The Benefits of Having a Structurally Integrated Body – Pt. 1

“I want somebody like YOU to work for me,” my friend George said to me as he surveyed my body structure appreciatively. I was in the kitchen of a dear friend, during the first gathering of our potluck group for the winter season. George was sitting in front of me with his back to the window in a somewhat crouched manner as he leaned on his knees with an elbow holding his head in his hand. He tilted his head as he looked up at me. Light filtering through the lace-trimmed windows, was gently shining on us. It was the beginning of the Christmas Season. I was wearing a lavender-colored floral print corduroy shirt that had just arrived in the mail from one of my favorite mail order catalogs. It was soft and pretty. I noticed that I was standing in front of George with a sense of presence, ease, grounding, and yet lift through my body from my feet to the top of my head. I was feeling good.

That morning I had gotten up early and tended first thing to my body by doing the Five Tibetan Rites. They are a group of exercises that were developed in Tibet by Tibetan monks who likened these exercises to a “fountain of youth.” The English colonel who brought the Five Tibetan Rites to the West at the turn of 20th century said that these exercises had the ability to activate the movement of the life force through the energy centers of the body and stimulate the production of hormones through the endocrine system. He claimed that some of the monks who did these exercises regularly were hundreds of years old and that by doing these rites, their bodies had continued to produce hormones, which slowed their aging process. After doing these rites intermittently for several months, I made the decision to start doing them regularly to experience their full benefit, but that very morning I realized that I also needed to change my attitude in how I approached doing the exercises. Instead of hurrying through them to get them done, it became clear to me that the attitude I held while doing them was just as important as the doing of the exercises. I needed to shift my focus into paying loving, respectful attention to how my body responded with each and every one of the Five Rites as I did my repetitions of 21 each, as recommended. Everything that I do, I realized in a glimmer of wisdom gleaned during my rites that morning, I needed to do with an attention of love and respect.

George’s broad round face spread a grin from ear to ear. “People like you, he said, can outlast any big guy in a hard day’s work.” He was referring to the men he had been hiring to help him do the heavy, hard work required in moving lots of river rock to secure river banks with cabled netting in an effort to prevent erosion and flooding. He had been going through a lot of guys whose bodies were just not able to do the work that was needed. They were dropping off like flies. I chuckled, knowing that he was referring to my petite, 115-pound female frame in front of him. “Yeh, he said, wiry strong people like you have it way over some of those big guys I’ve hired. They just don’t last under hard work. Their backs give out. But you know,” he said, “I’ve hired Sam Shelty, and he’s working out just fine. He appreciates having the work and he can do it. He’s built a lot like you,” he said, as he pointed a finger at me, “little, lean, wiry, and strong.” Little did George realize that Sam Shelty had a body that had been Structurally Integrated too!