Til Luchau asks pioneering movement and bodywork teacher Judith Aston "Do you think being a woman ever held you back?" Then, they talk about what she thought of that question.

Get the full transcript and the answer to Judith's 9-dot puzzle below! 

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Til Luchau Advanced-Trainings
Til Luchau

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Whitney Lowe

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Full Transcript (click me!)

The Thinking Practitioner Podcast:
Episode 58: Two Guys Talking To Women: Outside the Box (with Judith Aston)

Til Luchau:

The Thinking Practitioner Podcast is supported by ABMP, Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals. ABMP membership gives professional practitioners like you a package, including individual liability insurance, free continuing education, quick reference apps, legislative advocacy and much more. ABMP's CE courses, podcast, and Massage and Bodywork Magazine, always feature expert voices and new perspectives in the profession, including myself and Whitney Lowe. Thinking Practitioner listeners can save on joining ABMP at abp.com/thinking. And Whitney is not with me today, but I do have a very special guest in the form of Judith Aston. Hello, Judith.

Judith Aston:

Hello, Til how are you?

Til Luchau:

I am very good. This is the first in my conversations around the topic of women in this profession, women teachers in particular, in this profession of massage and bodywork. And I'm so pleased that you could take the time to join us. Thanks for doing that.

Judith Aston:

You're welcome. Thank you.

Til Luchau:

Your name came to my mind immediately as Whitney and I were brainstorming about people we want to talk to about the subject. And in my mind, you need no introduction, but I think I should probably say something about, there's people who don't know me or don't know you, so I should probably say something. I know you as the developer of Aston Kinetics, the Aston paradigm. I met you in the late 1980s at Ansel Institute when I was in a program that you were on the faculty of with Don Johnson. And I was just out of rolfing school, and you worked with Dr. Rolf in this rolfing structural integration and had a major influence on the movement work that's still taught in that school today and then went on to develop your own systems. What am I leaving out that we should make sure we mention here at this point?

Judith Aston:

Well, let's see, I've been practicing since 1968.

Til Luchau:

Wow.

Judith Aston:

I've been teaching, I started teaching at a college, since I've been teaching since 1963.

Til Luchau:

Yeah.

Judith Aston:

So I guess somehow the way I see things has a slight little spiral in it, or a slightly off center with a question and people go-

Til Luchau:

It doesn't fit in this box. Let's see how it goes. I could talk about the influence you've had on me forever. That was the influence you had on me, I was right out of the discipline of structure integration, which you had had extensive background in. And you took me on a spiral. You sent me in an iteration of that that's been very rich and very curling and curved and loopy along the way. So for that, I'm very grateful.

Judith Aston:

Well, good.

Til Luchau:

Well, and there's more conversations I want to have with you, as I told you. But the one today was about this question of female, women teachers in our field. And it has been brought to my attention repeatedly that there are fewer women teachers in the field of massage in particular than there are male teachers. And so then when Whitney and I were talking about that, about how to bring that into our podcast, a discussion around that phenomenon, we thought let's talk to some people, some women in particular, who are teachers in the field. And basically we just have one question for you. Are you ready for it? Can I ask it?

Judith Aston:

Sure.

Til Luchau:

As a teacher in our field, do you feel that being a woman has held you back in any way?

Judith Aston:

Well, what was interesting for me to receive these questions, I was curious where they came from, in terms of did people express certain complaints or certain challenges for have women done that, et cetera? I didn't check out for the teachers in the field, but in terms of the percentages of females in the massage field, it's 86%, AMTA says it's 86% women and therefore 14% men. And PTs of 65%, et cetera, et cetera.

Til Luchau:

As practitioners, yeah.

Judith Aston:

As practitioners in the field. So to me, that makes your question much more interesting, because the women are there. They probably just need to be inspired for the next step to go in to teach what it is that they've learned and so on and so forth. So that changes that orientation, because really I had never even considered these things. I'll tell you, I evaluate people differently than male, female. I evaluate by qualities. So if someone has creativity as a quality, a very good mathematician, they can see, they have a very good perception, vision of the kinesthetic, et cetera. All those categories of people that male and females share along that whole continuum.

