Nestled deep within the core of our bodies lies a powerful yet enigmatic muscle – the psoas. Often overlooked and misunderstood, the psoas muscle plays a pivotal role in movement, breathing, and emotional well-being. Its intricate connections to the fascia, diaphragm, and even our emotional state underscore its significance in maintaining overall health and vitality. In this article, we delve into the multifaceted nature of the psoas muscle, exploring its influence on various aspects of our physical and emotional existence, and offering insights into how we can work towards releasing its tension for improved well-being.
Understanding the Psoas Muscle: The psoas muscle, comprising the psoas major and the iliacus, is one of the primary hip flexors responsible for lifting the legs towards the torso. However, its functions extend far beyond mere movement of the lower body. Emerging research suggests that the psoas muscle is deeply interconnected with the fascial network, a complex web of connective tissue that permeates throughout the body, providing structural support and transmitting mechanical forces.
































Liz Koch, in her seminal work “The Psoas Book” and “The Psoas: Integrating Your Inner Core,” emphasizes the pivotal role of the psoas in maintaining structural integrity and facilitating functional movement. She elucidates how the psoas muscle acts as a bridge between the lower body and the spine, serving as a stabilizer during dynamic activities such as walking, running, and even sitting.
The Psoas and Breathing: Moreover, the psoas muscle shares a profound relationship with the diaphragm, the primary muscle of respiration. As we breathe, the diaphragm descends, allowing the lungs to expand and take in air. Concurrently, the psoas muscle lengthens and releases tension, enabling the diaphragm to move freely within the abdominal cavity. Conversely, a chronically tight psoas can restrict the movement of the diaphragm, impeding optimal breathing patterns and leading to shallow, inefficient respiration.
Emotional Connections: Beyond its mechanical functions, the psoas muscle is intricately linked to our emotional well-being. According to Koch and other somatic practitioners, the psoas is often referred to as the “muscle of the soul” due to its role in storing and expressing emotions. In times of stress or trauma, the psoas contracts, signalling a state of fight-or-flight response. Chronic stress or unresolved emotional tension can result in sustained contraction of the psoas, leading to muscular imbalances, pain, and discomfort.
Tight Psoas and Back Pain: One of the most common manifestations of a tight psoas muscle is back pain. When the psoas remains in a chronically shortened state, it can pull on the lumbar spine, causing compression, misalignment, and eventual discomfort. Furthermore, the interconnectedness of the psoas with surrounding muscles and fascia can exacerbate the problem, creating a cascade of tension throughout the body.
Releasing the Psoas: Fortunately, there are various approaches to releasing tension in the psoas muscle and restoring balance to the body. The Alexander Technique, developed by F. Matthias Alexander, offers a holistic approach to improving posture, movement, and overall well-being. By cultivating awareness of habitual movement patterns and learning to release unnecessary tension, individuals can alleviate strain on the psoas and promote greater ease and fluidity in their everyday activities.
In addition to somatic practices such as the Alexander Technique, targeted stretching, massage therapy, and mindful movement practices like yoga and Pilates can also help release tension in the psoas muscle. By incorporating these modalities into our wellness routines, we can foster greater mobility, alleviate pain, and enhance our overall quality of life.

Releasing Your Psoas with Constructive Rest

Constructive rest is a gentle and effective way to target your psoas muscle, a deep hip flexor that can become tight from prolonged sitting or certain activities. Here’s how to practice it:

What you’ll need:

  • A yoga mat or comfortable surface


  1. Lie on your back on the mat with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Your heels should be hip-width apart and about 12-16 inches away from your buttocks.
  2. Relax your arms by your sides with palms facing down or up, whichever feels more comfortable.
  3. Notice your natural spinal curve. Don’t force your lower back to flatten against the mat.
  4. Close your eyes and focus on your breath. Breathe deeply and slowly, feeling your belly rise and fall with each inhale and exhale.
  5. As you breathe, become aware of any tension in your body. Let go of any unnecessary tightness, particularly in your hips and lower back.
  6. Stay in this position for 5-15 minutes, allowing your body to completely unwind.
  • If keeping your feet flat on the floor is uncomfortable, elevate your calves on a chair or bolster.
  • You may experience some initial discomfort as your psoas loosens. This is normal. Breathe through it and avoid pushing yourself.
  • Aim to practice constructive rest daily for optimal results.


