Structural Integration- Session 4 (1/2012)
Session four in the Structural Integration progression begins the journey into the deeper core muscles. Most of us, when we hear the word “core” only think about our abdominal muscles. However, our core truly consists of all the musculature and fascia that attaches above and below the pelvis- making the alignment of the pelvis key in core work. So, in addition to our deep abdominal muscles, we look at the muscles of the leg where they attach at the pelvis. Session four addresses these muscles- specifically the adductors (our inner thigh muscles) and the lower attachment of the psoas muscle which attaches to our lumbar vertebrae, passes over the brim of our pelvis and attaches at the top of our femurs (thigh bones). After, we work our way up from the inner foot, leg, and thigh, we move up to the pelvic bone- specifically working our way from the sit bones (ischial tuberosity) to just the middle of the inner thigh (at the ramus). The intention of the work is to release adhesions, giving more room and length to all the attaching musculature and fascia so they can go back to where they belong, work independently, and not be “glued” to their neighbors (which causes irregular movement, among other things). As one can imagine, this can be a sensitive region to work on for a person, physically and emotionally. Much care is taken to explain where we will be working in this session, the anatomy of the region, and the intentions. Very careful and slow work.
Interestingly enough, this session was much less painful than my partner and I imagined it would be. Afterward, I was amazed with how much my legs felt balanced from the top inner part of my thigh to the top outer part of my leg and hip. I actually felt like I was standing more squarely under my pelvis, and that my legs were more squarely under me. Some of the back pain I had that day- which is partially due to my hip imbalances- started to subside. Other classmates reported that their skin felt a little raw after the work- but that it went away within a few hours. My partner reported the next day that other parts of her leg- where we didn’t work- started to feel sore; as if they were either letting go of overcompensating, or finally learning to pick up more of their rightful load. My practice partner at home reported that he’d been working on trying to get his feet to splay out less for years, and that after this session, he noticed that they splayed out less.
Each body will integrate and feel differently, at its own pace, with each session. It is just important to be with and in our bodies as they go through the changes, noting any new awareness that comes along, and integrating it into our daily awareness of how we hold our bodies in space.