Yoga & Rolfing - Berlin + Munich

Yoga and Rolfing® have many common themes. Both work on the physical development of a person by stretching and integrating body areas. Both work on the fasciae. Both deal with self-perception and the perception of the personal environment as well as with the focusing of attention. Both do not settle for an improvement in symptoms, but promote physical and personal development.

Rolfing has roots in yoga

Rolfing also has its roots in yoga. Its founder, Dr. Ida Rolf, gave yoga classes in the 1920s in the USA herself. Using manual techniques from osteopathy, she occasionally helped yoga students who had issues with certain asanas. When people with physical problems came to her, she initially resorted to movement exercises from yoga. Over time, she realized that the asanas did not produce the desired stretching. Over the years she experimented with many different approaches. It took her more than 30 years to perfect her technique before she began teaching Rolfing in the mid-1960s.

Rolfing and yoga work with fasciae

When you go into a hatha yoga posture, you stretch structures in your body which allow for greater flexibility and a more supported, upright posture. What you stretch in your body are the fasciae. Fascia is the “wrapping material” of muscles, nerves, veins, bones, organs and even your brain cells.

Tension and blockages are caused by glued and shortened fasciae. This leads to movement restrictions, which you feel in the asanas. In yoga and Rolfing we stretch the fasciae very carefully and slowly. Over the course of time the body becomes more and more flexible, more and more integrated and can move more easily.

Yoga supports Rolfing

When you receive Rolfing sessions, you can accelerate your personal progress with certain yoga exercises. Clients who wish to do so receive one or two yoga exercises from me in each session.

Yoga & Rolfing - Berlin & Munich

Photo by  Autumn Goodman on Unsplash

When you reach your limits in yoga

There are asanas which resist all efforts. You just can’t get any further. Your whole body is flexible, but there is a certain place which you seem to have a limited range of motion – Here is a picture: When you stretch a chewing gum, it becomes thinner and thinner, but the lump does not dissolve. This is the reason why yoga can make scoliosis (lateral deviation of the spine) worse. This is also the reason why Dr. Ida Rolf supported her yoga students with manual techniques from osteopathy.

Rolfing supports your yoga

  • Rolfing helps you to get into your favorite asanas more easily.
  • Rolfing opens up a shortened tissue that has formed around your weak points and injuries. Asanas that you have previously been avoiding – because they were too painful for you – are now possible.
  • Rolfing takes care of your postures and helps you to maintain an upright, loose posture. Asanas, which up to now have been very uncomfortable or strenuous, are much easier for you.
  • Rolfing works in places that you cannot get to as a practiced yogini or practiced yogi.

“Practitioners of Structural Integration (Rolfing) do not feel ourselves to be therapists. The gravitational field is the therapist. What we do is prepare the body to recieve the support from the gravitational field which gives a greater sense of well being.”
Dr. Ida P. Rolf

Yoga & Rolfing - Berlin & Munich

Photo by Marion Michele on Unsplash

What to expect?

A cooperation awaits you. Of course, it depends on what you bring with you and what your intentions are. We will first look at this current situation.

  • We will look at the yoga asanas that are causing you difficulties. Then we put this into the overall context of your posture and the way you move and stand upright.
  • The consideration of stability problems is certainly also essential.
  • We work on the massage bench, sitting on the chair and occasionally on the yoga mat. You wear light yoga clothing or shorts.
  • We will also go into movement and explore things you can experiment with in everyday life.

Every single Rolfing session has something exploring or trying. This is because every body is different, behaves differently, needs something different. Our common task is to find out which movement it lacks. You as the client provide the intention, I bring the tools and then, with four eyes, we look together for the way – from session to session.

Articles on the topic:

“Deep Impact” by Linda Knittel Both articles describe the effects of Rolfing on yogis and yoginis.

Video zum Thema:

“Understanding Connective Tissue – Yoga Anatomy” by David Keil Yoga teacher David Keil explains very vividly the anatomical background of Yoga. He describes the function of connective tissue and fascia in the human body.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me in my practice in Berlin or Munich. Here you will find the contact page.

