How To Unlock Your Psoas & Use It To Decrease Stress
Are you feeling a little extra stressed out lately? If you are one of the millions of Americans that suffer from severe stress, try unlocking the muscle of the soul.
Unlocking the muscle of the soul can significantly decrease your stress and make you feel better all around! People are usually told that their depression, anxiety, and stress are all in your head. In this case it might just be in your buttocks!
This is thanks to the muscle of the soul. The muscle of the soul is also known as the psoas muscle. The muscle is responsible for stabilizing the body. It runs near the hip bone and affects your mobility, balance, joint movements, flexibility, and much more. It’s responsible for helping keep the body upright and moving. One study suggests that the muscle could be connected to more than just your mobility. It could be related to your overall well being as well. “The psoas literally embodies our deepest urge for survival, and more profoundly, our elemental desire to flourish,” says Liz Koch, author of The Psoas Book. With that in mind, it’s easy to think there’s a lot more to the psoas.
The psoas is also connected to the diaphragm, where breathing is modulated. It’s also where many of the physical feelings of anxiety manifest. Koch thinks there’s a direct link between the psoas and the spinal cord, which leads to the oldest part of our brains – the reptilian brain. The reptilian brain is concerned more with fight or flight, not thinking. “Long before the spoken word or the organizing capacity of the cortex developed, the reptilian brain, known for its survival instincts, maintained our essential core functioning,” says Koch. There are several different ways to release tension from your psoas muscle. One effective method of releasing stress and emotional tension through your psoas muscle is the wind relieving pose.
Lie on your back, bend your knees and place your feet on the floor near the pelvis. Then bring your attention to the back of the pelvis and settle deeply into the floor. Now draw one knee toward your torso with your hands. Breathe into your hip joint, and keep the pelvis stable. Soften the back of the pelvis into the floor.
Then slowly stretch the opposite leg out, sliding the foot out, extending the knee, but keeping the pelvis right where it is. Don’t allow the lower back to arch any further from the floor. By stabilizing the pelvis, extending the leg will lengthen the psoas. If you allow the pelvis to tilt, the psoas doesn’t lengthen or release, but pulls the lumbar spine forward, arching the lower back. Keep the pelvis in place by drawing the bent leg toward the abdomen.
Reduce overall tension levels; soften your face, jaw, eyes, the root of the tongue, shoulders, upper back, belly, pelvic floor, and hip joints. Then focus on your breath—notice the breath dropping deeper into the body and becoming slow and smooth as internal tension releases. Stay for at least 2 to 3 minutes. Then release the bent leg to the floor and switch sides, repeating the pose on the other side.