Although I had my first Rolfing® session 45 years ago when I was still working as a professional musician, my recall of the experience is still very present.
At the time, I had been playing all kinds of drums and percussion instruments since I was quite young. But my Rolfing experience was whilst I was playing a full drum kit - which involves the whole-body co-ordination of all 4 limbs and extremities.
I had practiced for many hours over many years, but was aware that my ability to transfer this increase in knowledge and technique to my daily playing (in a way I found creative and satisfying), still often eluded me.
The solution in the end was quite simple: I was trying too hard!
Over time this 'trying to play as well as I can' had created a certain physical pattern of tension that had become instinctual – 'normal'.
Through the process of my Rolfing sessions this pattern was intelligently and sensitively interrupted to a point that the elusive and important elements began to show up in my daily playing.
I understood, not as a concept but as a living experience – that 'flow', and real co-ordination can only appear when one is relaxed.
But relaxed does not mean collapsed; a healthy tonus and readiness to act is also required for health. But the key is in the balance between the two. Through this process of removing of what was 'not required', the long-wished balance and coordination could naturally emerge. Writing about it now, I am struck again by what a pivotal, life changing experience it was.
Author: Certified Advanced Rolfer®, Rolf Movement™ Practitioner and Dr Ida Rolf Institute® Europe Faculty Member, Harvey Burns - Austria