Autumn 2012 Dear friends, It is a rainy day here on the mountain as I sit at my laptop and type away to you. What a coolish wettish summer we have h


Autumn 2012

Dear friends,

It is a rainy day here on the mountain as I sit at my laptop and type away to you. What a coolish wettish summer we have had as we approach the autumn equinox. For the adventurous type,you may want to come down and join a group of us who will be doing a sweatlodge on March 24-25. Hopefully the sungod will smile on us.The weather forecasters predict it! And this weekend the sweat-ers will get to try a wood-fired pizza as we initiate our new pizza oven beside my house.

On the home front, Mana is as beautiful as ever in the mists and the Chai Tea House has had a great season so far with angels appearing to help me along as required. Just the other day two visitors from UK, James and Louise went above and beyond the call of duty building and painting a gorgeous nine meter long sign for the whole front of the building. Please drop in for a tea, coffe or kombucha if you are in the area.

In late November an interviewer from the TV programme Campbell Live attended our Mana mens retreat. Many of us were concerned[ for good reasons] that the media is not always kind to what are often perceived as fringe groups or events. Anyway to our relief the 10 minute video programme was well balanced and shows well the beauty of Mana and some thoughts on mens' healing process. You can watch it here.

On April 27-29 I will be giving a presentation of Fascial Fitness and Yoga at the Kawaipurapura Yoga Conference and Festival at Albany just north of Auckland. See for info about the festival.

For those interested in massage and bodywork I will be teaching a Myofascial Release class in New Plymouth May 12-13, This is an excellent opportunity for bodyworkers who would like to learn Structural Integration skills to apply in their practice or for those considering attending the 2013 Mana Structural Integration Training which will be starting in February 2013.

The NZ Hakomi Mindfulness-Based Psychotherapy Training will be starting at Mana in August 2012. there will be workshops in March, April, June and July. I was the first organisor of Hakomi courses and trainings in NZ from 1989 til 2000 and have recently taken on that role again for the current NZ Professional training. The Hakomi training has a a tremendous amount to offer body therapists and health professionals who find themselves working more energetically and psycho-therapeutically.

See for further details or contact me for more information on the workshops and the training. You can also download the Hakomi Training brochure here.

Ron Kurtz, the founder of Hakomi was a gifted teacher, therapist, author and also a Taoist rascal. He gave us a lot and last year he returned to that place we all go to when our time here is up. Thanks Ron. Ron had great faith in the self-healing nature of each individual.

"There is an impulse to heal within the client which lies dormant, waiting for the right conditions to unfold. The client’s healing process spontaneously emerges when the conditions are right. Our training in the Hakomi method provides experiences that one after the other develop personhood and the capacity to be a loving presence for the client’s unfolding."

Ron Kurtz, founder of the Hakomi Method

In May I will be off to Europe for my teaching stint and to participate in the Bodywisdom 2012 congress June 6-9 in Benicassim [near Valencia] Spain. See to learn about the great presenters including Blandine Calais-Germain, Gisela Rhomert and Robert Schleip.

I wish you well in this autumn time and leave you with a few words from Rolling Thunder, '


sweat with fire-400

The Sweatlodge - Purification of Body and Mind

Some thoughts from Rolling Thunder on purification...

_"The beginning is purification. That's the first step.You don't purify the body without cleansing the mind: that's the way it works. In the old days when all our people lived by the tradition and purification was practiced by everyone, we had many means such as sweatlodges, herbal medicines and special rituals.

