US Trager Association 2015 National Conference: Movement, Meditation and Medicine

Reisterstown, Maryland
Saturday, October 03, 2015


Pre-Conference Workshop

Ethics in Action: Full Body Presence and Healthy Boundaries – Suzanne Scurlock-Durana

NCBTMB 4 CE’s Ethics (Standard V). Saturday, October 3 2:15pm to 6:15 pm

*** FULL. Wait List created. ***
  This is part of the Tutor and Instructor Meetings. All others will be wait listed.

Drawing from her rich background as a professional bodyworker, teacher and therapist, wife and mother, Suzanne Scurlock-Durana has taught and mentored in the area of conscious awareness and its relationship to heal-ing for over 25 years. Her passion is in teaching others how to let the deep wisdom of their bodies inform and help them to navigate life. Being grounded in this body wisdom helps us to rediscover our innate spiritual selves and develop emotional intelligence. In this 4-hour, pre-conference workshop, Suzanne will teach skills in developing “full body presence” to help participants feel more grounded and energetically full. From this place of abundance, participants will explore how to develop a therapeutic presence for their clients and establish and maintain healthy boundaries, which serve as a guide to determine ethical behavior in any situation.

In addition to developing and teaching the Healing From the Core Program on which this workshop is based, Suzanne practices and teaches CranioSacral Therapy and SomatoEmotional Release, and is on the faculty of Esalen Institute. For almost two decades, she collaborated annually with Emilie Conrad, integrating Continuum movement with healing presence. She has authored hundreds of articles, maintains a blog, and is working on her second book.


Post-Conference Workshops

Pelvic Power for Strength, Stability and Core Integration – Eric Franklin

NCBTMB 4 CE’s (approval pending, as of Oct, 2014. Check for update.) Tuesday, October 6, 2:15 pm to 6:15 pm

Imagine a fresh yet practical approach to understanding the anatomy and biomechanics of the pelvis, and how the pelvis affects the health and well-being of the lower back, knees, and feet. Discover through direct experience how increasing the power, alignment, and flexibility of the pelvis ultimately leads to effortless alignment and balance for your whole body. Eric Franklin will use imagery, language, and practical movement exercises to present a dynamic and integrated way of understanding the pelvic bones, joints, ligaments, and muscles. Learn the importance of the pelvic ligaments in creating the pelvic biotensegrity system. Learn how the pelvic musculature relates to the abdominal muscles. Participants will leave with a sense of aligned strength through the pelvic floor, their feet firmly balanced on the ground, and their spine long and buoyant.


Four Pillars of a Healthy Spine: Emotions, Strength, Balance, Flexibility – Eric Franklin

NCBTMB 4 CE’s (approval pending, as of Oct, 2014. Check for update.) Wednesday, October 7, 9 am to 1 pm

*** FULL. Wait List created. ***
  This is part of the Tutor and Instructor Meetings. All others will be wait listed.

The spine is a masterpiece of design containing over one hundred joints and associated muscles and ligaments. How then is it possible that so many people suffer from debilitating pain associated with the spine? Many factors including social and psychological issues, strength, balance, and stability influence spinal health. Eric Franklin will address these factors in a practical manner, which will lead to positive changes on emotional and functional levels. Participants will learn why the spine has curves and discover how to improve their function; explore the psychological aspect of back pain and take a crack at exercises that lift the “mood” of the back and body; learn how imagery can instantly benefit the spine; and play with exercises to strengthen the intervertebral discs, joints, and muscles.

Eric Franklin earned his BS from the University of Zurich and his Bachelor of Fine Arts at the New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. With a background in dancing and choreography, he founded and directs the Franklin Method. This Method, which originally was developed for dancers but has broad applications for all types of movement and movement therapy, combines creative visualization, embodied anatomy, and mental and physical exercises to improve bodily motion and function with maximum efficiency. Eric teaches at universities and schools worldwide and in 1998, he introduced the first dance conditioning methodology to mainland China. He presents his work at numerous conferences and has authored 19 books.



Plenary Sessions  —  When we all come together!