Judith Aston:

But the going into teaching, yeah, that's a really good question. I was a teacher. I was a teacher and I was in, unfortunately, two car accidents. One from hitting me from behind and one person driving the front of probably four lanes of us going 50 at least, decided to cross that highway while all of us were going. And that incident was that I hit him from the front of my car. And these two things left me very compromised in my body. And I had been teaching at places like Esalen and Kyros starting in '65. And I remember one of the psychiatrists that I was doing the movement for his workshops, I said, "Excuse me, I just got the report from the hospital, and they said there's no reason I should be handicapped with this pain. That they are concluding it's in my mind. And I happen to know it is not in my mind. Can you tell me, do you think I'm making this up?" And he said, "No, no." It turns out I found out that he had been a surgeon before he became a psychiatrist. And he said, "They just don't understand soft tissue injury." And I said, "Soft tissue injury. What is that?" He said, "Listen, I've just heard about," because he trained with Fritz Grills, he said, "I just heard about this woman, Dr. Ida Rolf. I hear she's a white witch and can really make things happen."

Til Luchau:

Now then wait a minute, this is your surgeon?

Judith Aston:

He was a surgeon who became a psychiatrist. Started leading groups for human potential, I think it was called. In that era, we were called in the human potential movement.

Til Luchau:

Okay. So he was out of the box already, but he said, "Okay, you got to know about this woman Ida Rolf."

Judith Aston:

And I said, "I'm on my way." So it happened to be during a break of some kind and truly I drove, well, I called my friends at Esalen and said, "Hey, do you know about this?" They said, "Yeah, she's coming." And I said, "Good, I'm coming up for a session. I've got to get a session with her." And they said, "Too bad, she's booked." And I said, "No, no, no, no." And they said, "Yeah, no, she's booked, Judith. And I said, "Okay, I'm coming anyway." So I came and I sat on her doorstep for two days. I thought perhaps she would have a cancellation. And you know, you remember her office was that one that Bernie Gunther used to use. Anyway, people used to use down at the bass right there in beautiful Big Sur Esalen, looking out at the ocean.

Til Luchau:

Yeah. I was there after those years, I was there in the '80s, so she had already passed. But yeah, no, her offices or the rooms, the classrooms she used are right there. And I had the privilege of working in those very offices seeing clients for a couple years. So yeah, I know that place very well.

Judith Aston:

Yeah. And so she said, "What are you doing here?" And I said, "I'm waiting for cancellation." And she slammed the door again. And so she must have asked about me. So at the end of that middle of that second day, she opens the door and said, "I have a cancellation for tomorrow two o'clock. Be here." I said, "I will." And she closed the door. So when I came, we just started the session. And my pain threshold is probably a very, very 0.0001. And I couldn't believe that I was squirming on the table going, "ow." And then she'd stop and I'd move the body part and I'd go, "Oh my goodness, that's improved." She'd go, "Of course it is." And so then we'd go on, and this was going through the whole session.

Judith Aston:

And at the end of this session, really no thought in my mind, never had occurred to me, don't even think I'd ever held a body work session or a massage at that time, she's says, "I understand that you create movement programs for people. I said, "Yes, yes I do." So she'd been asking Richard and, and da, da, da, and da, da, da and all the different people that ran with us, "Who is this strange woman?" And I said, "Yes, I do.: And she said, "Good. Do you think you could create a movement program for my work?" I said, "Sure. People hire me all the time for different programs." And she said, "Okay." And so then she said, "I have to train you." And I said, "Why?" This is me, the naive one.

Til Luchau:

You were ready to go. You said you get the session, yeah, we could do movement on this.

Judith Aston:

I said, "Why?" She said, "Well, you have to know what to do." And I said, "Well, I've been doing this for years now." Let's see, it was '68, So I've been teaching professionally for eight years. I said, "People have me come and watch what they do. I make up suggestions and questions and we meet and so on and so forth. And then this is how it goes." She said, "No, that won't work." And she said, "And the class starts in six weeks and it's six weeks wrong." And I said, "Oh, Dr. Rolf, I finally get to go to Europe and I don't think I can make it I've got at all my plans made." She said, "Change them." And I said, "Oh, Dr. Rolf, I'd really like to." And then this is where I saw the triple Taurus. Her head went like this.