  • Listen to your body. If you experience any pain, come out of the position.
  • If you have any concerns about your psoas or have a history of back pain, consult a healthcare professional before trying this practice.
By incorporating constructive rest into your routine, you can help release tension in your psoas muscle, improve flexibility, and promote overall well-being.
The psoas muscle serves as a gateway to understanding the intricate connections between movement, breathing, and emotional well-being. Its profound influence on our physical and emotional state underscores the importance of nurturing a healthy relationship with this deeply embedded muscle. Through mindful movement practices, somatic awareness, and a holistic approach to self-care, we can unlock the potential of the psoas muscle to enhance our vitality and restore balance to body and mind.


My current teacher, whom I have been studying with Penelope Easten corroborates many of Alexander’s discoveries with the latest science which you may find interesting, she speaks a lot of Prof McGilchrist’s research, and I have found similarities in Prof Huberman’s research. Humbemans has a hugely popular YouTube channel.  https://www.youtube.com/@hubermanlab/videos



Professor Andrew Huberman, a prominent neuroscientist and professor at Stanford University, has conducted extensive research on the relationship between vision, breathing, and the nervous system. His work sheds light on how our visual habits influence not only our perception but also our physiological responses, including breathing patterns and nervous system regulation.

One key insight from Professor Huberman’s research is the concept of “gaze control.” He emphasizes that where we direct our gaze can profoundly impact our physiological state. When we focus our attention on distant horizons or expansive vistas, our breathing tends to become slower and deeper, promoting relaxation and reducing stress. This phenomenon is linked to the activation of the parasympathetic nervous system, often referred to as the “rest and digest” response. This is the optimal state for poise, presence, creativity, compassion and happiness.

Conversely, when we narrow our gaze or fixate on screens or close objects for extended periods, our breathing tends to become shallow and rapid. This is associated with heightened sympathetic nervous system activity, commonly known as the “fight or flight” response. Prolonged engagement in these visual habits can contribute to feelings of tension, lack of poise, anxiety, and physiological arousal.

Professor Huberman also highlights the role of the diaphragm, the primary muscle involved in breathing, in regulating the nervous system. By consciously engaging the diaphragm through deep, diaphragmatic breathing, we can activate the parasympathetic nervous system, eliciting a relaxation response and promoting a sense of calm.

Furthermore, Professor Huberman’s research underscores the interconnectedness of vision, breathing, and emotional regulation. He suggests that by strategically shifting our visual focus and adopting mindful breathing practices, we can modulate our physiological responses and enhance our ability to manage stress and anxiety.

There are indeed connections between Professor Huberman’s research on gaze control and the activation of the parasympathetic nervous system, and the work of Professor Iain McGilchrist on the functions of the left and right hemispheres of the brain.

Professor McGilchrist’s research, as outlined in his book “The Master and His Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World,” explores how the left and right hemispheres of the brain have distinct roles and functions.

In particular, he highlights how the right hemisphere is specialized for processing holistic, spatial, and contextual information, while the left hemisphere tends to focus on more narrow, analytical, and detail-oriented processing.

No doubt you will recall in lessons the practise of allowing the view to come to you, with a soft open expanded awareness as well as thinking of spatial awareness, which is the relational space you inhabit around you and the ground and Earth beneath you. Not forgetting the fuller, deeper, expansive three-dimensional breathing.

Professor McGilchrist’s research on Right Hemisphere Dominance in Spatial Awareness: The right hemisphere is primarily responsible for processing spatial information and contextual awareness. When we direct our gaze towards distant horizons or expansive vistas, we engage the right hemisphere’s spatial processing capabilities. This activation of the right hemisphere may contribute to a sense of expansiveness and relaxation, aligning with the activation of the parasympathetic nervous system.

Left Hemisphere Influence on Focused Attention: Conversely, when our gaze is directed towards close objects or narrow points of focus, we may be engaging the left hemisphere’s tendency towards focused attention and detail-oriented processing. This narrow focus may be associated with heightened sympathetic nervous system activity, as the left hemisphere is more closely linked to aspects of vigilance and stress response.

In essence, the connection between Professor Huberman’s research on gaze control and the parasympathetic nervous system, and Professor McGilchrist’s work on hemispheric specialization, suggests that our visual habits not only influence our physiological state but also reflect underlying patterns of brain function. By understanding how different modes of visual attention correspond to activation in specific brain hemispheres, we gain insights into how we can modulate our physiological responses and promote well-being through mindful engagement with our visual environment and of course our body intelligence.