Russell Jaffe, MD, PhD
Milton Trager Continues to Weigh Gently in My World
Saturday evening, 8:15pm
Dr. Russell Jaffe, a progressive and visionary holistic scientist/researcher and father of a TRAGER Practitioner, began his life's work as a skeptic who sought to disprove holistic forms of health care.  Experiential learning transformed him into a student and then researcher in such areas as Traditional Chinese Medicine, acupuncture, active meditation, homeopathy, and manipulative arts. Motivated by his personal transition, Dr. Jaffe went on to start the Health Studies Collegium, a think tank that focuses on sustainable solutions to global health needs. In this plenary session, he will share personal reflections and present scientific evidence on the benefits of bodywork and will discuss how touch and movement promote well-being, a civil society, and a better health care delivery system.

Roger Tolle
With Great Joy!
Every morning after breakfast
Drawing from his collective years as a modern dancer and as a skilled TRAGER Practitioner and Instructor, Roger will guide us to dive deep into the foundations of our work. He will reawaken the central principles of presence, curiosity, softness, weight, waves, pause, and resonance. We'll deepen the experience of group process as we explore mind/body movement with music and will be challenged to integrate the practices into being at the Conference and beyond. Roger produced the popular “Body ReMinder” Mentastics Playing Cards, as well as several review videos for students, and introductory videos for the public. 

Jonathan Foust
Awakened Body, Awakened Heart, Awakened Mind, Mindfulness Strategies for Healing Yourself and Others
Sunday morning
“Enlightenment is an accident. Meditation makes you accident-prone.” Wisdom traditions say that healing emerges from non-judging awareness. When you not only realize what is present in the moment, but can be intimate with what is arising and give it space to move and express itself, new possibilities arise. Jonathan will use anecdotal stories and guided meditation to help you understand and directly experience the nature of reality, and to develop mindfulness strategies that will enhance not only your TRAGER practice, but your life as well. Jonathan Foust, MA, CSA is a guiding teacher with the Insight Meditation Community of Washington and a founder of the Meditation Teacher Training Institute.  A senior teacher and former president of Kripalu Center, he leads retreats, and trainings in the Washington DC area and around the country. Trained as a TRAGER practitioner and drawing on his years immersed in yoga and meditation, Jonathan also works 1:1 with individuals interested in healing and spiritual awakening.  He is the creator of an audio course with Sounds True called “Body-Centered Inquiry:  Meditation Training to Awaken Your Inner Guidance, Vitality and Loving Heart.”

Stephen  Levin, MD
Biotensegrity and Dynamic Anatomy
Monday morning
As a young orthopedic surgeon in the mid 1970’s, Dr. Stephen Levin recognized that the Newtonian mechanics he had learned in medical school did not accurately describe how a spine works. Influenced in part by Buckminister Fuller’s idea of tensegrity (tension integrity) for the geodesic dome, Dr. Levin coined the term Biotensegrity and has been a leading proponent of this theory. Years ago he discussed his new ideas with Dr. Milton Trager, and now that his Biotensegrity theory is more fully developed, he is pleased to have the opportunity to talk about it with the TRAGER community. In the plenary workshop, he plans to give an introduction to why the conventional mechanical-lever model for the body is fallacious, how the biotensegrity model was developed, and how it applies to the fascial-muscular system. Dr. Levin trained as an Orthopedic and Spine Surgeon and was formerly Clinical Associate Professor at Michigan State University and Howard University. He studied General Systems Theory with noted biologist, Timothy Allen, and now, retired from clinical practice, he considers himself a Systems Biologist.

Eric Franklin
Imagery and Movement Education
Tuesday morning
Founded by Eric Franklin in 1994, the Franklin Method uses imagery, anatomical embodiment, physical and mental exercises, and educational skills to teach dynamic alignment and ways to move the body with maximum efficiency to keep it youthful and energized. In this session, Eric, who is a dancer, movement educator, university lecturer, and writer, will lead an intellectual and scientific discussion on the basics of imagery and its far-reaching applications using visuals and interactive audience participation. Eric will also be presenting two post-conference workshops.


