The Importance of a Healthy Psoas


Reprinted from article created for Mayshad Woman Magazine 2017

Today I'm writing about a muscle that by now many of you have heard about, called the psoas. Connecting the the spine to the legs, the psoas is the deepest muscle in the body and relates to many essential functions that are not always obvious.

Taoists call the psoas the “muscle of the soul,” as it surrounds every major energy center of body. With such an important position, it is no wonder that it is of tantamount importance that we keep this muscle juicy and healthy so that it can do its job energizing the body, stabilizing the core, keeping the joints mobile, and adding optimum vigor to our organs.

In actuality, the psoas emerges from both sides of the spine, spanning laterally from the twelfth vertebra to each of the five lumbar vertebrae. From there it goes down through the abdomen into the pelvis and attaches to the top of the thighbone, otherwise known as the femur.

With all of these essential connections, the psoas is responsible for keeping us upright, stabilizing the spine, lifting our legs for walking and running, and forming a platform for all of our vital organs. And how does the psoas stay attached to these areas of the body? Through the connective tissue, or fascia, which is found throughout the body, keeping everything inside us in place.

On a more esoteric level, the psoas also connects to our animal, or reptilian brain. This is located in the interior part of our brain stem and spinal cord and is responsible for our instinct, including the well known “fight or flight” mechanism.

Unfortunately all the sitting we do causes the psoas to tighten, shortening the muscle, which can be the cause of lower back pain, hip degeneration, knee pain, sciatica, digestive malfunction, and a host of other problems. A tight psoas creates all sorts of structural challenges while putting pressure on the nerves, blocking the flow of the body's fluids, and even restricting our breathing. The psoas is so key to health that when it is not lubricated and stretched properly it can affect our basic physical and emotional reactions, signaling that the body is in danger, causing adrenal exhaustion and the depletion of the immune system.

It should be easy to understand why keeping the psoas flexible is tantamount to health. By gaining greater awareness of positions that distort our posture, we can provide greater respect to this grand muscle. By engaging in exercises that help to keep the psoas lubricated and lengthened, we help ourselves to a more vital energy flow throughout our muscles, bones, joints, as well as our immune, respiratory, and circulatory systems.

Choose exercise techniques that focus on keeping the psoas and the fascia flexible. Body Activation, Gyrotonics, and yoga taught by seasoned instructors will help you with this, allowing you to stay healthy, happy, youthful, and pain-free.

Michele Kadison is the creator of Body Activation, a healing fitness technique that transforms the body from the inside out.

Improving Your Quality of Life

Evan Kirby Photography

Evan Kirby Photography

When you improve your body you improve your quality of life. We already know that everything is connected, hence the emphasis on body/mind/spirit in so many fitness practices that focus on connecting inner and outer work.

 Developing a More Intelligent Physical Playing Field

From a Body Activation point of view, through concentrating on and developing conscious physicality, the mind and soul are immediately affected by the emphasis on alignment, grace, strength, and balance. As we create a more intelligent playing field with our physical selves, it is natural that we become become more sensitized and aware, more connected and discerning.


Through the years of practicing mindful fitness habits such as Body Activation I become more aware of other things that affect me. I notice what foods don't work well for me, how I need more hydration, how natural vs synthetic fabrics feel on my body, and how non-toxic versus toxic physical and emotional environments affect my mood and choices.

 As Inside, So Outside

Another byproduct of a conscious fitness practice is that as you feel better with yourself, you are more aware of helping others to feel better as well. As this happens, we then exponentially help the world to become a more comfortable place. It is just so obvious that as I feel better inside, I feel better I feel better outside, I become more loving, forgiving, and I connect with myself in a more balanced way, criticism and judgement fade I become more whole, I can create more ease around me.

 Discovering Our Boundaries, Challenges, Possibilities

When we open up our bodies, creating more room inside to expand through stretching, strengthening, and aligning, we discover more about our boundaries and challenges, as well as our possibilities. In this way, we become more curious about ourselves, which then expands to produce a greater curiosity about life. As we become more conscious of our capacities, almost magically more space becomes available for physical, creative, and spiritual movement and evolution.

