Core Awareness, Revised Edition: Enhancing Yoga, Pilates, Exercise, and Dance offers a guide to Core Awareness, a body-oriented approach that explores the practice of bringing focus and attention to inner sensation as the means of cultivating an innate capacity for expressive movement. Developed by somatic educator and author Liz Koch, the book's Core Awareness movements, stretches, and mindfulness explorations 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 increasing strength, gaining flexibility, preventing injury, and improving resiliency.
Describing the practice of moving from one's core, Koch 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 the pelvis as the foundation of our physical core and the vital connection with our bones to gain 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
Emilie Conrad, the founder of Continuum, was born and raised in New York City where she studied ballet and Afro-Haitian dance. After moving to Los Angeles in 1963, she began teaching at the Actors Studio, where her novel approach to movement helped performing artists and led to her choreographing and directing numerous plays and performance works. In 1974, Conrad pioneered a protocol for spinal cord injury, and from 1974 to 1979 she was Movement Specialist in a research study conducted by Dr. Valerie Hunt at UCLA. This groundbreaking study demonstrated that fluid, primary movement is essential in our ability to innovate. Enhancing these fundamental movements has a potential to create a rich intrinsic environment that brings forth new insights in our understanding of the human body and its potential to create alternate systems.
Considered a visionary in movement education, Conrad's inspiring work has been incorporated by an international audience of professionals from fields such as Rolfing, Zero balancing, Hellerwork, Craniosacral therapy, Osteopathy, physical therapy, dance, Psychoneuroimmunology, and physical fitness. She teaches Continuum workshops around the world.
"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