A Tribute to Don Hazen, D.C., Certified Advanced Rolfer

Pages: 38
Year: 2011
Dr. Ida Rolf Institute

Structural Integration – Vol. 39 – Nº 2

Volume: 39

Don Hazen was more than a colleague, he was a good friend. We became friends when, soon after he started to practice Rolfing® Structural Integration (SI) in Berkeley, he invited me to dinner. That evening, I discovered that he was not only a good Rolfer but also an excellent cook. After dinner he brought out his collection of jewelry, which he had made. The work was meticulous and beautiful. I knew then that I had a friend and colleague with many talents. Over the years, Don’s talents only proliferated, as he became skillful in carpentry, open-water kayaking, and eventually photography.

As a Rolfer, Don’s interests led him eventually to chiropractic college at Life Chiropractic College West, from which he graduated cum laude. My wife Georgette Delvaux, who is also a Rolfer, was in school at Life Chiropractic College at the same time as Don. One day the two of them were standing in the corridor comparing notes on how ignorant some of the instructors were, when the academic dean of the school snuck up on them in the hall, laid one arm on each of them and said: “Both of you in one class would be dangerous!” The two of them did more than uphold the high standards of Rolfing SI during their time as students at Life Chiropractic College.

Don’s interests after chiropractic college turned to neurology. He spent time in a post-graduate neurology program and also studied with J.P. Barral, eventually elaborating on the theory and technique of nerve release work. Don’s insistence that nerves and the perineural sheath create structural restrictions that are of equal significance to the fascial restrictions of traditional Rolfing SI has added to our understanding of the myriad forces acting on structure.


<img src=’/imgs/2011/1188-1.jpg’>

<i>A portrait of Don by his wife, Mollie Hazen</i>

As Don faced the grim prospects of a battle with cancer, it was apparent that he would manage his illness with the same intelligence and creativity with which he practiced as a healer. He continued to treat his patients and to be open with them about his illness. Many say that his powers as a healer increased during this time. He took time to wander in wild places, where he would find the inspiration that appeared in his remarkable photographs, one of which hangs in the Rolf Institute®. Visiting him in the last weeks, his body’s weakness was evident, but talking to his wife Mollie, it was clear that Don’s vital spark continued to burn. We are illuminated by his light.


Michael J. Salveson

Certified Advanced Rolfer

Don Hazen had a fiery and fluid presence in the Rolf Institute. He sat on my selection committee back in the 1980s and added curiosity, enjoyment, vitality and a mischievous spirit to every discussion that occurred in that context. Where some people went down a predictable path, he would veer off spurred by his own interest in the person that would spark new thoughts.

I organized a workshop in New Mexico for him to come teach his Neurology of Posture. This would end up being one of the last ones he taught before he became ill. I am sure all those in the class would agree that his knowledge of the subject matter was not to be matched anywhere. Don had dug deeply for years to create this work from his Rolfer’s viewpoint and touch. He is really the founder within the Rolf Institute of the understanding of how a Rolfer approaches and works on the nerves. He treated the nervous system as part of the structural system, not the visceral. He recognized that the nerves were palpable and said it completely changed his practice. He studied for years and brought all his humble “unknowing” as well as his knowing to the class. This was no mere hobby to make big money teaching workshops. This was his passion for sharing the depth of what he came to know about our ability to affect all the realms Rolfing SI can touch by working in the pathways of the nerves.

Don taught with generosity and emotion. He was not aloof or removed from his subject matter, ever. He was embodied in the true sense when he worked and when he taught. Even after he was very sick, he continued to work and see clients as this was his deepest way to stay alive and connected. Everyone who knows him remembers him dancing wildly with great abandonment at every annual meeting. His photography traveled with him to each workshop he taught, and he planned his workshops based on when and where he could take better pictures.

Don’s contributions will last forever working their way into our hands, our curriculum, and our understanding of the human body in gravity. Thank you, Don, for evolving our work and adding the delicate profound work you taught.


Valerie Berg

Certified Advanced Rolfer


<img src=’/imgs/2011/1188-2.jpg’>

<i>Don with Adyashanti, the Hazen’s Buddhist spiritual guide and friend. Adyashanti notes “Don was a simply remarkable, incredible loving and gifted being who made a profound difference in the lives of all who met and knew him.”</i>A Tribute to Don Hazen, D.C., Certified Advanced Rolfer[:]

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