Liz Koch is the Director of Core Awareness, author of The Psoas Book, Core Awareness: Enhancing Yoga, Pilates, Exercise & Dance, Stalking Wild Psoas: Embodying Your Core Intelligence, and more. She´s a movement researcher with a background as a conceptual artist and approved by the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB) as a continuing education Approved Provider.
Enjoy this extraordinary video interview and the transcript below:
Candia: What unfolded beginning of your work in the Psoas?
Author of the Psoas Book. Core Awareness. Stalking wild psoas: Embodying your core intelligence.
45 years in this field.
Conceptual artist. Enter the scupture department not as doing form, but as doing process, doing life and shaping as a process not something static as form.
In doing that, with a history of scoliosis and lot of back pain. I was interested in the creative process. I started doing movement and felt really touched by how movement changed our perception of the world. I became really intrigued with curiosity to explore.
Bob Couly, author of The genius of flexibiblity. He was focused on the Psoas. As a dancer, all movement and injuries come from the center core of your being. He tracked it back to this tissue Psoas as being the root of a lot of disruption.
He spent a lot of time in Constructive Rest Position, a term coined by Lulu Sweigard and Mabel Todd, somatic educators that recognized that this – lying down on your back, knees bent and feet flat on the floor – is a powerful position for grounding. What I call landing and locating, being able to show up here on earth. This is how my work begin.
Candia: Not as a fixed thing of living as a process. Nietzche´s Bodily becoming.
Candia: Moshe´s Feldenkrais acture more than posture. As something that is continuous.
4:44 Psoas as an organ, not a muscle.
Psoas as an awareness organ. As a sensory organ.
Ground breaking concept beyond the divisiveness of science.
Mind body connection. Sensing feeling.
A necessary change of paradigm. Biomechanical vie from the allopathic paradigm as an object. Can not contain the experience of the Psoas.
7:00 Paradigm shift
The scientifical context is withing biology, phisics and specially embriology.
The only reason why it´s defined as a muscle is because someone cut it out of a dead cadaver and chose to call it a muscle.
If you talk to a chef, if you talk to a butcher, they will tell you that the psoas is nothing as any other tissue of the body. It is the filet mignon, it is most tender, is juicy, is succulent, it doesn´t have fibers that move in a particular direction, it´s orbital, it´s global.
So to me it is not a muscle, it can be used as a muscle but is not a muscle. It doesn´t hold up the spine.
The connection of the psoas is being one of an organ of perception. If you think on that terms you can stop trying to fix it, make it better, make it stronger, all that one does when thinking of muscles.
I write about a paradigm shift in my last book with 9 essays. With the intention to change everybody´s laguage of body as a structure. We don´t have a spinal column. We don´t have pelvic floor, we don´t have vaginal walls, we don´t have roofs to our mouth. You are not an object, we are a living process so we have to find a language that is organic that is about life itself.
9:20 Survival response and whole body orgasm
The primal psoas is all about survival.
Your spine is a river, is a caterpillar it responds as a caterpillar.
You will go in as a response of protection. That is the primal psoas, that is it´s expression. It´s about you ward off you get bigger, to get smaller, it´s all about survival, it´s all about flourishing, whole body orgasm is an expression of the psoas, a wave motion like a current.
It´s abbout finding a language that is science but that is not found on the mechanical perspective or paradigm.
10:00 How to sense the Psoas
Psoas is elusive. The more you sense your Psoas the more is recruited as something else.
Dancer, your using your psoas to lift, using your adrenal energy to perform.
Feldenkrais, the embrio performs gestures, rises up against falling apart. Theres expression in the organism.
When we understand expression rather than shape. Then we see the living process in its process and we are moving with it rather than correcting it. So it´s more about connection than correcting it.
Biomechanics doesn´t have a soul, where´s emotions. You go to a psychologist to talk about emotions. It is not in the paradigm. But in the embriological paradigm it´s all there because you are one living organism expressing itself.
So the way to sense the Psoas, the people focus on a thing thats the mechanical model, that is the colonized mind, you can´t do it that way. You can´t use the same collonized ways that shaped your issue to dissolve your issue. You have to let go of that. So part of that issue of letting go is noticing what do you notice. Does your organism wanna curl, does it arch.
What people would want to do in an arch is to pull the ribs down and force you out of that expression because that´s not correct behavior, because thats not correct expression, so we have a model of what it is to be human that is a colonized idea specially in the white body of what correct posture is.
