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|Experiences with Rolfing with Hidehiko Shinobi
(Kirill, 39, Traveller through Kyoto in December 2014)
During my travels through Asia I had 10 sessions of Rolfing.
5 of which I had in Kyoto with Shinobi-san. These sessions
differed very much from the 5 previous ones which I had in
Bali, just a couple of days before. It’s hard to really compare
those two „styles“ of Rolfing but I must say, those I had
with Shinobi-San in Kyoto impressed me even more.
Many people tend to think of Rolfing in terms of fascia stretching
and maybe even some degree of pain while doing this. What I
experienced with Kyoto Rolfing was something quite different.
As far as I understood Shinobi-san certainly had been trained
in this traditional way of Rofling but in my case he intuitively
decided to work in a more subtle way. The body work we did
together was actually more a body-mind-work and went far beyond
Basically, what we did was making my mind/brain relearn body
perception which in consequence changed the way I use the body.
The „excercises“ revolved around feeling different aspects of
the body’s regions. I.e. I learned to feel the location, the
spaciousness and the gravity of different joints. While this
might seem optional or a bit esoteric, the effects were astonishingly
tangible and visible. It was like magic but completely without
the mumbo- jumbo.
The sheer mindfulness of certain body parts made them behave in a whole different way. The more access the brain got to certain areas, the less tension and misalignment was there. For instance I was able to really relax my jaw muscles and joint – in a way I never have been able to do by „directly trying to relax“ them. There seeems to be a different kind of approach to your body than „trying to make it do something“ – and this is the kind of approach you learn here. And the best thing is – you can take these acknowledgements and techniques with you and continue practicing by yourself. You can Rolf yourself after this!
Shinobi-san speaks good English, which is both quite uncommon
in Japan and very convenient for his clients. I would highly
recommend to try this kind of body-mind-work with him. I believe
it can help against chronic tensions and unhealthy habitual postures.
But be prepared to do some inner work to get there – it’s
not just about massage or lying down and letting him do the
work. It’s more an active exploration of your body which makes
it an even more valuable experience.
Considering the slightly higher Rolfing prices in Europe – and
the overtime Shinobi-san spent with my sessions at no cost –
one even has to say that it was kind of a bargain deal.
So highly recommended even in economic terms. I would even claim
that it might be worth flying to Japan just to have a couple
of sessions with him. It was the highlight of my Japan trip.
Experiencing Rolfing in Kyoto
(Ken, 58, long-term Kyoto resident)
I had had some Rolfing work done in America before
coming to Japan, and, thinking back, the positive
effects then helped me confidence (physical and
mental) to embark on the adventure of coming here
for study, and eventual work.. But that was almost
28 years ago. I began to feel that the stress of
working here was starting to take a cumulative toll,
as my body became more and more cramped. I seemed
to be fighting my own body to move, sit, walk or
stand, an additional drain of energy that increased
the ill effects of other stress.
I was very happy to find that Shinobi-san was doinfg
Rolfing in Kyoto. I had hoped for several years
to go through the process again. I felt that I needed
renewal that might reach deeper than exercise, diet,
sleep or a change of work environment. Happily,
Shinobi-san was willing to let me start the sessions
Thinking back to the sensations of Rolfing, almost
28 years ago, I looked forward (after hearing about
Rolfing from friends who had completed the sessions)
to gradually experiencing a "renewed"
positive physical awareness and ease in my body,
through a series of work sessions devided quite
distinctly to deal with various areas. 28 years
ago Rolfing also had a very positive image, yet
embarking on the sessions one also expected discomfort
during deeper work. Still, friends had said then
that it was worth it (and indeed, it was!); and
any discomfort was just momentary, as the Rolfer`s
hands were always moving, slowly, and I found that
if I concentrated on breathing the sensations were
actually enlivening. And after every session then
I felt as if my body was renewed in terms of ease
of movement and possibility of movement.
With Shinobi-san I found that positive benefit again,
yet I also realized that Rolfing had changed considerably
in the intervening time. Although every Rolfer`s
technique might be different, and every person`s
experience different, I felt that even the deeper
work brought not discomfort but instead a kind of
awareness that Shinobi-san was "working"
on an area that was conflicted. Yet the release
of deeper sessions, and overall positive effects,
were just as dramatic as previously, if not more
From the first session I felt myself naturally looking
up toward the sky again.In kyoto I walk a lot, and
with each session walking became easier, instead
of forced. Breathing became fuller, easier, more
natural. Some of the changes with each session were
major, others very subtle. There were new experiences,
especially around the inner edges of the pelvis
and rib cage. Without Rolfing I would not have had
a chance to be aware of these areas.
I felt that although previously the "10 sessions"
were prettymuch decided, Shinobi-san was instead
following an overall guideline in the 10 sessions,
yet continually adjusting the sessions to go with
what my body needed (in my case, a scoliosis of
the back which probably cannot be corrected, but
is much, much better after completing the sessions.)
Shinobi-san always explained in advance what each
session would cover generally, and where he would
work in the next movement.
Previously, when the 10 session were done, that
was it! One was not supposed to go back for additional
work. Now, however, post-10 sessions are possible.
For someone like me planning to stay in Kyoto, that
is indeed a plus for the future.
Shinobi-san is very sensitive to one`s comfort during
each session, and whether there is any physical
discomfort as he works. His technique of working
is very sensitive, and it might be just my own imagination,
but there seems to be a wonderful rhythm in each
session, of beginnig relaxations, of opening, of
deeper work, and subtle movements.
In my case, with extra work on my back, at my request,
there were extrasessions as we moved toward the
"10th" session. I look forward to continuing
with Shinobi-san for post-10 sessions. One`s own
body also deserves after-care!
I think that good teachers are very important in
one`s life. Where one finds a good teacher really
has little to do with one`s nationality, or where
one lives. Perhaps much is by chance, or luck, or
just movements that bring beings together at a place
and time. I feel very fortunate to have found a
fine teacher in many respects, in Shinobi-san.