Do you spend much time sitting in front of a computer, on a plane, in a car? If so your hips may be locked up which effects your ability to dance, but worse than that it may be causing you undue stress and fear. The Psoas Muscle, is a long muscle located on the side of the lumbar region of the vertebral column and brim of the pelvis, that is also known as the “muscle of the soul”.
It is one of the largest muscles in the body and it is a place where we often store stress or trauma that can literally influence our mood and our outlook on life. We recently explored in depth just how much fear can inhibit our ability to think clearly thus creating an unhealthy perspective that can harm us and those around us. Now let’s look at where that fear might be stored in our body, and a few ways to release it.
In humans, the extremes of the two polarities might appropriately be described as LOVE (+) and FEAR (- ). Love fuels growth. In contrast, fear stunts growth. – Bruce Lipton, Ph.D.
How built up stress makes us easy to manipulate
Being in a state of fear allows us to be easily manipulated. Advertisers and politicians have learned to capitalize on this biological aspect of humans also known as the lizard brain. Unfortunately our fast-paced lifestyles (mentally), combined with our relatively stagnate physical activity (driving, working at computer, etc.) causes our bodies to be ineffective at releasing built up stress which manifests in our thoughts as fear or anxiety.
Lizard brain refers to the oldest part of the brain, the brain stem, responsible for primitive survival instincts such as aggression and fear (flight or fight) – Joseph Troncale M.D., Psychology Today
Where is a majority of the stress stored?
It is often stored in one of the largest muscles in our body, the psoas. This muscle stretches from our lower trunk through our hips into the top of our thighs, it is used for core stability and the fight-flight reflex. Every time we see something that startles us (real or perceived threat) like an animal crossing the road while we drive, or a violent scene in a movie, our brain sends signals our body to respond by releasing epinephrine (adrenaline).
The muscle that is most central to our fight/flight response is the psoas. When we don’t respond, these stress hormones go unspent and become stored in the body. This can bring many health problems including insomnia, lowered immune system, anxiety, eating disorders, depression, and living in a constant state of fear or alert.
Because the psoas is so intimately involved in such basic physical and emotional reactions, a chronically tightened psoas continually signals your body that you’re in danger, eventually exhausting the adrenal glands and depleting the immune system. As you learn to approach the world without this chronic tension, psoas awareness can open the door to a more sensitive attunement to your body’s inner signals about safety and danger, and to a greater sense of inner peace. – Liz Koch, Author of The Psoas Book
Since stress accumulates on an unconscious level, healing our bodies is a process that must happen consciously. There is no single way to do this, it requires gradual lifestyle changes and a daily practice. Craniosacral Therapy is powerful because it helps teach our body how to relax into a parasympathetic state which relaxes the nervous system. This gentle and non-invasive approach helps us bring awareness to and melt away the stress stored within us.
To work with the psoas is not to try to control the muscle, but to cultivate the awareness necessary for sensing its messages. This involves making a conscious choice to become somatically aware. – Liz Koch, Author of The Psoas Book
Yoga and Personal Practice
The best doctor is already within you. There is no replacement for cultivating a practice that heals, replenishes, and relaxes you from the in-side, out. There are numerous yoga poses that can help you on your journey of releasing this stress, anxiety, and fear stored within your psoas. Yoga calls this “the muscle of the soul” so any focus here is sure to give great results to your overall well-being. Yoga International seems to have a comprehensive list of photos and descriptions of poses that can start you on your journey.
If you spend as much time stretching your psoas muscle every day as you just did reading this article, you will notice some big changes in your life. First you may begin catching a lot of attention on the dance floor, but more importantly you will loosen your mind from the grips of fear and anxiety. It comes down to a conscious choice to live in trust and love instead of fear and anxiety, and that choice has to be followed by real-world action. It all starts within!
Can you guys please provide links to websites other than Yoga international, because apparently I’ve reached my limit of three free articles, so I must enter credit card info to view the article. I know its well intentioned and the article was great. Thanks for the understanding.
Yes great just what I need!
Fantastic video great information.
Why always exotic relogions Whst abput Jesus Power?
i have a back injury which prevents me from doing that yoga excerise that was shown.is anyone able to direct me where i can go onto a website to find out how i can still stretch this muscle but in a more less strenthous poses.i am very interested in removing stress from the body
Who is the woman in the video? I can’t see her name in any credits.