Conference Workshops

Sunday afternoon

Liquid Hook-Up: The Vast Ocean of Pleasure Inside Us – Piermario Clara

All cells in our bodies float in an inner ocean. As in the canals of Venice and Amsterdam, our bodies contain channels that convey fuel, building materials, mail, garbage, maintenance crews, and defense forces. During a TRAGER session, we move the internal liquids of our clients as well as our own. Workshop participants will explore how TRAGER can keep internal channels open and improve circulation. Piermario Clara developed and managed hi-tech software projects for more than 20 years. He has been a professional bodyworker and personal trainer since 1994 with a widespread back-ground in kinesiology, Postural Integration, Lymphatic Drainage, CranioSacral Therapy, Alexander Technique, massage, and Gestalt Therapy. He is a TRAGER Practitioner, Tutor, and Instructor.


Mindful Joints – Eileen Dickinson

TRAGER reaches the mind through presence, touch and movement. When we know more about the anatomy and physiology of joints we can play more effectively with movement, reach the mind more broadly and deeply, enhance movement in our clients, and speak about our work with more specificity. Eileen Dickinson will explore the perceptual and global effects of working consciously with the “mind” of joints and proprioceptor activity within and around joints. Come learn how playing with joints more specifically increases the resolution (pixels) in the proprioceptive map, and provides homuncular refreshment for ourselves and our clients. Eileen has been a physical therapist for almost 40 years and has a passion for anatomy, which has greatly enhanced her effectiveness as a TRAGER Practitioner and Tutor. She integrates anatomy into supervised practice days focused around specific body areas.

This workshop will be repeated Monday, early afternoon.

Holding Space for Open Possibilities – Roger Hughes

Guiding the client’s positive feeling state from the table into active movement is one of the potent medicines we pre-scribe as TRAGER practitioners. A prelude to this prescription resides in the ‘hooked up’ moments that frame the opening and closing of the session. Roger will pose a range of questions to explore and to prompt how our intention, stance, and dialogue can lead to a genuine integrative process for our clients. What qualities of hook up would you like to enrich in your sessions? Roger graduated from the Chicago School of Massage Therapy in 1995. In 2002 he was certified as a TRAGER Practitioner, a tutor in 2010 and most recently as a supervised practice leader in 2014. He has led introductory workshops throughout the Midwest. As a volunteer, Roger provides TRAGER sessions for survivors of tor-ture at the Marjorie Kovler Center in Chicago. In 2014 he received the ‘Pioneer in Massage Therapy’ award from the AMTA’s Illinois Chapter. Roger has been a Dr. Vodder therapist in MLD since

Neuroscience Meets Milton Trager – Kathryn Hansman-Spice

Recent developments in neuroscience affirm key principles of the TRAGER Approach. In this workshop, Kathryn Hans-man-Spice will present new neuroscientific information that helps us to better understand and articulate how the TRAGER process can facilitate rewiring the brain and open new possibilities for somatic experiences. Topics will include: how to inspire clients and ourselves; how to engage the brain in fascination, focused attention, and inquiry; develop-ing the power of acceptance and novelty; understanding how pausing supports learning; exploring why self-care and self-development important. Kathryn is a TRAGER Instructor and an experienced educator who brings deep knowledge of mind/body education, stress management, massage therapy, and early childhood/family/community development. For over 20 years, she has furthered her studies in the areas of brain science and trauma with the National Institute for the Clinical Application of Behavioral Medicine. This workshop is scheduled to be repeated on Tuesday. 


Exploring the Rib Cage – Adrienne Stone

Finding and feeling the connections…rekindling our spring!

The breath is a source of our vitality… how do we support and encourage optimizing the precious space within our rib cage?  As we age, many begin to lose the “spring” that most of us came into the world experiencing. TRAGER is a wonderful tool for loosening, mobilizing, bringing increased awareness to this structure that houses so many of our major organs and more. In this workshop we will review some basic anatomy of the rib cage and chest, then with TRAGER tools, explore how to approach this potentially vulnerable area with sensitivity, wisdom and respect… effectively! Adrienne has been immersed in the TRAGER world since 1982, and is currently a Practitioner, Tutor and Reflex-Response teacher.  Her “vintage” style TRAGER comes through from her many years of direct influence with Milton Trager.  Her background as a physical therapist now spans 41 years.


