Sara Sunstein began teaching body awareness classes in 1983 and Ortho-Bionomy® in 1985. As an experienced Advanced Instructor of Ortho-Bionomy® with additional skills in body-based therapy, trauma resolution and imagery for healing, Sara offers classes and presentations on a number of topics for personal enrichment and/or professional development. Students continually praise her for her clarity, expertise, and warmth.

 Sara’s Ortho-Bionomy® classes fulfill training requirements for Society of Ortho-Bionomy (SOBI) trainings. Some classes, as noted with *, are approved by California Acupuncture Board for continuing education, Provider #1445.

Sara’s available for presentations, workshops, and weekend seminars in your work place, community group, or other venue, including beyond the Bay Area. Please be in touch with her. Descriptions of Sara’s workshops and classes are below the class schedule. 

Sara’s 2019 Teaching Schedule

2019 Presentations & Short Workshops
April 7, 2019
Berkeley, CA
a.m. Sit Up Straight!
self-care posture, sitting, standing, walking–without “should’s”
Class Flier and Registration
p.m. Visualize Health
engaging personal imagery for healing and wellness
Class Flier and Registration
No pre-requisites. Both can be applied toward Study Group requirements for the Society.

2019 Class Schedule
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!)

Friday-Sunday, February 22-24, 2019
Ortho-Bionomy® Basics: Joints, Bones, Muscles (aka Phase 4)
Oakland, CA
Reminding the body of its ability to heal, we can gently and effectively bring about relaxation, release, increased ease and function, without force or additional pain. Addressing spine, pelvis, shoulders, limbs. No pre-requisites. *See flier for acupuncture ceu.
Class Flier and Registration

Saturday-Sunday, March 23-24, 2019
Sensing Movement and Fluidity in Stillness (aka Phase 5)
Berkeley, CA
How do we sense and work with the almost-imperceptible? No pre-requisites.
Class Details and Registration

Saturday-Sunday, May 11-12, 2019 
Putting the Pieces Together–Advanced Phase 4
Berkeley, CA
You know how to work with individual parts, so now what? Discover interconnections, how x can lead to y, and how to release a few more critical, but oft omitted, body parts.
Pre-requisite: Phase 4: spine, pelvis, limbs
Class Details and Registration

Saturday-Sunday, June 1-2, 2019 
Practitioner Training Seminar
Berkeley, CA
Beyond techniques, how do we embody Ortho-Bionomy® in our practice?
Pre-requisite: 32 hrs Phase 4, 16 hrs Phase 5, 25 documented sessions; or Sara’s permission
Class Details and Registration

Saturday-Sunday, July 20-21, 2019
Ortho-Bionomy® Cranial
Berkeley, CA
Ortho-Bionomy®’s unique approach, based on founder Arthur Paul’s cranial work.
Pre-requisite: Phase 5 or Sara’s permission
Class Details and Registration

Saturday, August 3, 2019
2 Study Groups
a.m. Through the Phases
Pre-requisite: Phase 4 and 5
p.m. Open Forum Pre-requisite: 16 hours training 
Berkeley, CA
Class Details and Registration

Saturday-Monday, September 7-9, 2019
Ortho-Bionomy® Basics: Joints, Bones, Muscles (aka Phase 4)
Oakland, CA
Reminding the body of its ability to heal, we can gently and effectively bring about relaxation, release, increased ease and function, without force or additional pain.. Addressing spine, pelvis, shoulders, limbs. No pre-requisites. *See flier for acupuncture ceu.
Registration extended to August 15! Register Now!
Class Details and Registration

Saturday, October 5, 2019
DIY Ortho-Bionomy®-Relax, Release, Revitalize!
Berkeley, CA
Learn how to free up muscle tension throughout your own body!
(8 hrs Self-Care in SOBI trainings)
Class Details and Registration

Just Added!!
Friday-Sunday, October 11-13, 2019
Registrations due October 1

Ortho-Bionomy® Basics: Joints, Bones, Muscles (aka Phase 4)
Sonora, CA
Reminding the body of its ability to heal, we can gently and effectively bring about relaxation, release, increased ease and function, without force or additional pain. Learn the concepts and ways to facilitate release through the spine, pelvis, shoulders, and limbs. No Pre-Requisites
Class Details and Registration

November 9-10, 2019
A Field Guide (aka Phase 6, aka aura work)
Berkeley, CA
The invisible truly is palpable–and fun to work with! Discover how it’s beneficial to physical healing and well-being. No pre-requisites.
Class Details and Registration

November 16-17, 2019
Chapman’s Reflexes for Organs and Glands
Davis, CA at Massage Therapy Institute
Using reflex points charted by Frank Chapman, DO, learn to stimulate lymph and nerve flow to and through organs and glands to support their optimal functioning and self-regulation. Promotes structural balance too. No pre-requisites.
Class Details and Registration (Scroll down to the 4th class listed.)

November 18, 2019
Individual Sessions with Sara, in Davis.
Contact Sara directly to schedule.

Descriptions of Presentations and Classes


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

No Prerequisite


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

Demonstration Skills

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

No Prerequisite

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.

No Prerequisite

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.

No Prerequisite

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.”

– P.C.

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

Women’s Care

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

Study Groups

“I enjoyed your relaxed but confident teaching style,
and look forward to more learning. Thank you.”

– Sara

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.