From Structural Ironworker to Yoga Teacher to
Structural Bodyworker to … Finally …
a Yoga/Bodywork/Whole Health Therapist,
Trainer & Author … and Now … Web Guy, too.
A History of DSL EdgeWork & DSL Yoga . . .
with A Biography of DSL
(DSL is David Scott Lynn)
DSL is Your Hi-Touch Uplink to the Inner-Net. . . .
The Inner-Net is the Psycho-Neuro-Musculo-Fascial System
The Early Years — Energy “Work” & Philosophy:
David was born on the south side of Chicago on October 21st, 1954. When two years old, his family moved to the town of Dolton, just south of Chicago near the INdiana border. Dolton was your basic middle- and working-class community, with a lot of construction and manufacturing type people and downtown office workers living there.
On the first day of 1st Grade, while sitting at his new desk for the first time, bored and waiting for something to happen, David was staring at his hands. He noticed, kind of by accident, that he could feel a funny kind of feeling (what he much later learned to call “energy”) passing between his fingers as he repeatedly moved them toward and away from each other. It felt like a magnetic pull. This experience was filed away, but became very useful in the future.
His first remembered venture into philosophical problems was in 2nd Grade, trying to figure out whether human beings created their own reality or not. … It took him a few years to figure it out.
He had become concerned with the question of how two or more people in the very same room could experience the exact same events, yet have radically different experiences or interpretations of what actually happened. He developed a theory that all people lived in their own, self-contained Reality Bubble, and that each bubble occasionally bumped into another bubble, giving an outward appearance of a relationship. But the relationship was, he theorized, only an illusion; that people were only acting as if they were relating, but in reality, were all alone in their self-contained bubble.
In 3rd Grade and over the next 10 years, he pretty much dismantled this theory, observing that objective reality was far bigger, and far more complex, than any one human mind, or many minds, could even partially comprehend, let alone comprehend or create. Finally, after losing his wallet and FINALLY remembering he left it at the local bowling alley, he decided our minds were too limited to create a whole universe. Over time, he realized it was our personal perception of reality that we create, not the whole reality. … That Reality was far bigger than any one of us. … And that perception was often wrong. … And that in a contest between people and Reality, Reality always wins.
(David’s Mom says he was born 13 years old.) … 😀
Martial Arts, Motocross & Meditation …
David unintentionally began his wholistically oriented path in 1967 at age 13 while training in martial arts (jujitsu, judo and karate), when he had his first “accidental” Zen-style meditation experience. Never having heard of meditation before, he did not know what to think of this experience until reading about meditation a few months later in Masatatsu Oyama‘s classic book What Is Karate?, which David’s Mom gave him for his 14th birthday.
(PLEASE NOTE that at several times in his life, David’s mother, Linda, was instrumental in suggesting what led to the next turning point. She also taught David how to clean up after himself and, more importantly, how to demonstrate love and affection on a regular basis. . . . [Thanks, Mom! — DSL])
At 14, he found the Buddhist Dhammapada (the teachings of the Buddha) in the Dolton Public Library and began studying the teachings and practicing the meditations. He continued related studies in Eastern philosophy, religion and healing throughout his teens and into his twenties.
He enjoyed the martial arts, but he was not much into the more violent aspects of them. Some of the guys liked to go out after class and find people to test their skills on; not David’s cup of non-violent tea. He was was more interested in the physical health, mental, internal and spiritual aspects, which were very hard to find on the South Side of Chicago in the 1960’s. He also discovered that, although an excellent marksman when in military school (age 12 to 13), he was not able to pursue the hunting of animals as a sport … another sign of emerging non-violent tendencies.
At the same time he was studying the Buddhist “Bible”, he was attending the local Baptist Church Brigade, their equivalent of Boy Scouts. (David was years earlier kicked out of Cub Scouts for telling the Den Mother that she did not know how to run a Den for boys. To David, it was more like being in Girl Scouts or worse, Brownies.)
Over time, he became disillusioned with both Christianity and Buddhism. His big concern with Christianity is why they focused so much on the New Testament, but seemed to totally ignore the whole first, and much bigger, part of the Bible called the Old Testament. The first Noble Truth of Buddhism, on the other hand, said that Life was suffering. David thought that it was not life itself that was suffering, but that human beings caused their own suffering, and that it was incorrect to start the system with that premise.