Monday morning

Connecting and Biotensegrity– Avi Bahat

Avi’s theme for his workshops is "connecting." In this one, he will relate “connecting” to the biotensegrity concept, showing one way to relate this concept to our work. Avi Bahat has studied a variety of holistic healing modalities including karate and Japanese Zen Buddhism in his youth, and later several types of massage therapy, the TRAGER Approach, Ida Rolf’s structural integration and awareness, and the Paula Method. From this depth and breadth of under-standing, he developed and teaches his own style of bodywork called The Bahat Method – Touch and Movement Therapy. Avi’s goal is for his clients to find their correct place of being in which they can move effortlessly, be fully present in their body, and find balance between organization and letting go. He is a TRAGER Practitioner and Instructor.

Six Simple Steps to Living and Learning in Hook-Up – 
Audrey Mairi

Hook-up is a 24/7 practice, not just for a session. Deepen your hook-up connection with simple, practical concepts and tools that will sustain presence anytime, anywhere. Using movement, paired exercises, meditation, and discussion, par-ticipants will explore what hook-up feels like in the present moment. Audrey Mairi is a long-time TRAGER Practitioner, an introductory workshop leader and an electives teacher. She is the author of Trager for Self-Healing: A Practical Guide for Living in the Present Moment and Pathway to Presence: The Trager Approach as a Way of Living. Audrey has served on the International TRAGER Tutor Committee and the TRAGER International Board of Directors. In addition, she is a Reiki Master and has practiced Transcendental Meditation for 45 years.

TRAGER with Parkinson’s Disease Clients– Diane Chouinard

Milton Trager helped people with Parkinson’s Disease (PD) live with greater ease. You can, too, after taking this workshop in which you will practice specific Trager techniques that are appropriate to use with this population. You will also learn to tailor your approach for individual physical challenges. Diane Chouinard, who for the past 15 years has specialized in working with persons with PD and other disabilities, will teach participants how to assist clients to reach new pathways in their bodies and thus improve their daily living. How can I help this client? Is he/she expecting a cure or an instant result? What can the client create for his/her own benefit? Asking these questions, which reinforce Diane’s leitmotiv: “Be present and do more with less work,” makes for clearer communication, an important aspect of working with PD clients. A massage therapist for over 30 years, Diane has practiced Trager since 1990 and has led Mentastics® and Introductory Workshops since 2003. She joined the Trager International Tutor Committee in 2012. Diane lives in Quebec, and this workshop will be in French, with a Trager volunteer giving a simultaneous translation. Diane speaks English, but she is most comfortable teaching in French.


The Dynamic Language of Touch – Shelly Siskind

Learn these three distinct rhythmic movement patterns, which can enable practitioners to reach clients on their deepest level. Practitioners experience ease of delivery, total connectedness and extreme effectiveness. Clients find the work non-intrusive, and experience deep relaxation and an assimilation of shifts on all levels of their being. We meet Milton's directive to "make every move count" while our clients are enabled to go "beyond relaxation." Tweak your work to a new level by addressing your clients in their own specific language of touch. Shelly teaches this as a 3 day course of the same name. 
Shelly has been a TRAGER Practitioner and Tutor since the mid ‘80s. TRAGER, along with her study and facilitation in Human Dynamics, have informed her for years and resulted in this course. She has co-authored a book "Uncharted Corners of Consciousness" (

Frozen Shoulder and the TRAGER Approach: A Most Effective Treatment – 
Ilene Watrous

Ilene Watrous will review the anatomy of the normal shoulder as a basis for understanding the causes and characteristics of a frozen shoulder, the medical condition called adhesive capsulitis. She will discuss how TRAGER is perfectly suited to help restore normal function and movement to a frozen shoulder, highlighting the most important principles necessary to work with this painful condition. Ilene is a physical therapist with 28 years of experience in hospital work and in private practice and has extensive experience in working with individuals with Parkinson’s Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, spinal cord and orthopedic injuries, and, of course, frozen shoulders. She became a TRAGER Practitioner in 1987 and a Tutor in 2006 and blends this work with other complimentary medicine techniques and conventional physical therapy to promote healing for her clients.


