Most Yoga practices over-emphasize flexibility to the detriment of stability, especially in the lower back and sacroiliac joints. And unfortunately, “core fitness” programs rarely address the fundamental imbalances in the primary core muscles: the psoas. When you have a deeper understanding of how the psoas functions you can incorporate simple, effective, and pain-free practices into your classes that build strength, mobility and restore ease of movement.
There are many tell-tale signs that a student is experiencing discomfort. How many times have you asked a group of students to lie down for relaxation with the legs extended straight and after 30 seconds, without being asked to, many people bend their knees?
The need to bend the knees is a red flag that excessive tension is being placed on the deep psoas muscles. When these muscles are already under tension straightening the legs can cause immediate discomfort, which can be felt as:
Intuitively, people know that bending their knees will help to relieve this discomfort. While bending the knees helps a little, positioning the legs with precision into Constructive Rest Position optimizes the release of the psoas, often with remarkable results.
Through using very gentle and accessible practices like Constructive Rest Position you can help your students literally rebuild their backs, improving overall body posture and movement function.
Newer research was revealing that targeted work with the psoas muscles could effectively shift the position of the pelvis and spine.
Through integrating these gentle pain-free techniques into my own practice I now have relatively few episodes of lower back pain. Often called “the hidden prankster”, the psoas has multiple functions but its key role is to provide central body support and to act as a lumbar stabilizer.
Together with my co-author we’ve done the hard research, and made the complex anatomy of the core body accessible through newly commissioned anatomical illustrations.
“I return again and again to this book”
If you want to go deeper into your understanding of how your body works, to find blind spots and start working with the core buy this book! I now approach my personal Asana practice and teaching with much more confidence. Several long-standing issues in my body have been addressed and improved.
Fifteen years of strong Asana practice left me in a lot of pain (sacroiliac joints, lumbar, dorsal, meniscus and cervical spine). My science background led me to look outside my lineage for answers. I return again and again to this book, re-read and re-experiment. Now the core is central to my work. My favourite new insight is that “Mobility of the periphery depends on the stability of the core”. It is NOT strong abdominals that give stability, but the sense of the central cylinder.
I now understand my own imbalances (scoliosis, QL, psoas) and have found new ways to balance them. Daily, I can help my students find new ways to move with ease, some of these students have been with me for a decade.
“Learn Multiple Protocols”
I love this book! Farhi and Stuart have created a manual that is intelligent, in-depth, and manages to be grounded in the physical realm while connecting us to our hearts, our histories and our spirits. It roots us in the anatomy illuminating our true core, and offers beautifully illustrated explorations, exercises and approaches to familiar Yoga poses. We learn multiple protocols designed to help us find, release, balance and/or strengthen the Iliopsoas system safely and mindfully. This gentle work will be of interest to yogis and Yoga teachers, bodyworkers and anyone who wants to live a centered and healthy life.
“This Book Should Be Required Reading For Yoga Therapists, Physical Therapists, Pilates, Somatics and Other Movement Teachers”
A unique contribution to a deeper understanding of core stability, back pain, and easeful movement. With a focus upon the role of the psoas, this book provides clear, step-by-step guidelines for a somatic self-inquiry that will lead to structural and functional balance and deep healing. This book should form an important part of the required reading for Yoga therapists, physical therapists, Pilates, Somatics and other movement teachers, and sports trainers.
“Rethinking One of Yoga’s Most Misunderstood Concepts, The “Core.””
This beautifully and succinctly written book will change the way we think about Yoga practice. The authors present a sound anatomical case for rethinking one of Yoga’s most misunderstood concepts, the “core.” They provide common sense practices to engage, stabilize, and integrate the core to create a ground for sensible and graceful movement. Simultaneously radical and down-to-earth, Pathways to a Centered Body will help readers create a sustainable Yoga practice—both on and off the mat
Incorporating the rigorous backing of anatomical principles for safe and sustainable practice, Donna offers progressive levels of engagement that allow people of all levels of experience and from all traditions to build their own authentic Yoga practice.