He also started racing motocross (dirt bikes) at age 14, where he applied martial arts and Zen-style meditative principles to racing, sort of like the inner-game of motocross. This was actually a lot more fun than studying Buddhism or the Bible, but much less profound, a lot more dangerous, and problematic later in life due to neuromuscular injuries and a cracked collar bone. He was very non-competitive, so only won a few trophies. . . .
He suffered a number of crashes and resulting injuries while racing, which set the patterns for pain and posture issues later in life. Issues he would have to solve on his own, mostly through yoga. But the overall experience did produce certain perspectives that were very useful later on.
The Construction Years:
Learning About Structure & Function
Also beginning at age 14, on some weekends and during summers, David began going onto The Job with his father, John Lynn, who was a Master at the Trade of Structural Ironwork (heavy construction of steel-framed buildings). John was an expert at seeing and working with physical reality, and taught David how to do the same. (If ironwork was a form of yoga, John would have been a Top-Level Guru.)
After high school, David worked full time as an ironworker, and was a foreman by age 18. He also learned from his Dad to not believe what people say just because they have a degree, a license, or more experience. It was quite common for licensed architects and engineers to be proven incorrect by David’s father, who never attended college, as to what was possible or not, and how to best accomplish certain tasks and objectives. This, apparently, started David’s strong, life-long, anti-authoritarian streak.
Ironically, the skills of assembling and balancing steel structures contributed immensely to David’s later ability to analyze human structure and posture from unique, effective and efficient points-of-view. His deep, visceral experience and real world understanding of physics and geometry, and using the bodymind in usually physically dangerous and often harrowing experiences, allowed him to later see the structure in the human body in a unique and effective way. (When working high up off the ground on steel beams, only inches wide, one is never far from falling if not VERY careful.) This gave him the eyes and sensitivity to SEE and FEEL what was happening in a person’s posture and movement more wholistically and precisely than most — even without X-rays.
Because of his early martial arts training, and later with yoga, the extreme physical demands and physical tasks of working with steel in precarious positions gave David significant insights into the nature of strength, endurance, coordination and balance. All of this would contribute dramatically to David’s unique understandings of how the physical body works, and how it breaks down. … There were significant psychological challenges to be learned and applied from as well. … All of this understanding was enhanced by his racing motocross, an equally demanding activity, physically and psychologically, of several years duration on many weekends.
In the human realm, even though younger than the men in his crews, David was able to get more done in less time at lower costs than other foreman. Yet, the same men working for him said it was much more pleasant working for him than many of the other foreman. He was soon offered an assistant superintendent’s job with the company he was working for, destined to be superintendent, but at age 22, turned it down to go on his spiritual and yogic travels.
The Yoga Path Begins:
David’s first exposure to yoga was a two or so hour demonstration and talk by Joel Kramer (whom Yoga Journal calls The First American Yoga Master and The Father of American Yoga) in Downtown Chicago at the old Oasis Center for personal growth in 1973. David immediately recognized Joel’s nontraditional approach to yoga, the mind, and spirituality as a perfect fit for how he saw the world and how it worked.
(Joel was yogi-in-residence at Esalen Institute in the late 1960’s and traveled widely after that, teaching across the country from an old yellow school bus. Several articles by or about Joel and his partner, Diana Alstad, were published in Yoga Journal over the years, and are on their website at www.JoelDiana.com. You can read more about David’s experience of Joel and Diana here, at the DSL’s Joel & Diana Pages.)
David borrowed from his best friend’s mother a couple of pocket books (Richard Hittleman’s 28 Days to Yoga and Jess Stearn’s Yoga, Youth and Reincarnation) and began reading about and doing yoga on his own for a few years.
David also gained insights from the writings of J. Krishnamurti, and minor influences from in-person teachings from Goswami Kriyananda of the Kriya Yoga Institute, Swami Rama of the Himalayan Institute, Sri Nerode of India (a full-blooded Hindu Brahmin who taught for 45 years in Chicago), and Indra Devi via Kay Clay (Yoga, Inc.); all in the Greater Chicago area. He also studied briefly with several B.K.S. Iyengar instructors around Chicago and the country. He has done extensive reading on many related disciplines over the years.
