These are a couple of modalities that I have found very useful. The Gokale Method “8 steps to a pain free back” by Esther Gokale She was a scientist who got a bad back. She resolved to figure it out. She studied indigenous cultures which seem to have a minuscule amount of back pain compared to Western/advanced societies. One main difference she observed is that indiginous people have their butts sticking out a lot more. It’s a sort of release backward from the hips. She teaches a series of exercises to achieve this. It’s basically a release backward from the hips. Warning: don’t arch the lower back to try and achieve this. It’s really more of a release of the psoas muscle. The other thing she observed is that indiginous people don’t slump in the upper back. She describes this as a certain integrity to the scapula. One would not let them drift to far apart into a slump. One sort of maintains a proud integrity there, a refusal to slump. I found the glidewalking chapter especially helpful.
Psoas Release Party “Psoas Release Party: Release your body from chronic pain and discomfort” by Jonathan FitzGordon “Deep in the bowl of the pelvis lies the psoas major, the body’s most important muscle, which many people have never heard of. This muscle, my favorite, is both the main engine of movement and the main recipient/warehouse for trauma.” “When the psoas is in an unhappy state, there are a host of physical conditions that can be connected to it’s issues–lower-back pain, hip pain, groin pain, bladder problems, constipation, poor circulation, leg-length discrepancy, scoliosis, bad menstrual cramps, and the list goes on.” “What concerns me is when the nervous system doesn’t successfully integrate a traumatic event, very often manifesting this through pain and injury to the psoas. When this happens, the trauma can become trapped in the body. This imbalance can register in many ways–emotional, postural, energetic–but it will always involve the psoas, and from my perspective, the road to relief from trauma must go through the psoas.” “If you knew that your psoas was meant to align in a specific way, and you were able to tell that alignment felt right and seemed to take stress off your legs or back, you might be willing to do it. That is why a general understanding of anatomy is a key part of my approach to helping people make the necessary changes in the body.” “However, fo many of us, the thighs sink forward, pulling the pelvis down at the back. ...the lower back shortens as the upper back falls backward to compensate....In this position, the psoas is drawn slightly forward and open at it’s base, thus losing any tension that a pully system might provide. Psoas mechanics: I don’t know how to explain this but I will give it a try. Your hips want to have a more forward orientation than they ordinarily have. Most are having a backward orientation. We teach this a lot when teaching meditation. We talk about one’s sit bones. Two bones projecting at the bottom of the pelvic girdle. It’s what you sit on. Most people are sitting slightly behind those bones. You want to be sitting on top of or even a bit in front of those. A more forward orientation altogether. Less collapsed. When you collapse the psoas muscles get pulled tight and cannot mechanically work the way they are supposed to work. The whole system is a bit cobbled together as we went from 4 legged creatures to 2 legged ones. You could discover this very quickly by riding on a horse. It does not in any way work if you do not do this. Riding collapsed is like committing suicide by beatdown. It’s an impossible situation. You have to learn the art or jump off the horse quickly. Really, It’s the same without the horse. It’s just going to take longer to kill you and you are not going to know the reason with such definitivness. But you are not going to be very happy. It works like a pulley if it’s working right. If it’s not working right, it’s like a train wreck. Just a total mess and no chance of things working smoothly. There’s a lot more to it but maybe this will help some.
I have gotten a lot of benefit from working with Paoas Release party and the Gokhale method. I will try and say a few words about that.
Gokale is probably pretty controversial in the Alexander community. It is a challenge to some of them. It's a bit counterintuitive for an Alexander person.
I found her work very, very helpful. I read some and just went straight to the glidewalking part. I found that a revelation. Others might want to be more methodical with her methods.
For years I had been trying to understand things in the hip and lower back and back altogether area and she shot me light years ahead on that.
There is a release backwards from the waist which allows the hips to sort of swing backward and free that area.
Psoas realase is saying the same thing and very cogently. AT (alexander technique) is very much in agreement with this one, I would say. Both rest on the constructive rest practice. A very powerful practice. I used all the methods on this one and found them revelatory. Totally amazing.
Probably the upper back part of the Gokale is what riles the AT people. I can see their point. But it nonetheless really helps and works even if it is a bit non-AT. Gokale is just saying that everybody slumps in the upper back. She identifies letting the scapula come apart as how she sees the issue. This would drive AT people crazy but, really, it works if you do it. It’s sort of not-AT friendly but it darn sure works. If you just set your intention to let your scapula be a bit close together and not let them come apart, it is amazing what happens.
You sort of don’t give in to casualness. You just accept erectness with pride and dignity. It is a huge move and a positive one. I suppose you run a risk of stiffness but I have not found that to really happen. You just become an amazing person in an instant. Completely transforms your life.
Alexander preached width in the back and some would say this is a narrowing but in practice it is not. You still get amazing width both ways. If you lost a few millimeters between the shoulder blades, you gain tons everywhere else. Your whole chest all of the sudden becomes this huge barrell. It is a revelation.
I think Gokale without Alexander is not going to work nearly as well. Not at all.