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How to Release the Stress stored in our Bodies

By Jacob Devaney on Monday January 18th, 2016

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Taking Time to Unlock the 'Muscle of the Soul'

Do you spend much time sitting in front of a computer, on a plane, in a car? If so your hips may be locked up which effects your ability to dance, but worse than that it may be causing you undue stress and fear. The Psoas Muscle, is a long muscle located on the side of the lumbar region of the vertebral column and brim of the pelvis, that is also known as the “muscle of the soul”.

It is one of the largest muscles in the body and it is a place where we often store stress or trauma that can literally influence our mood and our outlook on life. We recently explored in depth just how much fear can inhibit our ability to think clearly thus creating an unhealthy perspective that can harm us and those around us. Now let’s look at where that fear might be stored in our body, and a few ways to release it.

In humans, the extremes of the two polarities might appropriately be described as LOVE (+) and FEAR (- ). Love fuels growth. In contrast, fear stunts growth. – Bruce Lipton, Ph.D.

How to release stress stored in your bodyIf you spend long hours sitting, your hips may be locked up, causing you undue stress and fear

How built up stress makes us easy to manipulate

Being in a state of fear allows us to be easily manipulated. Advertisers and politicians have learned to capitalize on this biological aspect of humans also known as the lizard brain. Unfortunately our fast-paced lifestyles (mentally), combined with our relatively stagnate physical activity (driving, working at computer, etc.) causes our bodies to be ineffective at releasing built up stress which manifests in our thoughts as fear or anxiety.

Lizard brain refers to the oldest part of the brain, the brain stem, responsible for primitive survival instincts such as aggression and fear (flight or fight) – Joseph Troncale M.D., Psychology Today

Alt text hereThe effects of stress on the body

Where is a majority of the stress stored?

It is often stored in one of the largest muscles in our body, the psoas. This muscle stretches from our lower trunk through our hips into the top of our thighs, it is used for core stability and the fight-flight reflex. Every time we see something that startles us (real or perceived threat) like an animal crossing the road while we drive, or a violent scene in a movie, our brain sends signals our body to respond by releasing epinephrine (adrenaline).


The muscle that is most central to our fight/flight response is the psoas. When we don’t respond, these stress hormones go unspent and become stored in the body. This can bring many health problems including insomnia, lowered immune system, anxiety, eating disorders, depression, and living in a constant state of fear or alert.

Because the psoas is so intimately involved in such basic physical and emotional reactions, a chronically tightened psoas continually signals your body that you’re in danger, eventually exhausting the adrenal glands and depleting the immune system. As you learn to approach the world without this chronic tension, psoas awareness can open the door to a more sensitive attunement to your body’s inner signals about safety and danger, and to a greater sense of inner peace. – Liz Koch, Author of The Psoas Book

Yoga for psoasThere are many yoga poses to stretch the psoas muscle

Therapeutic Approach

Since stress accumulates on an unconscious level, healing our bodies is a process that must happen consciously. There is no single way to do this, it requires gradual lifestyle changes and a daily practice. Craniosacral Therapy is powerful because it helps teach our body how to relax into a parasympathetic state which relaxes the nervous system. This gentle and non-invasive approach helps us bring awareness to and melt away the stress stored within us.

To work with the psoas is not to try to control the muscle, but to cultivate the awareness necessary for sensing its messages.  This involves making a conscious choice to become somatically aware. – Liz Koch, Author of The Psoas Book

Yoga and Personal Practice

The best doctor is already within you. There is no replacement for cultivating a practice that heals, replenishes, and relaxes you from the in-side, out. There are numerous yoga poses that can help you on your journey of releasing this stress, anxiety, and fear stored within your psoas. Yoga calls this “the muscle of the soul” so any focus here is sure to give great results to your overall well-being. Yoga International seems to have a comprehensive list of photos and descriptions of poses that can start you on your journey.

A 5-minute routine to stretch the Psoas

If you spend as much time stretching your psoas muscle every day as you just did reading this article, you will notice some big changes in your life. First you may begin catching a lot of attention on the dance floor, but more importantly you will loosen your mind from the grips of fear and anxiety. It comes down to a conscious choice to live in trust and love instead of fear and anxiety, and that choice has to be followed by real-world action. It all starts within!

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Jacob Devaney

Founder and director of Culture Collective, creative activist, musician, and producer.

 

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83 Comments on "How to Release the Stress stored in our Bodies"

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Daniel Wise
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Daniel Wise

Such great information. Movement is life.

Esther Abergel
Guest

That’s really interesting, I will focus on this muscle more now, thanks

David Allen Kolb
Guest
David Allen Kolb

Why is it that most articles on yoga in the west and on the internet, have pictures of women doing the yoga poses!!!??? How about showing some men doing Yoga,,,there are some of us out there you know! And there are alot of men out there (still hung up a little on the macho self image thing) who need this kind of stuff, but they aren’t participating because they feel that yoga is a women thing! C’mon,,,your being unfair to men!

josh
Guest
josh

Nobody wants to see u n a speedo, that’s why.lol

Minaschek
Guest
Minaschek

Haha.. just because women are more beautiful?

Queenie
Guest
Queenie

And more vain…hence the ass shots in the bikini.

