Lael is a lifelong student of human nature. The questions “what does it mean to be human?” “How do we heal and become whole?” have companied her since her childhood and will doubtless continue to tickle her until her dying day. Lael has explored these questions through many disciplines in her life which now spans more than 6 decades.
Some of her earliest explorations started in the 1970s when she was still in high school and discovered Aikido, a Japanese martial art, based on harmony and fluidity.
She fell in love with Aikido and began to practice it daily. She met her teacher, Koichi Kashiwaya Sensei, master of the line of Ki-Aikido, when she was 19 and moved to Colorado to study with him. As part of her learning, Kashiwaya Sensei stimulated her to teach and she has continued to both practice and teach Ki-Aikido ever since then.
She founded and ran a Ki-Aikido school in Belo Horizonte, in the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil, the Sociedade de Ki de Belo Horizonte, between the years of 1987-1997 and currently teaches, along with her husband Russell Jones, in Florianopolis, Santa Catarina in the south of Brazil.
Ki-Aikido’s study of how to contact and use the vital force of Ki, and how to move into harmony with an attacker, thus transforming a situation of conflict and potential violence into harmony, has informed her understanding of health and sickness and human relationships, throughout her life.
When she was 19 she began studying different forms of alternative healing methods, starting with Jin Shin Jyutsu, a Japanese art of balancing energy.
In her early 20s she had the pleasure and honor of studying with Milton Trager, the originator of Trager® Approach. She studied through all the levels of the training with Dr. Trager and was certified as an Advanced Trager Practitioner in 1983. Later she studied and was certified as a massage therapist from the Boulder School of Massage Therapy.
When she was 25, she completed her training in Rolfing®, a form that has accompanied her until the present time. Lael grew up in the early Rolfing® community, her stepfather, Tom Wing, who was her inspiration and first Rolfing® teacher was trained by Ida Rolf and her mother Heather Starsong was one of the originators of the Rolf Movement Integration program for the Rolf Institute (now the Dr. Ida Rolf Institute).
Having grown up experiencing the benefits of Rolfing® in her own body and being, it seemed only natural to learn to help others in this way. Lael’s journey in Rolfing® has lead her all over the world, through many landscapes, internal and external. She moved to Brazil in the 1980s and became a founding member of the Brazilian Rolfing Association. Later she brought the first Rolf Movement® Integration Training to Brazil in the early 1990s.
Lael trained as a Rolfing® teacher in the beginning of the 1990s and was an integral part of the Brazilian Rolfing Association School’s development of its unique educational program, that combines structural Rolfing® with functional Rolfing® in a double certification program. In 2001 she began her studies with Hubert Godard, French movement expert, Rolfer® researcher and teacher, whose work has oriented much of the Rolf Institute Movement Faculty and movement practitioners from many disciplines.
She continues her studies with him up until the present time.
As she worked with people and their bodies and their movement habits and patterns, it was not surprising that Lael began to encounter the effects of unresolved trauma in the body. This, along with some of her own unresolved past traumas, lead her to explore the art and science of Somatic Experiencing®, an approach developed by Dr. Peter Levine for treating post traumatic stress syndrome. Lael began her studies with Dr. Levine in 1993 and was immediately captivated by the power and reach of his work.
Together with the Brazilian Rolfing Association and Pedro Prado, she helped to bring the first Somatic Experiencing training to Brazil in 1998 and within a year had begun teaching Somatic Experiencing. She, and her husband Russell Jones, are some of the co-founders of the Brazilian Trauma Association and they teach Somatic Experiencing® together and separately throughout the world on four continents as well as in their home, in the rainforest on the island of Santa Catarina in the south of Brazil.
Lael’s curiosity and love of learning continues to motivate her to study more. When she was in her early 40s, she found her way to Anthroposophy, the life work of Rudolph Steiner. Anthroposophy’s philosophy of seeing the human as a fourfold being (physical, vital, emotional and spiritual) and Steiner’s definition of health as a condition where all four of these levels are in harmonious relationship and the human being is
aligned with their spiritual essence, made sense to her and put her many years of clinical experience into another light. She entered and completed a training as an Anthroposophical Art Therapist and continues to study Anthroposophy. It has changed her clinical eye and her approach to the people that she works with.
She also completed a training as a Bates Method Vision Educator in 2017. In her studies with Hubert Godard, she learned that the backdrop to all movement starts with the way that we orient (or don’t orient) to our surroundings. In her work with trauma the power of restoring the capacity to orient to safety and beauty is a major component of healing. Learning to help people with their visual challenges was a natural outgrowth of wishing for more tools to help her clients restore their fullest and most alive capacity to orient.
At the present time, Lael and Russell Jones, run a center in the rainforest in the south of Brazil where they teach Somatic Experiencing®, Ki-Aikido and Rolfing®. They travel widely with their work and make sure that they have plenty of time to enjoy life and walk on the beach.