As I sit writing, I am aware of how I’m sitting and how long I have been sitting. I’m making sure to change my positions, to arc, to push and pull my pencil.
This is what I appreciate the most about the Aston work. It educates my clients on being present in their bodies. It teaches the affects of gravity on our bodies and how to use gravity to create tone for support, volume and how to maintain length and width.
I started dancing as early as I can remember. I was also a swimmer, diver and rode horses. I graduated with a degree in dance. The dance curriculum was equal in Ballet and Modern dance. The modern was strongly based in Graham and Cunningham technique. However, when introduced to Limon technique, my choreographic world opened wide. It took me out of preconceived ideas in the design of movement. Limon movement came from an emotional depth. Feel first, then shape. It was a moment of suspended movement that dropped into weighted gravity. It was powerful movement vocabulary that felt much more personal and authentic for me. It was theatre. I chose singers, musicians, artist, poets and dancers that communicated for whatever it was I was trying to say in each piece. I wanted them to move as themselves. I would punch in the dynamics and direction for the non-dancers. I observed and moved a lot of different body types and expressions across many performances with emotionally charged choreography.
In the early l980’s I taught aerobics, free weights class, and yoga to support my performance career. In the mid 80’s I started teaching Pilates and became an artist for the Texas Institute for the Arts. I dabbled in studies of Feldenkrais, Alexander, Laban and Bartenieff. By the end of the 90’s I was only teaching Pilates and became a faculty member of the Michael King’s London Institute for Pilates and was energized with the experience of teaching instructors in Italy, Russia, Holland, Mexico and throughout UK.
In l999 I had my first Aston session with Lou Squittieri, P.T., in Austin, TX. Immediately following I signed up for an Aston Therapeutics I class with Mark Barber, Aston Faculty. Again energized, I got my massage license in 2000 so I could continue studying with Judith Aston’s bodywork trainings and eventually became a practitioner in 2009.
I have continued my studies taking Aston/Visceral series with Harvey Ruderian, Aston Faculty, 2 courses of Cranial Sacral and 3 of the Biodynamic fluid system. In the later, I can also feel the 3-D asymmetrical spirals in the fluid system. In my equestrian study, I continue to study the human biomechanics on top of equine biomechanics. The relationship of gravity and the ground reaction force that is sent upward from that base of support, being his hooves, is the same. How do I ride that force so as not to create force vectors in either of us? How do our combined biomechanics affect each other? I find how I can maintain an “active” neutral while riding to support us both. All these thought processes came from my study with Judith Aston and Brian Linderoth. Learning from them through study and being in their presence has gifted me the art of the science. It has taught me physics of our body in relationship to gravity.
The beauty of the biomechanical work is no matter what my client is practicing be it golf, skiing, horses, swimming, walking or the want to be stronger or more flexible, the Aston work is applicable. It is not a system of exercises. It is a knowledge base of biomechanics and knowing how to get the most out of movement in a more effortless but powerful way. It is knowledge of how to live in a physical world of day to day movement requirements and how to neutralize the body after more rigorous movement. It’s about not having to say “no” to what we love to do.
The bodywork taught me how to be in my body in the most ergonomic way in order to have the most effective touch. By lowering my body to be on the same level as the tissue, contouring with my fingers first, I am able to match the sophisticated design of our body. The 3-D touch drops me deeper into the tissue without pressure allowing me to follow from superficial to deeper layers giving me more answers to questions I have and creating the hypothesis. I ask these questions out loud so my client can hear and then our experience and learning is shared. I practice the same touch when doing bodywork on my horse.
The work speaks to the emotional and physical patterns held in our bodies. Aston has taught me the skill of how, where, when and how much to do in movement and bodywork through seeing, listening and touch. It has supported and expanded my life’s work and passion for movement. My livelihood continues to excite me because it’s a continued exploration everyday with every client. It requires commitment and consistency. It’s a puzzle of wonder we figure out together. This shared learning and educational relationship with each client is what I appreciate most. It teaches us how we can have longevity in our movement and continued resilience as we age.
My life experiences 15 years ago intersected with Judith Aston at just the right time. It did for me what the Limon experience decades before had done. It expanded how I view and experience the world. It has supported and expanded my life’s work and passion for movement and is what has kept my own body moving these last 15 years. I am forever grateful.
I presently work out of my home studio and two days a week at New Dimensions where I feel very fortunate to work with fellow Aston Practitioner and physical therapist Rebecca Kern Steiner and Aston Practitioner/Faculty Member Mark Barber. I continue to learn and grow in our shared experiences.