Pelvic Heart – Artikel

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Pelvic Heart Integration and the levels of masculine and feminine

An article on PHI by Elisabeth Renner & Dirk Marivoet

Whether we have a male or a female body, inside, we are both feminine and masculine. For example, the thrusting and penetrative quality is overtly depicted in the penis, but it doesn’t mean the masculine quality of penetrative presence cannot be as alive in a woman. Likewise, the feminine receptive aspects can also be experienced and demonstrated by men. Sometimes a woman is very driven and works in in a predominantly male environment and can identify more with the masculine aspect side of in herself. Women can also be warriors, great soldiers, think of Joan of Arc. While men on the other hand can find themselves at home in more feminine environments that are traditionally more seen as feminine such as nursing or care giving. A man can be physically a man and may not be psychologically a man; he may have a feminine psyche. Hence things become complicated.

In Pelvic Heart Integration (PHI) we view masculine and feminine both as energy qualities and/or psychological structures/dynamics describing polar forces like yin (being receptive) and yang (being active).

Every person is unique in these qualities. When we identify someone as a “man,” it means he is sixty percent male and forty percent female, or seventy percent male and thirty percent female, or ninety percent male and ten percent female. When we say “woman,” it means that the female element in her is proportionally greater than the male element. Occasionally it happens that a man is fifty-one percent male and forty nine percent female – a very minor difference. Such a man will appear to be quite feminine. Similarly, if a woman is fifty-one percent female and forty-nine percent male, she will look more masculine. If such a woman were to find a feminine husband, she will naturally take a dominant role. 

In our culture we want to say that a woman is yin and a man is yang. But if a woman or a mother has only yin qualities she would not be effective as a mother who needs to be also a leader to her children and for example able to set clear boundaries. On the other hand, a man who is only in his active role as a leader or warrior is a man who is often times difficult to relate to. As father, husband or lover he also requires nurturing, and supporting qualities.

Biologically we came from a man and a woman, we are a product of a sperm and an egg and our gender, the physical body, is our primary identity. The first thing we learn is “I am a boy” or “I am a girl” and we understand quickly about what is appropriate for a boy and girl in any certain culture. What the masculine and feminine is has also to do with what our society has decided is an appropriate behavior or culturally acceptable attitude for a girl and a boy.

As we grow up we also internalise this idea of masculine and feminine based on our parents behaviour and belief systems. What we take to be feminine has a lot to do with the particular mother we grew up with and what we take to be our inner masculine is modelled on the father or a important male surrogate. Here is were difficulty starts because we are told that some parts of us are not ok “This is just for boys” or “this is just for girls”.

Elisabeth: “I remember a client who was suffering as a girl because she needed to work with her mother in the kitchen and her brothers could work with the father outside in the fields. She did not want to be with her mother in the kitchen, it was boring for her, she wanted to be free like her brothers, sitting with her father on the tractor and working in nature. Being feminine was connected for her with staying at home, being depressed and being angry with her father. When she turned 18 she bought a motorcycle, travelled to Africa rode her motocross cycle through the dessert and for many years worked as a rafting guide in Africa. Far away from home she met an influential woman who told her that she is a beautiful women. My client realized that she never thought about actually being a beautiful woman. It took her many years to open up to her feminine qualities, for example accepting to being supported, being able to receive and the ability to take energy in. This client did not like what she saw in her mother, she didn’t want to be like her and tried to be different. If we fight with the feminine or masculine outside, the fight is going on inside as well.”

So, there is value in looking at your relationship with respect to our masculine and feminine side.

Pelvic Heart Integration (PHI) explores the limitations and distortions of the subconscious masculine and feminine forces within ourselves as individuals and as a species. Our active and receptive – so called masculine and feminine – behaviours are running on old conditioned programming stored in our personal and collective unconscious and this also defines our biological condition as human beings.

What does this mean with respect to your personal subconscious? It means that every experience we have ever had that our nervous system and our awareness could not fully process will remain alive just below the surface of our conscious awareness, in our personal subconscious, and it will shape your body, influence our mind, feelings, actions and thoughts. For example, if your mother was deeply disappointed in her relationship or marriage because she did not feel supported by her husband it is possible that you will search for a man who seems to be supporting you at first, but then turns out to manifest the opposite: a man that is not available to you. It is possible that you will search for many reasons then to be angry with him which ultimately may leads to new disappointment. Unless your anger is fully received and you feel a real support you will not be satisfied.