The term Rolfing® comes from Dr. Ida Pauline Rolf, born 1896 in New York. At the age of 24, she was one of the first women in the United States to earn a Ph. D. in biochemistry from the College of Physiotherapy and Surgery at the University of Colombia. For the next 12 years she worked at the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research (now Rockefeller University), initially in chemotherapy and later in organic chemistry. In 1927 she went to Europe and studied mathematics and atomic physics at the Technical University of Zurich. During this time she also studied homeopathic medicine in Geneva.

Back from Europe she spent her time in the 1930s finding answers to personal health questions for herself and her family, because the available medical possibilities did not seem adequate to her. She explored  Osteopathy, Yoga, Alexander-Technik und Alfred Korzybskis work on states of consciousness.

In the 1940s Dr. Ida Rolf worked in Manhattan. She saw herself connected to the scientific point of view, but she achieved many breakthroughs in her work with chronic symptoms in an intuitive way. During this time she coined the term “structural integration”. She devoted the next 30 years to the development of this technique.

In the mid-1960s she was invited by Fritz Perls, the founder of Gestalt therapy, to the Esalen-Institut in Big Sur, California. Here she began to teach. More and more students enrolled in her courses. Soon it became necessary to formally combine the training in and the occupation with this new therapy in one organization, the Rolf Institute of Structural Integration. It was founded in 1971 in Boulder, Colorado. Since 2018 it operates under the name Dr. Ida Rolf Institute.

Until her death in 1979, Dr. Ida Rolf was active in teaching and research. She wrote several books and published numerous articles.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me in my practice in Berlin or Munich. Here you will find the contact page.

Rolfing - Berlin & Munich

Massages can be beautiful, deeply moving, reconcile you with the world, open you heart and be a feast for the senses. Especially the Esalen massage and the Lomi-Lomi-Nui massage. They can lift you to “Cloud Nine” and open the doors to the beauty of this world. They can show you that the world is not just about stress and work, but that sensuality and deep touching are part of life and make it rich.

Soft and flowing massages like the ones mentioned above lead the body into deep relaxation. The gentle, attentive touch can unfold a deeply harmonizing effect and awaken a feeling of contentment that reminds you of the security of childhood. If you go out into the world so full and balanced, smile at your surroundings with your self-confident and happy charisma and spread sunshine – then, yes, the world will smile back.

Finding the resting point

Rolfing® conveys a completely different body feeling than a massage. After the Rolfing session you will feel lightness paired with resilient stability. It is a feeling of “coming home”, of being centered and reaching the inner resting point.

The massage washes and combs the tissue. This creates the feeling of liberated space, which you perceive as an opening. Rolfing works on the global orientation of the tissue. The perception of interior and exterior space and the orientation in the room change as a result.

Rolfing balances the body in gravity. The feeling arises in your body that you are carried by the earth’s gravity.

The goal of Rolfing is the alignment of the physical structure in the vertical with the help of earth gravity. That is the special thing about Rolfing.


Related methods like Deep Tissue Work, Osteopathy, Chiropractic and Massage do not take up this knowledge about gravity. Dr. Ida Rolf observed that people feel “carried” by gravity when their body structure is balanced. On the other hand, he must “fight” against gravity if his structure is shifted or twisted. If this is the case, gravity “pulls” him deeper and deeper into the twisted pattern over the years. The consequences are chronic complaints in the musculoskeletal system, joint wear and restricted mobility.

Photo by Robert Collins on Unsplash

The cougar feeling

A large part of the people in the western world no longer knows the feeling of being carried by gravity. It was lost to them. So they have to fight against gravity day after day, but gravity will always win in the long run. If, on the other hand, you look at the gait of an African water bearer, you can guess what it feels like to be carried by gravity. Rolfing wants to give you this feeling of balance again: to be completely connected to the body and to rest in it. After a Rolfing series, a client once reported that his body now felt as supple as that of a cougar.

In order to achieve this goal, Rolfing works with a variety of techniques, including massage, osteopathy and yoga. The special thing about Rolfing is that it only loosens the tissue at certain points and integrates the work into the body at the end of each session. As Dr. Ida Rolf liked to say: “Anyone can take things apart. Only a few know how to reassemble them”.

Integrating means balancing

The art of Rolfing means to integrate. Because when something is loosened during a massage, the body tends to fall back into the old pattern. It is the integration that balances the body in gravity. This happens in every Rolfing treatment. Step by step, treatment by treatment, a change occurs.