 Honor Your Preciousness

So, choose your fitness practice well. Honor the preciousness of your body, mind, and soul and discover how this changes your view of the world and the quality of your life.

Discover Your Body Again

arms looking front.jpg

Body Activation is designed as a healing fitness technique for helping you discover your body once again.

Because I come from a dance background, Body Activation comes from a non-static and artistic approach, allowing you to flow towards health as you master the sequence of exercises created to awaken and activate body, spirit, and inner awareness.

Created as an answer to the demands of contemporary culture, Body Activation is based on time-tested movements that release tension, allow for greater mobility, and provide greater comfort to areas that are tight such as the neck, lower back, and hips.

Our bodies want to be healthy and in service to health, they will follow pathways that help create the necessary space for release and development. Through exercise sequences that build strength, tone, and stamina, Body Activation is for everyone including:

  • People used to repetitive movements that impede a full range of motion
  • People with injuries
  • People who wish to reach a higher level of physical and mental function
  • People who want a healing workout
  • Artists who wish to bring their performance to a higher level

With Body Activation the emphasis is not only on the muscular and skeletal structures. Many of the exercises help to awaken the glands, as well as the meridians that activate autonomic activity such as the respiratory, digestive, and circulatory systems, causing practitioners to feel a change on a very deep level.

By engaging in the basic sequences, the body, mind, and spirit entrain to the work and in a short amount of time, you will feel lighter, more grounded, more open and receptive, and more inclined towards healthy eating and sleeping patterns. And this, by the way, is not advertising! It has been proclaimed over and over by my students, with many testimonials posted on my blog!

Having developed Body Activation over the course of many decades as a dancer, choreographer, and teacher, and including my constant investigation into healing protocols as they relate to nutrition and optimum physical function, it is safe to say that this technique is not a fly-by-night exercise system. Instead, Body Activation is a thoroughly holistic approach to feeling better and creating a more efficient body, no matter your age or fitness level.

I invite those of you who haven't tried Body Activation to come and take a class. You will feel the benefits after your first try, and with time you will feel yourself expanding and opening to your full potential and beyond.

For information on group / private / corporate classes, please click here

with love, 

Michele Kadison for Body Activation

How To Stay Balanced In Trump Times

Photo: Yingli Xu / Model: Ty Gurfein

Photo: Yingli Xu / Model: Ty Gurfein

So much tension in the air! Donald Trump and his cronies certainly know how to throw the punch, activating fear and imbalance as they knock over any semblance of holistic, mature, and conscious thinking.

Facebook posts ignite more fire. The media fans the flames. We turn in all directions, and are bombarded from every angle with more disconcerting news as the Trump administration defies logic, let alone the constitution.

We find sanity and strategy in each other. Those millions of us who believe in humanity, ecology, and the striving for a better world are coming together to create a voice of repudiation and a movement towards the eventual creation of a better version of governing than ever before: one where big business and personal gain no longer figure into the equation.

On a personal level, now more than ever is the time to find physical and mental balance. Releasing worry and stress through practical techniques like Body Activation where body, mind, and spirit come together through exercises designed to release tension can help us keep a more regulated perspective. Through movement and meditation techniques, we are better able to handle these provocative and explosive times as we work on subduing fear and instead concentrate on amplifying hope, love, and understanding.

Fitness and Travel

From adventure-seeking friends to travel bloggers and statistic takers, it is quite apparent that people on the move are taking greater care of their bodies and minds while on the road. Travel and tourism sites all talk about wellness programs becoming as important as sightseeing, shopping, and nightlife when it comes to visiting foreign shores.

Often when we travel we worry about losing our waistlines and muscle power to days of adventure and eating restaurant food that is not always healthy. As we recognize that exercise and healthy eating are indeed key factors in combatting jet lag, creating better sleeping patterns, and increasing energy, the demand for maintaining health is more vociferous than ever!

The implication of a vacation means getting away from the stress of “every day” life. But all of us know that travel can actually be quite stressful. With tours that emphasize classes in tension-reducing techniques like Body Activation, meditation, and yoga, vacationers are finding they have much more stamina for enjoying their time away from home.

