Polarity Therapy Notes from John Bodary
One Path to Polarity and Beyond
John Bodary, 2022
When Max Heinrich, my mentor, told me to start teaching and friends who were interested in Polarity because of Max’s influence wanted to know more about it, I put together the basics. I thought that the knowledge of the chakras, the elements, the chakra triangulation, the longlines, exercises and diet were where to start. I taught them in eight sessions. At the end of the first unit, the response of most of the participants was, “there must be more.”
I then delved into Dr. Stone’s work to pull out more that would expand the basics through deeper explorations of chakras, touch, energy movement which ended up with three levels of classes. Included with the classes was the stipulation that between classes, each student came in for a session. In one of the sessions, they would work on me. This gave me a better perspective of how each one was progressing.
As the teaching grew, I asked two of my early students to assist in the teaching. They accepted and after a time they indicated that the addition of a fourth level was needed to expand knowledge and capability. This enhanced the student’s ability to better apply the Polarity Principles.
As all of this was taking place, Alan Siegel, then President of APTA suggested to me that he would come to Michigan and do a workshop on his view of Polarity. I agreed. The students responded enthusiastically. It gave them a different perspective of what Polarity entails. Following up on that, I decided to bring in a different teacher once a year for more intensive training. Most of them had learned from Dr. Stone. This expanded the possibilities for each student to find what was their path in the work. When Cindy Rawlinson accepted my offer to come, I asked what she would cover in a five-day conference. She thought for a few minutes and then told me she would do the five days on the fire Element. My thought was ‘what will she do for five days on fire?’ When she came, we all learned what fire was really about. We kept this activity going with various teachers, some of whom had studied with Dr. Stone for about twenty years.
All of this expanded students to see the depth of the Polarity possibility. Some people went on to study with Franklyn Sills. Others teach what Franklyn has taught to other students (one of whom previously was a neuro-muscular massage teacher),therapeutically applied Polarity as he sensed the energy entering his work. Others poured into exercise work to move the energy.
It seems to me that a multiple person approach to teaching expands a student’s ability to find their own strengths in doing the work.
Teaching Polarity is more than expanding knowledge and experience. It is helping students find their path in the work. I’m quite sure none of the students that I taught work as I do. Helping them find their path and supporting them is essential.
Phil Young, in Ireland, recently told me that the German Polarity Group had ceased to exist because they now have no one who teaches. That is sad. We need to encourage students to teach their style of Polarity or we will lose the valuable effects of our work. Teaching means knowing each student and helping them expand their knowledge and to express that to others by teaching.
At 92 years of age, I trust that Polarity will flourish. Expand it. Teach what you know. The practice of Polarity is as essential as the teaching. Both are needed. If you have an area of Polarity that you are comfortable with, teach it.
I thank all those who have taught me after Max Heinrich got one started. Especially I thank Franklyn Sills for his last chapter in The Polarity Process. It is the essence of what Polarity can lead us to.
When Max Heinrich taught me Polarity, I was in a group at the eighth and last session of that group. Only Max and I were in the room. Max generously offered to teach me one-on-one additional information and attitudes needed to practice Polarity. I began a practice and many of those who liked the work wanted to learn Polarity. So, I asked Max to do a weekend workshop, which he most successfully did. At the end of the workshop, Max announced that I would begin to teach Polarity. I later asked him why he had made that announcement. His reply was that I knew more about Polarity than those students and that I was a teacher. So, I delved into teaching.
Recently, Phil Young let me know that the German Polarity Group had dissolved because they had no teacher to continue the process. This appears to me to be occurring more and more, that people love to practice Polarity but too few move into teaching for whatever reason.
Without adequate and informed teachers, the essence of Polarity cannot continue. We need teachers. If you are presently a teacher, encourage others to first assist you and then be able to move on their own and teach, preserving our quality way of influencing some students to take up teaching. As you spot students who have an adequate knowledge of Polarity from your teaching, encourage them, as Max did me, to teach and preserve Polarity.
Without teachers, the wisdom of Dr. Stone and those who studied with him cannot continue. Encourage, assist their way of moving Polarity forward. Don’t let it fade and disappear.
A Polarity Therapist
What does it take to be a Polarity Therapist? That question keeps coming up for me personally and each time it does it goes a little deeper. At first, after Max had taught me for a while, I believed that you learn the basics of what energy really is, learn to palpate it and allow the work to create sensations for your friend1 on the table and all will be well. That still holds to some degree but I have continued to learn that there is a lot more to this work than just the basics. They work and there is more. Many aspects deepen in the work. Some of them I have come to know and I am sure many more will arise as I continue to practice.
Over the years, different ways have come up which gave me a way to apply the work and are still incomplete. My list continues to grow. What I now perceive as important to include in the work, I will share with you and I am sure all of us can add more as we pay attention to the energies we work with.
No set expectation. What happens is what is necessary. Opening to possibility supports healing and wholeness. It can get to the roots of a story of blocked energy. It creates an open space in each of us as well as in our friend1 on the table.
Pay attention to yourself as well as to your friend1. Have an intention. Be present in time and in breathing. Have a comfortable place. Be receptive and follow the friend’s energy. Be ready for but don’t anticipate the next movement of energy.
Journey of the soul:
Take your time. There’s always an inter-reactionary movement between physical, mental-emotional, and spiritual. All process has a spiritual basis With Source.
Finding an Edge:
Establish relationship. A session creates growth for both. Follow the path. Look at self in friend.
Have presence and connection, Explore. Whatever arises is next. Intention, wonder, non-judgmental. What comes up is what is important. Have no expectations.
Return to- Source:
Be creative conscious. Relationship to self first, then the friend, the Source. Blocked energy limits awareness. Source transcends physical life.
Move from Iceberg to Ocean: What and where is the balance? Iceberg is a symptom (above), story is below (blocked). Seek awareness to see the real self. What and where is the resistance? What do I learn about me and what did the friend1 learn? Iceberg needs to melt into the Ocean and surrender and merge. Change patterns so as to move to a new and different level towards Source.
Polarity and a Vocation
“Vocation means living in response to something that is beyond and deeper than myself.”
– Massengil, Racial Justice and the Catholic Church
The above quote has a much wider adaptation than the site of the book it comes from. Vocation is not just rational or intellectual. Vocation is about how we live our lives, the choices we make in finding the work we do. How does this apply to Polarity?
After 43 years of learning, applying, working with and teaching Polarity, it has come to me that Polarity is a vocation in the sense that it is beyond our technical and science oriented society. It has a deeper meaning that is difficult to explain to people. It has a certain mystical connotation that it purports to work on and not just the systems of the body, but that it also works on the mind and the spiritual.
When we take that into perspective, especially the inclusion of the spiritual, we move out of the realm of just the affecting of the body and mind. Spiritual is not necessarily the same as religion. Spiritual in the East is different than it is in the West. The East says we come from a Source and have our own source which brings forth the chakras and energy, then the body.
If our work always includes body, mind, spirit, it doesn’t matter where we start, but it will always include all three if our intention is to be so. So the vocation we have is to make the intention and find out what comes up. We need not be grounded in body parts. They need to be included but they do not need to be the main focus. We can start from them but be open to the broader moment of energy.
Vocation then comes to mean that we will allow the energy to speak to us directing us to the body, mind, spirit. After a session I often get responses such as : “altered state, calm, more relaxed, softened.” Those mean that the physical has been breached and the energy has moved into the mind and spirit.
That is the vocation- to be open to go past the physical and not limit our range of work. Vocation means to go past what is expected and into the area of possibility. That is what we do. That is vocation.