Heal Your Posture: A Review

I can't resist sharing this lovely review of my DVD that just appeared in the Rolf Institute bulletin.  Robert really liked it, and that makes me smile a lot!

Heal Your Posture: A 7-Week Workshop with Mary Bond

Reviewed by Robert McWilliams, Certified Advanced Rolfer®, Rolf Movement® Practitioner

Rolf Movement Instructor Mary Bond has a gift for relating ideas on functional ease in movement to daily life, offering ways to practice whether at dinner, while brushing your teeth, changing a light bulb, or standing in line. She did this in her book The New Rules of Posture: How to Sit, Stand, and Move in the Modern World (Healing Arts Press, 2006; now also available as an ebook), and she offers more in her recently released DVD Heal Your Posture: A 7-Week Workshop with Mary Bond, which I consider an invaluable resource for both Rolfers and our clients.

For practitioners with less Rolf Movement training, theDVD gives a great overview of how to pull things togetherin a session using movement cues and suggestions, while demonstrating how to do session-directed imagery andvery light hands-on tactile aid with clients. For those with more movement background, it helps synthesize, integrate, and clarify what can be a dizzying wealth of movement information. By her example, Bond shows us how to talk to clients about movement: how to check in with them, put them at ease, get a feel for their level of embodiment, and put things into terms that relate to their everyday lives. Sparkling and affable, she makes it all look easy.

At the beginning she asks, “When is your posture the best?” She then asks participants to experience it, not talk about it. Great advice to clients and Rolfers alike, I believe. Bond likens the experience of ‘good posture’to that of greeting your most trusted friend: “Feels good right?” Posture, then, is seen as a response, not just a position. The DVD sometimes refers to passages in The New Rules of Posture, and asks us to re-read parts of it. This could be challenging to some, and inviting for others. For clients wishing to reinforce work done in session, or just explore things on their own, it could be part of an optimal educational experience.

Among the many juicy bits of information and beautiful examples of how one could address the whole body through movement work are a discussion of the pelvic floor in a seated position (includes the oft-asked: “how should I sit in a chair at the office?”) and strategies/demonstrations for movement work ranging from breathing in relation to the feet to the elusive notion of ‘core support’ and maintaining appropriate lumbar curve.

Bond clearly knows how to connect with people while delivering top-notch concepts . For example, she discusses connecting a sense of posture with the sense of self in relation to ‘what’s going on.’ She mentions her ‘second rule,’ paraphrased as follows: Posture is always a response to the questions “Where am I?”, “What’s happening?”, and “Am I safe?” Depending on one’s answers, there is the potential to lose the sense of spatial or weight orientation, or both. The ideal, then, is to adapt to ‘what’s going on’ by improving this orienting activity. I noticed that throughout the DVD Bond is careful to give spatial as well as weight-oriented cues, which is useful to catch the attention of viewers who are more ground-oriented, as well as those who are more sky- oriented. In all of the segments, she offers good positional and imagistic variety for clients to model.

Though coming from a place of deep study, experience, and complexity of understanding, Bond’s approach is extremely practical, whether for a Rolfer or a client. She elegantly demonstrates a way of working with feet, using materials readily available from the hardware store, to awaken the “magical powers in the cuboid bone” to help a client find the stabilizing portion of the foot – a wonderful lesson for folks with collapsed arches!

Her explanations, demonstrations of gentle hands-on work, and directed imagery to deepen the message are brilliantly simple and clearly build one on the other, like a slowly building musical fugue.

The DVD has wonderful animated graphics, notably those depicting the motions of the spine while breathing in a supine position with feet on the wall. These really enhanced my mind/body connection with the material presented. I also liked that the clients in the video are both men and women, and that much of the informational aspects are conveyed through client/practitioner dialogue. Though clearly very ‘scripted’ in tone, these both deepen understanding and show us a model for interaction with clients using these movement ideas in session. A handy thing about the segmented DVD format: you can pause it and go do something that helps you process the information – like watching the segment on breathing, then pausing to wash dishes while noticing your breath at the same time. Bond’s is a nice voice to have in your head, one that will actually help you live with more grace and ease.