This is great txt
I think if all people who want to be a manager would undergo psychological testing on a yearly basis to make sure they are indeed mentally fit to manage other people, there would be less stress in the world. Unfortunately, a lot of the so called “managers” have personality and childhood issues, which they take to work and take it out on other people in a form of bullying.
I believe this film clip was about showing how to exercise a mussle all people have. Why bring the male/female into it. This all about getting on with a healthier life not about your likes and dislikes.
Is it a must to dance?
I can’t believe TRE isn’t mentioned here. tremor release exercises are the most powerful and efficient way to release the psoas muscles as well as stress accumulated all throughout the body. I would highly recommend looking into it. Traumaprevention.com is the website where you can learn more about these life changing practices.
Very helpful,thanks I will now use this alot 🙂
Great demonstration and info. Would love to see something a bit easier for a beginner
Gentle chiropractic techniques are so effective in helping the body to adapt and recover from the stress stored in your body.
As a senior citizen I would like to see more entry-level poses to work up to being able to do this. I truly believe that this is also a great alternative to a hip replacement.
Very interesting article. I’ve been experiencing a lot of pain in this area during the healing process from CPTSD. Maybe there’s a link?
In the 60’s, there was not a single book showing females doing asana poses. And the men pictured generally were Indian, with strange, inscrutable faces, and little dhotis that just covered pelvic area, front & back.
I looked in vain for a more user-friendly (for an American college girl) yoga book.
In this video, this young woman is amazing.
Did anyone notice the surfboard in the background? Or the total muscle mass on this kid? She works out, I think, in more modalities than yoga,and I respect that–even if it is not a gym, but constant surfing. She has the way-strong upper arms needed for
paddling out long distances, or paddling
like lightening, against tbe current, to catch the exact right point of entry for a big curl.
She has the surfer’s thighs (no explanation necessary) and the constant-surfer’s butt (almost non-existent, muscles going IN,vs.fat or muscle sticking OUT). For a young woman,
this is NOT vanity–a Kim Kardashian
type in a bikini, with huge ( often implanted) boobs and a really round butt– THAT is the current vanity. To have a surfer’s body is to say, “I don’t care about “magazine” or “pladtic” beauty–I’m an athlete, in a sport designed by men, and for 100’s of years done only by men, but I have become wonderful at it, and I have done Hatha Yoga for so long that the names of the poses, and the transitions into them, are completely 2nd nature–I can teach them
while doing them. AND, an uninterrupted
sequence of all-psoas concentrated poses requires incredible strength–as you can see
in the video. She is in full forward lunge
position the whole time she shows you the
right-sided poses, then,without a second’s pause, goes into full left-lunge and stays in it
for all the left-sided poses.
Personally, I think, from watching
video’s of surfing championships (both sexes)
that her bikini is just her daily dress ( except
when surfing in horribly cold water, in which
case, there’s a body suit–and you have to be TWICE as strong to surf in the rubber-rigidity
of a body suit.
So, I am thankful for ANYONE showing
me how to strengthen the PSOAS, and I would like to tjink that other watchers were watching the video for that reason, rather than to
ogle or find reasons to comment negatively
on the dress of the yoga instructor.
Yes, when I was in college, I was turned off by the “surface” “shallow” views of the wierd-looking men who populated the yoga books. Seeing exactly how shallow that was, and how much time I missed in training my body because of it, with age I am wiser, and wish heartily that I might have looked BEYOND
the surface images, and maintained my
honest interest in practicing yoga, for my health, and for the balance of mind-body-spirit
My psoas muscle will love these poses. Thank you.
Really enjoyed this article!!
Our bodies have a natural reflex to release unresolved stress tension and trauma through autonomic shaking and trembling. In the west and in exercise cultures often including yoga it tends to be misunderstood as a sign of weakness, lack of control and therefore suppressed and inhibited rather than deliberately activated And utilised. Modern approach to this ancient reflex this through TRE which is a simple exercises to deliberately invite this natural restorative impulse in the body. If you want to find out more visit trauma prevention.com
Thank you for the interesting approach to releasing stress. Does anyone have an opinion on how this contributes to obesity and sedentary lifestyles?
I like this because you see how flexible she is in her spine and torso and that she really, really breaths fully. And it is a nice sequence if you add a bit of warm-up.