During the massage you lie passively on the couch and indulge yourself. During Rolfing you will be actively involved, not only on the couch but also in sitting and standing position. You will be asked to become aware of your posture, to explore habits, to move more relaxed and upright.

The Rolfing process is a form of growth through active sensory learning. The aim is for you to balance yourself independently in the end and no longer need a Rolfing practitioner.


Dr. Ida Rolf’s approach goes one step further: If your body is brought into balance, it can heal itself. Your symptoms will disappear by themselves and you will feel a significant increase in your quality of life.

“When the body begins to work properly again, the power of gravity can flow through it. Then it will heal itself spontaneously.” Dr. Ida Rolf

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me in my practice in Berlin or Munich. Here you will find the contact page.


Rolfing Berlin & Munich

Three competitive athletes from the USA started their training at the Rolf Institute of Structural Integration in June 1998: John Bauer, cross-country skier and Olympic participant from 1992 and 1998; Grant Ernhardt, a member of the American biathlon team, and Gary Colliander, a biathlete from Minnesota. Their experiences are highlighted in a press release titled “Ski-Rolfing® Connection is stronger than skiers who are simply treated with Rolfing Bodywork”. These athletes believe that a career in bodywork fits well with an athlete’s lifestyle and also supports training. It enables them to work and train in an equally profitable and independent professional field.

World-class athletes benefit from Rolfing

John Bauer, member of the US-American Nordic ski team and Olympic participant in the years 1992, 1998 and 2002 and a trained Rolfer says: “The experienced hands of a Rolfers should be part of every sports team. I was able to achieve better results in the past season, based on the percentages of my breaks and race times. All in all, I have seen an improvement in my performance. Rolfing is a strong factor in terms of improved performance in sport”. (2)

Rolfing Berlin & Munich

Sharon Sander, the number 2 in the US-American Modern pentathlon team, said in June 2002, as they were on their way to the World Championships (as part of the preparations for the Olympic Games), their sports career would not have been possible without the structural integration of Rolfing®. “Rolfing was the only thing missing from my training program and it helped me a lot. It’s amazing, but since I received Rolfing applications, I’ve been less injured. I recommend Rolfing to any athlete who is struggling with injuries or who feels they cannot reach their full potential,” says Sander. (2)

Rolfing Berlin & MunichWendy Wagner, a member of the US American Nordic ski team at the 2002 and 2006 Olympics, says: “You can achieve a lot in terms of performance if you let yourself be aligned by Rolfing. It allows you to get even more out of your body. I bang into things, things get out of allignment and the consequences are muscle tension. Massage and stretching exercises help, but you have to repeat the treatments over and over again to completely release the tension. Rolfing changes things in the longer term, changes the structure and I recommend regular treatments.” (2)

Amy Acuff, the five-time Olympic high jump participant, confirms that her experiences with Rolfing® and Structural Integration have contributed to her success in 2012. “Rolfing leaves room for discovery. It means a lot to me in terms of what I want to achieve with the high jump. I am very grateful that I get this therapy”. And continues: “The insights I gain from Rolfing work give me an impression of how I can get a little more strength and length out of my jumps. I notice that after the treatments I feel more stable and longer in my whole body.”Rolfing Berlin & Munich

Rolfing Berlin & MunichPhil Jackson, Los Angeles Lakers basketball coach (1999-2004 and 2005-2011), is the only coach in NBA history to have won over 70 percent of his games. He says, “I’m a person who likes to go to his physical limits. I think Rolfing is a valuable way to keep my body together.”

The Phoenix Suns were the first major basketball team in the NBA to have access to a certified Rolfer, Jeffrey Maitland. “Phoenix Sun defender Danny Ainge, who was treated with Rolfing® for years, recommended this therapy to Charles Barkley. Other Suns, Mark West and A.C. Green, were also rafted with satisfactory results,” the Arizona Republic magazine reported in May 1994. Rolfing Berlin & Munich

Rolfing Berlin & Munich

World-renowned extreme skier and popular Warren Miller ski movie star John Egan says, “Rolfing gave me the elasticity that my first ski day of the season looked like we were in the middle of the season.

