Let’s get this straight: every move a Rolfer™ makes advances a certain idea of structure. This idea is learned bit by bit, and with persistence, emerges as an integrative body/mind operating procedure that can be followed with individuals who present very diverse integrative issues.
Thusly, segmenting off the Standard Basic 10 Series of lessons in integration for the body, and then calling what follows after that “Advanced” is kind of goofy. (There, she called Ida Rolf “goofy”.)
Ida Rolf, a genius of putting things together, had a failure moment, to hear some of the old guard tell it, when she put together a Standard Advanced 4 Series to follow the Standard Basic 10. This series used the same ideas of a basic core/line of the body (that core/line was flexible, like a green willow stick), balance front to back in the body (is the top of the torso in front or behind the hips? good resilient lumbar curve?good resilient thoracic curve?), balance side to side in the body (one shoulder or hip higher? more weight on one leg?), balance top to bottom (grounding, lift).
Ida Rolf’s Advanced Series might go like this, depending on the person: an opening session, to take off the road wear with which the person shows up, basically the basic goals of the first 3 sessions except they are not a recapitulation, they go more into rotational issues which have shown up. 2). a core session, using a yoga posture where the person is sitting with legs out to the side, the so-called “Z” position. Hopefully this result shoots right up the front part of the spine and into the torso, recapitulating elements of the goals of the basic sessions 4,5,and 6. Then 3). comes a torso session which continues up into the head and neck, and may include the classic front-to-back “L” session, an outstanding riff on thegoals of the basic sessions 7 and 8. The Advanced 4th hour of that day was a recapitulation of the goals of 9 and 10 of the basic, and could include horizontalizing, joint work, all kinds of balance as needed.
So the Advanced Series has the same goals as the Standard Basic 10 Series? If so, why bother?
Once someone has been Rolfed, things are different. There is a deeper level presented. And by this, I definitely do not mean “deep tissue” massage level. We are talking the way the deepest rotations can come out after a while, even though we have observed that people tend to get better over a year’s time after their Basic 10. In other words, even though there seems to be a structure/movement force for good in the body reflecting and amplifying the original 10 series, sort of a homeostasis of structure/movement that lasts for about the first year after the series is completed.
However, gravity doesn’t stop when one leaves my office after their 10 series goals have been fulfilled, and the person’s handedness, footedness, and perceptual preferences such as earedness and eyedness don’t change that much, though they may have eased out in their devotion to one-sidedness in the original Basic 10. This means that the deepest parts of the body function which provides the structure are bubbling up, and presenting themselves to be worked with.
Think of some of those deeper levels: the liver is cooking away on the right side of your torso and the stomach on the left and they are busy providing structural segmentation as well.
And then as well as the visceral we have the head injuries, the scar tissue of various slings and arrows of fate, and bones themselves actually twisted in function, including their immediate wrapping, the periosteum, according to their devotion to internal or external rotation.
All this is grist for the mill of the advanced training, and working with these issues in the class of a couple of master teachers and orchestrators of the human condition is a life and practice changing class for many Rolfers.
(These days the Advanced Series is not limited to 4 sessions, although many can get a huge step ahead in a 5 series. Number of sessions is not set in stone for either the Basic or Advanced series. We are talking Goals of the Basic and Advanced.)
Other Rolfers are ho-hum and don’t take the Advanced class. I personally wouldn’t go to one of those ho-hummers, especially if they have been practicing for over 5 years, unless there was not an Advanced Certified person around. You can determine who these people are at www.rolf.org. Don’t get me wrong, I did good work as a new Rolfer, and there are those out there who can do that, too. I’m saying the ho-hummers can’t individualize the work of orchestration in such a profound way.
I’ve taken the Advanced Class twice and might do it again, I’m still learning from my colleagues. I’m making do with taking a one-week Spine in Motion class in June with a couple of favorite teachers, one a Rolf Movement teacher and the other a member of the Advanced Faculty. I’m sure I’ll learn a lot from my fellow students, too.