Til Luchau:

Triple Taurus. It went forward. Yeah.

Judith Aston:

And she said, "I said, change it." And my little meek voice went, "Okay." And that's how we started. And so I sat in on different classes. I had audited that first class, and what happened in the first class was because I could see body patterns really well, I'd be standing in the back of the room trying not to be noticed because I didn't want to be the client for the session demo. And so I would be in the back leaning on the window sill and so on, and the rolfers would be kind of gravitating toward me. They'd say, "Judith, what do you see?" And I go, "I just see that the hip is high on the right and low on the left and opposite in the shoulders." So they'd move forward. And they'd say, "Yeah, I see the hip level is high on the right, low on the left and the opposite in the shoulder."

Til Luchau:

You were saying the same thing quietly in the background. Yeah.

Judith Aston:

No, I was telling them.

Til Luchau:

Oh, you were telling them. I'm sorry. Yes.

Judith Aston:

Yeah. And so they go forward. I got busted, anyway. But the point is, she said, "Okay, you need to teach my practitioners how to see body patterns." I said, "No problem." And then she said, "And can you create a movement program?" I said, "Sure." I said, "But after watching people do your work, perhaps they could learn some body mechanics on how to do the work a little more efficiently. Would that be okay?" And she goes, "Yeah, that'd be okay." So I did three forms of creating three forms for Dr. Rolf. One was teaching people how to see body patterns, so it was visual postural assessment. The second one was creating body mechanics usage for them to be more efficient in their work. Particularly if women trained, at that time she was only accepting very strong taller muscular women to do work at that time.

Til Luchau:

All right. So it's apparently a myth, but here's the myth I remember growing up with in quotes as a rolfer, and this must have been 15 years after this time period you're talking about, the story that we heard was that Ida would not let Judith train because she was a woman. Or then said, "Okay, I'll train you, but you can only work on children." Is this myth or is this fact?

Judith Aston:

No, this is the next segment.

Til Luchau:

Okay. I'm stealing your thunder. Sorry.

Judith Aston:

Not a problem. No, that's perfect. So interestingly enough, the last day of that class, everybody's driving off and I'm ready to hop in my 400 horsepower Firebird and get back to Long Beach, California.

Til Luchau:

Really? That's the car you had?

Judith Aston:

I had two of those Firebirds. Yes.

Til Luchau:

Okay. So you added a strong muscular car even if you weren't a strong muscular woman.

Judith Aston:

Right. However, I had always known leverage in terms of body usage. But anyway, and so Dr Rolf says, "I'll walk you out to your car." Now I had been Dr. Rolf's driver all those six weeks. I drove her to Big Sur, I bought things for her, I took her laundry, I brought people to meet with her, as well as the training and so on and so forth. Anyway, we were walking out to the car, and we're walking and I'm getting really something is off here. So we're at my car and she says, "I'm not going to take you on. You're too small, you'll never make it in the field. You'll only hurt yourself and I'm not going to do that." And I said, "Well, I don't think so. I don't think you're correct." And she said, "The answer is no." And I said, "Well, I just have to prove you wrong." Hopped in my car, I drove very quickly down those curvy roads in Big Sur. And I stopped at a massage school on my way home and enrolled.

Til Luchau:

You were going to get the prerequisite massage training, you were going to get it done and do it.

Judith Aston:

And the people there said, "Oh my goodness, you have all these skill sets." I said, "Yes." And they said, "Would you like to maybe trade some of your skill sets for some of the course?" I said, "Sure." And so then Dr. Rolf is coming to LA, I understand she's coming to LA. So I find out the total cost of the course, I gain 10 pounds, I beefed up. I write the check for the-

Til Luchau:

This is muscle, I assume, you were lifting weights.

Judith Aston:

Yeah, it's muscle. I got up to 120. So anyway, and then I walked with my very best Rolf line with the Rolf walk where the psoas, you tip the pelvis back and that thrusts the knee forward, I'm telling you I had everything in order. And so they said, "Dr. Rolf is in here, she's meeting with a few people but she's through." So I walk in, I don't know if you know this walk, the elbows go out, the knees to forward, the waistline goes back, that one.

