My blog post back in March 2014 entitled ‘Release Your Psoas Muscle to Discover Your Dressage Seat’ talked about the importance of these muscles to our riding and ability to absorb the movement of our horse effectively.
I have become a little obsessed with mine, largely due to the fact that I spend many hours sitting at a desk each week and constantly bemoan the disadvantage this gives me when I climb aboard my horse but also because, as you will know by now, when I get an idea into my head I have to follow it through!
So, I am delighted to advise that I have found you a psoas expert and some great information about how to release this important set of muscles. I am so excited because it is THE most simple thing you will ever do to aid your ability to position yourself effectively for dressage and simplicity is another of my obsessions!
Liz Koch has been investigating, teaching and writing about the psoas for over thirty years. Koch believes that the best release for most people, especially when they are beginning, is what she calls constructive rest, which is a relaxation technique.
“It’s a being (not doing) position. Before you exercise or at the end of the day, constructive rest changes the whole expression of the central nervous system. There’s a lot going on in constructive rest but you’re not doing it. You just allow it to happen” – Liz Koch
Here goes … Koch’s method for releasing your psoas muscles
- Lie on your back.
- Bend your knees and put your feet flat on the floor or alternatively up on a chair as in the diagram shown.
- You want your legs and feet to be parallel to each other and hip distance apart.
- That means your knees will line up with the area just inside your hipbones and your middle toes will be in line with your knees.
- Adjust the distance of your heels from your bottom so that you find a place where it takes the least amount of effort to have your legs in position.
- You will know you have the right distance when you feel the weight is equal on the whole foot and the pelvis can move.
- Let your spine lengthen along your mat.
- You want a neutral spine position so there will be a slight curve under your low back. You can rock your pelvis back and forth a few times to find the middle place where your pubic bone and hip bones are flat along the same plane.
- Relax your shoulders away from your ears and feel the weight of your shoulder girdle on your mat.
- Keep your arms below shoulder height, letting them rest over the ribcage, to the sides of your body or on your pelvis
- When the arms are kept below shoulder height, gravity releases tension in the psoas while in constructive rest. As this happens the pelvis rebalances and the spine elongates.
- Relax your neck and jaw.
- Do some deep breathing and relax.
In this simple position gravity releases the psoas! This is such a simple relaxation technique. You don’t have to do anything but allow release. Don’t you just love it? Simplicity – The key to brilliance.
Patricia – The Dressage Tipster
Thanks Patricia what an amazing easy exercise. I was suffering from low back ache this week. Did this exercise this morning after reading your blog and back ache much better. So thank you 🙂
That’s cool Deb! It works doesn’t it? It makes me smile to think we will all be lying around on the floor relaxing whilst telling everyone we are busy exercising! lol
This is very like the type of yoga I go to. I will send it to my teacher. Thank you
You’re welcome Lois