Several months before his 23rd birthday, David took a leave from his job as an ironworker foreman and spent a month at Joel’s Intensive Workshop on physical, mental and relational Yoga at Cold Mountain Institute on Cortez Island in British Columbia, Canada (now Hollyhock Farm) in the Spring of 1976, which Joel co-taught with his partner, Diana. David was inspired by watching Joel’s daily, 4 hour, personal practice sessions, which led to his own practice of yoga 3 to 4 hours per day for months on end in the late 70’s and the mid 80’s (which is how he learned what makes the mind and musculature release tension and produce responsive action.)
Joel and Diana also conducted Jnana (mental) Yoga based, group process sessions most evenings, which dealt with the mental, emotional and interpersonal aspects of yoga and being human. This was David’s first significant exposure to in-depth personal growth processes, and, along with the whole process in general, several experiences there profoundly affected him for the rest of his life.
Interestingly, very near the end of the one-month yoga program, in a group meeting, Joel suggested to David that he reconsider his desire to be a yoga teacher. This was based on the fact that he had gotten quite sick and was missing from classes for several days. One of the students adamantly disagreed, saying David was an inspiration to watch while doing yoga, and that he would make a great yoga teacher. Several of the students at the Intensive firmly suggested that David had a great future as a yoga teacher, if he wanted to pursue it. (More on this story on the at My 1976 Summer Vacation with Joel & Diana page.)
Also, as a result of those before mentioned crashes when he was racing motorcycles, and the high stress and imbalances on his muscles from doing heavy construction work, David had a number of long term tensions, stresses and injuries in his body. He had a fair amount of pain as a result. He also had a typical construction worker’s posture, which was not very good. His extensive yoga practice was eliminating the pain in his body, but he still had significant postural imbalances which persisted. But he was feeling so much better he was unaware that … Trouble was Brewing.
Switching Life Paths:
From Ironwork to Yoga:
After going back home from Joel and Diana’s yoga intensive, David could not tolerate the idea of going back to ironwork. Rather than take Joel’s suggestion, he began looking for yoga students. He taught a few day-long yoga workshops in the Chicago area, then taught several times a week at the student center in DeKalb, Illinois, at Northern Illinois University. He then sold most of his possessions and set out in his forest-green Ford van on his Spiritual Travels, going across the country to California, studying yoga in several schools there.
On the drive out west, he stopped in Aspen, Colorado, where Michael Murphy (not the Esalen one), the director of the now defunct Inner Garden, Aspen’s first healing arts center, immediately offered him a position as the staff yoga teacher. After returning to Chicago for a few weeks, David returned to Aspen to live and teach for about five months. He left there when it got cold and started to snow too much. He then moved to Miami, Florida, where he lived for a while at a yoga center in South Miami. He then taught at the now defunct Grove Health Center in Coconut Grove, an adult education program on Key Biscayne, and other venues.
Up to this point in time, though he had not taught a lot, when he did, he usually got very good feedback on the way and content of his teachings. The main reason he did not teach as much as he wanted was his deep shyness, cluelessness about marketing, and resistance to being perceived as a salesman.
First Exposure to Massage Therapy & Bodywork:
David’s first exposure to bodywork was in 1977, while living in Aspen, by way of Eugene Donaldson, who later was co-founder of the Educating Hands school of massage in Miami, Florida. Eugene introduced David to deep tissue bodywork and a very deep and intense style of Polarity Therapy. This was an opposite of the more well-known approach to Polarity that was so light that one was often not even touching the body. Often, Eugene worked far beyond the point of pain, which went against what Joel taught in yoga about playing The Edge of pain and fear. While positive results were definitely produced, as in looser muscles and freer movement, this started David thinking and comparing bodywork systems and philosophies in light of Joel’s teachings, especially about The Edges of Pain.
Because David had a natural talent for bodywork — strength plus sensitivity plus ability to pay attention to very subtle sensations, he and Eugene would often do extended exchanges in which each session lasted 3 to 4 hours or more … meaning that it took a full day just to do two bodywork sessions! This formed a lasting impression, though, on just what people really needed to get enough release in their bodies to truly let go of deeply held tension and stress. It doesn’t go away in an hour or two a week on a massage table or in a yoga class.