Til Luchau:

Of course, I know that one.

Judith Aston:

I'm walking in so on and so forth, I pass her, I have this check in my hand and I drop it on her lap and I continue walking. And if you ever hear Dr. Rolf laugh in some of the tapes you've ever heard, she had the most magnificent laugh, most magnificent deep full bodied laugh. And she burst out laughing, she said, "Okay, okay, okay." I said, "You want me to train?" She said, "Okay," like that, "But only with children, small women and children." I said, "Okay." So I trained with, I think when I trained in February 1969, I was with Jan.

Til Luchau:

Jan Sultan.

Judith Aston:

Mm-hmm. I can't remember some of the other people. But I know that Emit was auditing.

Til Luchau:

This would be Emit Hudson, he was my original rolfing teacher, yeah.

Judith Aston:

Yeah. And anyway, it was a great group. And oh my goodness, that was where I connected with- and he came to lecture us about the importance of the tone of the Pubococcygeal muscle and so on and so forth, and then he wrote a book about it. Anyway.

Til Luchau:

This wouldn't be Kegel, would it?

Judith Aston:

Yes, Dr. Kegel.

Til Luchau:

Okay.

Judith Aston:

So then, I was intrigued with all of that, and so I went to meet with Dr. Kegel and I, again, because I'm a problem solver, so once I see certain kinds of problems, there's just something, Til, that happens with me, and maybe this is just something that the people that don't know their teachers could relate to, there's just something, like I can be walking down the street and something catches me and I back up to see what just got my attention. And it's someone in either an unusual walking pattern or someone doing something that's unusual and I just quickly assess or I walk away going, "Oh, that's intriguing, if they only knew about asymmetrical spiraling, they could use that cane in such a different way. But I know it's not appropriate for me to say something." But it catches my attention.

Judith Aston:

So Dr. Kegel's work, and so much of the Kegel exercise and where they got the work, which was from the Egyptians, and what they did with women who just had babies, they would have them sit in these chairs that were open at the pelvis area and they would have something that was boiling that they would put liquid in there and it would spit up and the women would contract, and that would draw up. And other than that though, that might have been the reason they started, but the point is, I kept thinking, "This is so strange, because why would you do exercise in line with gravity adding the down weight? Wouldn't you go upside down?" So I then did on the floor and then I did feet on the wall, and then I actually did on my handstand.

Til Luchau:

I think you're talking about the paradox of the fact that the pelvis floor is like a floor.

Judith Aston:

Yeah.

Til Luchau:

And you're wondering how can we use gravity helpfully with that situation since everything's above that floor in normal upright position, is that right?

Judith Aston:

Mm-hmm.

Til Luchau:

That's fascinating.

Judith Aston:

So therefore, and that was before I really understood about the ground reaction force. But there I was, and it's kind of like, "Oh my goodness, the tone," and there are ways that you can measure your tone, and the tone is increased and I've just taught this for so many decades to people and they get so much help. I think we even have something up on that somewhere on our website. Anyway. And so it just has been this, "How could I do this easier or better?" So once I got trained, and particularly when Dr. Rolf would have me come and assist her in her classes, I assisted her in Big Sur, I assisted her in New York, I assisted her in New Jersey. I don't think I got there in Florida, but then again in Boulder, Denver area. And I would then have to go demonstrate for the men these moves. And I realized what I had to recruit was not what I was doing in my private practice. And I could really leverage using the push off my feet and squeezing my body in every plane 360 by 360 in order to have the strength to get to the place that I wanted to.

Judith Aston:

But what I had discovered when I was working at home with clients in my home office, well in any office that I was teaching, was that all tissue had a grain. And you could either go with the grain or against it. And I remember one time being at dissection, I said, "I got to try this out." And we had a cadaver for my class, and I was going this way on the intercostals and it looked like I was ironing it and I turned around and went the other way and it frayed. I said, "This is the way it feels to me. I feel like I get the change so much faster, easier, with less pain, when I'm not going perpendicular but longitudinal with the grain of the tissue at the angle that it's going." Which could be what I call the 360 by 360, it could be any direction.

