Recently, a man with chronic psoas issues came to see me while visiting Miami with his family. Like many of the folks who come to me, he found me online in the hopes that I’d be able to assist with his concern. He was around the tail end of his trip with his family where he drove through America and needed to take care of the nagging pain.
Since I began my career as a licensed massage therapist, almost 1 1 years ago now, it has been my belief that the person who finds themselves on my table is intentional. Depending on the setting, there are plenty of therapists to choose from. I’ve worked in spas where therapists would fuss about last minute cancellations or a client switching by the front desk or management- understandably money is often the primary concern. I often found that when this happens it’s usually for the best. Let’s just say, I’ve avoided some interesting character by default.
Back to the client, who I will refer t as Mr. Psoas. He reminded me of of my favorite movie characters, Roux, played by Johnny Depp in Chocolat. He was a traveling man originally from Serbia, who wore a necklace with a pendant of a bear’s tooth that was gifted to him from his wife’s father. He married a Canadian woman nearly 20 years ago and they currently live in the Yucatan peninsula, Mexico with while raising their son. He plays classical guitar at least 6 times a week and drives a manual car. This man was an open book and I loved hearing the details of his life. His life story was inspiring and reignited my nomadic dreams.
Our consultation was near perfect as he offered details directly related to his primary concern. His transparent specificity helped paint a picture of how he uses his body on a daily basis. At first glance, an intake form or assessment may seem a bit intrusive. Therapists don’t want to know your occupation to assess your salary- WE WANT T KNOW HOW YOU USE YOOUR BODY ON A DAILY BASIS. And a person’s occupation will inform us of how you use your body almost 8 hours of every day.
It was immediately clear to me that Mr. Psoas possessed a great body awareness. He explained his daily physical habits in order to shed light on his chronic psoas issue. He positioned his body in the posture that he uses when he plays guitar- in the gentleman’s leg cross, with one leg over the knee, in a figure -4 position. Mr. Psoas also mentioned that he is currently driving a stick shift across America with his family.
With his verbal and physical descriptions i was able to clearly visualize and internalize how his psoas became so aggravated. After a few follow up questions, we determined together that he aggressively steps on his clutch due to wearing flip flops while he drives, causing him to hit the pedals with his entire leg rather than just the foot. The session involved focus on releasing his psoas and treating areas of his hip and quadriceps.
He was a solid person all around, in fact he asked about advice on home care! I often give home care to my clients after a session and i am a fan of keeping it simple. Many of my clients have busy schedules to juggle-and I want to ensure that they at least incorporate simple stretches in their lives. In this case, Initially, I did not think I had had useful home care advice since the psoas is a located deep underneath the abdomen and can be a bit tricky to isolate. But then I REMEMBERED my Forrest yoga techniques that i learned years ago.
I was a dedicated Forrest yoga practitioner a few years ago. I had a weekly practice with Erica Mather, a Forrest yoga guardian and I attended Ana Forrest’s WindHorse conference in 2012. Forrest yoga is an empowering practice that teaches the practitioner to be accountable for their lives through ceremony, spirit and practice. This style of yoga emphasized a significant amount of core work. One of the techniques that she taught was a psoas release which required the practitioner to lay on a rolled up yoga mat. i remember how intense this particular technique felt the first time I did it. It was so effective that it was the first thing to come to mind for his home care recommendation.
Luckily, I keep a yoga mat in my office for days when I want to solo practice because a rolled up yoga mat is required to perform the technique. Since it been a few years since I practiced any Forrest yoga, along with demonstrating the technique, I also shared a video link with him. Check out the video below!
In this video, Lisa Day is showing us how to move in Wave Dancer (the psoas release technique unique to Forrest Yoga) Not only is it useful for psoas release but it also helps to manipulate the visceral organs that need attention. i encourage you to try this at home and to explore Forrest yoga as well!
I am extremely grateful for the session i had with Mr. Psoas, he reminded me of a practice I cherished so dearly and has reawakened my interest in my Forrest practice.