By Rebecca Haseltine, 9/11/16

I just taught in the skeletal system course in the BMC Somatic Movement Educator program in Lorane, OR – with my brilliant co-teachers Mary Lou Seereiter and Amy Matthews.

The bones are a magical and ever mysterious part of us, deep down and also close to the surface. Find your knee cap or ankle bone and tap it – use the end of your finger as a little hammer.  Tap it with enough bony clarity in your finger and you’ll hear the resonance of the bone.  Find other bony places to tap and listen to the different tone of each bone.

The resonance of the bones is partly due to the mineralized inner structure – mainly calcium and phosphorus in crystalline form to create not only resistance to force but also a built-in resilience.  The bones lay down their structure in response to the forces that they meet.  The shape of bones can actually change according to the physical stresses they encounter.

The organic part of bone – yes, bones are alive! – includes different specialized bone cells and the fluid environment that sustains them.  There is also a skin around the bone called the periosteum that  contains the bone and protects the most active of the bone cells.  Osteoclasts break down bone and osteoblasts create bone.  This process is a model for a dynamic life – we are living and dying at the same time, all the time.  We create ourselves and discard what is not needed – every day.  What does your periosteum feel like to you?

The marrow deep within the bone creates blood cells, including white blood cells, and in adults also includes fat and stem cells.  What do you experience in the marrow of your bones?

When we feel something in our bones, do we feel it in the resonant structure, deep in the marrow, in the processes of building and breaking down, or in something else that is housed in the bone?

What is inner knowing – that cannot be proven, cannot be measured, but is felt deeply and spontaneously?  The bones carry so much that is recognizable about who we are – our basic structure of spine and limbs, a skull that protects our brain, a jaw that allows us our diet, feet that can support our uprightness, and hands that can carry and hold and delineate and make meaning.  And the bones also are hidden enough that we often forget they exist, trusting them without knowing them.  Or knowing them without knowing what we know.








Bean Dip



Bean Dip
by Rebecca Haseltine  08/10/16

Bean Dip Video.  Over the years I’ve developed ways to rehabilitate injuries of the limbs using intricate, sequential resistance. My first project involved a bucket of course sand to rehab my ankle after the second dislocation.  I expanded the sand exercises to include larger movements on the beach.  The sand rehab was so effective I started playing with different materials that would give detailed feedback.  I began using red beans, and this added a completely different sensory element that I liked.  They’re gorgeous, smooth, cool, and their movement feels amazing.  The action of the beans is also mesmerizing to watch – both stimulating and calming at the same time.

Bean Dip now exists in many forms – I’m continuing to develop the bean movement repertoire and to learn the many uses for the bean dip practice.  I’ve used it in my Body Learning practice for healing foot, ankle, and knee injuries, and for hand strains and arthritis, and for elbow and shoulder injuries.  I’ve also used the beans for sensory integration, nervous system balancing, and for overall calming, relieving stress, and reducing tension – especially in the hands, arms, and shoulders.

Note:  if you are looking for these beans, look for Frijol Rojo – Honduran or Nicaraguan – (not ‘Mexican’ as I erroneously said in the video.)

Here’s my first video clip introducing the practice:  Bean Dip 1   There will be more later.




Everything you know…

Rebecca Haseltine  03/28/16

To continue with the embodiment question (see two previous posts) I’ll tell another story from the early days of my practice. It was in the mid-90’s and I was referred to a new client, M., by a friend of mine, a physical therapist. I entered into this relationship with the mistaken idea that I should in some way approximate what a physical therapist would do. The family had been disappointed, to say the least, with the physical therapists that had worked with M. so far. I brought all my tools from Body-Mind Centering® and dove in with a strong sense of purpose. I would succeed where all the PT’s had failed.

M.’s neurological injuries were profound, and I was overwhelmed. I came three times a week to roll her on big balls, to move her arms and legs, and to help her change positions. Frequently a phrase would clang through my head: ‘Everything You Know is Wrong.’ This was the title of a comedy album in the 70’s from a group called Firesign Theater. I couldn’t remember anything about the album, but the title was plastered inside my skull for the first two years I worked with M. We would gamely work our way through our sessions, but we would both end up exhausted. After an embarrassingly long time, I began to realize that to be a successful somatic practitioner, I didn’t need knowledge, I needed presence. I didn’t Continue reading

Drawing Out

Rebecca Haseltine 03/28/16

To continue with my friend’s question: “What do you mean by ‘embody’?” I’ll share another story. When I tell a story about a client, I change and leave out personal details to share the story without identifying the person. It’s important to protect privacy.

In the early 90’s my second client, S., was living with chronic pain, and I was a fresh student of Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen’s. I had witnessed what seemed like miraculous changes in people that Bonnie worked with. A child would be unable to walk and after an hour would begin walking. So I was overly optimistic about the wonders I could offer S. I placed my hands on her arms and legs, and invited her to bring awareness into the fluid pathways of her body. She cried for most of every session – for months. In the middle of the night I would think about her nervous system and imagine how I could help her find the key – a molecular key, a physiological key – something in her body that would be the key to her healing. She felt that nothing I did was giving her lasting relief, and I was trying everything I could think of. Yet we continued to work together, I with my hope, and her with what I imagine was desperation. One day I showed up with a drawing pad and some pastels. She drew and looked at her drawings and talked about what she saw in them. Continue reading

Embody ?

Version 3

Rebecca Haseltine 03/21/16

‘What do you mean by ‘embody’?’ my friend asked.

‘…it’s bringing presence to your body,’ I offered.

‘But how do you do that?’ my friend wanted to know.

We bring consciousness to the body, but we also tune in to the consciousness that exists within the tissue, within the cells, within the DNA. So it is reflective.

‘But how do you do that??!’ She wanted to know, ‘are you visualizing it?’

Continue reading

Welcome to my new Body Learning blog

IMG_1329 med

Rebecca Haseltine 03/17/16

Here begins a project of writing – to bring 25 years of practice into language. I will be sharing ideas about body learning in all its forms: learning about the body, learning from the body, and learning with the body. There will be posts on specific topics, such as embodiment practice, sensory integration, balance, joints, pausing, feet, and many, many more.

I’m very interested in creating community here, so if you feel called to enter a discussion, please contribute your thoughts and questions!

Heeere we go!