When I speak of body intelligence, I mean the importance of cultivating an expanded field of awareness, an understanding of how the various parts of our body fit together, this being one of the basic tenets of the Alexander Technique work. If you change how you think, you can change how you move. And if you change how you move, you will change how you feel. “Body mapping” works directly on the “thinking”. By changing our conceptions of how our parts fit together, we can change how we move them. The accompanying feeling can be a sense of lightness, ease, balance, presence, strength – and fascination with the wisdom underlying our creation.











Practical Tips for Cultivating Poise Presence and Awareness

Mindful Seeing: Take moments throughout the day to consciously observe your surroundings with a soft, wide gaze. Allow your peripheral vision to expand, taking in the entirety of your visual field. Notice any habitual tendencies to narrow your focus and gently release tension in your eyes face and body.

Palming: Give your eyes a restorative break by practising palming. Rub your palms together to generate warmth, then cup them over your closed eyes without applying pressure. Breathe deeply and allow your eyes to relax in the darkness. This simple practice can alleviate eye strain and promote relaxation.

Neck Release: Recognize the connection between your visual habits and body tension. Engage in gentle neck releases by nodding your head forward and back, allowing the weight of your head to release any accumulated tension in the neck and sub-occipital muscles.

Whole-Body Awareness: Practise the Alexander Technique principle of whole-body awareness. Notice how your visual habits influence your posture, movement, and overall sense of ease. Cultivate a sense of unity between your eyes, head, neck, and spine, allowing for fluid coordination and balanced alignment.

Mindfulness Practices: Incorporate mindfulness practices into your daily routine to enhance your overall awareness and presence. Engage in activities such as meditation, deep breathing, or mindful movement to cultivate a sense of calm and clarity in both mind and body.

By embracing the interconnectedness of vision and body use, we can unlock the full potential of our visual system and promote holistic well-being. Through mindful practices and intentional awareness, we can enhance our eyesight, alleviate tension, and cultivate harmony between mind and body. Let us embark on this journey towards clearer vision, vibrant health, and embodied presence.


Breathing is a fundamental physiological process that sustains life, and while we often take it for granted, the way we breathe can significantly impact our overall well-being. Have you ever considered the role of your tongue in this essential act? The tongue’s position within the mouth plays a crucial role in optimizing respiratory functioning and can have a profound effect on the way we breathe. In this blog, we’ll delve into the intriguing relationship between tongue posture and breathing, exploring how the two are interconnected and the potential benefits of proper tongue positioning for our health.


The Tongue’s Resting Position


The tongue isn’t merely an organ responsible for tasting and speaking; it also has a pivotal role in maintaining proper posture and function of the respiratory system. One might wonder where the tongue should ideally rest within the mouth to facilitate optimal breathing. The answer lies in the roof of the mouth, more specifically against the palate. This posture, known as “palatal tongue posture” or “tongue-to-palate posture,” involves the tongue gently pressing against the upper palate, just behind the front teeth.


The Link Between Tongue Posture and Breathing


Proper tongue posture isn’t just about aesthetics; it has a direct impact on the way we breathe. When the tongue rests against the palate, it helps create a separation between the oral and nasal cavities. This separation is essential for nasal breathing, which is the preferred and more efficient method of breathing.


Nasal breathing holds numerous advantages over mouth breathing. The nasal passages are equipped with specialized structures that filter, humidify, and warm incoming air, making it more suitable for the respiratory system. Additionally, nasal breathing promotes a slower and deeper breath, stimulating the diaphragm’s optimal function and enhancing the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the lungs.


Effects of Incorrect Tongue Positioning


When the tongue does not rest against the palate, it can lead to a range of issues that affect respiratory functioning and overall health. Mouth breathing becomes more prevalent in this scenario, and while mouth breathing is necessary in certain situations, chronic mouth breathing can lead to problems such as:


Reduced Air Quality: Breathing through the mouth bypasses the nasal filtration system, potentially allowing allergens and pollutants to enter the respiratory system more easily.


Dry Mouth and Bad Breath: Mouth breathing can lead to decreased saliva production, causing dry mouth and contributing to bad breath.

Correct resting position of the tongue


The correct resting position of the tongue, required for nasal breathing – the tongue should sit in the roof of the mouth when not talking and eating.


Orthodontic and Facial Development Issues: Improper tongue posture during childhood can impact the growth and development of the face and jaw, potentially leading to dental and orthodontic problems.


Sleep Disruptions: Mouth breathing is often associated with sleep disorders like snoring and sleep apnea, which can have negative effects on overall health and well-being.


