The Ineffable Elaine L. Mayland, PhD

July 5, 1928 – January 18, 2022

Elaine L. Mayland was born in Manchester, Connecticut, the second of 8 children. She transitioned from this life on January 18, 2022, on the 10th anniversary of the passing of her colleague, friend and mentor, Marion Rosen.

Elaine attended local Manchester elementary, junior high and high schools and remained in Connecticut, where she raised her family and enjoyed a career in administration at Manchester Memorial Hospital. During these years, she also pursued her many interests with great passion, eventually becoming an accomplished sculptor, painter and poet, as well as earning her Bachelor of Arts in 1973 from Goddard College.

With a prayer in her pocket and a longing in her heart, Elaine bravely set out looking for new adventures. In 1975, she landed in northern California, where she went on to earn her Master’s Degree in 1983, and her Doctorate in 1985 from the California Institute of Transpersonal Psychology in Palo Alto. She never let anyone forget she was a bona fide PhD now, for it was hard won, even having the initials emblazoned on the license plate of her silver Toyota Camry.  It was Dr. Mayland now! 

Lisa Thompson, Elaine and Marion

Elaine first met Marion Rosen in 1978 and she quickly became Marion’s client, then friend and colleague. Elaine and Marion worked together for many years developing and growing Rosen Method Bodywork in Berkeley and then around the world.  Elaine has the honored distinction of having developed the Rosen Method Bodywork intensive format, which allowed those not residing near a school the opportunity to train in the work. Over their many years of collaboration and fine-tuning the work, Marion and Elaine taught hundreds of intensives together. The incorporation of intensives into the training model led to the growth of Rosen Method trainings worldwide and saw training centers open in Scandinavia, Switzerland, France, Canada, Holland and Mexico.

In 1983, Elaine, Marion and several others worked to create the Rosen Institute in order to protect the integrity and legacy of the work while growing it worldwide. In 1985, completely smitten by the inevitable success of Rosen Method bodywork, Elaine switched the subject matter of her PhD thesis and authored Rosen Method: An Approach to Wholeness and Well-Being Through the Body, the first book published on Rosen Method bodywork. While Marion had the magic touch and deep listening skills, Elaine had the magic words. It was a collaboration borne out of trust and surrender and it changed the course of the bodywork and opened it up to a new population of international students, necessitating translations in several other languages. On the 20th anniversary of the book’s humble beginnings, Elaine released an updated second edition in 2005, adding all the new ways she and Marion learned to offer the work over the years.   Her second edition is still available and will be for years to come and is often considered the “bible” of Rosen Method bodywork.  

Elaine also honored the importance of the continual integration of Rosen Movement, offering in 2011 that “I like to have a full movement class sometime during each day of the intensive. I notice that it helps people open to receive the teaching or integrate all that has happened during the day…there’s a deep knowledge and intelligence underneath every move that Marion put into movement work.” 

Elaine enjoying her retirement

In 2008, Elaine decided to retire and returned to her Connecticut roots where she enjoyed her sweet little seaside town of Mystic, Connecticut.

Elaine was an unconventional teacher and a force to be reckoned with as evidenced by the string of inspired and exceptional students she taught over the years. Her intern group outings were filled with fun and laughter, but also with deep learning and listening and learning how it was possible to bring your whole being to the table.  She was famous for so many wonderful comments, such as “where’s the juice” and “slipping into the river …” while trying to impart to a student her understanding and knowledge of this beautiful thing we call Rosen Method bodywork … and she got through to even the meekest among us.  Who else had the nerve to put a blindfold on and let her interns and students work on her so she could help to identify the student’s strength and areas that might need more presence?   I think at one time or another, all of her students must have had a moment of shaking in their boots.  Such was the stuff of Elaine Mayland … getting to that place in each of her students that could open up a world of new possibilities and make a difference. 

Elaine is deeply missed by her children, grandchildren, extended family and her many students, interns, colleagues and friends around the world. She was indeed one of a kind.

Written with the help of Jane Malek and Jeanie C. Williams