Monday, early afternoon

TRAGER for Daily Life –  Avi Bahat, Anna Marie Bowers, Cindy Popp-Hager

TRAGER for Daily Life classes are new kinds of classes that any practitioner can teach and that can address the audience and subject that excites you. In this workshop, you will learn more about how to make this a reality in your practice. We will explore the possibilities, answer questions, and have time for practice in a fun, relaxed atmosphere.

Imagine yourself teaching a group of mothers so that they learn our TRAGER softness to touch their children…or teach-ing a group of dancers or athletes so that they learn to listen more deeply to their bodies and have fewer injuries… or imagine that your class theme would be “how to stay in a quiet state even while going through stressful times.”

We are dreaming, as Milton did, of a world in which TRAGER principles are used to support the growth of peace on earth. What can we do to increase the knowledge of TRAGER in the world? TRAGER for Daily Life classes:

- Are a revolutionary way to spread TRAGER around the world

- Are an easy way for Practitioners to dive into their creativity and expand their teaching playground

- Will expand the level of Practitioner success

We are expanding by meeting the world’s most obvious needs!

Avi, Anna Marie and Cindy are in the Energizing TRAGER Training and Education Prototype Group, which developed the idea of these classes and is implementing them in the TRAGER world now.


TRAGER and Balance: We All Are Acrobats – Piermario Clara Balance can be considered our sixth sense. When perceiving our body’s relationship with gravity and the surrounding environment, we can increase our general awareness and restore balance. Our ability to move all 600+ skeletal muscles like a symphony orchestra led by the nervous system is grounded in balance. In this workshop, participants will directly experience how TRAGER principles can be used to acknowledge, improve, and recover balance in their bodies so that they, in turn, can teach their clients how to reclaim their own balance.


Mindful Joints – Eileen Dickinson

Repeat of Sunday’s workshop.


Six Simple Steps to Living and Learning in Hook-Up – Audrey Mairi

Hook-up is a 24/7 practice, not just for a session. Deepen your hook-up connection with simple, practical concepts and tools that will sustain presence anytime, anywhere. Using movement, paired exercises, meditation, and discussion, par-ticipants will explore what hook-up feels like in the present moment. Audrey Mairi is a long-time TRAGER Practitioner, an introductory workshop leader and an electives teacher. She is the author of Trager for Self-Healing: A Practical Guide for Living in the Present Moment and Pathway to Presence: The Trager Approach as a Way of Living. Audrey has served on the International TRAGER Tutor Committee and the TRAGER International Board of Directors. In addition, she is a Reiki Master and has practiced Transcendental Meditation for 45 years.


Reflex Response – Judy Rose Seibert, Reflex Response SPL, TRAGER Instructor, and Katriona Shawki
This supervised practice workshop is open to Level 3 students and Pracitioners who have had Reflex Response training. Content will be guided by participant request, but will include a review of basic Reflex Response, demos as requested, and supervised trade time. 
Judy Rose is known for her ability to clearly articulate and demonstrate TRAGER movements and principles. She loves the magical effectiveness of Reflex Response and weaves it seamlessly into her TRAGER sessions. Her fascination with anatomy and the complexities and mystery of the human body/mind, is evident in the TRAGER classes, supervised practice days, and adult dance classes which she has taught in the Washington, DC, area.

Katriona Wilson Shawki comes from a clinical background in physiotherapy, and for the past 40 years she has lived and worked in Cairo where she practices in a multidisciplinary holistic center. She became a TRAGER Practitioner in 2002 after her interest in Reflex Response (RR) was aroused in her first TRAGER session. This passion and enthusiasm led her to become a Tutor, and then a teacher of RR. Katriona works with a wide and varied scope of conditions in individual sessions, and offers weekly group sessions for MENTASTICS where teaching awareness is paramount. A particular interest is in motivating seniors toward more functional movement and balance, to improve their gait and to reduce osteoporosis. Katriona’s practice continues to include working with women during pregnancy and the period following delivery.


