Breathe It Out

The psoas muscle is truly at the very center of the body, running down through the center of the torso behind the gut and in front of the spine, and connects the lumbar spine to the tops of our legs. Sedentary lifestyles are just as bad for this unique muscle as stress, and for many, an already sedentary lifestyle was compounded by being cooped up for quarantine last year. This kind of tension- the tension that comes from our primal instinct muscle, tends to have distinct downstream effects in that if our psoas is very tight, the rest of us tends to be too.

You can imagine that getting a massage therapist to attempt to release this muscle for you might be more than a little uncomfortable, since we have to palpate *through* your small intestine to get to the goods. Not that it’s impossible, but it’s no walk in the park.

Luckily, there is a way to communicate to your nervous system in a way that activates your parasympathetic (rest and digest) nervous system, which undoes the effects of the sympathetic (fight-or-flight) mode. The good news is that your nervous system is a two way street: just as this muscle is activated by your nervous system, you can communicate with your nerves by stretching and soothing this muscle through yoga asana and deep breaths. Deep, intentional breathing will send messages of comfort and safety all the way to your core, and the gentle stretching and backbends found in a typical hatha yoga practice can heal your traumatized core. It is up to you to make space for this sacred practice in your life- it is up to you to heal.

– Colleen, Sacred Hour Massage Therapist + Head Staff Writer