Beginning while living in Aspen, David studied other forms of bodywork: Jin Shin Do in Aspen, Colorado; Swedish Massage, informally trading sessions with the founder of The Florida School of Massage in Gainesville, Florida; a Lomi Lomi workshop in Miami Beach with the founder of The Atlanta School of Massage; and a Body Synergy workshop (an offshoot of Rolfing®) at the Chicago School of Massage Therapy. In 1984 he studied Shiatsu & Acupressure while studying Acupuncture at the Midwest Center of Oriental Medicine in Chicago. However he did not find the Eastern models as useful to what he had been learning from the Western approaches to yoga, bodywork and wholistic medicine.
By-the-way, much of this training was informal — trading sessions with leaders in the field — and David never went to massage school. Eugene suggested over and over again that David become a massage/bodywork therapist, but at the time, David felt that massage and bodywork were copouts for people unwilling to do a proper yoga routine. . . . While still living in Florida, though, he DID buy a massage table, a purchase that, at the time, mystified him. He was not really sure why he did it. . . .
Returning To Chicago:
Things not working out well in Florida — mostly the result of his resistance to marketing and sales — David returned to Chicago, this time to the Western Suburbs where his parents had moved. He tried many things to make a living. He got involved in the solar industry, tax shelters for building geodesic domes and growing ginseng, and other related enterprises. He even worked in the tax shelter and commodities industry. For a short time, he had a small business on the trading floor of the Mercantile Exchange doing technical analysis for private traders. Here, he met and worked with several people who had their fingers on the pulse of how the world really worked.
From them, and much related reading, he learned a great deal about how things really work at more social and global levels. These people seemed to know much more about how the world really worked than all the hundreds of spiritual books he had read put together. Most of the positive value of most of those spiritual and personal growth books could be summed up in Joel Kramer’s book The Passionate Mind: A Manual for Living Creatively With One’s Self, along with The Guru Papers: Masks of Authoritarian Power which he co-wrote with his life-partner, Diana Alstad.
Yet their were other aspects to this business environment he did not like, nor felt comfortable in, so he went back to his parents house for a few weeks to figure out his next move in life.
He knew he was good at it, and it was more true to who he really was, so he got over his negative attitude about massage and bodywork and moved downtown Chicago and set up shop as a bodyworker.
With his last fifty dollars he put a deposit down on taking the est Training. He told them he had no more money, but would give a substantial discount to est graduates who would help him raise the money to attend the est Training. (One of the things he learned in Florida is how much est Graduates LOVE to support other people in getting into the Training.) A few weeks later he found himself in a room with about 200 people, many of whom had an interest in pursuits such as yoga and bodywork. This was a good start for finding potential Clients.
Developing A New Yoga/Bodywork System:
David began his private bodywork practice in Chicago in 1981, where he began developing his own approach, integrating various bodywork therapies with The Edge and other concepts of yoga, especially the long, extended holds in postures, the way of using the breath, and other elements, all based on what he learned from Joel Kramer. He quickly settled upon a pretty specific set of techniques, and immediately began getting results that were beyond what most therapists in the area were able to provide.
But even though he could often get peoples’ bodies to change for the better, sometimes dramatically, he could not predict what actually would happen and why. He was doing a little more advanced and reliable version of Poke & Hope, and was not satisfied. So he started thinking of going to Rolfing® school in Boulder, because even though Rolfers could not answer his questions, they were, at the time, the only ones really looking at the musculoskeletal and myofascial structures of the body with any depth as far as David knew.
Regardless, one afternoon in early 1982, while walking out of his apartment, he made a decision to create a system of bodywork that would solve the musculoskeletal problems of that five or ten per cent of people who could not be helped by other means, orthodox or alternative. This was a bit ambitious, but . . .
Getting Curious About Posture, Pain & Muscles:
He was taking more classes and workshops and doing a lot of reading and study, but David’s interests were not being met. He was wondering, amongst all the techniques of how to release muscles, how does one decide where to work, and on which muscles, and when, and why? And why did the results vary so widely for same techniques on what appeared to be the same conditions?
Oriental medicine focused on certain meridian or energy points in the body, but had little focus on the muscles, which David felt — literally and figuratively — were a major key to many, if not most, of the problems of people who had musculoskeletal, neuromuscular and myofascial pain and dysfunction, or significant posture issues. This was especially true with his own muscular problems as a result of his racing motorcycles and heavy construction work for over a decade.