 Another interesting example is about a 70 year old man who grew up without his father who died in the war when he was around 1 year old. As a little boy, at the age of 5, he watched his mother secretly in the mirror while she was getting undressed. The boy saw his naked mother while being completely innocent in his sexual curiosity. As his mother realised that he was watching her she got angry and punished him. When he was 10 he moved to town to live with his aunts house to and attend school. One day he and his female cousin also 10 years old, were cuddling in bed because they liked each other. HIs aunt was embarrassed and decided to send him to boarding school. When he grew up and got to know his wife she did not allow him to make love before marriage. He  waited 3 years and then he realised that she did not like to make love at all. After he separated from his wife he met a woman who was open for sexual intimacy and love making and then he realized that he could not hold his erection as soon as it came to penetrating the woman. This is an example of how sexual dysfunctions develop when we are not mirrored or supported in our sexual development between the age of 3 to 5 years old from our parents and kinship.

There are so many life experiences that we make throughout our life by watching our parents, friends, teachers or grandparents that shape our subconscious and influence who we are and behave in the here and now.

In order to move beyond our subconscious conditioning, it is necessary to know ourselves as consciousness; fully aware of self. This means starting to see and feel that we are not our stories, our bodies, our histories, or our experiences and that, as consciousness… we exist before and beyond all these phenomena. To make this possible we need go deeper into our feelings related to stories and deeper into our pain and become conscious of our distortions. We then can claim our feelings, learn how to fully express them and integrate them to find new balance in ourselves and reconnect to what we reallyare beyond our stories. Many New Age Healing modalities encourage people to breathe in love and breathe out the pain. As Body Psychotherapists we suggest to do the opposite. If you feel pain claim it fully as your pain as there is no use in breathing it out. Embrace it, welcome it and embody the pain and in this way it will become less and eventually dissipate. PHI is an excellent tool in supporting this process as it works very well with the subconscious and deepens self awareness in releasing pain.

Pelvic Heart Integration as you may have understood by now, helps you to confront your defense mechanisms in a respectful and loving way and helps you to embrace your unresolved and undigested feelings in order to explore the pure essence of female and male (active and receptive) qualities within you. In PHI we are interested in a supportive and cooperative relationship between masculine and feminine, whether it is within us or in a relationship. If we stop fighting within we stop fighting without.

Once we transform our pain and become conscious of our distortions the natural flow and wisdom of who we are in our feminine and masculine essence reveals itself. Then a stream of self love and self empowerment can follow thereby balancing inside and outside. We acquire a sense of wholeness and harmony in addition to peace and completeness because the masculine and feminine are working together and finally unite forces. 

As a whole person we are free to play, to enjoy, to interact and to work with another whole person.This is not an easy road to take because we don´t typically have a lot of role models who can show us how to do this. It just needs our willingness to dive deep in our subconscious and confront our fears. The breath cycle we use in Pelvic Heart Integration® helps us to get reconnected with the feminine (the earth) and with the masculine (the cosmos) which allows us to feel the meaning of both powerful currents in our own bodies. The breath allows us to return to the natural flow of energy and we can celebrate the connection with others in an intimate relationship between a man and a woman, man and man or woman and woman. Our natural state is an ecstatic experience that has been covered over by body amour and mental activity. Just by breathing, every cell can become orgastic, this is why we say “let´s breathe and open up for the breath of life”!

Elisabeth Renner & Dirk Marivoet,
Practitioners and Trainers of Pelvic Heart Integration®

Heart in Sexuality – Artikel

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Heart in Sexuality

Article by Dirk Marivoet and Elisabeth Renner

Pelvic Heart Integration® (PHI) is an extension of Postural Integration® (PI) and Energetic Integration® (EI) and like PI and EI it integrates deep tissue hands-on work, combined with breathwork, energy work, trauma release, Gestalt, and psychodrama (or ‘bodymind drama’). Jack W. Painter1, creator of PI, EI and PHI, pioneered “pelvic release” work with the genitals and pelvic-floor in the 1970’s as part of “advanced PI” and this work proved to be much more complex and sophisticated than any other work around. His close relationship with Margo Anand and his collaboration with Willem Poppeliers in the 1980s resulted in a potent cross fertilization of their scientific and professional work, leading to the development of PHI in the 1990s.