When people asked me what I was doing, I said they wouldn’t believe it, but it was Rolfing Bodywork. When I first tried Rolfing Bodywork, the rejuvenating effect was simply amazing. Since then I have been recommending Rolfing to others.”

Rolfing Berlin & MunichUS Paralympic skier Sarah Will (12 gold medals, silver in 1992, 1994, 1998 and 2002) says: “Rolfing has increased my performance time by 100 percent. It eliminated the pain in my body and relaxed my muscles in the starting house. My concentration and motivation were increased, my will to win was strengthened. Rolfing relaxed my back and shifted the strength to my back, where I need it. This improved my starting time. When I saw these results and realized that I was in the best possible shape, my self-confidence also grew. I think that every sports team should integrate a Rolfer into its coaching staff. Skiing requires a clear head. The stronger you are, the more self-confident you become. The injuries caused by the accident upset my balance until I discovered the benefits of Rolfing Bodywork. And since then I have only won victories.”

Sean Casey, player of the Detroit Tigers All Star Baseball Team, says Rolfing® helped him come back after an injury. He would not have been able to play the 2006 World Series without the help of his Rolfer, Michael Waller. Rolfing Berlin & Munich

Rolfing Berlin & MunichMichelle Kwan (World Figure Skating Champion in 1996, 1998, 2000, 2001 and 2003) and Elvis Stojko (World Figure Skating Champion in 1994, 1995 and 1997), both silver medallists at the 1998 Olympic Games, were able to experience up close that they had a competitive advantage because they worked with a team of specialists that included Helen James, physiotherapist and certified Rolfer. Elvis Stojko introduced Michelle Kwan to Helen James in July 1998 during the Campbell Soup Tour of Figure Skating Champions. Stojko, who benefited from James’ physiotherapy and Rolfing® expertise, says: “Rolfing helped me find my inner balance in competitions. It aligns my body.” It’s nothing new for James to work with Olympic champions and world-class figure skaters. She says: “For figure skaters like Michelle and Elvis it is essential to find an exactly balanced position in space. Balance and integration are the main goals in the Rolfing process. Athletes have experienced that with the help of Rolfing they are hurt less often and that the injuries “heal” more quickly. Another positive effect: “They feel lighter and have more energy because they don’t have to work so hard. They perform their freestyle and jumps with greater ease.”


Joe Greene from the USA, two-time winner of the Olympic bronze medal in long jump (1992 and 1996), is of the opinion: “Rolfing works. It really makes a big difference. I’ve been an athlete for a long time and I wish I’d heard about it sooner. When I jump, my stomach tightens and my hip tightens. Rolfing Bodywork helped my breathing and I felt bigger”.

Rolfing Berlin & MunichKirsten Ulmer took part in World Championships in extreme skiing and was a specialist in the US Freestyle Ski Team. She is regarded as the best female extreme skier of the last eight to nine years. Ulmer has undergone a series of knee surgeries as a result of injuries and tendosynovitis over the last few years. She says: “After the surgeries I suffered unbearable pain and I could neither drive nor walk. Rolfing® Bodywork repositioned her hips and ankles and the pain disappeared. “It healed so quickly, I could hardly believe it,” says Kirsten Ulmer. “The expected recovery time of six months was halved, and three months after the operation I was on a ski expedition to Cho Oyu in the Himalayas. (2)

Tolu Wusu Wusu Olympic candidate 2016 in long jump talks about his experience with Rolfing.

Other athletes who benefit from Rolfing are:

Charles Barkley, former basketball star
Chris Carter, ex-football star of Minnesota Viking
Qadry Ismail, football star of the Baltimore Ravens
Mario Lemieux, Hockey Legend
Bob Tewksbury, ex-pitcher for The Minnesota Twins
Ivan Lendl, former tennis champion
Bret Saberhagen, former pitcher of the Kansas City Royals
Tom Seaver, Baseball Hall of Fame Pitcher
Jeff Linder, professional cyclist
Iginia Boccalandro, certified Rolfer, at the Olympic Games 1998 and 2002 in the Venezuelan Toboggan Team
Ben Hindle, at the 2002 Olympic Games in the Canadian
Bobsleigh Team
Isabelle Brasseur & Lloyd Eisler, Canade, 2x Olympic bronze in figure skating of the couples
Brian Orser, Canada, Olympic Silver Medal 1984 and World Champion in Figure Skating
Lance Deal, US-American, 1996 Olympic Silver Medal in Hammer Throwing
Erin Aldrich, US-American, 2000 participant in the Olympic high jump and 2x All-American
Grant Ernhardt, US-Biathlon team member at the Olympic Games 2002


Photo References see imprint

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me in my practice in Munich or Berlin. Here you will find the contact page.

