September 20th, 2019
This is a quick blog to carry on from my FB post the other week about the lat muscles and connection to the lower back. Extending away from the other part of your body are the deepest muscles which connect to your spine - the psoas muscles. They connect the spine to the legs and pretty much support us when we stand and move. When people talk about their core they are usually thinking about the superficial abs, but they do not provide much in the way of stability. The poas is where you should look; not to strengthen them but to release them.
The reason I am mentioning this is that you hear a lot about tai gong and people rote saying release your tail bone, but the reality is that if your poas is in a state of continual tension then trying to release your tail bone is only going to set your lower back into oppositional tension with it. The result will be that you grip your pelvis and the tailbone goes nowhere.
The image below is useful to look at as you can see the psoas is in front of the spine and spirals around the hip joints to the femur heads. If you want to let go of your pelvis and stop pulling your legs up into your body, you need let go of the grip in front first. If you do not know how to feel these muscles, ask someone to push you from the front and almost immediately you will feel them tense up. Think about that for a moment, really the reaction makes no sense, how could those muscles stop someone from pushing you backwards? In order to make use of the floor and your directed body mass you need to let them go as much as possible. If you can do that the spine release up from the front and you might have a better chance of letting go of lumber tension.
Tai gong is about unifying your upper and lower body, so of course the psoas has to be involved as it is the key muscle group connecting it together. No muscle works in isolation from the others and we do not need to know how they all function, but just be careful that you are not telling your body to let go of muscles in the wrong direction or in opposition to each other, or you just create more problems.
As ever this is all just words and cannot replace the feeling and sensation that a teacher can give you. But is always worth testing your ideas of how things work.
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