Getting the most from your KMI experience
Now that you are having your KMI sessions, here are some suggestions for making
the most of the experience. The KMI series is a project, a project or realigning your
body, educating your kinesthetic sense and reclaiming your whole bodily self from the
many alienating influences we have in our culture. You may find that some of the
following ideas are more to your liking, while others do not fit your situation- consider
them all, and then take what you like.
It is recommended to keep a journal during the process – you may be surprised at
the changes as evidenced by your sensations, dreams, attitudes or experiences. Start
by standing in front of a mirror and writing down everything that you can see, think
of or feel about your body. Be as honest as you can, noting the areas you like, ones
you don’t, the areas that give you pleasure, and any chronic aches or pains. Think
back to the things that have affected your body shape and body image – accidents
and surgeries, incidents and limitations, your parents and your heroes. Try to make
an entry just after and just before each of the sessions in the series, as well as any
other time you are so moved.
Leave time for a walk before and after your session – this will give you a chance to
feel the ‘before’ and ‘after’ in your body, and in the familiar experience of walking.
The walking will help you integrate the changes from the session and give your head
a chance to clear before returning to your everyday life. You could, for instance,
simply park your car several blocks from the office.
During the session:
The most benefit is derived from letting your practitioner in. It is not uncommon
to react to this work by tightening or pulling away. If there is too much sensation
with the pressure and speed let your practitioner know so they can slow down,
lighten up or get out. While your practitioner knows what they are doing, you know
the best. This is your session, and the best results come with your ability to stay with
the work and let go with it.
People have different ways of opening up to the work. It is voluntary but subtle –
bring your awareness to the part that is being worked, and accept the pressure. But
if the pressure is so much that you have to mentally ‘leave’, then the work is too hard
and probably less productive. The exception to this can be an area that was
physically traumatized and is still storing a lot of pain. Here, the pain can be intense,
but it is pain leaving your body. In any case, develop a dialogue with your
practitioner about how they can best work with you.
Between sessions, listen to your body. We are accustomed to dictating to our
bodies from above. During the series is a time to listen for the messages coming up
from below. Your body may want to use it more- you may feel restless, for instance,
so go with it: dance or do some stretching. Your body may give you signals of
needing more rest as it repairs itself – go for it if you can.
Break up long periods of sitting with movement. Give yourself a few minutes break
every hour of driving, for instance, or do some stretching during long bouts with the
computer. Long-held patterns of sitting can be very damaging to our structural integrity.
A warm bath on the evenings after a session is often a treat, and adding Epsom
salts (magnesium sulfate) to the bath will help reduce any residual soreness.
You may notice odd stresses and strains in your body in the days following a
session, as your body readjusts its tissues to the changing forces. This is normal.
These feelings or pains should be passing – your practitioner will want to know about
anything that lasts more than a few days, or anything severe or worrying.
Likewise, you may feel odd emotions between sessions, coming seemingly from
nowhere. This is normal and these too should pass. As much as you can, just accept
and watch them happen. Again, anything lasting should be reported to your practitioner.
Avoid imposing an ideal on your body – holding yourself into what you think of as a
‘proper’ posture. The sessions are designed to bring you toward a better balance
without effort. Pinning your shoulders back or tucking your tail under where you
think it ‘should’ be will only get in the way. Your body has it’s own wisdom – allow it
to unwind toward it’s own natural length and balance. In the end, this may conform
to some plumb line or grid, but it very well may not. Be true to yourself!
Your practitioner may give you movements or awareness exercises designed to help
overcome old habits between sessions and bring in the new, but these should be tried
gently and frequently, not imposed or held for long periods of time. Holding
someone’s (even your own) idea of ‘good’ posture will only substitute a new set of
strains for the old ones you left behind.
Many times, the most helpful thing that the client can do is notice when old
patterns of holding are creeping back in and drop them. Noticing them as they
reassert themselves is easier after they have been released in the sessions, but they
do have a way of creeping back in. Your job as a client I to notice these holding
patterns and just let them go, as often as necessary. After a period of watching the
tendency come and go, it will simply relent and the new position will be your ‘natural’
place. Remaining gently sensitive to what your body is doing is your chief
responsibility in this process.
Your body will also give you messages about your environment. Your way of
standing over the sink or sitting at your desk may need to change to fit with your
‘new’ body. Your practitioner can help you with these adjustments, but you can also
stay alert to when you are using yourself in a way that no longer works. More than
one client has confessed of a ‘ruined’ slouch!
You can expect that the novelty of the changes you feel right after the session will
feel less pronounced toward the end of the week. They are still there – it is just that
you body has become more used to them and integrated them. The KMI series is
carefully worked out in a sequence that is designed to prevent you from regressing.
In fact, you can expect positive changes to keep developing in the months following
the end of the series.
Finally, enjoy yourself! The KMI is a wonderful way to explore your body posture
and movement. It was so important and positive for your practitioner that he or she
took it up as a career! We look forward to sharing this voyage of discovery, healing
and ease with you.
Thomas Myers, Certified Advanced Rolfer, Author of Anatomy Trains, Creator of
Kinesis Myofacial Integration (KMI)