Update: This class will be offered again March 23-26, 2017, in the Austin area for $495. It’s an opportunity to get in on the beginning of a series of trainings that will be offered over the next couple of years as Ryan’s international training schedule and podcasting adventures allow. I will be a TA again. Contact Ryan here or get in touch with me if you have any questions.


Since January 2013, I have been studying biodynamic craniosacral therapy (aka Biodynamics) from Ryan Hallford. I’ve taken every class he offers twice, except the newest, Birth and Death, which I’m looking forward to. Here’s a list of them all.

Biodynamics is not memorizing and practicing bodywork techniques or working with a specific aspect of anatomy, like most training in massage and bodywork. In fact, you don’t have to have any kind of license to study this (but CE credits are available if you need them). People who have taken Ryan’s classes include curious recipients from all walks of life, massage therapists, acupuncturists, midwives, occupational therapists, chiropractors, EMTs, Feldenkrais teachers, yoga therapists, professional gardeners, people who work with horses, and I’ve heard that some MDs and DOs are interested.

If you’re not sure what Biodynamics is, my best short explanation is that in the 20th century, some seasoned cranial osteopaths, after years of hands-on sensing work that included a lot of stillness, realized that more was going on during sessions than just changes in their patients’ tissues, and that the less they tried to do, the more their patients’ inherent healing processes went to work.

They had stumbled upon the mysteries of hands-on healing.

Biodynamics, which continues to evolve, teaches people to do this.

For most of us, learning Biodynamics is not easy or quick, but what else are you doing with your life that could be more awesome than this?

Because Biodynamics is more about perceptual skills rather than making something happen, a lot of the training is about being present, being sensitive to your own sensations and the recipient’s and sensitive to energies in the fields surrounding you, allowing, witnessing, and understanding what you’re sensing.

It’s like meditating with your hands very gently connecting to the recipient, going “back to the beginning of all healing arts,” as Ryan says.

I was a TA for Ryan’s most recent class, Biodynamics I: Oceans in the Air, a huge privilege for which I am very grateful. I had breakthroughs, people! I would love to see you on my table if this interests you.

Working with a student

Ryan also is the creator of The Craniosacral Podcast, a great way to keep connected to craniosacral therapy teachers and experienced practitioners.

Ryan’s podcasts cover the gamut in the craniosacral world, and many of them have been fabulous. If you’d like to hear a story from a practitioner who involuntarily underwent a dramatic shamanic initiation, click here to listen to Michael Dunning tell his story.

Ryan put excerpts from that Biodynamics 1: Oceans in the Air training in January 2017 on his podcast, editing four days of training  down into 3.5 hours. You can listen here.

If you think you might be interested in pursuing this training, or in receiving Biodynamics work yourself, this is a great way to get an idea of what it’s about. You don’t have to listen to it all, of course. I recommend the following:

  • the guided meditation starting at 8:15
  • a lecture giving a big picture of this work starting at 30:12 (read the excerpts below)
  • my talented officemate Christian Current, who co-taught this class on day 4, sharing his experience at 2:48:10
  • a demo Ryan did on a student starting at 2:58:37

Excerpts from Ryan’s first-day lecture:

What is primary respiration? Primary respiration is a movement of the field of intelligence that holds natural and divine principles for human embodiment and consciousness. It’s a movement of a field.

This movement delivers a spark of energy and the blueprint for our form into the fluids of our body first, and then to our tissues. We become very interested in the fluid nature of our embodiment in this work. It holds so much potential for our wholeness, our correction, for our freedom.

Primary respiration informs, maintains, and repairs the metabolism of the fluid body and the biology of the soma. It works on structure, it works on chemical interactions, it works on the energetics of the body. This is a very comprehensive, very thorough approach to working with the body. What’s so beautiful is that it doesn’t break the body down into a bunch of little parts — it works with the wholeness. And you’ll be able to feel this more as we get going.

Primary respiration expresses itself in the background field, the aura, the biosphere, the bioelectric matrix, the blueprint. It’s a force that’s delivering something to us. It tends to operate in what for most of us is a background field. It’s not obvious in our day to day life.

Therefore, we meditate a lot in this work. We quiet our normal perceptions so that we can open up a veil to that background activity. That’s the realm of primary respiration, hidden from our normal consciousness most of the time. We practice the skills of opening that veil, opening that door, stepping into another world where there’s another set of principles operating. It feels different.

We’re going back to the beginning of all healing arts with this. Primary respiration has therapeutic significance. This is something we can learn to interface with that brings therapeutic change for us and for others, meaningful resolution to significant health issues for some people.

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