Koch, a somatic educator who specializes in strengthening the psoas muscle (the muscle that stabilizes the spine and is often blamed for lower back and hip pain), says that a better way to think about the body is as one organism.
“Instead of using the mechanical model — for example, we talk about the heart as a pump — (think of a body) as one tissue,” Koch said.
Deric Stockton, the owner of Core Strength RX, a training gym in Scotts Valley, has embraced the idea as part of a collaboration with Koch.
“It’s a compartmentalized thought process,” Stockton said. “I feel as if the skeletal, muscular and nervous systems are all one.”
Koch, a writer and educator who has written several books about the psoas and awareness of one’s core, finds it’s best to think of the body as an embryo that grows outward. In that view, the spine is the center, and the body develops as it grows away from the spine, connecting all the body’s systems.
Looking at it that way, Koch and Stockton say, helps people be aware of their posture, form a strong core and ensure proper hydration. They call the idea “core awareness.”
“We confuse aging with drying,” Koch said. “We come into the world soft and supple, and we leave dry.”
Koch has found that exercising with simple movements and being aware of posture while seated and standing keeps the body supple and promotes recovery from injury, pain and tightness.
Stockton, who squatted 800 pounds several years ago, is living proof that the concepts can be applied to strength training.
Formerly a traditional weightlifter, Stockton got to the point where his body, especially his neck, was so tight that he was in pain all the time.
“I couldn’t sleep at night,” Stockton said. “I was not comfortable in my own body.”
But over the past eight years, he said he has shifted to a “be healthy paradigm” that includes being more aware of his body. That includes embracing proper ergonomics while sitting and standing, using rollers to soften muscles, and hydrating deeply.
He said the result is more limber muscles and flexibility that helps him avoid injuries while weightlifting.
“I’ve never see it anywhere in the fitness world,” Koch said. “He has married sensory awareness and fitness.”
For information: www.coreawareness.com.