Updated: Apr 19, 2020
by Gigi Santiago, RYT (creator of PYT yoga series)
Did you ever have a job or something in your life that you hated? Creating fantasies that would keep you from having to arrive at the same moment each day. Kind of like the movie “Groundhog Day,” a mental floss of repetition scenarios and reacting or no reaction to them. You begin to feel you are drowning, and stress begins to build up. Pulling on your stomach tightly and collapsing the belly into the organs for the next 10 to 12 hrs of work. Your breath becomes shallow, feeling tension rise in the neck and compression between your shoulders that lead them to fall forward. You can feel the inside of your body enveloping a giant ball of stress, protectively surrounded by the curvature of your spine.
Let’s look at the relationship between the placement of the psoas attached to our emotions.
The psoas is located in the 12th thoracic vertebrae and the disc between the area of the spine. It continues down the lumbar spine over the ilium and inserts into the lesser trochanter on the inside of the femur bone. Flexion of the spine occurs on the pulling of the psoas origins creates an extension behind the vertebrae’s center of rotation, drawing towards the pelvis. The two muscles are antagonists and together increase compression of the vertebra, stabilizing the spine. It also provides flexion of the pelvis and femurs. The psoas assists in a standing position, lifting our legs towards the pelvis and enables us to bend forward at the waist.
While a tight psoas leads to low back pain, scoliosis, and sciatica. We can experience constriction in the organs and breath. When we perform exercise that helps assist in releasing the psoas, often, we experience old emotions stored deep in the tissues.
Hang on. There is more. The relationship of the diaphragm controls the breath and is a reactive emotional center. The psoas is attached to the diaphragm through the fascia and the medial arcuate ligament when we take in a deep breath the psoas and diaphragm work together to provide anterior spinal stability. When we react to fear, our psoas and diaphragm respond to stress with constriction. In the “fight” or “flight” mode, the breath is short and sharp, the psoas responds in the same way. The psoas connection links us to the primitive brain, or the brainstem and spinal cord with its origins in the spine. Can you see how the psoas is an emotional powerhouse with links to both breath and the deepest layers of the brain?
“The psoas is a messenger of the core…. Coalescing the central nervous system with enteric (gut) brain, the psoas literally embodies our deepest urge for survival, and more profoundly, our elemental desire to flourish.... Illuminating an energetic resonance, our psoas is truly a dedicated support system for being a coherent human organism.” Liz Koch (author of The Psoas Book) The Primordial Psoas and the Chakra System