If we are looking a process what are we feeling, what are we sensing, where does our awareness go, what does our attention focus on. The Psoas, the upper Psoas has a nerve innervation that is the solar plexus, so that area has one quality to it. To the second psoas innervation that is lower, what we want is the feeling of wholeness. So we want to feel the whole of our Psoas.
You can´t do that by stretching, pulling, getting in a posture, manipulating it. That´s the mechanical model.
You have to open to the feeling quality and then you come into something very elusive.
When you come in contact with the Psoas is like holding a cloud in your attention, in your awareness. Like you can´t really get a feeling of it. It´s difficult to have a sense of a cloud, you know it´s there but is very vague. So that´s the Psoas.
Healthy Psoas is very vague, is very elusive, is obscure. It´s a kind of an intuitive feeling, it´s a kind of connection. That´s not something you can get your hands on, although people try and thats abusive to the Psoas. So it´s about accessing this core intelligence. So I call it the messenger of the midline.
In embriology we have a South North pole that is “me”, that no one else has. And that´s where your whole organism is blossoming out of. It is the bio intelligence that accesses the universe. It accesses all intelligences, it accesses all mollecular and celular memory.
It´s an intelligence you have direct access within the dephts of your own being. In many fields we call it intuition, we call that awareness, we call that consciousness. So as we become more curious we start to notice, and yes you can differenciate Psoas from bone, from muscles or organs, but that´s a sensory process.
15:00 Constructive rest position
What I urge people to do is to spend time in constructive rest position. It is one of the most underrated but potential positions available to us.
Which is to get in the floor, not as a correction but as a landing. Get your bones literally on the floor preferably or some floor thats really connected to earth and just let yourself land. Put the alignment with your feet aligned with the hips. So you´re not posturing in a defense mode, we´re just available.
And start to watch how your body begins to land. And as it lands bone will begin to shift, tissue will begin to move, organs will begin to shift. And that´s the most direct way to access your Psoas because gravity releases what I call “extraneous neurological tension”. So it´s an experience in the moment. So it´s anything you need to resolve cand kinda dissolve in that position and then you just show up in time and space.
And when you show up in time and space your Psoas is very happy. Because thats one of it´s major messages is that you can land and locate. A person is dissoriented in some way when something is disrupted, and whats usually disrupted is our propioception, the connection.
16:53 Psoas injuries
So if you have an injury to the Psoas it can not only heal, it can grow. Need to understand it. A rugby player, and irish man client that torn his psoas out of its lesser trocanter and it snapped, people listened it all on the stadium. When I asked him how did he recover, he said they put him in Constructive Rest Position for about 6 months. But it grew back.
I´ve known people that had their Psoas cut in half, because they cut just cut it in half in surgery just to get it out of the way. Or they slash it out of the hip socket and it grew back.
18:00 Lushing the Psoas
So if yours was torn. And you´re looking at the piece that is important: Lushing, jucifying. Yeah, jucify yourself. So connective tissue. So work where you´re hydrateing in soft slow responsive movements.
What is most important for the Psoas is to recreate that filament. To recreate the hidrated Psoas. It is essencial for everyones health to have a juicy Psoas. Not only for your survival but is literally for your health.
I had an orthopedic surgeon interview me recently that does the mentioned surgical procedures. And he´s telling me how dehidrated the Psoas is that it compresses nerves. It interrupt organ functioning. It changes the fluid field around the organs by creating a more acydic condition. So he confirmed what I intuitively knew, that hydration of Psoas and spine, creating a spine that is more like a river, provides the restaurative capacity of your own body to heal.
20:00 Access the deep core that you are
Candia: It comes to me the feeling that accessing the Psoas is not about making it happen and following a step by step protocol but more of a listening process, of a letting it happen, of an allowing and learning what is already there and supporting that. My feeling is that working with the Psoas is creating an invitation for oneself in a way.
Liz: To access the deep core that you are, to access the deepness, the soulfulness that you are as an organism, as a being here on earth.
Candia: And opening way to the truest expression of yourself that is in a way. Another kind of discipline, working in another cognitive domain that is not only the discursive thinking but the richer language of experience and being and acknoledging oneself as a process and becoming through that process. I take this word of invitation.
