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 #28daysofyin Day 25 - Giving Juice to The Interesting Muscle

#28daysofyin Day 25 - Giving Juice to The Interesting Muscle

#28daysofyin and forgive me yogis, I needed a few days off from my brain to rest! But I'm back. I don't know how these daily-posting Instagram superstars do it! 😛 So, the psoas part two...the energetics of this interesting muscle. For those really interested in this, check out Liz Koch's work, her books are great, or before her, The Body that Talks . I'll break down some of her stuff today, plus some stuff I learned from my Taoist studies (ongoing). In Taoism, the psoas is the 'muscle of the soul.' It's a pretty big deal that we stand on two legs, and the fact that we do so has as much to do with our spiritual evolution as it does our physical. The area the psoas energetically correlates to is the ming men. All life essence and positive and negative chi is stored in the inner 'core,' the mingmen or 'gate of fate,' or 'gate of life.' This is the back opening of the lower dantien and a place chi can enter the body…Liz Koch writes “The psoas, by conducting energy, grounds us to the earth, just as a grounding wire prevents shocks and eliminates static on a radio. Freed and grounded, the spine can awaken”…“ As gravitational flows transfer weight through bones, tissue, and muscle, into the earth, the earth rebounds, flowing back up the legs and spine, energizing, coordinating and animating posture, movement and expression. It is an uninterrupted conversation between self, earth, and cosmos.”>>>

>>>The psoas abhor the cold, and cold from the kidneys will travel to the psoas and chill then, causing them to tighten. A short, weak psoas is very common in our society. This is not ideal for a number of reasons. As noted in the last post, the psoas and the diaphragm are intimately related (the diaphragm’s ‘legs’ fuse with the psoas fascia). Every time you breathe, psoas and diaphragm work together to provide spinal stability. The psoas’ relationship to the diaphragm affects both our breath and fear reflex. This is because the psoas is directly linked to the reptilian brain, the most ancient part of the brain stem and spinal cord. As Koch writes “Long before the spoken word or the organising capacity of the cortex developed, the reptilian brain, known for its survival instincts, maintained our essential core functioning.” The psoas expresses our innate sense of safety. A chronically tightened psoas continually signals your body that you’re in danger, eventually exhausting the adrenal glands and depleting the immune system. Emotional trauma or an ongoing lack of emotional support can also lead to a chronically contracted psoas. If your fight/flight/freeze system (sympathetic nervous system) is constantly triggered, eventually you disconnect with yourself. We start to believe that our bodies can’t be trusted.>>>

>>>As we learn to consciously release our psoas, we can rekindle our connection to our body’s— instinctual wisdom. Releasing your psoas encourages this process by allowing you to trust your skeletal stability instead of holding yourself up by muscular effort. Sensing your bones supporting weight translates into a physical and emotional feeling of 'standing on your own two feet.' With a properly functioning psoas, the bones bear weight, the muscles move the bones, and the joints connect the subtle energies of the body. Energy flows through the joints, allowing us to experience ourselves as unified. We are fully expressed. The psoas, Liz Koch say, "literally embodies our deepest urge for survival, and more profoundly, our elemental desire to flourish.”

The theory is that it’s best not to ‘work’ the psoas too much; rather we should RELAX it. Again, from Liz Koch: 'There are many practical advantages to understanding the psoas such as releasing back tension, improving blood circulation, and enhancing overall digestion. Equally important is its ability to offer a deep sense of safety and relaxation...The psoas is best understood as not a muscle but a messenger from the very core of our being. Therefore the psoas does not need to be strengthened because it is not weak. What a person may believe to be weakened is actually an exhausted psoas.’ Learning to relax in our asana is really important, especially when working with this muscle. I think it’s nice to stretch (based on my experience in my body, and my students), but I do really emphasise going in very gently and REALLY relaxing and breathing deep. Lunges with the torso upright and pigeon pose with squared, supported hips can stretch the psoas, and I have an awesome bed pose I'll share another time, but tonight we're keeping it really simple with a nice pose that inverts the body (see Legs Up the Wall post for those benefits) and releases and restores the psoas. >>>

>>>In this pose, you don’t need to perform any muscular action to release the psoas. Gravity will do the work. Lie on your back, bend your knees to about 90 degrees, and place your feet on the floor in line with your hip sockets, about 30 cm forward of your hips, like you're setting up for Bridge Pose. Be mindful not to flatten or exaggerate the curves in either your lumbar (lower back) or cervical (neck) spine. Lift your left leg in the air, and hold the back of the leg behind the knee. Aim to have the left leg at about a 90 degree angle to the floor; this position is optimal for psoas relaxation (any lower and the psoas will have to work isometrically; not a bad thing if we’re strengthening, but let’s relax today!). You can take your right leg out long, as pictured, if it’s comfortable for you. If not, keep right knee bent. Really focus your awareness to the support of your bones. Begin by sensing the weight of your bones sinking down toward the floor. Take note of any part of your skeleton that feels as though it is suspended, any place where the muscules prevents the bones from surrendering to the pull of gravity. As your psoas continues to release, the distribution of weight will start to feel more even throughout your body. Stay for 3- 5 mins per side, or longer, breathing deep belly breaths. Change sides and repeat. #yoga #psoas #relax #restore #yin #yinyoga

#28daysofyin Day 26 - Posing Sleeping Swan

#28daysofyin Day 26 - Posing Sleeping Swan

#28daysofyin Day 24 : Targeting the Psoas

#28daysofyin Day 24 : Targeting the Psoas