The concept of Sky + Ground is one oft used in Rolfing to help the client conceptualize their relationship to space. Naturally, ground-oriented people find resource and support from the earth beneath, relating to the world using their connection to ground. On the other hand, sky-oriented people relate to the world through their connection to objects around and above them.

But what of it? Understanding how we relate to space - and where we physically find our structural support - can improve posture as well as our felt sense of embodiment. Paraphrasing Ida Rolf, she said that when the body is aligned it spontaneously heals itself. On a basic level, she meant that when we are posturally in line, we move with greater efficiency and comfort. That when the body is organized, the energetic/psychological/physiological functions can operate as intended. Actions ranging from activities of daily living to more extreme exertions are performed with an optimum level of power and mobility. In this way, an awareness of how we move makes moving itself more efficient.

So, how do you know which you are? And how does knowing whether you're sky or ground relate to how you move in your daily life? To start, try this basic self-test:


Easy enough?

Now try it a few more times.

As you're jumping, start to notice what take-off and landing are like. Do they have the same quality of movement? Do your feet hit the ground on landing with a big THUD? Or do you put all your energy into the lift-off, springing up with force but landing relatively softly? Do you go up to get down? Or do you go down to get up? If you land with a thud repeatedly, chances are you're a Ground. Alternately, if the dominant action in your jump is the upward spring (with a lighter land), you're likely a Sky.

Fun facts: Grounds tend to have a heavy footfall, and often share characteristics with the earthier signs of the zodiac. Skies often have a lightness about them, relating to the 'heavens' above earth. They often share characteristics with the airier signs.

Now that you've determined whether you resource movement from the earth/gravity or sky/heavens, go about your day (commuting, exercising, meditating, working, walking...) with this paradigm in the back of your mind. Awareness of how this applies to your daily life will come incrementally and subtly! Choose moments in the day to be thoughtful and inquisitive, but be mindful not to overexert. Awareness work can be much more energetically draining than it seems. I recommend 30-second "vacations" throughout the day.

As you practice this, you may begin to notice that you sit differently in your chair at work, or in your drive home. You may notice when you reach for things, your feet stay firmly planted or rather that they scoot and dance to further your reach. The question to keep asking is: from what part of my physical surrounding does my body find stability? This question will lead to answers that evolve over time - and indeed to new questions -because your body will react to your awareness, and vice-versa. It is a self-teaching experience, whether or not we are actually *thinking* about it in the moment.

Stay tuned for more guided exercises to help you explore your posture, support, and movement!


Ida says... #14

You can't talk just a little about Rolfing. You have to tell it all. People don't know they have never seriously thought about that level in which the essence is relationship, where the noumena go looking for the phenomena. (Write that down; I want to remember that; it's true.)

Ida says... #12



This is the gospel of Rolfing:

when the body gets working appropriately,

the force of gravity can flow through.

Then, spontaneously, the body heals itself.

Ida says... #11

There are two types of people who come to a Rolfer.
One has what I so elegantly call a bellyache, and wants you to get that bellyache out. The other’s ache is an overly absorbing recognition of the fact that he is unhappy. He is unwell, uneasy. He wants to know why, he wants to move on, he wants to know more.

Ida says... #10

Fascia is the organ of posture. Nobody ever says this; all the talk is about muscles. Yet this is a very important concept, and because this is so important, we as Rolfers must understand both the anatomy and physiology, but especially the anatomy of fascia. The body is a web of fascia. A spiderweb is in a plane; this web is in a sphere. We can trace the lines of that web to get an understanding of how what we see in a body works. For example, why when we work with the superficial fascia, does this change the tone of the fascia as a whole.

Ida says... #4

I'm dealing with problems in the body where there is never just one cause. I'd like you to have more reality on the circular processes that do not act in the body, but that are the body. The body process is not linear, it is circular; always, it is the circular. One thing goes awry, and its effects go on and on and on and on. A body is a web, connecting everything with everything else.