Candia: Invitation to know more about your work, about themselves, and this beautiful thing that is the experience of the psoas, and the core, and the awareness of it.
Liz: Yes, visit www.coreawareness.com
Rich sourcing of information on different capacities. Educational resources. Interviews
Also the interview about the embrio that is withing you and it´s unfolding, that is not going anywhere, that you are the embrio! That we´re not made of cells, we utilize cells to become. Rich conversation with different people like that who understand or we dialogue about this new understanding of oneselves as not an object but a process.
There´s videos. Working on water to hydrate the psoas. On a chair. On the floor. Because it´s very simple. It´s not a complex thing. It´s not a skill. It takes no skill level to have a functional Psoas.
It takes what you´re talking about. Awareness, a listening, a willingness, an allowing, a capacity to nourish the organism. And so the nourishment of the whole organism is something like how can I support a flower blossoming, or a tree becoming its full fullness. If we´re groing on a pot we dont know were a 90 foot tree.
Until we land on the earth and all of a sudden our capacity really shows up. So for me as a conceptual artist I´ve been interested on how we really blossom.
Blossoming happens in the mammalian world through play, through exploration, through curiosity. So it´s the play that actually keeps us expressing ourselves in diverse and multiple multiplicities of ways that gives us this richness of who we are.
I call it a culture. Like the culture of wine, the nuance of tasting the earth and what that plant was influenced by or fell in love with. You know, the why. Thats what we are doing.
So core awareness is a rich source of sourcing this deep richness in ourselves.
Theres an OnLine workshop where I interact with people and make recommendations on how you would work to heal and things like you can do that might support that healing of your Psoas and regrowing of that tissue.
Start imagining that regrowing, that reconnection. And then that that expression of tissue can keep at exploring themselves.
Because we just have to look at change as something it can´t not happen.
Your cells are always dissolving and reapearing. So we have to start to look at what holds something in a matrix of disease or disfunction, is something interrupting with and incredibly intelligent organism.
The intelligence of the organism is what I´m curious about. Accessing this much deeper broader wealth of support that is life itself.
26:00 Play, creativity and survival
Candia: I want to add something that I came into the realization when you were talking about PLAY and that we are always changing. Cells are fading and we have new cells. And at the same time that is the edge of survival: Creativity. Because when you are creating you don´t know what will come out and at the same time, anytime that you´re in a challenge or even if you´re not in a challenge it is something that has to do with survival with the change of a state and stepping into the unknown. But it is very different to curl because you´re afraid of the unknown than when you´re actually playing with the unknown and unfolding and creating. Wonderful.
Liz: Part of that process is infolding, so curling up, that impression of curling up is actually a place to go. There´s a deep connection to the organism´s capacity to return, to allow it to unfold. So its a wave. It´s curling in to unfold.
So I say, collapse fall into yourself, dissolve, like consciously do it as an expression, you can call it a performance, you can call it a gesture.
Intentionally going there brings you to rich territory to allow you unfold. It´s an incredible way.
And sometimes other people have to go the other way, they have to really expand into that arc, ribs going, that are in the warding off, thats also survival response, thats also part of the Psoas.
But thriving and flourishing is also within that too, they are not separated. They are the same thing.
It´s all the same thing that is going on in the organism and it knows how to do it. If we.
So what I always look at is not how to do it right but what is interfering with a process that´s so incredibly intelligent.
What am I doing that is interrupting. It can be something as simple as the shoe that I´m wearing, or the office chair I sit on or the car that I drive in, it can be ergonomic. But it can also be this unwillingness to, the defenses, the capacity, the freeze that is in the organism. And the freeze you can´t release, to me you can´t release trauma. You can only nourish the organism so it can dissolve as it knows, and assimilate it, and digest it and then allow it to start flourishing.
You can´t rip something out of the system as if that´s gonna fix it. It´s a living process. So reading things about biodynamic, building a compost pile… I mean those are ways to learn what I´m talking about.
Getting in nature, putting your hands on dirt, knowing there are bacteria in you and you have more bacteria than human cells!
So who am I then.
I am the environment. I am the ecosystem. I´m not separated from it. I am it. This is it. And I´m living it, and I get to experience it. Thats pretty exciting, that´s pretty playful!
Candia: Interconectedness and the allowing of the inner proceses for this growth and unfolding.
Learn more about Liz work on Psoas at:
Thank you so much!