Having done so many hours of yoga — as well as often using meditation while racing and ironworking — in such an introspective way, he could FEEL where the problems were coming from, but the mechanics of how it all worked were not so obvious. Even the doctors and chiropractors David met were unable to shed much light on such questions. Rolfers did not even know the answers. And they were mostly focused on fascia, rather than muscles.
It was at the Body Synergy workshop in Chicago in early 1982 that David asked The Big Question. When, after two days of demonstration of how to release muscles, and time running out before the end of the workshop, he asked one of the two instructors “How do you know exactly where to work and why?” The response was, after a long hesitation, “Well, … you just sort of know.”
This response, coming from someone who was recognized around the country as one of the top bodyworkers, was just insufficient and very disappointing — and more than a little disconcerting. It was as if therapists were just kind of shooting in the dark, what some of the more honest therapists called “Poke and Hope.” Just poke around in the muscles and hope something good happens. Sure, it very often worked well. But sometimes did not, and occasionally, people got worse. David would often feel much worse after a massage or therapy session. He was often told this was the release of toxins. Although this is occasionally true, it was several years before he figured out a much better, and much less benign, answer.
David was in a real dilemma: Joel had provided extensive insights into the yoga process, and David’s father was always able to provide detailed explanations of how physical things worked or how to get things done or buildings built. He was spoiled with good information. And at least the Oriental physicians he knew could give in-depth answers from their point of view. He knew from experience there must be more to the issue then just pressing or rubbing where it hurt — more than Poke and Hope. But finding someone with the insights necessary to unravel the puzzles of posture and pain was proving to be an elusive endeavor.
Even Joel, who understood the process of integrating mind into the body and releasing muscular and psychological tension extremely well, had not explored the elements of balancing structure, posture and pain anywhere near the level David was looking for.
David knew there had to be more complete answers to his questions. He also began to realize that few people, if any, had many answers at all. In fact, few people were even asking the necessary questions! He started to realize he was going to have to figure things out on his own.
Another Missing Link:
In Spring of 1982, Daniel Blake came rolling into Chicago. He was teaching, over an eight week period plus another week later on, about 280 hours of his Structural Bodywork training. Daniel, who had been trained and certified as a Rolfer® by Ida Rolf herself. But, because of disagreements with certain of Rolf’s principles, Daniel left Rolfing to travel widely, studying many other bodywork systems, and forming his own system. (David was an early student of Blake’s before Blake left the field years ago to became an attorney.) It was here with Daniel that David learned one key concept that became a core principle to his system of structural analysis and postural evaluation. David also came to agree with Blakes’ concerns and disagreements with the Rolfing system. (These are described here in Whatever Happened to the Myo In Myofascial Release?)
The Key Concept was a deceptively simple formula on how to analyze structure and posture, to decide which muscles were the primary causes of a Client’s problems. And it became clear that it was primarily muscles that directly caused the distortions in posture and movement challenges. Fascia is an important aspect in big picture, but not for correcting posture. The good thing is that it is nearly impossible to treat the myofascia without treating the muscles too. Properly done, both tissues are treated together and wholistically, rather than pretending that they are being treated independently of each other.
It should be acknowledged here that Ida Rolf made a tremendous contribution to the field of myofascial bodywork and massage. Without her, it might have been years or decades before the advances brought about by Rolfing became available. In fact, the book that really opened David’s eyes to the possibilities of structural change was The Protean Body, written by Don Hanlon Johnson, a Rolfer (not the Miami Vice guy.) And Ida Rolfs’ own books were excellent too, though there was a lot she did not discuss in her books, and a few things David does not now agree with.
There were, and are, some needed modifications to Ida’s system and some of the information in her books, as evidenced by the students David has had who either were themselves Rolfers, or clients of Rolfers. As the scientist/philosopher, Isaac Newton, said, “If I have seen a little further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants.” Ida was a giant, and herself being a scientist (a chemist, I believe) I am sure she expected that improvements and modifications would emerge from people experimenting with her work. Although, there are those who would argue the point of how open she was to change of her system.
(This is, in part, why there was a big split into two factions — at least — of the Rolfing community a few years ago, because of certain disagreements among them. There have also been numerous offshoots or hybrids that have developed from Ida’s original system.)