Til Luchau:

You're talking about a radical switch from a paradigm where you were accomplishing it by using leverage, like you said, a certain amount of strength, perhaps, but a lot of movement smarts to do this very yang kind of modality that other people were using quite a bit of pressure in that style at that time.

Judith Aston:

Well, and the question is, is compression the best answer for all of this work that we do? Because compression is pressing tissue against tissue. I like gliding tissue in a direction that moves that tissue below it also, or in opposite by my other hand bringing it in opposition so I'm working the two surfaces at the same time.

Til Luchau:

Which as it turns out, is some of the best explanations we have for the changes we see in fascia work is the interface, getting things to slide against each other.

Judith Aston:

Right. So I just got so fascinated with all of that. And then I realized that, I don't know if you ever read the article, I did a presentation for the Yazi Convention in 2018 in Seattle. And I brought in my slideshow, the nine dot box, you know that three dots?

Til Luchau:

I don't know, tell us the important part of that.

Judith Aston:

It's this one.

Til Luchau:

Okay. So nine dots in a square, got it.

Judith Aston:

Yeah. And I used it because the assignment for someone when you look at this, connect the center of each dot with four continuous straight lines. You have to go outside the box.

Til Luchau:

So four dots in a square in a box. We'll see if we can put this in the show notes somehow so people can get a visual.

Judith Aston:

Yeah, four lines connecting the nine dots. Any you cannot do it if you stay inside the box. So I used it at my presentations saying I've always been inspired by, and people tell me I inspire them by thinking outside the box. So I wanted to encourage you to look at this differently.

Til Luchau:

As you've told the story of really finding your way to do the work with the grain in a way where you could accomplish by using your leverage and movement intelligence, but you found a way that was right for you.

Judith Aston:

Yeah, and also I could feel the consequence of it and I could see the consequence of all these wonderful people that I worked with in the rolfing trainings and thereafter that came to me for years and years, and compressive forces that they were needing to do and therefore squeezing their joints and adding torsion around their joints for stability, was aging them more quickly. And so I kept saying, "Let me just see if I can help you find the dance." And they go, "That's why you're a dancer." I say, "Well, a dance can be any movement. It can be a very, very slow movement and you're watching it go from point A to Z or A to B. A dance is your tempo, your pressure, your asymmetry, your asymmetrical strength right to left. All of these different things can be addressed." And so a lot of the rolfers started coming to me for furthering their education on body usage and learning techniques.

Judith Aston:

And then one of the things happened, let's see, I'm talking about, I started doing the trainings '71, '72. '73, I realized I wanted to teach people to do a three dimensional massage for one, how they could create the tissue availability for specificity by doing the strokes first, re-hydrating certain tissues that were just, what I call functional. So I have a category of a line down here, this is a functional holding pattern, and it moves all the way to a structural holding pattern. And as that line develops and progresses, it becomes more adhered, so the adhesions need structural work to release them and the functional holding patterns if caught easy where you'd fall, that you could be given movements and how to do self massage to neutralize that on the spot. If I fall, I'm taking care of myself on the street. People go, "Can I help you up?" "No, thank you." Meaning giving people tools to take care of themselves from what happens to them.

Judith Aston:

And so the rolfers started coming and I realized I kept saying, "I don't know, but I find that I can use superficial tissue by the way I hold it and stabilize it and rotate it, I can use it as a tool to work very deep tissue." And they'd say, "Oh, we've already learned that." And I said, "Well, interesting, because the thing is, that after all the work that you guys are doing and I'm doing, I don't know what's happening, but I don't see the movement going through to the skeletal system."

Til Luchau:

And you found ways to teach that and do that in your work.

Judith Aston:

And so I created the work called arthrokinetics, where I was trying to get movement at the joints and alone bones. And I have to say, I listened to a little bit of your podcast with Dr. Stecco, is it?

Til Luchau:

Yes.

Judith Aston:

And I got very excited because these are the things I have been teaching since 1974.

Til Luchau:

Fascinating.

