Tobin Rangdrol, Founder of Middleway Method
Founder of Middleway Method
My training in the field of somatic education is in the Old World tradition of one-on-one apprenticeships. My primary mentor is my mother, Shari Sunshine, who has been a somatic educator since 1978, when she was a student of Judith McKinnon, founder of McKinnon Body Therapy Institute. Shari was then an apprentice to Shlomo Efrat in Jerusalem, Israel. Shlomo was apprentice to Moshe Feldenkrais, the developer of the Feldenkrais Method® of somatic education. For two years, Shlomo taught Shari intensively and exclusively in an effort to pass on what he learned from Feldenkrais, who was on his death bed. It was during Shari’s apprenticeship with Shlomo that I began actively observing their work and attending movement classes. I was nine years old, and I still practice what I learned then.
Shari was also apprentice to Arthur Pauls, the developer of Ortho-Bionomy®, and to Pierre Pannetier, who was apprentice to Randolph Stone, the developer of Polarity Therapy®. When I began my formal apprenticeship with Shari as an adult, I immediately recognized that she had been teaching me the principles of Polarity and Ortho-Bionomy for my whole childhood. Doesn’t every child learn that our fingers have different polarities and that change comes most easily when we approach it from a place of ease?
Aside from what I absorbed as a child, my formal somatic education apprenticeship with Shari began in 1997 when I became an instructor for Syntropy International, Shari’s somatic education training program in the US and Europe. Ironically, the first somatic education class that I ever attended as a student, I was also the teacher. Since then, Shari has shared with me as much as she possibly can from her incredible wealth of knowledge and experience. I continue to co-teach and study with my mother to this day.
In 2002, I completed an apprenticeship in the Hawaiian tradition of Lomi Lomi with Daniel Fowler, the Director of Lomi Oluea School in Maui, Hawaii. Additionally, I studied and practiced Ashtanga Yoga intensively with Richard Freeman and the incredible teachers at the Yoga Workshop in Boulder, Colorado, and trained in Healing Chi Kung with Master Mantak Chia at the Universal Healing Tao Center in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
My meditation training began at Wat Pa Nanachat Monastery in Ubon Ratchatani, Thailand, where I took novice vows at the age of 18. I then went on to study Dzogchen Buddhism with Chogyal Namkai Norbu and receive pointing out instruction from Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche in Kathmandu, Nepal. I spent three seasons studying Buddhist Philosophy with Geshe Dawa, Geshe Sonam, and Ruth Sonam at the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives in Dharmsala, India, as well as attending three transmissions on the Stages of the Path with His Holiness the Dalai Lama. I am now a student of Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche’s son, Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche.
As a side-note, I studied Philosophy at Portland State University in Portland, Oregon, and Early Childhood Education at Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado. Naropa University was founded by Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche in the Shambhala tradition. It was during my time at Naropa that my meditation practice stabilized.
In 2004, I opened the Arcata School of Massage, where I served as the Director and Principle Instructor until 2017. It was during that time that I developed Middleway Method Health Education, and then ultimately decided to concentrate entirely on somatic education in the apprenticeship format that was the foundation of my own education. After working as a massage and bodywork therapist for 20 years, I developed Middleway Method Health Education in order to better meet the needs of people seeking to take responsibility for their own functional wellness.
I now serve as the Communications Manager and Secretary to the Board of Directors for Rangjung Yeshe Gomde California, a center for the study and practice of Buddhism in Leggett, California, and as a Publicist and Guest Instructor for Ratna Ling Retreat Center, a center for health and wellness grounded in the Buddhist Tradition in Sonoma County, California.
I work privately as a Middleway Method Practitioner and Mentor in Arcata, California, where I live with my wife and daughter.