During the Training, David and Daniel had significant disagreements about how deep to work; David wanting to work within The Edge of pain, and Daniel working very deep and well past the edge of pain. At the end of the program, in the final group meeting, Daniel suggested that David reconsider his desire to be a bodyworker. . . .
Deja Vu … !!! … Teacher Rejection Number Two … !!! … It’s a good thing David’s Dad had been a good anti-authoritarian, as was Joel, for that matter.
Years alter, a couple of the other students in that training confessed to being somewhat shocked by Daniel’s “suggestion.” However it could be argued that this lack of “approval” from his primary teachers had significant consequences over the following many years.
The Brewing Trouble Awakens:
There was a parallel story during the Structural Bodywork Training, best told in David’s own words:
“Exactly half way through Daniel’s Structural Bodywork course, as a result of the work I was receiving, my back gave out … BIG TIME. … And with LOTS of pain.
“In later years, I realized that certain of my muscles were being released during the training program in the wrong sequence. Though Daniel was a genius in certain ways, his system was not well enough developed in certain aspects, so he could not see I was being worked on incorrectly. While I had not, as a result of yoga, had much pain for several years, it all came back with a vengeance; to the point that it would throw me on the floor in a blinding flash of pain, several times a week. There were whole days that I could not function much at all. And this was while I was trying to build a massage practice from scratch, often times carrying a massage table up two or three flights of stairs. … Later, my doctor said I should have never been picking up anything heavier than a telephone book!
“Every time I did yoga, I got even worse, to the point of near-paralysis for hours afterward. I stopped doing yoga after a year or so of trying to fix it. Even coaching from the supposed top students of the top yoga alignment expert in the world made it worse. (I had not yet learned that the Tucking of the Pelvis, or the anatomically identical Scooping of the Sacrum, widely practiced in so many systems, is one of the worst things you can do for your back, in the long run.)
I tried all kinds of things to get better. The other students in the Structural Bodywork course could not help me. Some of them suggested my abdominal or back muscles were too weak. … Yet I was one of the absolute strongest people I knew. . . .
The Alternative Physician Phase:
About this time, David began working with several alternative and nutritional physicians, mostly Medical Doctors and Osteopaths, in the Greater Chicago area. He was developing a Doctor/Patient Interface Program because several of his Clients had significant issues other than the neuromuscular and myofascial issues David was very able to help with. Depending on the needs of the Client and expertise of the doctor, he would bring his Clients to one of them and who would treat the Client for metabolic issues, with David more-or-less overseeing the process.
David was able to provide much data to the doctor that the Client would usually forget or not know, and he was also able to explain to the Client everything the doctor had said after the appointment. The doctors were able to provide much better service to the patient, and the patient received much better care. He was able to do this because of the extensive study and experience he had over the years with various alternative and wholistic health modalities, plus what he had learned about interviewing and observing Clients in his private sessions.
David decided to terminate this service because of the many legal issues involved, issues that prevent the patient from receiving the best health care possible, but helps protect the monopoly the orthodox medical establishment has installed over the last hundred years or so in the United States.
The Big Breakthrough:
Back to David’s story about his back pain . . .
“One day, I needed a physical exam for a training I wanted to take. One of the Osteopathic physicians I was working with was Dr. Bill Mauer. He was president of the largest association of alternative and nutritional doctors in the country. He did a complete workup on me, including full body X-rays. The instant I saw those X-rays, I had a Eureka!!! moment. I could, because of the one significant key I learned from Daniel Blake, instantly see that I had, when doing yoga, been stretching the exact opposite muscles of what I should have been. I was stretching the muscles that hurt, which were on the opposite side from the cause. . . .
“Often times, the most painful muscles are the ones that are functionally over-lengthened. Stretching them over-lengthens them even more, throwing the muscles even further out of balance, and making the pain even worse. But I was stretching the muscles that felt right, but were over-lengthened, which taught me that what feels right is not always the correct information, and is often the exact opposite of reality. … Therefore, If it feels good, be careful if you do it!
“And this is how it is, much of the time. A muscle that is painful is so because it is reacting to an over-shortened muscle on the opposite side or other end of the body segment. I then began redesigning my yoga system from a more therapeutic perspective, and began doing a very specific, A-symmetrical yoga program. I did NOT do the usual thing where they tell you to always stretch both sides equally. Because when I did, it hurt like hell and I could barely walk! And since I could find no one who could work on me hands-on the way I needed, I fixed it most of it through physical yoga. I did about 3 hours of yoga a day, 5 or 6 days a week, consistently, and it took about 3 to 4 months before I had my first pain free day.
