I had heard some good things about rolfing – particularly as a means to enhance the physical practice. So I gave it a go and went through the standard 10 sessions over the winter. So how do I feel? Any dramatic changes? I have no counter-factual so I can’t say whether my asanas have benefited. I’ve progressed in my poses over the past six months, no doubt,…but whether that’s down to the rolfing I can’t say.
It has had an impact off the mat though. I have greater length – I look longer and leaner in the mirror. Also I feel that I’ve gained an inch or so of height next to colleagues and acquaintances – It’s maybe not so much that I’ve actually added height…but more a matter of standing straighter and therefore getting my full height. In the past, I’d occasionally become conscious of my slouching stance and would force my head up…but it felt unnatural. Now standing tall actually feels right and natural. I also walk differently – my feet land evenly now whereas before I rather walked on the outside edges of my feet. My wife swears that I have a far more graceful gait…apparently I had a something like a bow-legged bounce before. The genuine proof of the change in my walking pattern are a pair of shoes I bought last October – they’re not wearing per the old pattern that’s evident on all my old shoes – i.e. outside edges of my heals and soles. And now I’m very conscious of the outward slant that those old shoes are putting on my feet when I have them on (so I guess I better start replacing them).
I have a greater awareness of my body – that’s really what my sessions have given me. I realize for example that the chronic tightness in my hamstrings is down to the fact that, probably all my adult life, I have been leaning forward when on my feet, with the weight of my body on the front half of my feet. Try it yourself. Stand up with your weight evenly distributed on your feet. Hold your hamstrings…and now lean forward…can you feel them tighten? Well that’s what my issue has been. My hamstrings have been more or less constantly engaged.
So with those kind of benefits I suppose my asanas have improved subtly…but without any massive breakthroughs (which I suppose would have been unrealistic and unfair to expect).
Speaking of asanas, the past three weeks or so have seen me on the mat on 4-5 times a week…the mad hours have dissipated and it’s good to be back to what again resembles a daily practice.