Benefits of Optimal Tongue Posture


Consciously adopting the habit of palatal tongue posture can yield several benefits for respiratory functioning and general health:


Improved Breathing: Correct tongue posture encourages nasal breathing, leading to better oxygenation and carbon dioxide exchange in the body.


Enhanced Dental Health: Maintaining proper tongue posture against the palate can contribute to proper alignment of teeth and a well-developed jaw.


Better Sleep Quality: Nasal breathing is linked to better sleep quality and reduced sleep disruptions.


Reduced Risk of Respiratory Issues: Proper tongue posture can help prevent the development of respiratory problems like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma.


The position of the tongue within the mouth might seem inconsequential, but as we’ve explored in this blog, it holds a significant impact on our respiratory functioning and overall health. By consciously adopting the habit of proper tongue posture against the palate, we can encourage efficient nasal breathing, optimize oxygen exchange, and reduce the risk of various health issues. So, the next time you catch yourself with your tongue resting against the bottom of your mouth, remember the hidden connection it holds with your breath and well-being.


What is presence? A characteristic of great performers or athletes is being present and poised, their whole self in the zone, in flow, fully alive awake and aware.

Presence is a muscle we develop by engaging the conscious mind, the body, along with all our senses – an expanded awareness – a unified field of awareness – where the conditions are such that we feel whole, complete, we can give and receive, there is nothing to be added, nothing to fix or change, nothing to take away, perfect the way it is, perfect the way it isn’t. These are the qualities you see in young children- fully alive, present and in the moment, very much like nature, not forced or rushed, an easy effortless, flow.

We often look a great performances and marvel at the effortless, flow, ease, poise, beauty and presence; but often a great deal of  practise, persistence, passion, pain and patience will go into making the activity look so flawless, graceful and easy.

The culture we live today makes it challenging to feel and experience a sense of unity, connection to the self, others and nature. The unconditioned self is naturally all of these qualities, unity is what we are, and separation is what we add.

I love to remind the huge variety of people I work with that I am not teaching them anything they don’t already know or have; this wisdom of the mind/body is truly innate, and remarkable and we all possess the natural capacity to want to grow and expand.

We live mostly in result-oriented world, a technological culture, most of the time we are moving through life with little awareness, a feeling of being disconnected from our bodies, we spend so much time stuck in our heads, our attention being sucked into computer screens and all the other challenges we are dealing with.

If you think of traditional cultures, they embody a natural sense of lightness and poise, you often see this quality in their expressions, they look light, easy, lit up by themselves, a bright smile, a twinkle in the eyes, their bodies much more nimble, agile, subtle and strong.

The Alexander Technique is a remarkable method which, teaches skills to reawaken these innate natural qualities of poise, presence, ease and grace.

The Alexander technique is taught in many of the world’s most prestigious performing arts schools and it underpins, and contributes to a performer’s performance being extraordinary.  The Alexander Technique provides the skills, tools and knowledge to be effective in all we do, learning to tune(into) our own instrument and connect with our authentic selves and others at deeper level to better understand the inner working of the extraordinary human body.

This neglected skill is relatively simple to develop, however it takes practice, just like a performer practices and develops their craft. One of the biggest challenges and obstacles to being present is most of our daily activities are habitual and require very little awareness because we have performed them so many times, they lack a freshness, aliveness, they have become automated and not animated and alive. My invitation to you is to see what daily activity you can bring more awareness into.

This will help you develop an embodied mindfulness, an expanded awareness of what you are doing and the way you are doing whatever you do.

Many of the world’s wisdom/spiritual traditions speak to us of the benefits and qualities of being in the present moment.

“Life is available only in the present. That is why we should walk in such a way that every step can bring us to the here and the now.”

Thich Nhat Hanh.

The only reality is in the present, as the future and past only exist in our mind, so the present is a wonderful, place to be and quality to develop. Presence is one of the most precious gifts we can develop; to be truly be here and now, and from that space is the possibility to create.

Simple ways to develop presences and awareness are activities such as walking, speaking, sitting, noticing your breathing, your reactions to stressful situations.

Think of an activity you can do where you begin to develop presence; Thich Nhat Hanh says, he brings as much presence into washing up as he would bring to washing the baby Jesus or the Buddha.

Being present can be transformative, you will experience feeling connected with yourself, others, the world around you and the ability to feel fully alive.

I feel so blessed to have discovered this remarkable work, which has transformed my own life, and in this process, I have helped countless people do the same, which gives me a great sense of joy and satisfaction.


If you are curious to find out more about the Alexander technique of finding a teacher please visit my website http://cjr.d18.myftpupload.com/

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