Judith Aston:

Oh, please, that would be arrogant if I didn't explain. What I meant was, these are the ideas and discoveries I've been working with. I don't know what work, so I can't say -

Til Luchau:

No, of course, we know what you mean. But what do you think of my question, by the way? I asked you about if you felt like being a woman has held you back, and you told us this story of finding your way through and finding a way to make things yours and finding your contribution. So am I asking the right question?

Judith Aston:

Well, I just haven't seen it as a male female thing. I know it exists and I know that a lot of people think, so when I heard the EMTA say 86% of women and 14% are men that are doing the work, it's kind of like whoa, I would never have thought that. Because men seem, I don't know if you have the statistics, I didn't look up teachers, you should look that up. What is the statistic for the number of male teachers in the world on the field of OTPT, body work?

Til Luchau:

That's very interesting, I don't know if someone's actually studied, but that is certainly the impression from looking at publicity, we see a lot of male faces. And I know that there's a lot of awareness and sensitivity to making sure that we're inclusive, that if we have a panel that's all guys, it's a blind spot on our side, for example. I'm also just really aware of how, as you were just talking, you mentioned the years '71, '72, '73, there was a lot going on in the culture then.

Judith Aston:

What was going on in the '70s that you're referring to?

Til Luchau:

Well, there was a lot of discussion around the role of women, namely. Let's leave it behind if it's not something that is relevant or is interesting to talk about.

Judith Aston:

No, I missed it.

Til Luchau:

You missed it.

Judith Aston:

I don't know how that happens. I was just busy. I've always been busy my whole life. It's true, I've had certain things where, "Well, we want to give this job to a man." And it's like, "Okay, fine." And it just redirects me to something else. But I think there are, again, I talk about qualities instead of male female, but there are people that are artists, on the continuum of male or female, there are artists everywhere, there are sensitive people everywhere, there are intuitives everywhere. And so the qualities of certain female traits, perhaps, or male traits, that might be successful, I think it highlighted rather than really about men and women.

Til Luchau:

That's interesting. That's great. All right. Well, it's not even something you thought about, you said, it's not even questions you've considered before. We came in with this question, do you feel that it's held you back, and that wasn't even a question that you'd really gone for. And like I said, you told me the story about not being held back.

Judith Aston:

Right. And it was interesting, you did send me that question and it was interesting, and my interpretation was that I need to ask Til, was he feeling sorry for me in some way? Perhaps, I was remembering, and I don't know, this might be something I want edited out, but I was thinking that there are a couple of times in a couple presentations where I go into this place of, let me just tell you, for example, a person that was working with a couple of my practitioners in Boulder, and he was a scientist for Martin Marietta. And he asked me to come to walk around certain things that he would love my input on as a scientist and so on and so forth. And he took me to this place and he said, "What do you think about this?" And I said, "Well, yeah, it's not so efficient for the people working there." And he took me to another room and I noticed that now I have a group of people following us and they're taking notes.

Judith Aston:

And it was something about the MMU unit, the chair that was designed for people that were going to be there 24/7 on the job, and what did I think about this handle? And I tried it, and I said, "Oh my goodness, this is opposite of what it should be, because you're going to have to pull up against gravity and contract the hand the whole time. But if you reverse that and put the mechanism on the top, the person only has to lean forward and use their body weight to hold it down." And they went, "That's brilliant. Thank you." And then people are writing and so forth, so I turn to them and I say, "Hey, what's going on here? Because I do have product designs, I don't think I want to just walk around, let's talk about this."

Judith Aston:

Anyway, he asked me to participate in a human factors meeting that was an international meeting that was held at the Martin Marietta offices that evening. And since I was in town I said, "Oh, sure." He said, "Well, would you say a few words?" And I said, "Sure, yeah."

Til Luchau:

I don't want you to steal my designs or my ideas, but yeah, happy to say a few words to you.

Judith Aston:

And so I say a few things. And this woman from maybe Denmark, anyway, this woman jumps out of her seat and she screams, "How dare you say these things to us? You have no right to say these things."

Til Luchau:

Sorry, what did you say?

Judith Aston:

Oh, I talked about my new paradigm for body alignment.

Til Luchau:

Right, and she was offended somehow.