Monday, late afternoon

These workshops are for practitioners, students and guests.  Instructors and Tutors have another activity at this time.

Bringing Breath into the Practice: the Convergence of Mindfulness, Meditation and TRAGER David Dimmack

We will combine simple mind-body exercises that enhance the flow of vital energy, with poetry and imagery. In this, we develop and enhance our ability to bring the energy of mindfulness into our daily life. David Dimmack, MEd, has been practicing TRAGER and Mindfulness meditation for over two decades. He has been ordained by his spiritual teacher zen master, Thich Nhat Hanh, as a lay Dharma teacher. He lives in Philadelphia with his partner and two young children.

Diving Deep in the Cervical Spine – Michael Hillenbrand, D.C., MS, L.Ac.

Michael will discuss the cervical spine and the deeper dynamics involved with the TRAGER Approach. He will cover the continuum of connections and relationships as it relates to the nervous system, respiratory system, visceral cavity, and cranial structures. Michael developed and taught myofascial therapy at New York Chiropractic College for 6 years as well as anatomy from a fascial-based perspective for acupuncture students. A TRAGER Practitioner since 1996, he integrates approaches with his chiropractic, bodywork, and rehabilitation practice. This workshop is scheduled to be repeated on Tuesday.


Supervised Practice Trades for Practitioners and Students – Connie Pounders

Practitioners and students will give and receive TRAGER and MENTASTICS sessions. This is the second of two times for practitioner trades; Sunday afternoon has time for everyone to participate in trades. Connie Pounders has been a TRAGER Practitioner since 1985 and was a Tutor for 20 years. She has a deep-hearted commitment to the TRAGER Approach and served many instructors and students as a classroom teaching assistant.


Tuesday morning

Connecting and the Central Axis – Avi Bahat

How does the use of central axis in TRAGER relate to the concept of “connecting?” Come explore and learn.

See Monday morning’s workshop for Avi’s bio .


A Holistic Approach: Neuroscience, Spirituality and TRAGER -- Silvia Casabianca, LMT, LMHC

A TRAGER session includes information flowing from the tissues to the brain, regaining awareness of the multidimensional body, release of restrictive patterns, and creating the possibility of change and psychophysical integration. Be-yond easier, softer moving in space, TRAGER introduces clients to a different approach to life and fosters spirituality by helping to restore a sense of wholeness and integrity. Workshop participants will explore how they can better support the renewal of hope, faith, and joie de vivre. Silvia Casabianca practiced for many years as a medical doctor in Colombia. Currently she is an art therapist, mental health counselor, Medical QiGong practitioner, TRAGER Practitioner, Reiki Master and teacher, and licensed massage therapist. Silvia directs a holistic health center in Florida, hosts the Regain Body Wisdom radio show, and has authored hundreds of articles in the area of body/mind/spirit. Her book, Regaining Body Wisdom: A Multidimensional Approach was published in Spanish and English.


Neuroscience Meets Milton Trager – Kathryn Hansman-Spice

Repeat of Sunday’s workshop


Diving Deep in the Cervical Spine – Michael Hillenbrand, D.C., MS, L.Ac.

Repeat of Monday afternoon’s workshop

No Table?  No Problem! – Gabriela and Bill Scholl

Exploring, expanding and deepening your touch - with a sitting or standing client. We are finding our work with our clients is now including up to 30 minutes of touch away from the table.  Our clients are reporting back to us greater awareness, function and ease in their daily experience.  Join us in this playful exploration!  Gabriela and Bill Scholl live in Zurich, Switzerland where they share many things!  This includes a full time TRAGER practice, a steady teaching schedule, a wonderful garden, an entertaining teenager and a fascination with the BBC program "Grand Designs with Kevin McCloud".  They are delighted with what happens for clients, students and themselves as TRAGER deepens in each person’s life.


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