Structural Integration- Session 6 (2/2012)
In session 6 of the Structural Integration progression, we “speak” to the nervous system more directly than in previous sessions due to its focus on the sacrum. The sacrum has been called the “seat of the soul” due to the fact that it houses a vital nerve plexus which has major effects on the autonomic nervous system (again implicating that any aberration here can effect the ANS). In session 4, we started the core work by coming up into the pelvis from below, in session 5 we released the major pelvic muscles, and in session 6 we begin to move out of the core and into how it relates to the upper body via the spine. According to Ida Rolf, the sacro-lumbar junction is key to how a spine will function. Any aberration here, and the rest of the spine is affected. One of the most common aberrations at the sacro-lumbar junction is found in the anterior pelvic tilt posture (the psoas is also involved with this posture, and release of it can greatly reduce it). In this posture, not only does the pelvic basin lose its ability to properly contain abdominal contents (often causing a “potbelly” look), but there is also increased pressure at the sacro-lumbar junction. It seems to be a common place for disc failure- as it can become quite compressed. Session 6 frees the sacrum and elongates the spine in such a way that compromised discs in the vertebral column can heal themselves. In releasing the sacrum, we address the gluteal muscles which can rotate the sacrum, the hamstrings which can pull the pelvis and therefore the sacrum from below, the tissue surrounding the coccyx, which is at the very end of the sacrum, and lastly our spine, which connects at the top of the sacrum. When the work is done, we should see movement ripple from the sacrum up through the spine as a person walks via the erectors (the large muscles that run parallel on either side of our spine and suspend us upright).
The biggest take away from session 6, for myself and my classmates, seemed to be the incredible lift in the trunk of the body via the spine elongation. Many of us literally looked taller and leaner, as if somehow our abdominals were pulled in. I noted within the next few days that my belly looked pulled in (seeming to finish the psoas work from session 5) and the vertical of my body was more obvious. I also felt greater lift and ease of movement. A lot of focus was given to how to walk in a more integrated way in this session also. I literally am learning how to walk again- picking up my thigh/knee and placing my foot on the ground, heel, ball, toes, and feeling like I can glide more instead of stomp. Before, it was a lot of work to get myself to walk properly, stand properly, sit properly. As the days pass, I can feel my body becoming more aware of itself in space, and how it is learning to re-settle itself properly back into alignment naturally (which I notice most in static postures), as if remembering a whole new consciousness that maybe it just forgot, or never learned. It is helping to restore a faith I didn’t know I lost in my body. I, like many, became so used to my body’s shortcomings, the things I felt it couldn’t do- yet struggled to make it do- and blamed myself when it “failed” me. I realize now I couldn’t have achieved that perfect posture no matter how hard I tried- because my body literally wasn’t free to. With proper function gradually being restored, I realize it is something I didn’t even “know” I had lost. Something so overlooked in our culture and undervalued, and yet fundamental. But my body knows, and it is happy.