TOCA Trips is one company that is focusing on the wellness in travel trends by offering unique packages to a myriad of interesting locales such as Brazil, Cuba, and Tanzania. Incorporating Body Activation into some of their daily tour packages, along with other wellness and stress-reducing activities, the company is expanding its mission to give travelers the perfect balance between eco-tourism, cultural immersion, and health. Take a look at this great example of a TOCA Trips package here!

According to statistics gathered from cumulative Global Wellness summits, the integration of healthy habits into travel culture is definitely where the tourism industry is headed. This shift in attitude ensures that travelers keep up the healthy habits they've already developed at home, or find new ones to take back once they return.


Physically Open and Free, the Hydraulic Way!

Photo by Ishka Michocka

Photo by Ishka Michocka

Getting into shape is a full body commitment. Usually we think about strengthening and lengthening our muscles and building bone mass, and lately the idea of the “fascia” has become popular and for good reason. Working to open up and soften the connective tissue around our muscles, bones, and joints is one of the best things we can do to create optimum flexibility. We also, of course, think about our joints... how to keep them pain free and open. But how often do we include tendons and ligaments in the conversation, unless we've injured them?

Body Activation works with the concept of hydraulics Think of a hydraulically run machine and you'll recognize how important it is for that machine to be properly oiled for it to run well. It is the same for the body. When the tendons and ligaments are properly lubricated by doing exercises that focus on keeping them pliable, we are less prone to injury and better able to sustain overall alignment in service to a healthier way of moving.

The way I put it is keeping the body “juicy!” Through specific exercises that focus on opening up and softening the tendons and ligaments we are able to release stored tensions and maintain a more lengthened and fit physical structure.

Opening up the joints, discovering ways to keep the spine supple, allowing the muscles to lengthen without force, enjoying the power of weight-bearing exercises to strengthen muscles and bones, and keeping the joints, tendons, and facia juicy and well-oiled all add up to a body that can withstand the stresses and strains of daily life. Make sure that whatever exercise protocol you choose includes exercises that focus on all of these areas, and that you have a teacher who is properly schooled in anatomy and healthy movement protocols who can guide and correct you.

Your fitness class should be like preventative medicine, where you get your dose of an all-over body workout that raises your awareness, your endorphins, and your ability to feel more physically open and free with each visit.

For more information on Body Activation:

Awake, Curious, and On Guard!

Photo:  Chris Greenhow

Photo:  Chris Greenhow

As we see the influences of society on our daily lives, it is easy to understand how habits develop from contemporary norms. Technology has taken over, with superficial friendships easily made on Facebook, backs and necks taking the brunt from too much texting and typing, spare time is filled with idle Internet browsing and computer games, and the power of the media has tainted our ability to think clearly if we are not awake, curious, and on guard!

As always, we need to take control over our own education. We need to find the strength to overcome the temptation to fall into the easy traps that our present culture presents. With all that has occurred in recent politics, it is easy to see what the downfall of not thinking and acting with consciousness can do if we are not constantly vigilant and attentive.

As we strive for greater awareness and awakeness, this passes on to our children, whether we are parents, teachers, or friends of kids who look up to our maturity and experience. By becoming more aware of our daily actions and how they influence our thinking and transform our behavior, each one of us effects the world in favor of change.

Becoming more aware of our bodies... how we use them, what we put into them, and how we care for them in general is one of the ways we can experience positive transformation. How we use our minds... reading, conversing face to face with others, exchanging ideas, researching what we don't know, and delving deeper to discover what we really believe in, is a powerful way to learn about ourselves and others who share our planet.

As members of society, we don't have to conform to it, but we do need to engage in a more conscious manner in order to have the kind of world that embraces diversity, equality, freedom from fear, non-violence, and the basic right to health and happiness. Using our inborn creativity and imagination, we can unleash our inner freedom to express who we are and what we believe in. By sharing our gifts we give others permission to share theirs, which brings forth a richer, diverse, and endlessly entertaining and stimulating life.

Let's be in greater service to a life that celebrates discovery, beauty, truth, and the right to be ourselves.


