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The New Rules of Posture -How to Sit, Stand, and Move in the Modern World

By Mary Bond.

Healing Arts Press. 

Review by Polly Waterfield

(First published in STATNews, January 2013) 

 

This book came my way through a teacher who was receiving Structural Integration work, and is written by a practitioner of Structural Integration (aka Rolfing) from California. The Rolfing background wouldn’t have been a recommendation to me, but as soon as I picked it up I realised here was a goldmine. Published in 2007, it is user-friendly and beautifully laid-out with spacious format, clear illustrations, and inspirational quotes. The interconnectedness of mind and body is addressed in a compassionate and articulate way throughout and is illustrated with chatty case studies.

Structural Integration was developed in the 1950s by Ida Rolf as a manual therapy that restores balance by enabling release in the connective tissues. In this book the ‘organ of posture’ of the connective tissues is described as ‘your body’s internet’ -what a brilliant and universally comprehensible image!

The book contains a wealth of specific anatomical knowledge and detailed descriptions of ‘practices’ and ‘explorations’. While I wonder just how much use a lay-person could make of these,  her ‘explorations’ have illuminated and informed my understanding of the directions. With our knowledge of inhibition as the fundamental starting point for any learning, the information in this book is indeed valuable. I haven’t found anything that runs counter to our work, and I’ve found much that complements it and helps me go deeper.

Don’t be put off by the title! She explains immediately that ‘The New Rules’ are to do with change from the inside out rather than imposing an idealised posture. Her trust in the possibility of re-training accurate sensation may not appeal to all teachers, but coming to this material with an open mind could repay dividends. It’s humbling to find that amongst extensive appendices the only mention of Alexander Technique is Wilfred Barlow in ‘Books of Related Interest’. Like it or not, in this day and age we operate within a network of body-mind educators. In our ongoing quest to define what we do, perhaps comparing and contrasting with other disciplines could help us articulate where there is overlap, what makes us different, and what our strengths and weaknesses are.

 

Polly Waterfield is an AT teacher in Cambridgeshire.

© Polly Waterfield 2013

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