People have to be responsible for their thoughts, so they have to learn to control them. it may not be easy, but it can be done. First of all, if we don't want to think certain things we don't say them. We don't have to eat everything we see and we don't have to say everything we think. So we begin by wataching our words and speaking with good purpose only. There are times when we must have clear and pure minds with no unwanted thoughts and we have to prepare and train steadily for those times until we are ready. We don't have to say or think what we don't wish to. We have a choice in those things and we have to realize that and practice using that choice. There is no use condemning yourself for the thoughts and ideas and dreams that come into your mind; so there's no use arguing with yourself or fighting your thoughts. Just realize that you can think what you choose. You don't have to pay any attention to those unwanted thoughts. If they keep coming into your head, just let them alone and say, 'I don't choose to have such thoughts,' and they will soon go away. If you keep a steady determination and stick with that purpose you will know how to use that choice and control your consciousness so unwanted thoughts don't come to you anymore. Then you can experience purification completely and in the right way and no impurities can exist in your mind and body at any time."_

A Place for Healing

Autumn Sweat Lodge

Saturday & Sunday, March 24-25, 2012

at Mana Retreat, Coromandel

This weekend is a time to seek the shelter of the mountain and the forest, to sing and pray together and to enter the world of the sweatlodge.

The sweatlodge is a healing ritual of the North American native tradition. It is a unique experience that is offered as a journey of physical purification, a personal initiation and a symbol of the challenges and fires we face in our work, our relationships and our life. The participants sit in a lodge built on the earth, around a pile of hot rocks, speaking, sharing stories, song and prayer. While the sauna is primarily a physical cleansing process, the deeper enquiry we bring to the darkness and warmth of the sweat is "What is the healing my body, mind, heart or spirit is longing for?"

Sweat Your Prayers. We must bend down to enter the lodge and this is a gesture of the humility required to come to a deeper understanding of the mystery that we are. It is a special and powerful experience to sweat your prayers in the safety of the lodge and the sweat has helped many through difficult transitions. Most people are touched in very surprising ways with responses that range from a sense of deep cleansing, of unity, a feeling of being part of the earth and healing old or new wounds. You will be guided by a sweatlodge leader with many years of experience. Each person is free to participate as fully or as lightly as is appropriate for them. Although there is a charge for the weekend experience, if anyone cannot afford the fee, please contact us and you will be accommodated.

The sweatlodge is at Mana Retreat, a beautiful centre set in the bush of the Coromandel hills, 15 minutes south of Coromandel town. It is a good place to be in touch with the earth.

Participants will stay at Waimana, adjacent to the centre. See

The Facilitator, Sol Petersen, one of the founders of Mana, has been nourished by the healing power of the sweatlodge over the last thirty years. He is a long time leader of transformational seminars, a psychotherapist and bodywork practitioner.
Saturday registration arrive 9am for a 10 am start and we will finish by 3pm Sunday. Participants are welcome to arrive on Friday night but there will be an extra charge for that.

Cost: including food and accommodation Saturday am to Sunday lunch is $150.

To Register: Please send $50 deposit to Sol Petersen, Mana Retreat, RD 1, Coromandel.

For further Information call Sol 07-8668971, 021 893055,


Myofascial Release Weekend Class

Structural Integration Skills for the Spine and Lower Limbs

with Sol Petersen

Waimanu, New Plymouth, New Zealand. May 12-13, 2012

This course is an opportunity to study with an innovator in the field of Body and Mind Integration. The class provides practical myofascial release skills for practitioners of massage and manual therapy, physiotherapy, fitness, pilates and yoga.

Robert Schleip PhD says, ‘Sol will give you the skills to not only transform your practice for your clients but also to bring this knowledge into your own personal embodiment.’

Participants will learn:

Clinical implications of new fascial research for practitioners in terms of fitness and clinical practice
Approaches for maintaining structural integrity through body-mindfulness and core stabilisaton
Practical techniques for transforming chronic back pain
SI Myofascial techniques for release of chronic patterns - on the table, in seated and standing positions and in activities of daily life
A unique problem solving approach to prioritising session design choices in a clinical practice
Structural, myofascial and integrative concepts for human design and optimal function
Keys for therapeutic success through active client movement participation in bodywork
Body reading and assessment skills– structural, functional, energetic and movement analysis.
Bodywork as energy cultivation – how to maintain your energy and structural integrity for a lifetime of practice
Applying body psychotherapy – emotions, meaning and the bodywork process

Sol Petersen is a Structural Integration trainer, an Aston Movement Coach, an Integral Aquatic Therapy practitioner and a Body Psychotherapist trained in the Hakomi method with over 25 years experience. He has degree in Adaptive Physical Education and is a longtime Tai Ji teacher. Sol has a passion for empowering practitioners to reach their potential. Sol teaches internationally and is a co-founder of Mana Retreat in Coromandel where he lives and practices.

