Updated: Jul 17
by Maryann Foster
During a class I teach at a local massage school, I watched an earnest student struggle to get into the horse stance. It was painful to watch this frustrated student’s effort.
IT REMINDED ME OF THE ENDLESS TOSSING AND TURNING OF A DESPERATE INSOMNIAC LOOKING FOR A POSITION OF REST (FIGURE 1 ON PDF ATTACHED). SHE STRAIGHTENED HER TWISTED KNEES, AND THEN HER ARCHES FELL. SHE LIFTED HER ARCHES, THEN HER THIGHS STARTED TO TREMBLE. SHE SHIFTED HER THIGHS, THEN HER BACK ARCHED. SO WENT THE BATTLE.
Eventually, I interrupted her circular efforts with an offer of help, and she sighed with relief. I suggested that she stand up and relax, letting go of any effort to get it right or correct what was wrong. Once she relaxed, I proposed that she place her hands on her client with a calm, receptive touch to connect with her client. Then when she was finally centered, I suggested she simply step forward and begin the massage (Figure 2 on PDF attached).
The student was surprised that massage could feel so easy when given from a standing posture and expressed gratitude for this new option. She explained that her instructors insisted students use the horse stance, but lamented, “Our teachers keep stressing how important it is to stay relaxed in your body while giving a massage, but then they ask us to get into a stance that is uncomfortable and creates more tension.”