Rolfing - Berlin & Munich

Many people come to my practice because their body presses them like a “badly fitting shoe”. They report from tension to chronic pain in various parts of the body. They no longer feel well in their skin. It is uncomfortable. Movement restrictions cause them trouble.

How do you walk?

However, my interest as a Rolfer is not so much in your symptoms as in the way your body organises itself as an overall structure in movement. Therefore, I will ask you to move in space or simply walk up and down. It is in movement that I can best recognize structural imbalances. I pay attention to the “how”, i.e. how you walk.

How do you lift?

Perhaps I ask you: “What is it like when you lift a glass of water on the table next to you? What happens during lifting in your legs?” Dealing with weight becomes an exciting topic as you watch your body organize itself in this task at the present moment. This perspective will occupy us again and again.

Ultimately, it is about “how” you organize stability in your body.

“How do you lift a box? – How do you lift your leg? – Such open questions do not serve my curiosity, but help you to perceive what is happening to you. By trying to put what you have experienced into words – which is not always easy – your body can better integrate and store these experiences.

How does the stretching feel in the body?

In the second part of the session you lie on the massage bench and receive a Rolfing treatment. Often you will feel a slow, deep pressure in the tissue, followed by a feeling of liberation. When you get up and move afterwards, you may notice improved physical mobility.

Touching in Rolfing® is a slow process. When pressure is applied to an area, it is done very slowly, as in slow motion. This thoughtfulness is important. So the tissue has time to become soft, to release itself and to relax. Literally speaking, my elbow or my hand “melts” into the tissue. This creates the impression that the tension or cramping under the “friendly” pressure slowly melts, dissolves and lets go. After that, the area usually feels soft and warm. The quality of touch in Rolfing is very variable. It can be very subtle, large or deliberate. Maybe you can feel it pull up into your arm or neck while I’m working on your shoulder.

How intense is it right now?

Maybe you have done yoga before. Then you surely know the pulling sensation when you go into a yoga position and stay there for a minute or longer and the muscles slowly stretch. It pulls, it is intense and yet it feels good. Rolfing feels exactly the same when the touch is intense. That is why Rolfing is also called “Yoga for the West”.

“It is not allowed to hurt …” you will hear me say from time to time.

Since every person has a different feeling of pain, I ask you to tell me on a scale from 1 to 10 how intense this “yoga stretch feeling” is at the moment. We don’t want to exceed the value of 6 or 7 if possible. You can also say “STOP” at any time. I will then change my technique or the pressure or choose a different approach. There are always several ways to the “Rome of your well-being”.

How does the movement feel now?

After the session you should relax for one to one and a half hours or do a quiet activity. Consider this time as part of the treatment. This is the best way for your body to integrate and store what you have experienced. Afterwards you return to your everyday life.

After the session

In between and at the end of the session I will ask you to stand up from the massage bench. Maybe you are just standing there or you are moving in the room. The following questions can then come from me: “What is the body feeling like now?”, “What do you perceive in your movements?” – This part of the session is important. You have a lot of time to move and enjoy the new body feeling – this feeling of walking like in new shoes.

„In Structural Integration, we expect to give a cycle of 10 sessions. There is a reason for this. We are not dealing with local problems. We are not dealing with the kind of things that you can say, ‘Well, I fixed that, that’s all.” We are dealing with an intent to make a body more secure, more adequate within the field of gravity. This requires that muscles be balanced, and need to be balanced around a vertical line. And when I talk about balancing muscles, I’m talking about balancing the right side against the left side. About balancing the front of the body against the back of the body and, finally, about balancing the innermost muscles against the outermost, the inside against the outside, this is the most important of these balances, and we start from the outside working in, and it takes ten hours before we can get to the place where we can really balance the outside against the inside.”
Dr. Ida P. Rolf

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me in my practice in Munich or Berlin. Here you will find the contact page.