Sōtai – Master Class with Rex Lassalle
Rex Lassalle is a world-renowned Master in Shiatsu, prolific writer, author in alternative health, former Army Officer, Osteopath and Aikidoka (practitioner of Aikido).
We had the great pleasure and honour of hosting Rex in our Dojo where he taught Be Easy Sōtai; a practice which he has developed over decades of research. The basis of this self help therapy is for the individual to carry out simple checks on their body to determine what feels easy as apposed to difficult or painful. The end goal of this exercise methodology is to make small shifts within the body to improve overall well-being and balance.
Sōtai is a muscular movement therapy that was first developed by a Japanese doctor from Sendai, Japan; Keizo Hashimoto (1897–1993). The term So-tai (操体) is the opposite of the Japanese word for exercise: Tai-so (体操). Dr. Hashimoto argued that Sōtai provides an antidote to the forceful and regimented exercises of Japan. His philosophy was that anyone could practice Sōtai easily to restore balance and health.
Rex’s approach to Sōtai is very simple and direct whereby one follows a pattern of sensory and body assessments to determine a focal point that one can work on.
Below is the summary view of BeEasy Sōtai that was taught by Rex Lassalle.
1- Surrender Your Body
Begin Sōtai with the intention of relaxing or releasing the body. Scan all tension between the crown of the head to the feet and ensure breathing is sync when releasing relevant muscles.
2 – Sensory Assessment
- STIMULATE SENSORY ORGANS by conducting a series of exercises. The awakening of the senses is an essential part of Martial Arts training whereby the practitioner is required to improve their sensitivity so that one can feel the movement/intention of the other person. Sensitivity training is highly dependent upon the state of sensory organs. Therefore, these exercises are essential prerequisite.
- ACTIVATE PRESSURE POINTS – heighten senses by applying circular pressure to facial pressure points.
- EYES – Controlled movement of the eyes from left to right, up and down 5 times.
- NOSE – Movement of the nose from all directions, apply pressure around the nostrils 5 times
- LIPS – Tightening and loosening of the lips and movement of the mouth clockwise and counter-clockwise 5 times.
- TONGUE – Release the tongue and stretch the movements from left to right 5 times.
- EARS – Stimulate the lobes and stretch the ears 5 times.
3 – Muscle Response Tests
Conduct a series of tests to determine which side of the body has more tension. Once the most uncomfortable side is established. Stretches are to be conducted on the easy side 5 times and then a retest is to be conducted to determine if there has been any change.
- Psoas Muscle Test: Stretch leg to determine what side feels less comfortable.
- Hip Test: Walk slowly or bend left to right to determine which side feels uneasy.
- Ankle Flexion Test: Rotate and flex ankles to determine which angle is the most challenging.
- Wrist Flexion Test: Rotate and flex wrists to determine which angle is the most challenging.
- Neck Flexion: Rotate neck slowly to find the most difficult position.
The muscle response test helps alleviate restrictions or injuries that may cause discomfort or the inability to carry out certain movements within training. Sotai has been known to be highly beneficial for general well being or specific muscular/skeletal issues.