Jennifer Davis
Guest
Jennifer Davis

Who cares? Why should it matter if you can see her ass? Are you a prude or just jealous?

Queenie
Guest
Queenie

Neither, but I practice yoga, and one aspect that is stressed is that there is no competition, no vanity. This video is chock full of vanity. The video is playing up to get likes rather than true yoga philosophy.

AKcharle
Guest
AKcharle

Here ya go, I do my yoga with this guy. Great site too. https://www.doyogawithme.com/content/deep-release-hips-hamstrings-and-lower-back

shantilal changela
Guest
shantilal changela

Thank you will try

Nicholas Galicz
Guest
Nicholas Galicz

That is a great free site

Dame Eleana Winter-I
Guest
Dame Eleana Winter-I

If you are a man, and you practice yoga, then you should promote it yourself. Don’t expect women to promote men.

David Allen Kolb
Guest
David Allen Kolb

Who said anything about having women promote men???!!!??? HUH???

Barefoot in MN
Guest
Barefoot in MN

why not ?
I will promote anyone who is good & kind.

trisul
Guest
trisul

Women are better designed than men, with all the plumbing neatly tucked away, whereas with men, some of it is hanging out, attached to the facade. Not cool.

gertrude van voorden
Guest
gertrude van voorden

That is completely ridiculous. Here in the Netherlands we have plenty of male yogateachers and practicioners. Never saw anything hanging out other then women’s boobs, wearing too revealing, too low cut shirts.

trisul
Guest
trisul

My comment was meant as a joke, there is a trend in industry to hide pipes and cables behind a neat facade. Men have their jewels hanging in bag between their legs, an obvious improvisation that was vastly improved when God made version 2 of the human being from Adam’s rib (another attempted joke).

lorraine Mithrush
Guest
lorraine Mithrush

Oh whatever, we women have your name in our name “women” and have had to put up with everything in literature relating to “he” as if “she” did not exist. I think there needs to be a word that means both he and she, maybe she-he…lol.

Lady filosopher
Guest
Lady filosopher

i use s/he very often

julias
Guest
julias

I see men doing yoga all the time in adverts and pictures

Nicholas Galicz
Guest
Nicholas Galicz

I understand your question but maybe consider this…in the beginning Yoga was only for men and mostly just various upper caste like royalty and religious men. Maybe this is cosmic Karma 🙂 In the end does it really matter? Yoga is a personal journey and pictures are just a distraction from the true purpose of yoga.

toklas69
Guest
toklas69

Look at those tight buns…nuff said

Budhita
Guest

I was thinking the same, David.

Openminded Skeptic
Guest
Openminded Skeptic

In all fairness, men are being unfair to themselves, by holding onto this ridiculous notion that there’s some tangible, cosmic definition of yoga carved in eternal stone, somewhere out there, which states yoga is for women. Yoga is yoga.

Angie
Guest
Angie

Because articles like this are targeting women so the depict women. A lot of the media focuses on women and in our society today, female is medicalized hence more and more articles like this. Luckily this article is focused on a non-medicinal approach to health unlike many others out there.

Chelle
Guest
Chelle

I understand where you are coming from, but I am sure there intentions were not meant in that way. I mean, the lady may be a writer or something, who knows the connection, but men can do what is healthy and stand up in their power.

Chelle
Guest
Chelle

We women must do the same.

gertrude van voorden
Guest
gertrude van voorden

Here in the Netherlands we have plenty of men showing yogaposes. I really have no idea what you are talking about. That said most of these spiritual courses attracted more women then men. As some of us women gave birth to sons, you should not conclude that is sexist. Some men overhere have now started their own approach, male style, towards spirituality, which i applaud.

Resident of the Unit
Guest

i need a yogi who can work from my MRI…

Mac Hinery
Guest
Mac Hinery

We have been so blinded by crap teaching and teachers that the only solution to everything musculo-skeletal is to stretch and strengthen. How much time do the fastest and fittest non-humans spend doing either? Not a lot, yet we persist. Doesn’t that make anyone think? Clearly not.

2much2
Guest
2much2

never seen a cat or dog?

waltinseattle
Guest
waltinseattle

yes, I protest your statement. Also, since the mind of these others is so different, their stress systems are different. They do not relive and carry the weight of a traumatic moment. Once away from the tiger, the little vegitarian animal does not relive the close call for days and days. That is the design problem with humans. We respond to the past forever and ever, instead of taking the lessons and getting back to equanimity. (emotional “neutral”)

Mac Hinery
Guest
Mac Hinery

As for the utter nonsense from Liz Koch suggesting we add more stress through idiotic exercise – yep, stretching again. How about learning to relax it Liz, how might we do that?

waltinseattle
Guest
waltinseattle
geesh mac, exercise stresses you? do it slower, do it milder. Take up Tai Chi, one of the oldest systems on earth. And you seem to be stuck in a cartesian duality the way you refer to relaxation. It is not a passive state, it is the result of actions! Why stretching? well, if yopu would be so patient to read about “modern Meridian Theory” you would find out how stretching relates to things like lymphatic flow. You understand the significance of the lymph? tight has no flow in the literal meaning as well as the psychological & choreographic senses.
Jay Cohen
Guest
Jay Cohen

I thought it was an ok article, but the video was good. Thanks!

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