An experienced Advanced Instructor of Ortho-Bionomy® with additional skills in body-based therapy, trauma resolution, and imagery for healing, Sara Sunstein offers classes and presentations for personal enrichment and/or professional development. Students continually praise her for her clarity, expertise, and warmth.
Scroll below the Teaching Schedule to see descriptions of all Sara’s workshops and classes.
Sara is happy to teach in your work place, community group, or other venue, both locally and beyond the Bay Area. If interested in her presentations, workshops, or weekend seminars, please be in touch.
All Sara’s Ortho-Bionomy® classes fulfill training requirements for Society of Ortho-Bionomy (SOBI) trainings.
Please note: “Phase 4, 5, and 6 are Ortho-Bionomy® shorthand for certain types of techniques, and don’t indicate an order for taking classes. There is no particular order–students may start when and with whatever suits them, assuming they have the pre-requisites. And many classes have no pre-requisites at all. (Phases 1-3 do not have classes. Learn why when you come to a class!)
COVID-19 Statement, 5/21/2022
Due to Omicron variant and students’ reluctance to attend in-person classes, Sara is waiting to schedule such. She’s hoping to begin teaching in-person classes again in Berkeley this Summer! Visit this page soon for more information.
Any of you in other locations who are reading this, should you feel inspired to bring me your town to teach in-person, please be in touch! Sara’s available to travel.
If you’d like to be on Sara’s email list to be alerted to her teaching schedule, here’s the link to request to be on her Classes email list. Stay tuned for more trainings!
2022 Teaching Schedule
In Person Classes, TBA
Introduction to Chapman’s Reflexes: Self-Care for Organs and Glands
Thursday, April 21, 2022, 3-6 pm, Pacific time
Thanks to Frank Chapman, DO, we have a map of reflex points for organs and glands that he charted 100 years ago. Learn to sense and activate these points on yourself to stimulate lymph and nerve flow to and through organs and glands–supporting their optimal functioning and self-regulation. We’ll start with the group of points that support immune system, follow that with lungs, and then see where we go from there. Unfortunately–or not–still super beneficial for these times.
Class Info and Registration
Practitioner Training Seminar
4 Thursdays, April 7, 14, 28, May 5; 4-7 pm, and Saturday, April 24; 10:30-1:30, Pacific time
It’s not difficult to learn Ortho-Bionomy® techniques, however, embodying O-B is what creates a Practitioner. What does it mean and feel like to do such? And what about transitions from “student” to “practitioner?” and those bottom-line issues of practice like setting fees, client communications, working with ongoing clients, and what to do when you don’t have a clue what to do next! Join us for discussion, somatic experiential exercises and more to learn from the inside-out and outside-in what becoming a Practitioner may be like.
Pre-requisites: 32 hours Phase 4, 16 hours Phase 5, and 25 documented sessions
Class Info and Registration
Descriptions of Presentations and Classes
PRESENTATIONS, 1-2 hours
Engaging Your Body’s Desire to Heal
An introduction to Ortho-Bionomy® that includes demonstration and experiential explanation of how this gentle art activates the body’s healing reflexes and quickly restores coherence, ease, and deep peace to the body. Participants additionally learn simple techniques based on Ortho-Bionomy® concepts to release tensions and pain in their own bodies.
PTSD from a Physiological Perspective
For general audience or can be specifically geared toward psychotherapists: This talk focuses on what occurs in the body during single incident and on-going traumas. It is illustrated by cases of Sara’s body therapy clients. The audience learns how the majority of PTSD symptoms arise from the body’s response to trauma and, therefore, can be addressed through body therapy. By understanding the physiological aspects of a survivor’s functioning, psychological constructs take on a new light. Treatment strategies may be chosen more effectively.
Sit Up Straight!
A small investment of time and attention to improve health and well-being for the rest of one’s life! Participants learn about the body’s innate structural balance that makes sitting erect easy; then they learn how to take advantage of their structures to “sit up straight” without effort…or scolding. And they immediately feel the benefits: tensions decrease throughout the body, breathing becomes more spacious, attention improves, circulation improves, and the heart, guts and brain function better.
