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Steve's Bio

Steve Savage, Infinite Breath
Steve was born in St. Paul, Minnesota, and raised on a farm perched directly over the Mississippi River south of the Twin Cities. As a child, he learned to milk a cow, mix feed for beef cattle, shovel manure and ride horses. He studied English literature at Harvard and received an A.B. in 1967 with a specialization in Elizabethan drama. During this time, he worked frequently as a technician at Harvard's Loeb Drama Center, and even had a walk-on part in Sargeant Musgrave's Dance with actor Tommy Lee Jones (then just Tom Jones) in the title role. Steve taught English at a private school in Pennsylvania from 1967 to 1970, during which time he explored his interest in photography as well as organizing and directing plays, including Bertolt Brecht's A Man's a Man. The summer of 1969 Steve spent at Exeter College, Oxford (England), studying 17th century history and literature in the Bureau of Extramural Activities (what we would call an Extension Program), earning a CAGS (Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies) based on a thesis which examined the relationship between the so-called "metaphysical poets" of the 17th century to modern poets such as T. S. Eliot and Ezra Pound. Beginning in 1970, Steve began to explore his long-time interest in psychology (the American psychologist and philosopher, William James, is a distant cousin and inscribed copies of his books were part of the Savage family library when Steve was growing up). From 1970 to 1977, Steve studied psychology at Boston University and Tufts University, earning an M.S. from Tufts, in 1977, specializing in psycholinguistics and experimental methods. Also during this time, he founded The Pomegranate Press, a small publishing house dedicated to producing broadsides of modern American poetry paired with illustrations by distinguished American illustrators. During his tenure, Pomegranate published the work of Allen Ginsberg, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Robert Creely, Robert Bly, Joyce Carol Oates, May Swenson, Archibald MacLeish, Mark Van Doren, John Crowe Ransom, Daryl Hines, Richard Eberhart, Maxine Kumin, Michael McClure, Kenneth Rexroth, Adrienne Rich, James Merrill and many others. Steve moved to San Francisco in 1977 to establish his career as a photographer, where his background in theatre, psychology and publishing became a valuable tool in his work with performing artists and arts organizations.

steve savage, Infinite Breath
Steve became interested in the breath with his initial discovery of Buddhist meditation in 1990. He was a volunteer and frequent participant in day-long retreats at Spirit Rock Meditation Center from 1995 to 1998, where Vipassana meditation is the primary tool of enlightenment. In 1995, as a result of a severe bicycle accident which left his left shoulder partially dysfunctional, Steve began to explore the various healing modalities which have now become a part of the TrueBalance workshops. It was at this time that he first discovered The Alexander Technique, as well as exploring Continuum Movement, massage, acupuncture, homeopathy, chiropractic and Reiki. He became a Certified Massage Therapist in 1997 and a Reiki Master in 1998. Also in 1998, he first encountered the Middendorf Breath Work, first in San Francisco, then in Berlin, Germany, where Ilse Middendorf (then 88) still teaches and leads the Middendorf Institute for the Experience of Breath. In 2000, Steve began the official Middendorf Training Program at the San Francisco Middendorf Breath Institute, now located in Berkeley. He became a Certified Middendorf Breath Practitioner in 2004, and has since established a flourishing breath massage practice as well as teaching regular weekly classes and occasional workshops in many parts of San Francisco. He returns to Berlin regularly to refresh his skills with Ilse Middendorf (who turned 95 in 2005) as well as exploring other ways to extend his knowledge and abilities. In 2005, he participated in Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen's workshop on Breathing and Body/Mind Centering as well as attending Ilse Middendorf's Advanced Learning Workshop (Atem Tagung) in Berlin in June. In March, 2008, Steve was lucky enough to be one of 14 participants in Ilse Middendorf's last English-language workshop. Ilse died on May 2nd, 2009, at the age of 98.

Steve Savage, Infinite Breath

In 2004, shortly before he completed the Middendorf Breath Work training program, Steve met Matt Stevens, who has now become his collaborator and partner in the TrueBalance Workshops and Balanced by Design classes and trainings. Matt is an Alexander Technique practitioner who studied with Frank Ottiwell, resident Alexander Technique teacher at the American Conservatory Theatre. Matt also has an extensive background in improvisational theatre and martial arts, including Shorinji Kenpo, Karate, Judo, and Aikido. Steve and Matt taught their first workshop on balance at the Noe Valley Ministry in the fall of 2005. Since then, they have studied together with David Gorman, the founder of LearningMethods, a mode of therapy whereby the client discovers that his or her own inherent body/mind intelligence is all we need for healthy, integrated functioning. The TrueBalance Workshops and Balanced by Design trainings present the results of Steve and Matt's integration of all of these modalities: breath exercises from the Middendorf work, adjustments in thought and movement patterns from The Alexander Technique and simple movements and ways of looking at ourselves based on David Gorman's work and practice. In the workshops, students are encouraged to explore the ways in which their breath, bodies, minds and spirits may become integrated into a functional, energetic and creative whole. In 2007, Steve introduced his Breath, Movement and Voice classes for the performing arts community of which he has been a part since 1977, based on the Middendorf Breathwork which has now become his specialty. Also in 2007, he began teaching his Conscious Running, Conscious Walking, and Conscious Stretching classes, based on the discoveries he has made over the past 40 years about running, meditation and the breath.