What is Zen Integration Bodywork?
Zen Integration Bodywork uses touch, awareness of movement and breath, and attention to the nervous system and flow of vital energy (kiai) in the body to help a person discover increasing degrees of functional, structural, and psychospiritual integration within their mind, body, and nervous system. When used in combination with Zen meditation, yoga, or other meditative traditions, it is intended to facilitate and deepen the availability of meditative states intended through these practices. In Zen language, we would say Zen Integration Bodywork can help guide us towards the condition of mushin (No-Self) or samadhi (oneness) that is cultivated through Zen practice.
Zen Integration Bodywork is the outgrowth of Red Beard founder Alex Greene's 20+ year study of "entering Zen through the body" and using the body as a gateway for deeper self-exploration.
Inspired by a conversation with Zen Master Tenshin Tanouye Rotaishi who told him "the meaning of life can be found entirely within the refinement of breath and posture," Alex began a serious study of Zen meditation, martial arts, and, later, various forms of bodywork to unravel what Tanouye Rotaishi was intending to convey.
This exploration led Alex to study multiple lineages of bodywork and nervous system therapies in order to integrate the Eastern concept of the human body as a flow of energy with the capacity to be in varying degrees of harmony or disharmony with the universe, alongside a Western study of the biomechanical and musculokeletal relationships in the human structure and how that can support good function and integrity in the body. Lastly, this work incorporates a study of the nervous system and how the body and nervous system is conditioned by a person's developmental and trauma history.
Zen Integration Bodywork incorporates principles and techniques from the following modalities:
- Structural Integration as developed by Ida Rolf
- Feldenkrais Method as developed by Moshe Feldenkrais
- Zentherapy as developed by William 'Dub' Leigh
- Integral Bodywork as developed by Everett Ogawa
- Myofascial Release as developed by John F. Barnes
- Zero Balancing as developed by Fritz Smith
- TRE - Tension & Trauma Release as developed by David Berceli
- Somatic Experiencing as developed by Peter Levine
- Polyvagal Theory as developed by Stephen Porges