“In total, the pain lasted at a pretty high range of intensity for three and half years. When it started to back off, it still took a year or two before I was not in fear of getting thrown on the ground on a frequent basis.
“But seeing that X-ray, and understanding what was happening, and figuring out which were the over-shortened muscles, and then applying my yoga skills to releasing them, while NOT stretching the over-lengthened ones, was the foundation to developing my system of Yoga/Bodywork Therapeutics.”
The New DSL Bodywork System Emerges:
The two foundational components to DSL EdgeWork & Let-Go Yoga are, then, 1.) Joel Kramer’s principles of physical/mental/relational yoga and 2.) Daniel Blake’s basic formula for analyzing structure and evaluating posture, both of which David has extensively developed and refined over the years. And 3.) a third component is the Basic Release Technique of steady pressure on the muscle with very little movement, which David learned from the very first massage technique Eugene Donaldson, or anyone, ever did on him in Aspen in 1977, though Eugene was working way too deep. (Other systems use a similar approach, but without the subtleties bought about by Joel’s and David’s work with and on the Edge.)
Many of the commonly held assumptions — by both orthodox and alternative practitioners — about what nerves, muscles, fascia, and joints do and how they work are not necessarily in accord with reality. This leads to either insufficient results or occasionally counterproductive reactions or even worse pain or dysfunction. Occasionally, someone is incapacitated by such misapplied perspectives.
As well, many practitioners work either too deep or too light. In the first case, too much pain prevents the Client from relaxing very well. In the other, not enough sensation does not activate the nervous system sufficiently to initiate change. One of the rules, though, is too NEVER go too deep, and then when a muscle is not releasing, lighter is almost always better. Relaxation of chronic tension is the most important objective, and it is hard to relax when in pain.
This NOT to say that other approaches don’t work. They most certainly do, most of the time, as long as the treatment matches the condition. Yet there are a small percentage of cases where they do not work at all, or are occasionally counter-productive. … David’s point is that if these other approaches do not work, or if the problem keeps coming back, and IF it is a neuromuscular or myofascial problem, then the Advanced Structural approach, with very close attention to The Edge, often what he calls the Minimum Edge, has a very high likelihood of working.
From this point on, David used no other systems or techniques other than his newly developed approach:
• Hands-On, PsychoMuscular Release Technique
• Advanced Structural Analysis & Postural Balancing
• NeuroFascial Deactivation
• Let-Go Yoga
• Internal & External Ergonomics
There are other elements, however these are the main components. You can read more about these components at What Is DSL Yoga? and What Is DSL EdgeWork? at these links.
Scientific Foundations & Other Studies:
Along the way, to understand and enhance the healing potentials of yoga and bodywork as an integrated system, David has done extensive study of the physical sciences:
• Structural Anatomy
• Postural & Functional Kinesiology
• Neuromuscular & Myofascial Physiology
• Muscloskeletal Physiology
In addition to orthodox medical sciences, David has extensively studied and worked with scientific principles and techniques underlying neuromuscular, myofascial and structural massage and bodywork.
And, there is a strong philosophical, psychological and semantic background to the work, as well as other related disciplines. Along the way, David has participated in many personal growth trainings such as Insight, est, the Forum, Logonet, and others. Much of this material has been integrated into his DSL EdgeWork and DSL Let-Go Yoga Training Programs.
As a result of his independent studies, David has quietly, and in certain small circles, become an acknowledged expert in anatomy, kinesiology & physiology and the physical & mental workings of yoga and bodywork, especially their therapeutic applications. He has continued to integrate yoga, bodywork, wholistic medicine, philosophy and other modalities into his highly effective system, with a strong focus on in-depth study and application of their underlying scientific principles.
David Becomes A Teacher of His DSL System:
In 1989, Heartwood Institute, a residential healing arts school in the coastal mountains of northern California, needed a Deep Tissue instructor. They called Robert K. King, then two-time President of the American Massage Therapy Association and then co-owner of the well known Chicago School of Massage Therapy. King recommended that Heartwood bring David there to teach, where he began teaching his bodywork system, with small amounts of yoga. He was highly rated by students and staff. (Heartwood is located way up in the mountains, a few miles east of Garberville, California, a few hours north of San Francisco and an hour south of Eureka.)