Opening Up To Our Feelings

We are alive when we feel. When we stop feeling, when we put things on hold, when we say “when this happens, then I will feel this...” we postpone the most essential aspect of our humanness, which is our feeling self.

So often we think the most vibrant voyage is the exterior one. Busyness, being active and engaged with activity is so seductive. But when this is at the expense of our inner life... when we put our inner feelings on hold to instead embrace distraction, we bypass the greatest adventure, the greatest access to growth that there is... which is the interior voyage.

One of the many strengths of Body Activation is that the technique helps to connect the body to the heart through deeper physical awareness. By opening blocked channels in the body, whether caused by sitting too long, craning the neck over a smart phone, or denying the importance of a visceral relationship to movement, we allow ourselves to experience a true relationship to the art of living. When we lock our spine, neck, and hips, we deny ourselves the juiciness of possibility. When we lock our bodies in this way, we block circulation from the heart to all aspects of ourselves, both physical and emotional.

By putting our bodies on hold, we die a sort of enigmatic death. We don't notice it. The mind buzzes away while we become more remote from our physical life. But when we start to open up our bodies, our thoughts follow, and eureka!... we begin to release judgement, criticism, staunchness, and rigidity in service to greater flexibility, both physically and mentally.

When the body becomes free, so does our creativity. When the body becomes free, we release our imagination, which in turn releases our sense of possibility and potential. Through physical flexibility we are able to feel more deeply, more clearly, which in turn helps us feel more alive.

As we enter ourselves through a deeper relationship with our bodies, we start to respect what its like to be who we really are in terms of our authentic selves. We stop following what others expect of us and instead tune in to what we really feel and acting upon this instead of obeying rules that have nothing to do with our soul's true code.

Body Activation is designed to put you in greater touch with how your body moves, where you hold stress, how to notice where you are blocking the natural flow of energy, how to let go of tension, and how to allow your body to expand. Body Activation puts you in touch with how your body moves, and as you discover greater possibility, the mind and spirit follows, allowing you to embrace things you might otherwise not notice.

Being in touch with our bodies enhances our relationship to nature and to others. Are we listening, or merely waiting for the other to finish so that we can talk. Are we tasting our food, or merely swallowing in order to feel full. Are we listening to music to incorporate the sound into our bodies or are we merely finding a background to keep us from going deeper into our souls.

Through opening our bodies we loosen up, we get juicy.. and in doing so, we relate to ourselves and others in a different way. We become more sensual. And by doing so, we give others permission to do the same. A true awareness of the body allows us to better experience the moment, to live right now, fully and completely. Through opening our bodies we feel alive, allowing us to experience each moment to the fullest, and inviting others to do the same.

When we begin to become physically aware and physically open, we begin to enjoy the depth of each moment through the awareness of our feelings. Being aware of our bodies always translates to something deeper, allowing us to ask “how do I feel” rather than “what do I think” as we take steps out of the mental body and into the physical. As we get out of the mental state, we can begin to experiment more with our feelings, getting in deeper touch with them as we allow them to be our guide. As we learn to identify our feelings, we begin to lead a more authentic life, making decisions on what feels right, rather than what we think we “should” do.

Body Activation helps us focus on the joy of observation and sensation. It shifts the focus out of high mental activity to the sensual pleasure of deepening physical sensation as we get to know ourselves better through releasing tension and discovering our true potential as moving, sensual, feeling beings.

The Physical Perils of Texting

Show me someone who does not have neck problems and I will say that this person does not have a smartphone! No matter what the stress level of your job or personal life, nothing does damage to the neck more than constant texting. With an average of two to four hours a day spent with heads bent forward, there is strong research claiming that 700 to 1400 hours per year of this activity is creating intense problems with neck and upper back pain, shoulder tightness, pinched nerves, early arthritis in the cervical vertebrae, and more.

Leaning the head forward as we text is creating intense wear and tear on the ligaments and tendons in the neck, which in turn places enormous pressure on the spine. Just think... the head weighs between 4.5 and 5.4 kilos (10 – 12 lbs) and looking down at your phone increases this weight up to 12 kilos (27 lbs) depending on the angle of your neck. The greater the degree, the greater the pressure on your spine.

