30 Years of Rolfing & Lessons in Mindfulness

3 Comments December 6, 2009 / Posted in Injury Prevention, Mindful Running, Oz on Injuries, Running Form & Style, Running Injury Prevention, The Running Mind


“If you can imagine how it feels to have a fluid, light, balanced body, free of pain, stiffness and at ease with itself and earth’s gravitational field, then you will understand the goals of Structural Integration.”
— Ida P. Rolf Ph.D.

Jim Haselmaier wrote me inquiring about Rolfing as he had been a Rolfer at a party in his home town of Fort Collins.  The picture and quote above come from Ben Hanawalt’s web site.

Here is my response regarding my 30 years of working with my Rolfer, Victor Geberin, and a monthly reminder of being mindful of how I hold my body properly and how easy it is for me and for all of us to slip into mindlessness about moving.  This is where I suggest that you revisit the Kalama Sutra of Buddha to remind yourself about teachers. Victor studied with Ida and traveled with her for about 10 years. He also was mentored during his graduate school years by Milton Erickson.

You will find some excellent exercises that he has put on YouTube and are on Victor’s video page. Victor besides having been a Zen practitioner from his college days, was also versed in Tai Chi and Qi Gong


My Rolfer, Victor Geberin, has been working on me for 30 years.  I set up a monthly meeting with him for the coming year and continue to go back for helping me continue the awareness of correct posture and movement.  With his help and my unending curiosity of getting my movement corrected and dealing with the habits that I fall back into, e.g. tendency to lean on my elbows when seated at a table, there is always something that he checks out as he observes the way I am holding myself before we start a session.

Definitely Rolfing has been helpful to me especially the exercises that he has shared.  You can see many of these simple exercises that he has placed on YouTube at his MyRolfer video site

The caveat is that if you go in thinking that it’s something done to you as opposed to something to give you better body awareness so that you can practice it and make it part of your lifestyle, it’s probably a toss up if it will be helpful in the long run.

Had a great phone conversation with Dan Lieberman, head of the Harvard Dept. of Evolutionary Biology regarding the early development of us as runners.  Some great research will be coming out to emphasize more and more the barefoot or minimalist perspective of running without the excessive cushioning we’ve developed over the past 30+ years.  I think you’ll see shoes slowly adapting to what I’ve been saying along with Ken Saxon, Nicholas Romanov, Danny Dreyer and now popularized in Chris McDougall’s Born to Run.

Don’t know if you read: Never Know Your Impact but it was a nice validation of what I’ve been sharing for the past 25 years.  As we may have talked about, I was pretty certain that it would take 2 or 3 generations to get people cognizant of the ball/heel/ball perspective of proper running form and style.  Now I believe that it may happen in my life time…or what is left of it.

All the best to you and how are you healing?

Love, friendship and on the run,

3 Comments... What do you think? Subscribe via RSS
  1. Owen Marcus said on December 7th, 2009 at 7:05 pm

    This is a great post. I might be prejudiced, seeing that as a Rolfer for 30 years and a Mindfulness Stress Reduction teacher I see a huge connection between running naturally, mindfulness and good health.

    Many years ago, my clinic in Scottsdale we did a study with ASU on elite running and Rolfing. Every Rolfing subject not only saw their injuries go away, they experienced new pr’s and what I liked the most – more fun running.

    I tell my clients getting Rolfed is the short course in mindfulness. As a client learns to relax in the Rolfing session, they learn how to relax in life. I tell them if they learn the two simple skills I teach – the “Natural Breath,” breathing relaxed and the “Natural Walk,” walking with gravity they learn all they need to learn. Most get it. The incentive is if they get it, they not only kept the Rolfing changes, they enhance them.

  2. Vctor Geberin said on December 7th, 2009 at 8:17 pm

    I usually notice PF as going with over-pronation and external rotation of the hip. It can come from a cut, infection, or hard jumping, but usually from ongoing structural stress. As Ozzie teaches running form, the significance of the pronation should be minimized, but it will take a knuckle to accurately stretch the fascia.

  3. Ozzie Gontang said on December 8th, 2009 at 6:34 am

    Victor and Owen, Pleased to share the work that you two and other followers of Ida Rolf continue to do with your patients in order for them to “have a fluid, light, balanced body, free of pain, stiffness and at ease with itself and earth’s gravitational field.”

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