Stand up straight!
Three words. To actually perform sayd feat…something else entirely.
The words suggest the thing, but they are not it. This discrepancy between language & real-stuff usefully delineates two types of understanding for any given posture or motion—one conceptual & the other embodied.
Take rectilineal standing:
A conceptual understanding would be to apprehend the concept of head over shoulders over pelvis over knees over feet.
An embodied understanding would be to do it—& crucially, to experience it.
One form of understanding is not better than the other. But if one were better, it would be the second. This is because it is more useful as a catalyst for lasting change. Often the first sort preceeds the second in sequence; experience then follows in the former’s wake. Once a fellow has performed a given movement, he has also embodied it.
In a way that mere intellectual understanding can never manage, embodiment allows for a return even when one’s daily responsibilities loom forth & one is summoned off by Cretans to slay the Minotaur, or other monsters. Duties demand our attendance. But like Perseus’ trick, afterwards we can trace the thread left behind by our embodied experience, provided we have sufficiently cultivated the feeling of a given physical condition. If we have taken time to lay this thread, we trace it back out of life’s labyrinth to the place of ease. We find with practice, our footsteps wear this path ever plainer & eventually we hardly need to trace it anymore—our feet know the way. With words, we speak about this path. But only by experience do our footsteps etch the trail in immortal stone. To utter “moonlight” is just a noise—not the same as soft rays upon the maze’s lithic walls. Literally, through practice we develop the capacity to maintain ease in our bodies, even in adverse circumstances.
I could write about Rolfing® SI till the moon sets & the cows come home. And I would probably enjoy it. But
The Tao is like a bellows: empty, yet inexhaustible
The more you use it, the more it produces
The more you talk about it, the less you understand…
—Tao Te Ching; 5
Conceptual comprehension really serves little purpose in this regard: the only way to discover what Rolfing SI is is to try it.