An indispensible resource for those interested in all forms of movement education, including yoga, pilates, dance, and more
Somatic educator and writer Liz Koch has spent decades studying the principles of Core Awareness—a body-based approach to movement that utilizes attention to inner sensation as the key to increasing strength, gaining flexibility, preventing injury, and improving resilience. In this book, she shares her vast knowledge of Core Awareness with readers, providing movements, stretches, and mindfulness explorations that she developed herself. Her exercises are designed to enhance sensory development and shift readers from the standard paradigm of the body as an "isolated object" to a holistic paradigm of the human being as part of a living process of dynamic expression. This shift in perspective offers practitioners and teachers of movement, yoga, pilates, bodywork, exercise, and dance an empowering model for self-healing and the key to becoming stronger, more flexible, and more resilient.
As Koch describes the practice of moving from one's core, she highlights the importance of engaging the psoas muscle—located on either side of the spine—to integrate the body, mind, emotion, and spirit. Koch also discusses how the pelvis is the foundation of our physical core, the vital connection with our bones, and crucial in gaining a sense of support, nourishment, joint integrity, skeletal balance, and healthy muscle tone.
Rewritten with updated information, this revised edition includes 247 new photos and 25 new Core Awareness explorations—with 64 in total. A suggested reading list at the end of the book provides resources for continuing the development of the ideas presented within the book.
About the Author
An international somatic educator and author, Liz Koch has thirty years of experience working with and specializing in the psoas muscle. Educating both laypersons and professionals, Liz Koch is recognized by colleagues in the movement, wellness, and fitness professions as a connoisseur of the core muscle of the human body. The author of The Psoas Book and Core Awareness: Enhancing Yoga, Pilates, Exercise and Dance, Koch is the founder of Core Awareness, a somatic approach to deepening the experience of the human core in order to improve skeletal alignment, balance, and orientation. She conducts Core Awareness workshops thoughout the United States, Canada, and the UK.
"Liz Koch's brilliant offerings contribute essential insights for all who are engaged in somatic experience."
—Emilie Conrad, founder of Continuum Movement
"Liz Koch offers us a rich and profound understanding of movement. Her extensive research on the psoas muscle provides an important entry into the body and leads the reader into an appreciation of a holistic view as opposed to a more familiar idiosyncratic or mechanical view. Every serious student and practitioner will find this book a must for their library."
—Anna Halprin, dance pioneer and author of Dance As a Healing Art and Returning to Health: With Dance, Movement and Imagery
“Liz Koch is a deep-diving ‘somanaut’ with many years of worldwide teaching experience. In this book, Koch has moved beyond the psoas into a thorough synthesis of many approaches to core awakening and body balance. Easy to comprehend, with many practical exercises that can be done at home with minimal equipment, this book will be of interest to both the committed somatic explorer in search of self-help and also the motivated practitioner seeking good awareness exercises for client ‘homework.’”
—Thomas Myers, author of Anatomy Trains: Myofascial Meridians for Manual and Movement Therapists
"It seems that yoga classes are offered on every corner these days, but unfortunately they often emphasize movement over awareness, stretching over sensing, and pushing oneself over self-exploration. Luckily Liz Koch's book can offer the yoga student inspiration as well as simple exercises which can create both the depth of feeling and the profound sensitivity necessary to use yoga practice as a physical, mental, and spiritual tool for transformation. I recommend it highly."
—Judith Hanson Lasater, PhD, PT, yoga yeacher, and author of 30 Essential Yoga Poses: For Beginning Students and Their Teachers
“Liz Koch brings her years of awareness of the iliopsoas experience concomitant with not only postural but physiological, psychological, and transformational effects.”
—Bob Cooley, author of The Genius of Flexibility: The Smart Way to Stretch and Strengthen Your Body
“Life is experienced within the frame of our body. Liz Koch offers practical tools to enhance our ability to function, grow, and move through life more gracefully. I highly recommend this book as a resource for teachers and students.”
—Tom McCook, fitness and movement specialist, and director of Center of Balance, Mountain View, California
“[Koch’s] level of detail is impressive with the main thrust on exploration … exploring aspects of the core, and deepening the student’s understanding of the extent of core awareness. These exercises offer a great way for students to fine-tune their awareness of core strength and sensations.”
—Yoga Teacher Magazine
“Liz Koch describes the basics of moving from one's core and the muscles involved, blending these movements with explorations that focus on inner sensations. The result is a positive exploration recommended for health ... and exercise collections alike.”
—Midwest Book Review