I think I am not speaking only for myself when I say that kinesthetic-oriented individuals can be short on discourse when it comes to expressing the wealth of inner wisdom they contain about movement. Those of us who are verbally disinclined will use gesture, posture and locomotion long before we will resort to words. Often glances, grunts, whinnies, etc., will speak volumes for us and perhaps not mean much to others. That is not to say that people who are more verbally adept are not or cannot be in tune with their kinesthetic nature. That would be foolish and inaccurate. It is just that, generally, kinesthetic-oriented people tend to have internalized, non-verbal movement more fully available for defense and expression. The irony is that words and sounds themselves involve a fine array of movement qualities. And so, it represents growth for movers to include voices in their movement repertoire. One of my intentions is to integrate verbal explanations for what kinesthetics expresses in actions and sensations.
I would like to offer a definition for movement. But first, I pose the basic question, “Why move? We move in order to express. It may sound simplistic but it is quite profoundly our nature. Our human movement is the interplay of energy and structure in time and space for the purpose of expression. The fullness and balance of the flow and play of movement within us is a structural, functional and experiential event.
We, as Rolfers have placed much emphasis on structure and its anomalies with respect to integration and balance. Our uniqueness in the development of seeing structure has greatly enhanced the field of health care. However, our fascination with aiding in the restoration of balance can often lead us to underestimate the notion that the purpose of structure is to provide a vehicle for movement in the physical world. Everything about the design of our structures lends itself to movement. We are moving creatures from the shapes of our bones to the fluid-filled cushions of our joints to our upright and narrow base of suppose. I have appreciated Jeff Maitland’s and Robert Schleip’s contributions reminding us that structure and function are inherently united.
It seems our approach to function has been mostly focused on the biomechanical aspects of movement in the structure and this is essential information for us. Combined with our way of seeing it can only improve our ability to work more intimately with our bodies. With this in mind function can be described as the usage of the structure and the performance of its systems as it relates to gravity.
Nevertheless, seeing human movement in terms of structure and function alone has its limitations. This can throw us back to an over-focus on structural anomalies or limit our notions of balanced movement to controlled exercises and positions. We can stop short of asking, “What movement expressions arise out of the organism’s motility?”; “What movement continuities lie bound or dormant waiting to be realized?”; “What does integrated movement, as we Rolfers understand it relative to the Rolf Line, look and feel like when it tumbles, spins, waves or emotionally expresses itself?”; “What might be the purpose of function?”. The purpose of function is to provide us with experiences which relate us to the forces in the physical world.
Structure and function alone will not insure fullness and balance of movement forces within us. Experience is requited in order to integrate and embody the new knowledge. Experience is the personal involvement of the entity in its own existence. Through experience an individual is capable of apprehending through the mind, senses and emotions the sensations of the nervous system, the activity of the imagination, the movements of the physical body, the expression of internal states and the comprehension of meaning. With experience the individual differentiates and associates internal and external interactions. He or she forms or liberates boundaries, establishes the quality of their relationships to the space around them and then adds this greater awareness to the body-being. The purpose of experience is to expand and enhance embodiment. If function is us and our physical bodies interacting with and responding to our environment and others, then experience is what we gain. It is how we change and our structures reflect those changes. The changes will affect our function which influence our experiences and so on. This, in itself, is a movement continuity.
This perspective places less of an emphasis on structure than we, as Rollers, have had in the past and places it in a more equal position with function and experience. I see that in the past few years we have been evolving in this direction. I think we need to go much further in seeing that balance and integration is about expanding and enhancing the movement continuities of expression and response while growing from the experience and that structural anomalies represent hindrances to those continuities. Structural anomalies are vital for us to recognize in evoking movement experience. We need to become more knowledgeable about them in order to do our exciting work. But we are thoroughly designed inside and out for movement and expression. The experience of our inner and outer motions within the movement setting of our planetary environment is, after all what I think Structural Integration is all about.