Somatic Therapy—Decoding Psyche’s Links with the Body
This presentation describes how present-time attention to the body and sensations promotes physical and emotional healing and deepens self-understanding. Included are participant exercises and examples from Sara’s somatic therapy clients that demonstrate the connections between body and emotions. E.g. Smiling can make you happy. Try it right now!
Women’s Health Care, a hands-on approach
This presentation teaches about the interconnections of bony structures and ligaments with soft tissue that are unique to a woman’s pelvis and explains how subtle bodywork can engage these tissues to address “female” concerns, along with structural and energetic considerations, restoring balance, ease, and joy.
ORTHO-BIONOMY® SEMINARS, usually 2 days/16 hours, unless noted otherwise. All quotes, except as noted, are from students’ evaluations written anonymously at the end of the course.
Ortho-Bionomy® Basics: Joints, Bones, Muscle (aka Phase 4)
Open to all who wish to learn more about the body’s healing processes; all who wish to improve hands-on skills for helping others feel better. This foundation class covers:
- A compassionate, affirming, non-forceful way to connect with another (and oneself)
- Gentle hands-on techniques to assess, relax, release, and re-educate the body, joint by joint (spine, pelvis, ribs, shoulders, limbs)
- History, philosophy and concepts underlying the techniques
Advanced Phase 4: Putting the Pieces Together
“I really enjoyed Sara’s explanation of working with the whole area instead of just the points, her openness and friendly manner as well.”
Develop depth and fluency in the basic techniques, learning more about body’s interconnections. For each major body part, students learn:
- Other body parts it directly affects
- Other body parts related to it
- Emotions, behavior, energies associated with it
- Additional Phase 4 techniques, including diaphragm and jaw.
Prerequisite: Phase 4, spine, pelvis, limbs
Chapman’s Reflexes for Organs and Glands
“This Is a totally new concept to me and I found that it is amazingly effective.”
Chapman’s Reflexes, identified by osteopath Frank Chapman in the 1920s, are used to stimulate nerve and lymph flow to individual organs and glands. Working with the reflex points supports the body’s coming into balance and improves its function and self-healing abilities. Different systems in the body can be addressed by working with groups of points together. Class is open to
- Body- and health-oriented professionals
- Lay persons who want to learn more about self-healing or helping others
Specifics covered in this course:
- Location, identification and palpation of Chapman’s Reflex points
- Gentle methods to stimulate and release the points
- Groups of reflexes to address endocrine system; gastro-intestinal function; respiratory system; immune system, allergies
- Connections between structure and reflexes
- Basic Ortho-Bionomy® concepts and release techniques for the pelvis
Ortho-Bionomy® Cranial work is as much about the field around the head as the bones and interior. Students will learn Dr. Arthur Pauls’ approach to cranial work along with additional Ortho-Bionomy ways of tending to such an important part of our body.
Pre-requisite: Phase 5 or Sara’s permission
Participants learn how to describe and present Ortho-Bionomy® to family, friends and the general public. Participants are supported in finding words to explain the experience of touch and presenting Ortho-Bionomy® in a clear and accurate way. Techniques for building confidence and improving public speaking and presentation are included.
Prerequisite: 32 hours of Ortho-Bionomy® and
ten practice sessions or Sara’s permission.
Ethics & Emotions
“I learned many, many things this class,
not only for my working with clients,
but for myself.”
This class could also be called Practitioner/Client Relationship–which, of course, begins with the practitioner’s relationship with her/himself. Through discussion and hands-on exercises, class covers ethical and emotional issues that come up during sessions, including boundaries, expectations/intentions, and addressing emotional responses that may arise. In addition, participants review the Society of Ortho-Bionomy International’s Code of Ethics.
Prerequisite: 32 hours of Ortho-Bionomy® and
ten practice sessions or Sara’s permission.
Isometrics—Beyond what you know from the gym
While isometrics are generally thought of for strengthening, they are especially helpful for freeing “stuckness” (of body and/or attitude) and increasing range of motion. Promoting structural balance and neuromuscular re-education, they are beneficial when used by themselves or with other modalities. Isometrics can be done as self-care or with another person. In a bodywork situation, they actively engage the client and provide change of pace for the practitioner.