After almost a year at Heartwood, he began traveling the country teaching his system to small groups of therapists. From 1992 to 1997, David worked with Linda J. Calandro, a leading, nationally recognized NMT (Neuromuscular Therapy) practitioner and trainer. She was an instructor for the St. John Neuromuscular system for ten years, and was one of the early pioneers responsible for introducing NMT into the chiropractic world in the Greater Tampa Bay/St. Petersburg area in Florida. (Linda now works in Buckhead, a community just north of downtown Atlanta, Georgia.)
As well as training therapists in The DSL Method (now called DSL EdgeWork), they collaborated for five years on advancing the scientific and clinical aspects of the work, especially expanding understandings of the Neuromuscular Sciences and Laws taught in NMT & Myofascial Release courses. These laws and sciences are not usually thoroughly taught, nor are they understood very well by most of the practitioners or even the teachers of NMT or Myofascial Release. David has done extensive research into the background of these principles, spending days on end in medical libraries, including Harvard Medical Library in Boston and the C.D.C. medical library in Atlanta.
Since 1989, David has taught his work to dozens of bodyworkers in 12 states across the U.S., by whom his courses were very highly regarded.
Kyle Wright, founder and former owner of the five schools, the Southeastern School of Massage and Neuromuscular Therapy, redesigned the curriculum of his schools based on what he learned from David in a three day workshop in Sarasota, Florida. This workshop was sponsored by David Shue, the blind NMT practitioner. Shue integrated David’s teachings into his practice, as well.
Bringing the Knowledge of Bodywork to Yoga Teachers:
Until 2002, David had for years not spent much time in the yoga community, working mostly with massage and bodywork practitioners, some physical therapists, and a few physicians; all in the context of primarily bodywork with yoga as a foundation and adjunct, but in the background.
In 2002, after moving to Sedona, Arizona, David was asked by the founders of the 7 Centers Yoga Arts school to teach anatomy and physiology in their one-month Yoga Teacher Training Intensives. They also asked him to integrate his system of Yoga/Bodywork principles and therapeutics into the program as much as possible with the limited time available.
David taught his work to several groups of yoga teachers and teacher trainees over the course of a year and a half. He received very positive feedback about his programs, and many of the students wanted more.
David admitted to a few of the groups that one of the reasons he had not spent more time with the yoga community is that he was embarrassed about the fact that, due to the many and significant injuries he had in his earlier years, he was the tightest, least flexible yoga teacher he knew. Yet, David was able to help his Students and Client get deeper into postures than they ever had before, or restore abilities they had lost due to injuries.
Because of the insights and results they received, and because the way they thought about, practiced and taught yoga was in some cases radically transformed by his teachings, they strongly encouraged him to get over this self-limiting embarrassment and start teaching his work more widely. The students strongly suggested that he take his work back to its roots, and begin more extensive trainings of yoga teachers and yoga therapists. . . . This web site is a first major step in that direction.
David has also now embarked on writing and publishing on yoga, bodywork and wholistic healing, primarily via the internet. He is also returning to training students on a wider basis, and is focusing on yoga teachers and yoga therapists at this time. (Learn About His System Here: DSL Edgework: Yoga-based Bodywork & Let-Go Yoga ). He will then begin marketing his programs, in slightly modified form, to massage and bodywork therapists, or when he is asked.
A Reputation for Results with Private Clientele:
To this day, David continues to work with Private Clients, continuing to refine his skills, ideas and knowledge. He has a reputation for solving the neuromuscular, musculoskeletal and myofascial problems of people who had been given up on by BOTH orthodox (allopathic) and alternative/wholistic practitioners.
David has had Private Clientele all across America and Mexico as well as Students from several countries including Europe and South America, and has a reputation for solving postural, neuromuscular, myofascial and musculoskeletal problems where many others have failed.
He is also available to speak to the General Public on Chronic, Excess Muscle Tension (C.E.M.&N.T.), as well as yoga, bodywork, and related bodymind topics.
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DSL: Your Hi-Touch Up-Link to the Inner-Net.