Psoas? So what?

Psoas is so vital, so under-appreciated, and so the source of so much potential healing and emotional release.

Psoas (pronounced SO-azz) is the governing muscle for movement. It’s connected to the femur (thigh bone), allowing flexibility in the lower body. Connecting the thigh, pelvis and abdomen, you could not sit, walk, or run without the psoas.

In Ayurveda the muscles are linked to the emotion of control and they all work together to allow us to move, breath, and get things done. If a muscle is in a holding pattern, other muscles are going to come to the rescue and take up the load. Emotions of control arise when the sympathetic nervous system is invoked. So, you can see why the psoas is the muscle that holds trauma — it goes into action alongside the desire to control scary situations in an effort to protect you. If your body perceives you are in danger because you feel anxious, scared, angry, triggered, helpless, it’s going to do everything possible for as long as it can. The severity or the longevity of a negative situation can create trauma.

And how does this relate to back pain or stiff, painful gait, or a tight IT band or pinched hip flexors—general reduced mobility?

 Back to anatomy, the hips and the shoulders are similar in the concept of allowing physical balance, with the spine down the middle. Since the psoas is attached to the spine and connected to hips, the upper body muscles will start going into holding patterns, trying to control the situation. Both upper and lower body need muscular release or you may be chasing muscles tension as it feeds back and forth. Release of both areas makes sure each does not come to the rescue for the other, trying to seize control. Receiving a tandem massage is great for this release process, since one person can be at the neck while another is working on the psoas.

Psoas self-care can be as easy as keeping upper body muscles warm and nourished while working on lower areas and vise versa. Cold yields the emotion of fear, so if muscles are cold, they are going to respond as triggered and are not going to release on demand.

Ultimately, the physical unwinding of a tightened psoas must also involve personal, emotional work. It’s the process of finding safety, doing trauma work with a professional, and increasing self-care that allows for deep relaxation.

If you’re curious about learning the anatomy, physiology, and philosophy of this incredibly important muscle, join DeAnna for her Pelvic Floor Care class.

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