This seminar is open to all who are interested and covers:
- Why, when and how to use isometrics
- Theory in practice—addressing the entire structure using isometrics
- Isometrics for resolving trauma patterns
- Isometrics for self-care
Posture & Integration Techniques
“I appreciated learning how approaching
the body as a moving organization
affects my choice of techniques.”
Rather than judge posture by certain standards to be good or bad, Ortho-Bionomy® uses direct observation and sensory experience to discover how postures enhance—or depress—our function, wholeness, and aliveness. And instead of imposing a new set of tensions upon another, we seek to release inefficient holding patterns, and encourage innate healthy structure to become habit.
Integration techniques (also called Post-techniques) are gentle, rhythmic movements, to promote and deepen the body’s understanding of its increased mobility and releases that occurred during a session. The techniques are also used for assessment or freeing an area before doing specific work. Many of these techniques focus on vertebral individuation, however, there are techniques for other body parts as well.
Specific content of course:
- Reframing of myths about posture, posturing
- Observation and hands-on skills to address sitting, standing, scoliosis, sunken chest, pigeon-toed, and other postural concerns
- Integration techniques for spine, limbs, and ribs.
Prerequisite: Phase 4 spine and pelvis
Phase 5: Sensing Movement and Fluidity Within Stillness
“Many of your metaphors I find very enlightening.
I feel I learned a lot! Especially how to use myself
as instrument to perceive actively and beneficially.”
Phase Five focuses on a subtle level of awareness, inviting a somatic conversation of listening, gently engaging, and allowing the self-corrective movements initiated by the client. It is valuable for working with areas of pain that can’t tolerate movement, different layers of tissue, stimulating and strengthening self-healing reflexes, and “connecting the dots” between different body parts. Doing Phase 5, we deepen our practical understanding of Dr. Arhur Pauls’ comment, “The techniques are the philosophy made manifest.”
Students learn to:
- Sense, connect with, and allow the subtle flows and movements in another person
- Stimulate the healing reflexes defined by Arthur L. Pauls, DO,that activate self-correction, awareness, balance, and integration
- Address specific parts of the body, including spine, hips, shoulders, eyes, and ears, using the reflexes
- Remain in their own experience and feel the quality of that experience, while being-with subtle movements of another.
Phase 6: A Field Guide
This class teaches students to sense, contact, and work with flow in the fields around their bodies and their clients’ bodies. Sometimes called aura work, the techniques presented demonstrate that “off the body” is truly part of the body. Students learn to work with the field to support healing and recognize/activate the inter-relationship between energetic, emotional and physical levels.
Resolving Impacts and Trauma
Our bodies know how to heal from trauma and impacts–we developed biologically to do such. But sometimes we don’t bounce back and part of us remains in the time and place of the trauma. Sometimes the force of the impact stays in our body like a huge splinter, awaiting release.
Through lecture, demonstrations, and hands-on practice, students will learn about and how to work with:
- Physiology and signs of trauma response
- Components of healing trauma
- Appropriately addressing relevant structural, visceral, and neural systems
- Impact injuries’ unique healing technique
- Client’s internal and external resources that facilitate resolution of trauma
Pre-requisites: Phase 4 and 5
“Your seminar was fantastic!
It is carrying over into my everyday life.
Thank you so much.”
Open to all who wish to learn about their bodies and ways to initiate self-healing. Students learn simple, gentle techniques to ease neck, shoulders, low back, alignment and more. Each session includes comfortable “constructive rest” positions, gentle movements, guided visualizations for health, and individual attention. Concepts underlying the practices are explained, so participants can adapt them to their own needs in any instance.
No Prerequisite. 8 hours, sometimes split into 2 hours x 4 sessions
The health, function, and balance of female parts and pelvic structure are intimately linked. Students learn:
- physical interconnections in the pelvis that are unique to women’s bodies
- ways to work with bones, ligaments, organs and reflex points to restore function, balance, and ease to structure, organs, and glands
- Ortho-Bionomy® support for post-mastectomy pain, range of motion, scarring, and lymphedema
- tips on breast health
- and more
Pre-requisite: Phase 4 pelvis and spine
“I enjoyed your relaxed but confident teaching style,
and look forward to more learning. Thank you.”
3-hour classes with a specific focus: a part of the body, a particular Phase, supervised practice, or other aspects of doing Ortho-Bionomy®. Pre-requisites depend on the topic.