Video Sunday, Work chairs, Doughy Freud

Psoai = burning soreness or ache. That is my definition today. Is it really possible that they’ve always been this tight and I just didn’t notice how much they ache until I paid attention to them? That’s freaky.


Where I usually pay attention to the shoulders/thoracic in up dogs, today I paid attention to the psoai. They were feeling both released and damn sore by the time I wrapped up practice.

Video Sunday Special

A little ustrasana video:

Current state of the urdhva dhanurasana (seriously, some psoas opening is definitely in order):


Usually I sit crosslegged on my chair at work (between that and the lift The Cop put on my Wrangler, there’s no sense buying skirts for work any more). If I’m not mistaken, though, sitting in a crosslegged position might actually be encouraging my psoai to shorten. Hmmmm.

In my Psoas Book, which is HORRIBLY edited (Lax, you’d be appalled at the typographical and grammatical errors), it is suggested that it’s best to keep hips higher than knees when sitting in chairs. This contradicts the usual office ergonomic convention that knees and hips should be at the same level. Nevertheless, I will set my chair with my knees lower than my hips tomorrow and see what that does. The facilities manager, who is already crazed by the fact that I use a “visitor chair” (i.e., a flat seated, flat backed, almost-devoid-of-padding chair that is meant for use by someone who comes and sits in your office for a few minutes), is sure to be horrified. I’ll have to track down a real office chair and turn in the “visitor chair” I’ve been using. This will pique his curiosity and ensure his discovery of my alternate ergonomic experimentation. Poor facilities manager. He’s already been scared by my propensity to stand on the conference room tables to turn on the overhead projectors (the remotes don’t always work). And when we did some testing for new office chairs, I was put on the tester team (due, of course, to my weird sitting habits). I turned down one chair with a mesh bottom because, as I wrote on my evaluation form: “the seat of the chair scratches the sides of my feet.” Is is any wonder he doesn’t want to talk to me anymore?

So anyhow, I have to try sitting in a chair with my hips higher than my knees to see if it releases my psoai a bit.


For now, though, I have to go roll out some puff pastry dough I made. The Cop is sleeping until noonish, having worked last night. I want to have a new attempt at turnovers ready when he wakes. If you’ll recall, last week’s efforts yielded sketchy results. The turnover was too “crusty,” rather than “doughy.” At least that’s how he explained it. So we’ll see if this new recipe works. If it does, I’ll post it, because it is beyond easy.

Other things from today: reading an article on Lucien Freud (speaking of “doughy”). I love Lucien Freud because I have never been able to figure out if I love or hate his work. Then there is his “anxiety of influence” in relation to Francis Bacon, whose work I have always known I adored. Overwrought Englishman affected by the dramatic flair of a badly-behaved Irishman. Subtract out all the psychological “I want to be the bigger genius” drama, and you get David Hockney and Howard Hodgkin. I love ’em both — Hockney as someone I had to discover I loved (perhaps like Freud), and Hodgkin as someone I always adored (a la Bacon). Delightfully, neither of them seem overly concerned with their own genius.


9 Responses

  1. Oh nice! It is changing. Really it is.

    What are your buttocks doing in ustrasana? Might play a bit with releasing and contracting to sensitize you to what is happening in the psoas and to whether you’re holding deeply around the sacrum? Other play: you bring a certain rhythmic micromovement to the backbend: hold hold push hold hold push. What if you just did hold hold hold hold hold or push push push push push? This might lengthen the breath and drop the nervous system into a slightly deeper register.


    I am amused that Francis Bacon is an edgy painter and not just an old empiricist in one of those awful collars.

  2. Nice Ustrasana, Karen! If I’d seen that done in a class and knew that you wanted some kind of feedback, I’d ask where you FEEL the pose?

