- Structural Integration is a method and a philosophy of personal growth and integrity.
- The vertical line is our fundamental concept. The physical and psychological embodiment of the vertical line is a way for BEING in the physical world. It forms a basis for personal growth and integrity.
- The teaching of Structural Integration is transmitted through a form called the “Recipe.” The “Recipe” is the tradition, the foundation, the essence of Dr. Ida Rolf’s teachings.
The Guild’s Mission
The dictionary defines a mission as “a continuing task or responsibility that one is destined or fitted to do or specially called upon to undertake.” Accordingly, the Guild offers the following mission statement:
The Guild is dedicated to the traditional teachings of Dr. Ida P. Rolf. The product of her life’s work and teaching is the “Recipe”; a ten- session sequence of structural, fascial and educational goals which establishes order in human structures. Due to its efficacy in symptom alleviation, both physical and emotional, there is little doubt that the Recipe will survive in various forms as techniques; it is not certain that it can endure as art and craft without the special dedication of those individuals who are inspired by the potency of intention and wisdom of process concealed within. The Recipe is not technique. The Recipe is more than a discrete succession of myo-fascial goals and intentions. The Recipe is, rather, a process, based on a set of relationships, which establishes structural balance and order. These relationships are based upon sound theoretical physics as well as some traditional metaphysical hypotheses. Relationships belong to the realm of art, they are non-linear. Technique is better suited to scientific and linear analysis. The Recipe, as taught in other schools, has been modified or, perhaps, specialized in several ways. Some of these modifications ignore the underlying priorities in Dr. Rolf’s teaching. The Guild is formed to insure that the Recipe does not lose its potency of intention, its expression as art, nor its comprehension as process.
Dr. Rolf’s teaching emphasizes the concept of the personal line of vertical intention, the “Line.” The Line passes through the centers of gravity of the body’s vertical blocks. The Line, in our concept of the Structurally Integrated human, does not pass through bone, except at the top of the head. In actual fact, this weight-bearing line does pass through bone in all but the most exceptional human structures. Indeed, it was Dr. Rolf’s observation that our species had not yet successfully completed its journey to uprightness. The Recipe is designed to offer personal assistance in this evolutionary voyage. The emergence of the unstressed vertical, the Line which passes only through soft tissue is evidence of progress toward this goal. The Line being defined as a set of theoretical points in space is not real, but experiential, and it can be, perhaps, must be, intentional. The horizon is the horizontal reference for the Line. The shoulder girdle and the pelvic girdle must contain true horizontal balance to define and support vertical extension. The Line goes through the top of the head and through the bottom of the feet to infinity. The Line forms a relationship between the field which is man and the field which is earth, the field of gravity. The Line is transcendental, it relates the realm of material particles, of basic physics to the non-material, the world of energy fields. While Dr. Rolf’s metaphysical hypotheses concerning the Line are not original, her use of the Recipe as a tool for exploring them is unique. The idea of using a vertical line of extension to integrate one’s personal energy field with the energy field of the earth is a compelling idea with both practical and visionary implications. The Guild recognizes the singular importance of the Line as raison d’ etre for the recipe. We believe that effort to clarify and develop a clear sense of vertical extension should be a path for personal growth. And further, that instruction concerning the Line is an essential educational aspect of the practice of Structural Integration.
The practice of Structural Integration is, clearly, a logical choice for traditional, holistic, and self-help professionals. However, many of Dr. Rolf’s oldest, most successful and well-known practitioners were not attracted to her work by professional considerations alone, but rather by the personal challenges which she believed were inseparable from the practice.
The practice of Structural Integration was presented as a path of personal growth and integrity, where personal alignment implies structure on all levels: physical, verbal, logical, spiritual, and emotional. The practice was also presented as a path of service, which “refines” the spirit of the practitioner, and assists in the development of true sight and compassion. The discipline of the path is the performance and understanding of the Recipe. Repetition of the Recipe disciplines the mind and clarifies the will. Awakening our consciousness of the Line becomes the personal goal and the Line our inner guide. Fanciful ideas of personal growth, life paths, service and the awakening of special sensory abilities may have little to do with professional competence but they have much to do with the exploration of human potential. Therefore, the Guild believes these extra-professional challenges are useful, even essential, and should be presented to all practitioners of Structural Integration.
The decision to become a Structural Integration Practitioner involves a lifetime of continual learning and intellectual challenge. But it further implies a decision to develop one’s inner knowing, the integration of mind, body and spirit.