The people we meet

I am a great lover of new experiences, and tonight certainly didn’t let me down…

This evening I had my seventh rolfing session from Ken the Rolfer (I figured I couldn’t meet someone who goes by this name and not sign up…). For those who don’t know, rolfing is a massage technique that releases deep connective tissue along prescribed energy channels. By having the complete set of ten sessions, the theory is that the body is completely freed up, both physically and energetically, and this enables a return to more natural, efficient movement patterns rather than our body being trapped by a restricted musculature and the resultant tight holding patterns. Warning: it’s not for the faint-hearted or those with a low pain threshold!

Anyway, the seventh session is the last one in the second sub-series (the full ten sessions are broken down into three blocks that also work as self-contained units: 1-3, 4-7 and 8-10). This one was focused on freeing up the head, neck, shoulders and face and, like all the other sessions, boy, it went deep.

Ken usually uses his elbow or thumb and basically applies his entire body weight to go slowly and deeply into the body, penetrating through to deep connective tissue and deeply hidden muscles that don’t usually feel the masseur’s touch and are therefore completely wussy it seems. It hurts. A lot. However, Ken never stops moving, plus he encourages a deep connection with the breath and with grounding down through the feet and pelvis during the treatment. The result is that he can go deeper than you would have thought possible, such that it often feels to me like he’s actually operating from inside of me.

Well, tonight he actually was working from the inside out – yes, tonight I had the inside of my mouth and the insides of my nostrils massaged for the first time ever! And the weirdest thing is how normal it seemed. I guess, by this stage, I was used to him probing some quite intimate areas, and completely trusted his experience, control and professionalism. Still, at least he conceded that his pinkie was too big to penetrate the entirety of my nostril so I provided my own as a stand-in, which he steered using my elbow. Things got kinda weird at that point…

But it was all worthwhile as I floated out of the treatment room and back home, feeling high on endorphines. My head was blowing in the wind like a helium balloon, providing blessed relief for my spine and legs. I felt light and expansive, as if, literally, a weight had lifted from my shoulders. Through working from the inside of my mouth, Ken had worked a lot on the jaw muscle, which is the strongest muscle in the body, yet is rarely released in this way such that the resultant tightness ripples down the neck and spine, all the way into the pelvis. So no wonder I walked home like I was made of rubber, with mini trampolines for shoes!

Anyway, another fascinating day in Mysore, where all kinds of crazy opportunities are there for the taking if you open yourself up to them. It is such a brilliant place to learn, learn, learn – and Ken once again moves into centre-stage this weekend, when I’ll be attending his Advanced Experiential Anatomy course as a follow-up to the one I attended earlier this year – I can’t wait. It fascinates me how I keep ending up on his doorstep. It’s funny how sometimes people come into your life and unwittingly change your direction, imperceptibly at first (e.g. attending an anatomy course), then more profoundly (e.g. experiencing the ten rolfing sessions) until finally there’s a sense that the influence has led to some kind of shift in your very being (e.g. a deepened interest in the deep, connective nature of our physical and energetic body).

Of course the directions our lives take are nothing more than the sum of the people we meet and the decisions we make, and everyone that we encounter, whether they be a main player or an unspeaking bit-part, will change our story in some way. But sometimes, you meet someone – it could be an attendant in a shop, an elderly man you sit next to on a bench, a relative, a lover, a teacher, anyone… And you just know that this person was sent into your life to teach you something.

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This entry was posted in Ashtanga yoga, India, KPJAYI, Mysore life, Travel, Yoga and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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