Seat of the Soul
The psoas muscle, which performs a dual role as a core stabilizer and hip flexor, is where the seat of our soul lies. This muscle aids in our mobility, structural balance, joint function, and flexibility. Physiologically, a healthy psoas enhances healthy organ functioning, breathing, and the upregulation of our parasympathetic nervous system. We hold a lot of physical, mental, and emotional tension in this area of the body, and when we perform deeper stretches in our hips, we tend to feel a deep release.
When I conclude my class with a cooldown, I specifically make sure more to incorporate hip openers to calm lactic acid release and detoxify our bodies. Surrounding the Dan Tien, a major energy center of the body, stretching/strengthening this muscle cultivates core awareness and neuromuscular control of our lower extremities
Our sympathetic nervous system, the flight or fight response, is affiliated with a lot of our trauma and emotionally charged tension. When our stress response is activated, this can tighten the psoas muscle, leading to a multitude of dysfunctions including sciatica, disc degeneration, scoliosis, knee pain, digestive problems, and more.
In the graphic below, there are four hip flexor stretches denoted. The most common static hip flexor stretch allows the front of our hip flexors to elongate. By squeezing the glutes and engaging the core, we take the slack out of our hip flexors for this deep stretch.