Following is a very general description – a rough sketch – of a suggested ten-session map of Structural Integration bodywork sessions:
The first goal of the ten-session process is to free the rib cage so that breathing capacity can increase. This sets the tone for the rest of the ten sessions, as the SI process uses breathing as part of the process. The front of the rib cage is lengthened which allows the neck to come back and up into a more natural and relaxed position. The remainder of the first session deals with the relationships of the pelvis to the rib cage, and the legs to the pelvis. Overall the first session creates a general whole body opening, which establishes a context for the work to come in the rest of the sessions.
Session two deals primarily with the relationships of the lower leg and feet with the ground. The connective tissues and muscles of the entire lower leg are reorganized to achieve better functioning of the feet, ankles, lower legs, and knees. The remainder of the session is devoted to educating the spinal column. The spinal erector muscles and connective tissues are brought to a more vertical and extended pattern. This is accomplished through the ‘back work’ which clients love so much for the deep sense of relief and length it creates in the spine. The back work in this session is a beginning, and the process of lengthening the spine and its associated soft tissues continues throughout the ten sessions. Also, the back work in this session balances the work of the first session, which was more focused on lengthening the front of the body.
Session # 3:
The third session is the completion of a cycle. It brings together the work of the first and second sessions. Work in the third session is largely on the sides of the body, bringing more depth and mobility to the lateral structures, including the arms, shoulders, rib cage, lower back, hips, and legs. By the end of this session, the superficial layers of the entire body have been worked with and brought to some degree of balance.
Sessions # 4, 5, & 6:
These three sessions bring balance to the relationships of the pelvis with the legs, rib cage and spinal column. The pelvis is a keystone in the Structural Integration process, since the state of the rest of the body is dependent on balance in the pelvis. As such it demands a great deal of attention. In order to balance the pelvis, these three sessions include work on the legs, abdomen, rib cage, arms, shoulders, back, and of course the pelvis itself.
Now that the pelvis and spine have been balanced, the neck and head are the next area of focus. This session deals with the relationship of the neck with the rib cage and shoulders, the neck with the head, and within the head itself, the bones of the cranium are released to achieve maximum balance and ease. This session is a turning point in the ten-session process, as it completes the focused work on what are called the “core” structures of the pelvis, spine, neck and head.
Sessions #8, 9& 10:
The objective of the entire ten session process can be found in the definition of the word ‘yoga’ which is “to bring together, to unify.” This ‘bringing together’, or causing the body to ‘unify’ is particularly emphasized in the last three sessions, and there is a shift in emphasis from the specific to the more general.