Transforming Patterns of Sexual Frustration from the Past

Much of the focus of PHI is on the restoration of the natural energy flow of life (sexual) energy. The integrity of the energy flow between the heart and the genitals receives special attention. Before the natural energy flow of the child was cut by limited, not comprehending or frustrated parents, his heart and his genitals were part of a current of unified orgastic vibrant energy, characterized by innocence, curiosity and joyful excitement. PHI process work involves learning to recognize how we have cut off this flow and how our acquired gender identities support or undermine our actual sexual relationships, and how our past and current relationship patterns are linked to our sexual blocks. In a PHI workshop or training these things are not merely discussed, but are felt in the whole body as participants are supported in recreating an inner triangle between mother, father and child.  We can begin to become more aware of how when our sexual cravings come to the surface with force, a part of us tries to cut off the experience. The chest and heart may pull back because of our memory of past pain, or the belly may contract in order to separate physical excitement from emotional disappointment. The healing process clearly extends backward into time, as old family dynamics are helped to be transformed into new yet unimagined possibilities.

Getting the Masculine and Feminine Together

By focusing our attention on the dynamics of the masculine and feminine within our own bodies, we give ourselves leverage to effect change much more effectively than when we try to change others and blame them for not being sufficient. We also discover how our characteristic breathing patterns, thoughts, emotions, and body armor block the free flow of our life force and inhibit our capacity for sensual pleasure and orgasmic release. In PHI, we begin by looking at masculine and feminine as an expression of the breath – the feminine is the inhale, the masculine is the exhale. The feminine is about taking in, receiving, filling ourselves up. It’s energetic flow is from the genitals to the heart and from there towards the world (the other). The masculine is releasing and letting go, it is about erectness, solidity, attuning and penetration. It’s energetic flow is from the heart to the genitals and from there towards the world (the other). The masculine and feminine energies in the body also have a directional or cyclic flow : the feminine movement from the pelvis to the heart is complemented by the masculine movement from the heart to the genitals.  When the masculine and the feminine forces come into contact and eventually merge, whether within one’s own body or in connection with another, sexual pleasure and excitement results, eventually culminating in full body orgasm if the natural flow is unimpeded. But this internal flow, as well as the circuit formed when two individuals come together, loses its integrity when a person’s internal connection between heart and the genitals is severed. As we explore and work with each other during the workshop, we discover these old patterns in our bodies but also find what our bodies long for, what our masculine and feminine sides really want. When our bodies begin to harmonize the aspirations of these two sides, when our inner mother and father support the sexuality of our inner child, we are loving ourselves, creating a strong flow between the pelvis and heart, rather than only looking outside ourselves for love. We re-script our inner triangle to support both healthier relationships and greater sexual fulfillment. By allowing and supporting the masculine heart-pelvic flow within both inner parents; by embracing the feminine pelvic-heart flow within both inner parents, and thus in ourselves, we can recapture childhood innocence, curiosity and excitement at each stage of our lives.This inside integration gives a sensual constancy to our love and permits us to share love with others without losing ourselves. We see how love exists as part of our inner experience during the presence or absence of the lover.

To feel part of a continuing cycle of genital and heart energy through the generations

In PHI we have an opportunity to look at how our growing and changing bodies express sexuality in childhood, adolescence, maturity and old age; how our character is formed and reformed throughout our lives. When we have begun to physically and emotionally feel the connection between the genitals and heart, we have allowed our inner parents to be present. At this moment we realize that they have the same aspirations as our real parents and their parents, however much these longings may not have been fulfilled or remained unconscious. We realize that we are part of a continuing concrete, physical flow of genital and heart energy, which our children and their children can further fulfill.

