You might be wondering why I call myself a Structural Integration Practitioner but have a bunch of content about Rolfing® and Rolfers®. “Structural Integration” was the name Dr. Rolf chose for her work, but the colloquial term “Rolfing” stuck to it, and the Rolf Institute® went ahead and made it formal. When Ida Rolf died, there was a great rift in the community and the school I went to- the Guild for Structural Integration– was born. It’s not my story to tell, but suffice it to say that my teachers (who have since moved on or passed on) were Rolfers®, some of the original teachers of the work, so the content is 100% relevant.
The International Association of Structural Integrators was created in the early 2000’s to begin to heal the great rift. It became clear that there would of course be many schools with different takes on the work, but that there is a core there that makes us all “heirs of Ida”. Soma, Anatomy Trains SI, and Hellerwork are all other “brands” of Structural Integration work, and what we share defines us more than what differentiates us from one another.
This year’s Symposium was virtual, which I thought would be weird and challenging for a bodywork seminar, but it was actually pretty cool. We were able to attend from all over the world and I enjoyed some of the presentations quite a bit. I did miss being able to have lunch with a few colleagues or to hang out and make new friends, but for a pandemic year we did pretty well.
The keynote on day one was a panel discussion about white privilege as it shows up in our work. This was followed by an invitation to join ongoing discussions hosted by Liberation Somatics, which I did. I learned a lot, and my sliding scale is based on things we discussed there.
What’s true for the SI community as much as it is for humanity at large is: we all do better when we all do better.
Original Post, 5/10/2010: I just returned from Denver, CO, site of the latest International Association of Structural Integrators (IASI) Symposium. This is the third event of its kind, a chance for all of the various practitioners of Structural Integration from all of the various schools to come together and share ideas, rub elbows, make contacts, and feel common cause. Once again, I came away with fresh perspectives, new friends, deeper knowledge, and a healthy amount of gratitude for this meaningful work.
Highlights include presentations by Thomas Findley and Robert Schleip on scientific research being done with fascia, a stern talking-to from Serge Gracovetsky regarding getting our work into objective scientific studies if we want to be taken seriously, and a lovely session of stories about Ida Rolf from Tom Wing, Sharon Hancoff, and Jim Asher. Monica Caspari gently reminded us that though unity is the goal, when we honor diversity (specifically cultural) we preserve some of the richness of our embodied existence.
It is at once entirely humbling and infinitely inspiring to know that there is no end to the learning that is possible in this field. I’m grateful to have had a chance to mingle with my colleagues, and am looking forward to trying to gather some of the local SI practitioners together to get more of this juice on a regular basis!
PS- I also took and passed the Certification Exam for Structural Integration, as a way to support the profession. I’m now BCSI certified!