    I am SO half-and-half on Hockney. Must learn more. I’m not instantly attracted because, aside from Joyce, I’m not by nature attracted to anything English/Irish that is not edginess galore. Damn, I really AM a big old Frenchie. For example, I took a blind shot on Netflix at an early Neil Jordan film and wound up really liking it; score! And then I signed up, with expectations, for a half-assed adaptation of Bataille by Christophe Honore, and only half-liked it, but hey, it was French, so….

    My all-time favorite pun on Frenchness comes from some film for which I saw a trailer, but never the whole thing, and now I’ve forgotten the title. Anyway, some American culturite is trying to sound French, and he’s struggling for the phrase, “je ne sais quoi”, and he says, “oh, you know, as the French say….ohhh, I……I just don’t know what.” I was totally helpless with laughter at that. No doubt this makes some anonymous screenwriter giggle.

  3. What are my buttocks doing? What are YOUR buttocks doing? What are you wearing right now…? LOL!

    I’m sure my buttocks are holding tight so my sacrum doesn’t shear in half. Isn’t that how it works? 😉

    [Shear: Etymology: Greek keirein to cut, shear, Sanskrit kṛnāti he injures] (Whoa! Seriously!)

    I’ll save my assumptions about what I’m doing, and instead just pay attention tomorrow.

    Interesting about the micromovement. I was, of course, aware of it during the backbend. But didn’t really consciously recognize it until I watched the video. Will try all-hold and al-push tomorrow as well.

    I was sold on Hockney when I saw him at the Met, years ago. Just the most wonderous show. It made me unbelievably happy. Totally pulled me out of my head and made me want to run around and jump and laugh. Very cool. I went into the show a not-convinced fan and left with my nervous system all aglow.

    So for British edginess: Damien Hirst? Tracey Emin? Or are you on to even edgier Brits? What about the Merchant Ivory stuff, Patrick? Does it kill you? I love the novels.

    Hilarious: “….I just don’t know what…”

  4. hi karen
    nice videos and progress. at work i put a cushion on the seat and another on the back, so i’m like super propped up, and like your book says, with the thighs higher than the knees. i do that to get the right angle to my typing.
    in a landscape architecture class i once produced a rendering of the rodin museum in philadelphia. the teacher remarked that my style resembled that of david hockney. that was in 1980 and i handn’t heard yet of the artist, but i went and researched him.
    since merchant passed away, ivory seemed to lose his intensity in the last film. i was a great fan of all of their movies. i really liked a one that was distributed very little, “the magic masseur” which had nothing to do with massage, but with a guru in the indian community of the island of Trinidad, which was under british control and has a large indian community. if you can rent it, you might enjoy it.
    cheers, arturo

  5. wow! your ustrasana is beautiful! i was amazed how you have so movement in your knees. you started with hips over knees and didn’t waver at all! just beautiful! your backbend is really coming along. i agree with Owl about the pushing and holding. i would go for even more holding. when i do backbends, i think of there being one ‘push’ and then i relax where i am and just breathe. but i do notice in your backbends that as you get more open you are pushing less and breathing more.

  6. I loved your ustrasana, too!

    Just stopped by to say “Hi” from a fellow psoas sufferer… 🙂

  7. What are your buttocks doing, everyone?

    (Mine are warming up my ancient office chair, which like you I employ instead one of of the many Aerons floating around the building.)

    Your technique and body awareness on this are so amazing, so yes with Tova, I think it’s good to play more with slowing the breath.

    Carolyn Travell’s classic _Trigger Point Therapy_ has some great instructions on palpitating the psoas. That book is awesome but expensive… I know there are simple workbook versions on the market now, but have no idea if they’re good.

  8. I tried looking up the Travell — is that really the right author, Owl? Clair Davies is the author I’m seeing on lots of the trigger point books…

  9. Janet, not Carolyn. (I exchanged my mom’s first name for my grandmother’s.)

    I don’t know about Davies, but might be good (the original text is $200). The link is a resources on this modality. JFK credited Travell (he appointed her the White House physician) for being the only relief (besides whatever drugs) he could find from his crazy back issues.

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