The psoas is a true holistic muscle that integrates body, mind, emotion and spirit.
The special psoas
Taoist healers call the psoas the muscle of the soul.
The psoas is a true holistic muscle that integrates body, mind, emotion, and spirit. This important muscle connects your legs to your upper body. As you can understand, it is essential that this muscle is supple and healthy. The psoas can become exhausted if you take too little rest, live too quickly and experience a lot of anxiety. An exhausted psoas brings many consequences.
It is also possible that one part of the psoas is exhausted. The psoas consists of two parts; the top part and the bottom part. Which part is exhausted can reveal a lot about you as a person and how you stand in life at the moment.
The psoas and the nervous system
As a messenger from the midline, the psoas translates every expression of security, harmony and integrity.
The psoas connects the brain in the abdomen (the enteric nervous system) with both the central and autonomic nervous systems. The large nerve nodes that lie in the core of the abdomen continue to the digestive and reproductive organs and transition and lodge throughout the psoas. As a midline messenger, the psoas translates, transmits and transmits every expression of security, harmony and integrity, signaling whether we are centered and congruent or blocked and vulnerable.
The element of wood and the psoas
Consciously feeling and relaxing the lower part of the psoas often evokes feelings not only of fear, but also of anger.
According to Eastern philosophy, life is expressed in energy and the qualities of life can be seen and expressed in the basic elements earth, water, wood, fire and air. The element of wood is associated with liver energy that runs down the hip socket to the big toe. The psoas follows this energetic flow through the trunk to the hip sockets.
Consciously feeling and relaxing the lower part of the psoas often evokes feelings not only of fear, but also of anger. Anger and creativity are the primary emotions associated with wood energy. Wood energy is exciting and prompts us to make changes in our lives. Like green trees, liver energy is creative, strong and powerful.
Exercise 1: Release pent-up anger
I asked him if he had ever expressed anger as a child. He said, ‘Of course not!’
If you release this energy from the lower part of the psoas, you may feel like kicking, stamping, or shaking your legs, especially around the hip sockets. If you express a childish rage in the safety of your own home by moving your arms and legs up and down from the hip socket, hitting the ground with your hands and feet, and kicking the air, that not only give a wonderful feeling but also help to let pent up energy flow again. It is worth simply staying with the sensation, letting the feelings come and go as the energy flows through your genitals and anus through your legs and feet to the earth.
‘A decent man who took part in a workshop suffered from a terribly stiff upper body. His rib cage and shoulders seemed glued together and were rock hard. His lower body was soft and limp. He said no one had been able to help him in his quest to release the tension in his upper body. After each treatment or massage of his upper body, the tension and stiffness returned fairly quickly. I asked him if he had ever expressed anger as a child.
He said, ‘Of course not!’ Since he had never been allowed to be hot-tempered before, I proposed to him with his feet while he made angry faces. When he got up he was pleasantly surprised to stamp his feet. Lying on his back on the floor, he stamped his feet and hands, so that his collarbones and shoulders felt softer and his legs and feet gave him more ground at the same time.’
The Gallbladder Meridian and the Psoas
Seeing green with envy whether your bile spitting is associated with the gallbladder, or wood energy.
The gallbladder meridian, the corresponding liver energy meridian, is also on the psoas plane. It runs along the back of the acetabulum at the site of the external rotator muscles and from there to the head. The gallbladder is associated with the ability to make good decisions. Seeing green with envy whether your bile spitting is associated with the gallbladder or wood energy. Together, the liver and gallbladder govern the ligaments and tendons. Lunges, which can lengthen the psoas, have a positive effect on liver and gallbladder energy.
Exercise 2: Relax the lower part of the psoas
By performing this exercise you can relax the lower part of the psoas muscle:
Note: Squeezing and/or shortening the lower back, locking the knee joints (hyperextension) or initiating movements from the knee are all musculoskeletal compensations often used to extend the leg. They reflect a lack of articulation at the acetabulum due to decreased movement in the psoas and/or poor proprioception.
- First, lie down in the CRH (this is how you do this pose) . In short: Lie on your back, bend your knees and place your feet on the floor. Remain in the CRH for at least ten minutes. Rest your fingers on your hips and very gently massage that area very gently. Don’t push. In this exploration, the focus is on moving your leg without moving your pelvis. It is easiest to feel the lower part of the psoas relax where it runs through the acetabulum.
- Keeping your attention on your hip sockets, initiate the movement from the hip socket and slide one foot along the floor. The pelvis remains centered and stable and remains part of the trunk; only the leg is stretched.
- As the leg lengthens, you will notice sensations along your back. Any shortening in the lower back (to allow for leg extension) indicates that the psoas is not relaxing but that you may be compensating by compressing your lumbar vertebrae. Do not proceed if the pelvis moves with your leg.
- Then pause where you are, let it soften along the front of the hip socket, and then move on.
- Repeat, pause, relax, and lengthen. Whenever you relax the psoas, the leg will lengthen without dragging the pelvis.
- Switch legs and start again.