Auditing the last class (July-August, 1969), I found the exercises Dr. Rolf presented at the end intriguing both experientially and theoretically. These exercises consisted in a series of movements designed to evoke an appropriate gravity line in our bodies, a balanced use of our muscles, and an awareness of both in our minds. As I did the exercises I felt at first considerable strain in those parts of my body which were not accustomed to moving “truly”. This strain eased as the exercises continued. What seems to me most significant, however, is what happened in all of us over the series of exercises as a whole. Beginning at our usual level of boisterous activity, we became progressively calmer. By the end of the session most of us felt a kind of serenity much like that which caws in a period of meditation. This serenity was reflected in our voices, which dropped in pitch, and softened in tones and in our movements, which became slower and more graceful. This state of unruffled quiet seemed to last as long as the now ways of standing, sitting and moving of using our bodies persisted.
Apparently the kind of movement toward which our work is directed achieves not only physical balance but also a level of mental tranquility most of us find it hard to attain in other ways. Just how this canes about is not yet entirely clear, though it probably involves balancing the activity of our more intrinsic muscles with that of our extrinsic muscles and thereby bringing into balance the activity of the autonomic and central nervous systems which respectively innervate these muscle groups. That it does come about that we know how to help people move toward a more serene level of conscious functioning is in any case most exciting.
I expect to explore this area of our work further. I hope you will too, and that you will make your discoveries available by Jotting them down for this journal.A Note on Serenity