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Iliopsoas Release: Constructive Rest position

Constructive rest position is the ultimate iliopsoas release. Many years later this is still our favorite release. Doing nothing for a half hour isn’t always the easiest thing for people but if you can, this is the position for you. We believe in stretching the psoas as well, but everything has its place

We hold on to so much that we aren’t necessarily aware of. Give yourself the gift of letting go a little bit every day with constructive rest position and the pay off over time can be bountiful.

The Psoas Major is one of three muscles that make up the iliopsoas muscle group; the piriformis and the iliacus are the other two. The psoas major is both the main muscle of walking and the main warehouse for trauma within the body. Constructive rest position is a gravitational iliopsoas release that lets the back of the body, and we consider the psoas to be a back body muscle, release relax and let go.

  • Lie on your back with your knees bent and your heels situated 12 to 16 inches away from your pelvis, in line with your sit bones.
  • Tie a belt around the middle of the thighs. You want to be able to let go here and not have to think too much about the position of your legs.
  • Then do nothing. Discomfort arises from conditioned muscular patterns. Try not to shift or move when unpleasant sensations arise.
  • You are hoping to feel sensations that you can sit with, and if possible, allow to pass.
  • Do this for 30 minutes a day if you can.  If you have time, longer sessions are advisable or even do it twice a day.
  • But you are not here to suffer. If sensations come up and you feel that you have to move, feel free to move, then come back to where you were and try again. It’s possible that you’ll do this exercise and not feel anything; it will still be good for you.
There is little better than the iliopsoas release in constructive rest position. It can change the way your day goes and how your lower back and other aches and pains might feel if you do it in the morning. It can affect the quality of your sleep if you do it at night. We love constructive rest!



The CoreWalking Program was born out of Jonathan FitzGordon's personal and professional experience with changing the body's habitual movement patterns through self-awareness and repetition. To try The CoreWalking Program visit our store now.

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35 Responses to “Iliopsoas Release: Constructive Rest position”

    • admin

      I hope you mean that in a good way. Take it slow, but CRP can be an amazing pose to help you relax the core of the body.

      Reply
  1. dbee

    Would it be OK to do this with a pillow under neck and shoulders? So I can read at the same time?

    Reply
    • admin

      Technically, anything is okay. It would be better to do this without watching tv but what can you do. A very small pillow would be best depending on how tight the neck is.

      Reply
      • Jessica

        Hi there, i have just done this for 30 minutes, i have been struggling with a tight psoas for about 3 months now, i got the injury from starting up running too fast. It felt good and i could feel the core of my psoas muscle being stretched but when i got up it was very uncomfortable to even walk properly, is this normal?

        Reply
        • admin

          How does it feel today? Constructive rest is a mystery that often unfolds over a period of time.

          Reply
  2. James

    I have seen a yoga stretch for the psoas where you lie back on a cushion so your upper body is about 20-30 degrees inclimed and there is no belt. The feet are allowed to open up with knees bent at about same angle is in your video. The feet are all

    Reply
  3. James

    (Cont.) -owed to fall over. Without the belt and inclined what is better about the position you teach for relaxing the psoas?

    Also in order for me to fully relax with CRP I need to place rolled towel or something like that under Lower lumbar to ensure that I keep good neutral spine position. I see you have that position in video. Anything wrong with throwing in a Lowe lumbar support as well (respectfully submitted by one with DDD)

    Thanks for the information. I found it very helpful!

    Reply
    • admin

      There are numerous ways to do this release work. I like the belt for crp because it allows me to forget about the legs. Different people use different leg positions for this kind of thing.
      I wouldn’t advise using a a towel under the lumbar. CRP is about letting go completely if you can even if it means your back flattens. THough if course you shouldn’t do that if it feels particularly bad. It is a balance.

      Reply
  4. Why does my back hurt? | CoreWalking Blog

    [...] Emotional pain is very different than either of the first two categories. Emotional pain refers to the body’s inability to handle different kinds of stress. The idea that stress and emotional trauma causes back and other body pains is ridiculous to some people that I highly respect. And I guess it requires a leap of faith to suggest that an overbearing boss(on the simplest level) can cause someone to suffer back pain but I have seen so much of what I describe as emotional pain find ease in new movement patterns and trauma release exercises. [...]

    Reply
  5. Stacey

    I’ve been doing CRP for 30-45 min a day for the last 1.5 weeks. I know you are supposed to stay still and do nothing, but my body seems to have a mind of its own. I have everything from what feels like electric shocks (mild to intense) and muscle twitches to my body completely contorting with muscles contracting really hard and then releasing. To anyone watching it probably looks like The Exorcist. Muscles that I haven’t felt in years in my shoulder blades and back are contracting and releasing. Once my whatever is happening settles down I put myself back in the original position. It almost feels like my body is trying to realign itself. Is this normal or should less be happening?

    I do have a lot of issues with my atlas (C1) going and compensation issues after waiting to long and then having shoulder surgery. I’ve been doing pilates and yoga for years, which has really helped my alignment and muscle balance. My pilates instructor has had me working on psoas stretches for the last couple of years. Additionally, I go to the chiropractor and acupuncturist weekly and deep tissue massage once a month (and I’ve tried rolfing). However, my neck still goes out (though much less frequently) leaving me with horrible migraines, nerve pain in my face and completely exhausted. This release has me feeling really good. If this release in conjunction with the core walking program (which I’m going to start this week) can cut down on the frequency of my appointments, I’d be thrilled!

    Reply
    • Jonathan FitzGordon

      Hi Stacey, Everything you report is normal. Though I know how intense it can be. Sometimes my wife walks in the room when I am doing release stuff and walks out because it freaks her out. Hang in there. I think that you will find the walking program an excellent compliment to CRP and psoas release work becasue it will hoepfully get you working the psoas more efficiently with each step all day long. Only good can come from that.

      Reply
  6. Sal

    Great info, thanks. One question – I personally have had a couple tailbone injuries and while this position is comfortable for the rest of my body, it kills my tailbone, probably because of the pressure applied to that area. I noticed that if I put a small pillow or towel underneath it helps a lot, but I know this exercise is all about alignment. So my question is, if I do that with a pillow is it detrimental in any way? Thanks for the feedback.

    Reply
    • Jonathan FitzGordon

      Hi Sal, It’s relative. You don’t want your tailbone to hurt but if you stick with it the pain might pass. You might want to try it with the thinnest towel possible and give it some time to see if whatever sensation is brought up will pass/release. But it might not. You can try a couple of the other releases before doing CRP and see if that changes it.

      Reply
  7. The Psoas Knows | CoreWalking Blog

    […] Constructive rest position (CRP), a pose that I recommend everyone become friends with, has probably been the single most humbling “thing” I have come across in my life. In constructive rest position a person lies on the floor with the knees bent and the feet flat to the floor. That’s it. And then, depending on what your psoas has chosen to hold within its bounds, the magic happens. Or not. […]

    Reply
  8. Karen

    How do I feel my psoas, how do I know it is the psoas I am resting or stretching?

    Reply
    • Jonathan FitzGordon

      Ideally, you don’t feel your psoas. You will only feel it if it is unhappy. If you release it and feel better afterwards you know you are on the right track.

      Reply
  9. Stephanie Martin

    I often sleep this way, for at least part of the night. feels good–okay to do that, I guess? even though mattress, though firm, is not as firm as a floor? never banded my hips, though… that’s a good idea! I was told recently the value of keeping feet parallel and pointed forward, not in or out, for walking, sitting, etc. All great tips! I assume you agree?

    Reply

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