Creating New Levels of Excitement and Pleasure

A PHI workshop typically begins with some playful warm up exercises which also teach about the energy meridians and the balancing of yin and yang energies. This is followed by work with the “energetic cycle” — The discovery of your past, present and future sexual force is done with the body. With touch, breathwork, movement, role play, active imagination and bodywork, you will take awareness of how you can bring your body in your sexual, love and spiritual life. We will explore how our sexual awareness is contained in our deep body tissues and in our breath. One will be helped to awaken one’s desire and sense of freedom and encouraged to explore, at one’s own rhythm, a variety of ways of breathing which can lead to new levels of excitement. Riding waves of charging and discharging energy, one will discover the power of expressing any accumulated or forbidden charge. By letting this energy be free and complete, one can open old blocks and cultivate streaming currents of warm pleasure. We experience physical opening and the connection between the heart and genitals. The work with breathing and the bodywork will be used to release the energies and to simultaneously restructure the pelvic segment (pelvic-floor, buttocks, psoas,…), the diaphragm and rib cage. Regardless of your level of experience, we will help you learn how to maintain your sexual unity and dare to reveal yourself. Soft or deep contact with skin, tissue, muscle and bone helps open every part of the body and allows any desire, any fantasy to be welcome in the flesh. Dirk and Elisabeth – long time practitioners and trainers of PHI – teach and demonstrate; participants practice on each other, and then share about what they experienced. The theory behind the work is delicately intertwined with what is experienced. Work with the cycle at it’s different stages is repeated over and over throughout the workshop as building blocks for a Pelvic Heart Integration session. Following our guidance, you will be working on untangling the ancestral lines of sexual/spiritual transmission. Symbolically integrating the ideal parents of your inner sexual child, participants will find a powerful and tender source; as participant you will reconnect to an inexhaustible source that binds you to genital desires and aspirations of the heart of your parents as well as their parents, regardless of whether their real sexuality was incomplete or unfulfilled. This is the spiritual groundwork for a grounded, unified and sustainable, love and sexuality. Before all we’re our own lover, in love with our own body. When the male and female parts are harmonized in us, we can more easily feel, touch and be in joy while sharing the joy of another person. We can look at and love someone else without fear of losing him or lose something inside of us. This inner joy – physical, emotional, cognitive and spiritual – is complete and cannot be destroyed, whatever the reaction of the other. And this inner joy, this body ecstasy that radiates from our core, allows us to experience a deep encounter with those who also found their inner joy.

What will you learn?

In a PHI introductory workshop you have an opportunity both to do your own work and to begin acquiring skills as a practitioner. You will learn:
• How your body holds both masculine and feminine energy and how to embrace both sides
• How to use the breath to access new levels of excitement with or without a partner
• How to identify characteristic patterns and blocks to the free flow of orgasmic energy and how these blocks are related to body types and personality (character) types.
• How to identify the origin of these sexual blocks and how to release them on physical, energetic, and emotional levels
• How to free yourself from old, dysfunctional patterns and become a mature, self-validating individual
• How to use pelvic-heart bodywork to release trauma and to increase orgasmic pleasure


1 JACK W. PAINTER (1933-2010), a former professor at the University of Miami and a pioneer of the Human Potential Movement in the 1960s, was one of those rare beings who was equally good at practicing and teaching his methods of Bodymind Integration. Jack developed a style of holistic bodywork called Postural Integration® (PI) which is now used by hundreds of practitioners worldwide, followed by Energetic Integration® (EI) and Pelvic Heart Integration® (PHI), which is taught as independent methods by some trainers of ICPIT the organization he founded in 1988 and that gathers the accredited Trainers of PI, EI and PHI
2 DIRK MARIVOET is a registered Psychotherapist, Trainer and Supervisor for Pelvic-Heart Integration®, Postural Integration® & Energetic Integration® – Teacher and Supervisor for Core-Energetics®. Loves the Fire, Father of two children, lives in Belgium. Dirk is General Secretary of ICPIT since 1999.
3 ELISABETH RENNER is a registered Psychotherapist, Trainer and Supervisor for Pelvic-Heart Integration®, Postural Integration® & Energetic Integration®. Loves the Water, lives in Graz and in Hawaï. Elisabeth is the current President of ICPIT.

 LONDON March 23 > 26 2017 INTERNATIONAL WORKSHOP  PELVIC HEART INTEGRATION® Living the Mystery of Masculine and Feminine


Transformation of the Self with Bodymind Integration
  • Edited by Rita Erken and Bernhard Schlage