In case you have never studied anatomics, you probably would not know it: the group of muscles called Psoas. They connect the upper torso with the pelvis and are located on the lower side of the back. They are responsible for a lot of tasks: Walking upright, even shoulders, position of the legs and the spine. We usually use them not only unconsciously, but we also notice tensions in that area only indirectly: They affect the diaphragm, are communicated to the torso and can cause pain in the upper back and the shoulder area.
The psoas muscles form a connection between breathing and body posture. This is illustrated by the fact that in our evolution, walking on the ground and breathing have developed at the same time. So exercising in a relaxed way with the psoas muscles leads to a more dynamic pelvis and a liberated breathing rhythm as well as to a stable grounded body feeling. From the Tibetian tradition we learn that the psoas muscles are the ultimate source of the ego. Working with it, can confront with issues like clinging to something and fixation.
The interesting discovery of the body worker and trauma therapist David Berceli is that these muscles play an important role in storing as well as in healing trauma."The psoas muscles are considered the fight/flight muscles of the human species. These primitive muscles stand guard like sentinels protecting the center of gravity of the human body located just in front of the 3rd vertebrae of the sacrum (S3). These muscles connect the back with the pelvis and the legs. During any traumatic experience, the psoas muscles contract. To heal from physical trauma contractions, this deep set of muscles must let go of their protective tension and return to a relaxed state. It has been generally accepted that after particularly tens, stressing or traumatic experiences, people could get a massage, take a hot bath or do some exercises, and that will resolve their trauma and restore their body back to a healthy state. However, this is not the case when it comes to traumatic tension in the psoas muscles. The body’s ability to let go of the tension in these muscles has been diminished due to our socialization process.
It often is the case that contracted and even damaged psoas muscles create tremendous lower back pains. This is very common among sexual abuse survivors. What is often overlooked is when the psoas muscles contract and pull the body forward, they cause secondary muscle contractions as the body tries to compensate for this forward pull. The erector spinae muscles will also pull the body backwards in an attempt to keep it upright. These two opposite tensions will actually begin to compress the lumbar spine as they pull the lower vertebrae together, creating a spinal compression that can be damaging over a prolonged period of time. If held long enough in this tension, this pull will eventually cause secondary shoulder and neck pain as well.
The diaphragm muscle also adds to the tension in this area. The psoas muscle overlaps the iliacus and diaphragm muscles along the spine. Together, they form a linking system of the torso, pelvis and legs. Since this is such a strategic area of protection, the largest number of sympathetic nerves (fight or flight nerves) are also found in this area of the body. This trembling