Judith Aston:

The foot, the arch in the foot is canted so if you put the 90 degree angle on that, which is what Dr. Rolf was her line up to the ear, you're only using half of the foot, so I inclined the body forward, not horizontally, on an angle a couple of degrees. And it changes everything about shoes, it changes everything about teaching running classes, it changes everything. So anyway, she's screaming. And I am panicked, I've got the mic and I'm going, oh my goodness. And she sits down and I say, "I apologize, I was asked to talk about my ideas. These are not research. I don't seem to feel like I have the time or I haven't found a university that wants to research these things, but I'm just sharing them in case they're helpful, because they seem to be helpful to the people who hire me." And I've had that happen two, three, four times, that people are outraged.

Judith Aston:

Even with Dr. Upledger in Curacao, he came up after I had finished and after someone said, "You can't talk about the brain and the body needing to be symmetrical, you have nothing." And I talked about, "Listen, we develop around the organs, the organs, are asymmetrical, they're different sizes, they have different weights, surely this accommodates for some of the asymmetry." And he comes up after the person has really been yelling again, and says, "I do surgery on the brain and I've been inside the brain, it's asymmetrical. The body is asymmetrical, I support Judith on this 100%."

Judith Aston:

So sometimes, because of those experiences, you've probably heard me then get really quiet as I'm starting to say something that might explode. And it's not because I don't believe in what I'm saying, it's not that at all. It's kind of like I'm waiting for the shoe to drop or someone to say, and it happened in a couple of the things that we were just in in the jams, I'm trying to remember. Because my skill sets and my studies are not the physiology and the chemistry and the mechanics in terms of the way it's taught. I don't have knowledge on those things. Mine has been reading bodies, seeing where they are and where they're compromised, and being able to teach people how to palpate the different layers of the body and bring a layer up from the deep or how to create slack to go from a superficial tight layer into deep so something holding it deeper can release.

Til Luchau:

Going with the grain, taking it into the restriction, not necessarily pushing it out of it-

Judith Aston:

Yeah, and the scar tissue, scar tissue that lays down...

Til Luchau:

In tight layers, different directions, yeah.

Judith Aston:

You're doing a move, ooh, and then you're going ooh and then you're coming out ooh.

Til Luchau:

All different directions, really fine little touch.

Judith Aston:

All different directions, and suddenly they start sliding together, but they spiral because they still have their influence that goes. So when I heard the word sheer, I think it was Dr. Stecko talking about sheer, sheer I feel it always has to be three dimensional. And if it's only on two planes, it's missing something. It's three dimensional even if it's almost on a flat surface, because the body has these dips and history of adhesions and so on and so forth.

Til Luchau:

Well, certainly your answer to my two dimensional question has added dimension. I come in with almost a polarity of a question, do you feel like being a woman has held you back? And you've answered it out of the box and you're taking us into a multidimensional consideration and answer of the possibilities involved as opposed to this two dimensional polarity that I started with. I want to ask you one more question before we're done. The original question was, do you have advice for women interesting in teaching? But I want to encourage you to jump out of that box too, if you'd like. Do you have advice for people interesting in teaching now?

Judith Aston:

When someone is enthusiastic who lives what they say, that demonstrates in their work their love, appreciation for a person in their history, and can create something for that person in the moment that honors them, is very different than, "You come, I'll give you course sessions, you'll be fixed." It's a different orientation about that. And I think that a lot of the holding patterns that Dr. Rolf taught hat I taught held people in certain ways so that they appeared as though they were a certain way, but it was really a strain. It's the same thing, it's kind of like when I would teach this plumb line, top of the head, and I would look at different people who teach the head reaching and I'd say, "Wow, they've flattened the cervicals. It's not good to reach with the head, there's something wrong here." And that's where I discovered, I said, "It almost should be the earth, we should push off the earth." And then my naive self finds out it has a name.

Til Luchau:

You were describing the ground reaction force now.

Judith Aston:

Yep. And I remember someone saying, "Judith, that thing you call pushing off the ground, it has a name." I said, "I love it." And I immediately started calling it GRF or griffing. And the reality is that when you push off the earth, you recycle the ground force going up and you exhale and you let the gravity reload your body. And this is what keeps the body vital and younger. People often say, "Hey, you're doing pretty well for your age," and then they ask me my age and I say whatever and then they say, "Oh, I thought you were a little younger."

