WILLETT WORDS OF WISDOM
OUR PSOAS' ARE EXHAUSTED
More than ever, we are disconnected from our bodies in some way. We have piles of emails and over-zealous to-do lists. We run to the gym to grab a workout, then back to our sitting we go. We drive fast or we drive among others who are driving fast. We are connected to our computers, cell phones, i-watches, as if they are an extension of our body, of our soul. It leaves us hunkered forward or grasping tight to a device sending our bodies into an unsustainable holding position. We tune into media which is about chaos, unrest, shootings (and more shootings), and political turmoil. We live in fear – of our world, our community, our loved ones, our lives. More than ever, we experience pain which we may disown on some level and run to the doctors or anyone outside us for answers and help. We seek tests that instill fear – what if I have this or that? We fear the very body that encompasses us and that sends us messages all the time.
Our cortisol levels are in overdrive. The body doesn’t know whether it’s running from a lion or an over-active day. Our fascia is responding in some way - maybe it is becoming matted - maybe it is impeding natural flow of our fluids (blood, interstitual fluid, lymphatic fluid…) - maybe it is preventing the function of receptors for proprioception or interoception (read my last article).
Our bodies are full of stress, stillness and fear. As a result, WE ARE EXHAUSTED!
The body is a beautiful vessel that houses our soul. It assists us in navigating through our journey we call life. It comprises a fantastically complex set of elements that together form an eco-system, that is unique to each one of us. Every part of our body is important, yes! And although I love to play more with fascia (because this is such an exciting time to be doing so), I study and marvel at all parts of the body. My favorite muscle is the psoas (so as) major. There are two on each side of the body. Imagine this gorgeous fibrous tissue on each side that connects from the lower spine through the body to the top of each leg. It is remarkable as it provides a sling for the lower organs. Interestingly, it connects to the spine near where the diaphragm connects. The diaphragm is a lovely jelly-fish like muscle that is instrumental to our breathing process (and to the internal wiggle as I like to describe). And yes, fascia which is highly innervated with sensory receptors and integrally woven with the nervous system is dancing all throughout this connection -- running inside, outside, alongside, further up and down the body. So it really is about the fascia! [Okay, I won’t go there. I’ll continue to give the psoas the spot light. 😊] Notable, is that the psoas contracts when you are stressed or feel alarmed so it is tied to our fight or flight response. It also contracts when you sit for long periods of time. So imagine a very overactive psoas.
Awhile back, I said to someone “Treat me kindly. My psoas is exhausted.”
We are all exhausted. More than ever, we need to take time to dial down, to rest. I often suggest to my clients to do the following dial down each day. When I ask them if they do it, they often respond with well, um …er… no. Just like everything worthwhile, learning to relax takes practice too!
Once each day (or maybe twice or more a day), lie on your back and prop your feet up on an ottoman or chair so that your hips feel completely turned off as if they are floating in air. Feel your back connecting with the floor. Feel your breath moving from your back into the floor as gravity gently presses down on your body. Do a scan of your body from your feet up to your neck and face. Notice where the tension is and breathe into it as you release it, giving in to gravity. And imagine those beautiful psoas muscles on each side of your body floating down to rest along your backside. Tune into your breath and imagine that diaphragm muscle in the center of your body pulling down as you inhale and floating up as you exhale. Feel the rhythm…diaphragm down on the inhale, up on the exhale, down on the inhale, up on the exhale…. Hear and notice the breath…deep inhales, slow exhales. Psoas releasing and gently flowing with the relaxed breathing.
Let it all go…
It is both empowering and important that we take responsibility for and to our health and well-being. Practicing dialing down is just one tool.
Wishing you moments of peace and relaxation.
And…cheers to a chilled-out psoas!
©AnneLloydWillett March 2019