Head, neck, and arm pain; numbness in the hands and fingers; strain on the wrists; pain in the palms... all of these symptoms are standard as a result of our relationship with our smartphones. Standing with our chin towards our chests is cutting off circulation and creating a physical environment that is difficult to correct the more chronic it becomes. Combine this with hours of sitting, and you have a formula for danger that is harder to rectify through time.

And then there's the phenomenon of texting while walking! Gone is the thrill of noticing what's going on around you as you welcome instead the possibility of accidents. Not only is your neck in peril, but in this case, your entire body! What happened to enjoying your environment and taking a moment off from the desperate need to communicate?

Here's the point: if you want a healthy body and a healthier life, it is imperative that you take regular breaks from your smartphone. On top of this, you can be creative and use headphones, making calls instead of texting. Or at the very least, hold your phone at eye level when you do text! And the same goes for your computer screen... make sure it is at eye level and not below.

There are many exercises you can do throughout the day to keep your neck healthy and available to maximum circulation. Head and shoulder rolls, as well as back stretches, are easy to do on a break. And don't forget how important it is to keep your core muscles strong. Your abdominal and lower back muscles are essential for supporting the upper body and counteracting the strain you put on your cervical spine when texting.

Find classes like Body Activation that are designed for the perils of today's contemporary lifestyle. Make a promise to honor your body. You will bring much more energy, creativity, and enthusiasm to your work and personal life when you do.

For more information on Body Activation classes, please go to:


Welcome to Your Body

It’s only the last few years that I have begun to work deeply with non-dancers. It is a privilege, and in so many ways even more gratifying than teaching advanced and professional level dance classes to those who already have a deep relationship with their bodies.

I never would have believed that shifting into this other world would give me so much food for thought, so much material for growth, and so much gratification witnessing my students find their bodies in ways they could never imagine.

But it also has shocked me to the core.  

I created Body Activation out of a very thorough yet very fast dance warmup that prepared the dancer’s body for a dynamic and highly demanding Jazz class. Slowing down each exercise, dissecting it, and tailoring it to the non-dancer’s body has been a labor of love and revelation. The result is constantly evolving as I learn more and more about creating a healing fitness technique that welcomes students to their bodies in a non-intimidating way…. that allows each person to discover her/his movement potential through personal investigation into positions that open up the body to greater dimension and flexibility.

But... I am completely overwhelmed by how many people use perhaps even less than a 10th of their movement potential. How young people begin to ossify from the disuse of their bodies because of today’s sedentary lifestyle. How many people suffer from neck and lower back pain. How many people cannot move their hips or ankles in a circle. How many people are content with such a small amount of movement… just enough to get them through the day.

And of course, I see the relationship between the body and the mind and spirit. How the lack of dimensionality in the body reflects a rigidity in thinking and in belief.

We are born multi-dimensional beings. We are born to move. We are born to play and experiment. We are born to dance. Our forebears farmed and hiked and walked and did all sorts of things outdoors. They had a relationship to nature. They moved. Today I see so many people who come to my class with no relationship to their bodies. Their spines are locked, they cannot straighten their knees, they cannot twist and soften. It’s a tragedy.

Why aren’t children given dance and movement classes in school? Every child should be encouraged to move in service to the moment and to growing up into a stretched and moveable being. Every person deserves to be like a cat… ready for action and flexible in every way.

I am saddened by people’s lack of a relationship to their bodies. Saddened that this isn’t a priority, that so few see the relationship between an open body and an open mind.

It is my mission to help you find the beauty of movement again!  You had it when you were a child and you can retrieve it at any time with a bit of dedication and an attitude of joy and adventure!  Be your young self, stay your young self, walk into your new young self no matter what your age and you will awaken all of your senses, become more positive, and meet life with a greater feeling of self-worth and power. Don’t be afraid if at first you feel stiff and alien. It takes a little bravery and patience, but you’ll get there, as all of my students do with regular practice. Please don’t be content with less!  Go for your bigger self and welcome this self to the huge potential of a body that’s waiting to be activated!