Cost: $250

Time: 9am to 5:30pm Saturday, 9am to 4pm on Sunday

Venue: Waimanu, New Plymouth

To book: phone Sol on 021 893055 or Carolyn 06-7539331; email

Related articles on

Cultivating Body-Mindfulness: The Heart of Structural Integration
Movement and Rehabilitation of the Body: Low Back Pain and the Bulging Disc Myth
How Do I Listen?: Applying Body Psychotherapy Principles and Skills in Manual and Movement Therapy

Comments about Sol’s work from his colleagues:

“Sol Petersen is a top-notch workshop leader and an energetic positive force. I recommend his work on all levels and wholeheartedly.”

Ron Kurtz, author of Body Centred Psychotherapy and Founder of the Hakomi Method of Experiential Psychology


_“I have had the pleasure of being a friend and colleague of Sol Petersen for over 25 years. As co-teachers we have explored the essence of an integrative approach to human function and experience. Sol has mined the Structural Integration method for its gold and blended this with the precious metals of over 2o years experience in applying insights from Osteopathy and Physiotherapy, Hakomi Body Psychotherapy, Adaptive Physical Education and Personal Training, the art of Tai Ji and Qi Gong, Watsu and Integral Aquatic Therapy as well as the latest research available.

You will be inspired not only by his deep understanding but by his capacity to express this in his own body and to teach a method of embodying high function.

He has created an approach that will not only give you the skills to not only transform your practice for your clients but also to bring this knowledge into your own personal embodiment. Don't miss this opportunity.”_

Robert Schleip PhD is a Rolfer, Feldenkrais teacher, author, fascia researcher and international presenter. Robert has remained for many years at the forefront of bringing current research into relevant clinical practice.


“Sol Petersen is a premier bodyworker with great skills and compassion. More importantly he is also a wonderful teacher and trainer in peoplework.”

Joseph Heller, founder of Hellerwork Structural Integration and author of Bodywise


“I've been practicing bodywork for 20 years and there is one thing that I am certain about - my client's sustained bodywellness is deeply connected to how they do what they do in their daily lives. I see my role as an educator of bodywellness and I can think of no one better suited to guiding me in developing this art than Sol. His capacity to recognise limiting patterns in the body and mind allow him to creatively work with people to find meaningful ways for them to help themselves. Sol can help you acheive this for yourself and help you do the same for your clients.”

Mark Gray, MA in Therapeutic Bodywork, Structural Integration trainer and former course leader for the Neuromuscualr Therapy Degreee Programme at University of Westminster, London, UK


Upcoming Events 2012

Hakomi Workshops 2012

These workshops offer an opportunity to experience Hakomi, meet the trainers and are suitable as the required pre-requisites for the full training.

Mar 31: Mindfulness Skills in Everyday Life, with Suhari Mommsen-Bohm. Dunedin.

Apr 14-15: Mindfulness-Based Psychotherapy: An Introduction to the Hakomi Method with John Perrin. Auckland.

Jun 14-17: In and out of Character – from Protection to Connection with Jules Morgaine. Nelson.

Jul 27-29: Exploring Character Styles: The Mindful Way to Connection with Jules Morgaine. Mana Retreat, Coromandel.

Hakomi Professional Training

Begins August 17-26 at Mana 2012/13 starting May 2012,

Bodywisdom Spain 2012

Benicassim Spain June 6-9, 2012

NZ/Europe Mana Structural Integration Training 2013/14

New dates soon on