The body’s natural processing and release of tension and stress in the psoas. By Sandra Carson
The key to allowing your psoas to release the built up tension is creating a safe space and an attitude of allowance of release for your body. Sometimes the muscles in your body will spontaneously release when you feel at ease and there is muscle activation or stretch (for example in a yoga class). One way the muscles release is by trembling and vibrating and literally shaking off the stress that was stored. This is a natural and healthy way of tension release in the psoas.
This physical release of tension and/or trauma will then be able to be processed by the brain as well. This processing may cause emotions and memories to come up as fragments, and you may or may not remember the event that caused the stress. It can feel a bit strange to have emotions come up like sadness, anger or even joy, without knowing what caused them. And sometimes, you can directly relate it back to an event or situation.
A student from my class who was shaking and trembling, with tears running down her face, slowly came up to sitting. After being silent for a moment, she shared what happened to her. In the moment she shared, she experienced a strong headache. She explained that she had a flashback of being 11-years-old. It was her sister’s birthday; she heard the music and the cheering of people. She remembered that she had been in a bicycle accident that day; she had been hit by a car and suffered a concussion. But it was her sister’s birthday, and there was no attention or room for her pain. And so she swallowed it and suppressed her pain. All these memories came back to her that day as her psoas released, like it happened just yesterday. My student was 52-years-old.
Because the psoas muscle is so closely involved in the physical response of the sympathetic state and stores up our unprocessed tension and trauma, the tone of psoas has an effect on the opening of the ‘spiritual heart’. Feeling your own expansive nature, experiencing the unbounded freedom of your heart and the flow of life’s energy moving through you, is one of the great promises and rewards of a spiritual practice. The experience of connectivity to all life and ‘oneness’ will far likely be the fullest when all your defence mechanisms are turned off, when your guard is down and you feel completely ‘at peace’. Just try opening your heart in a situation where your body is in fight or flight mode! Only when you feel completely safe can you be vulnerable and can the heart truly open.
Take it easy
The more you learn to access this natural processing of releasing the psoas, the more tension you let go of in your body. This release changes the tone in the muscles in your body, which can temporarily affect your feeling of stability and steadiness. The stored-up tension in your psoas forces the rest of your body to adapt and accommodate around this tension, creating a distorted sense of balance.
When you start to release, take it slowly. Releasing too much tension in one time can result in a wobbly feeling in your body, deep feeling of fatigue or energy depletion that had been suppressed and is now set free. And stronger emotions may come to the surface afterwards because the door has been opened to release. You may also have access to more memories, of events or people. It is important to release slowly and gently over time, and accept whatever rises up. You may experience the release differently every time it happens. Even expectations you may have around what the release looks like or how intense it is, could inhibit the natural process of letting go. Releasing the psoas teaches you to surrender to your body and let the psoas do what it instinctually knows how to do. Rather than interfere with your body or make it “do” something, just enjoy not being fully in control for a change!
Opening and feeling
You may wonder what it will bring you by releasing your psoas? Your body moves in a way that may feel silly or even weird, and certain unpleasant emotions and feelings may come up from your past. Why not just leave the past alone, live in the moment, accepting what is? In my experience working with people to help them release their psoas, they not only feel better in their body but also in their life on many other levels. When you learn to connect to your psoas and release the stored up tension, it is highly likely that you may sleep better, have better moods, more easily notice your natural boundaries, and be more able to avoid burn out or exhaustion in the long run.
You may be more in touch with your energy, feel more at ease, and more at home in your body and in your life. By feeling more anchored and connected to your body you might be much more able to open your heart and embrace life as it comes. You will experience more peace and stillness in your mind and a sense of aliveness while being relaxed. An awakened and relaxed psoas has nothing less than a magical effect on your being, embodiment and energy.
Find out more about Sandra Carson at: (livingalignmentyoga.com)