellphones and TV’s. The river and the desert are still very calming places for me. After my time in Moab, I sought out a Rolfer to help me with some of the patterns of holding and tension I had developed from running rivers. In those sessions, I discovered not just those patterns, but also a whole constellation of other, older patterns, particularly the deeply ingrained ways of moving I learned in ballet. My Rolfing sessions allowed my body to adopt new structural relationships and new patterns of movement that felt deliciously free. I realized that training to become a Rolfer would allow me to continue my exploration of the body, and to give me an opportunity to more deeply affect others as well.

I have been working as a Rolfer now since 2003 and I am continually awed by how Rolfing works for so many different people, each with their own unique relationship to their body. It’s an exciting privilege to be a part of each client’s ongoing process of finding a natural sense of freedom, support and expression. I currently am part of the 5 Rhythms dance community here in Salt Lake City and am still learning all that dancing wMary Phillips the Rolferith people can teach. As I get older it is more and more clear to me how important movement is, and how important it is to me to keep the soft tissue open, alive, responsive and adaptable.  To view my resume click here


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