Til Luchau:

Younger than whatever.

Judith Aston:

Yeah, younger than 80 and a half. And so the piece there is that this recycling keeps the body jucier and more able to make changes more quickly.

Til Luchau:

Yeah. Well I love it that you decided to play ball with my questions and found your way through it. I really love your answers. And as complicated as a man even asking about these things and presuming I know anything, but you've helped me sit back and think about it in a new way. I really appreciate that.

Judith Aston:

Well, you know Til, I just think you're terrific, number one.

Til Luchau:

Mutual, by the way.

Judith Aston:

Huh?

Til Luchau:

It's mutual.

Judith Aston:

It's just having known you for a long time, and not that we're really close or have spent much time, but the point is, you have this integrity and passion and very bright mind operating at all times. So something that could go one way it seems like is going another way. And you have a presence to kind of calm it or bring it forth.

Til Luchau:

Thank you. Well, thanks for that description and that gift, that means a lot coming from you.

Judith Aston:

And so when it comes to teaching, that's my job. In fact, I want to say that since you asked me, Til, I was thinking maybe I'll do a short class someday, maybe soon, I don't know, two day class for my colleagues on some of these concepts. Because they're just so fun.

Til Luchau:

They are. Well, how can people find out about that or more about your work if they want to know more about what you're up to and what you do? Where would you direct them to look?

Judith Aston:

Yeah, I think our website is astonkinetics.com. And office@astonkinetics is our email.

Til Luchau:

All right, we'll put those in the show notes for sure.

Judith Aston:

And we have a newsletter and we have classes, we've tried to go to as much as possible online. It's challenging, but I have learned how to teach people some of the bodywork on line.

Til Luchau:

It is challenging, but the bits of your work that I bit in mine have also been very satisfying and stimulating. So we're finding ways to use this medium through all its limitations and perfections to at least stay in touch. So I appreciate you joining me here in this way too. So yeah, people can find out more about your work in those places. If you want a consultation on your spacecraft design, please hire Judith, don't try to get free consulting by just asking her interesting questions. But we'll make sure all of those links are there for you. Thank you, Judith, for joining me today.

Judith Aston:

Thank you, Til. You are such an inspiration, really, for all of you are creating and sharing, you and Whitney. Thank you, thank you.

Til Luchau:

It's a pleasure. And then thanks to our closing sponsor, Handspring, when I was looking for a publisher for a book I wanted to write, I was fortunate to have ended up with two offers, one from a large international media conglomerate, and the other from Handspring, a small publisher in Scotland, run by four great people who love great books and who love our field. To this day, I'm glad I chose to go with Handspring, as not only did they help me make the books I wanted to share, the AMT series, but their catalog has emerged as one of the leading collections of professional level books written especially for body workers, movement teachers, and all professionals who use movement or touch to help patients achieve wellness. Handspring's move to learn webinars are free 45 minute broadcasts featuring their offers, including one that I did with them. Head on over to their website at handspringpublishing.com to check these out. Be sure to use the code TTP, like The Thinking Practitioner, at checkout for a discount. Thanks, Handspring.

Judith Aston:

And Handspring did my book.

Til Luchau:

Yeah, they did. Remind me the name of your book, we'll make sure we put that in the show notes.

Judith Aston:

Yeah, Handspring did my book Aston Postural Assessment.

Til Luchau:

Aston Postural Assessment. So check out Judith's book on their site as well, check out the show notes on our sites, there's transcript links in all these things here. Who knows, maybe Judith will even let me put a picture of her there. You can find that on Whitney's site at academyofclinicalmassage.com or on my site advanceddashtrainings.com. If there are questions you have or things you want to hear us talk about, just email us at info@thethinkingpractitioner.com. Look for us on social media under my names, Til Luchau, that's me, or Whitney Lowe, who will be back next episode. Rate us on Apple Podcasts, as it really does help other people find the show. And you can hear us on Spotify, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, or wherever else you listen. Thanks a million. And thanks again, Judith, it's been such a pleasure.

Judith Aston:

Thank you, thank you, Til.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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