This blog is primarily for those of you who are familiar with Craniosacral Therapy but unfamiliar with the Biodynamic approach.
The Biodynamic practitioner “does” less and listens more. She taps into an even deeper layer, a subtle force that is pure consciousness, the most essential life force and expression of a higher intelligence at work within the human condition. This pure consciousness is received by the cerebrospinal fluid and manifested in the body as tide-like motions generated within the fluids of the body. This is Primary Respiration, an energetic whole-body breathing and what we do inside the womb before lung breathing.
Primary respiration has three distinct tides or waves, corresponding to deeper and deeper levels of stillness, where the body reorganizes itself and heals as a session progresses. The practitioner does not demand or direct; instead, she allows the session to reveal itself moment by moment. The practitioner simply holds presence for the client’s unfoldment process. There is a feeling of deep stillness in these sessions. *
1. Cranial Wave
The cranial wave is the first level of consciousness in primary respiration; it is felt as the rhythm of the cerebrospinal fluid as it moves back and forth between the cranium and the sacrum. It is the rhythm we first feel when we place our hands on a client, which is separate from the respiratory and cardiovascular rhythms. The cranial wave pulsates at the rate of 6 to 14 cycles per minute. This rate varies across clients and within the same client, depending on his or her state of health or stress, and environmental issues. The cranial wave is an expression of our individual patterns.
2. Fluid or Mid Tide
Fluid or mid-time is rhythm that is felt as both the practitioner and the client move into a deeper state of relaxation beyond the cranial wave. It takes place when the cranial wave comes to a stillpoint and the whole body of the client moves with primary respiration. Both the client and the practitioner have an expansion in awareness that takes them towards the walls of the room and the horizon. Fluid tide has a steady rhythm unlike the cranial wave: 2.5 cycles per minute; it does not vary across clients and it does not depend on the client’s state of health. This is where our patterns may start resolving and change.
3. Air or Long Tide
Long tide follows fluid tide. The rhythm of primary respiration slows down to 100 seconds per minute. As in fluid tide, this rhythm does not vary across clients nor does it depend on a client’s health. It happens as an even deeper sense of stillness fills the room as if it came from the outside, and the practitioner’s awareness expands beyond the horizon. For me as a practitioner,
this is when I enter the realm of the divine: a space of oneness, the merging between the client, myself and divine presence, a space of no ego. In long tide I am aware of my divinity whether I am a client or a practitioner. There is an enormous amount of clarity and healing in long tide. As a client, it is a place where I “see” myself, where patterns of dysfunction are shown to me with loving clarity, vision and insight. It is this state of consciousness and its healing potential that attracts me to Biodynamic Craniosacral work.
* This description is based on Charles Ridley’s “Stillness: Biodynamic Cranial Practice and the Evolution of Consciousness.”