Relax and learn: the psoas 2

IMG-20170915-WA0008Staying in an area in which the locals say (and follow through):

If there’s a job to do….do it slow..

Reminds me that our sessions begin with a relaxed approach to settling the body and exploring a sense of ease.  When we lie down in semi-supine we slowly develop awareness about how we move our body from one moment to another.  We think about how we are going to lie down and we begin to learn.  We have an opportunity to really feel what is useful and not so useful in our habitual movement.  We begin to consciously practice inhibition of movement patterns that create tension.

So – the learning process:

  • First of all stop, say ‘no’ to  your usual way of going to lie down. Think about how you are going to move and keep using inhibition all the way through the procedure.
  • With awareness , begin to lie down on your back with your knees bent, moving into the semi-supine. Remind yourself to rest through the bones and to trust gravity to gently maintain the spine’s length as you move.
  • Check that you have a free neck. Then think about how you will bend your knees but inhibit any tightening and distorting that interferes with the movement, then freely bend your knees out and away from your hip joints. Place your feet on the floor so that your hips, knees and feet are in line with each other. Take care to align your feet so that they do not turn in, nor out further than your knees.

Our grounded practice teaches us that how you are, is much more important than your exact position. Do not lock and fix yourself so that you can hold the ‘right’ position.  Our learning process should take us towards comfort and health, not away from it.

‘There is no such thing as a right position, but there is such a thing as a right direction’     F M Alexander

Continue to give yourself directions and allow your back to drop down to the floor and to gently lengthen out. Do not force anything but allow the changes to take place as you give yourself directions.

Sensing and directing:  Freeing breath, spine and psoas

It is as this stage in our sessions that we explore breathing patterns; releasing the intercostals and diaphragm to facilitate choices as we move.  We also explore ways in which to lengthen the spine and release the mighty psoas.  By planting and placing the feet we simulate our walking pattern and the functional response that a balanced body exerts.  Most of you will recognize the words:

– press into the foot and walk the knees/alternate knees.  Psoas releases on each side as the pelvis lifts and rotates slightly.

  • Drop into the feet; the belly drops back and the pelvis may lift.  Stay soft in the belly.  Passive release.  Sense when you tense – check the belly and if tense, back off.
  • Use the “action” of the feet to release the psoas and the pelvis.  Allow the back to sag and roll the “marble around the board” or the “pea around the plate”

You may have developed your own more helpful phrases.  If so, let me know.

Holiday Video – shock alert!!

I tried to upload a rather amateurish video of the above routine. In between each movement through the action of the feet, I practised rib breathing, belly breathing and then alternating belly/rib breathing.  The system would not allow me to fulfill my plan (perhaps wisely).  I can (with embarrassment) send you the video link if you email me via the blog or at

Staying in touch c/o a delightful local library. If I am slow – please excuse.  Next post will be a short resume of apps that you might wish to explore.

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