Fear is the only instinct that has the power to immobilize us. As an involuntary muscle, psoas as part of the sympathetic neuro-core* is both a primal mover of our core integrity and part of our fear response. When for example, a child is threatened and told to stop crying it may seem like an act of will, but what physiologically happens is such a child will hold his or her breath, as a fundamental means of feeling safe, while tightening the solar plexus in order to engage muscular control.
By abating feelings and sensations of anxiety, a child learns to suppress his or her emotions. When feelings are habitually unacknowledged and as adults we still lack problem-solving skills, we can easily revert back to relying on this maladaptive physical coping strategy in order to bring our feelings (and sensations) under our control. By limiting the amount of oxygen and blood flow which in turn decreases the amount of sensation and thus feeling, we, again and again, return to the freeze response as a means of immobilizing our expression. Over time, this strategy of repressing emotions becomes familiar and may even ultimately feel powerful. We have gained control but at what cost?
When we misuse our psoas we ultimately end up energetically depleting our life force and physiologically stressing our adrenals. The solar plexus, often referred to in Traditional Chinese Medicine as the “will center,” is the home of our adrenal glands and our immune system. These glands rest on top of our kidneys, which are energetically associated with our vitality. A constricted solar plexus, and thus psoas, results in not only tense muscles but also can profoundly disrupt biological functions and energetic flow. As our kidney/adrenals literally float (one on each side) above the juicy psoas, with time, the misused and overused psoas loses its fluid, subtle nature and eventually may even shrink and dry. What is often thought of as a tight psoas is actually becoming a dry psoas. What is often thought of as a weak psoas is more accurately an exhausted psoas. The health of the psoas can directly affect kidney health. Depleted adrenal and kidney health is an increasingly common medical condition that not only compromises our overall health but also eventually stifles our creative capacity to flourish in life.
Returning the core to its natural fluid and expressive nature is a subtle but beneficial strategy for dissolving our old patterns of achieving safety. Although for a child this may be the only option, as adults we have the opportunity to choose to stay true to our core and show up fully in the world. When we learn to regain our fluid spine and soften our upper psoas, rather than manipulate our core, we offer our kidney/adrenals a juicy, fluid, and dynamic tissue to float upon. We claim our birthright and discover the deep-rooted sense of ground within our belly core that is profoundly nourishing. Moving from within our very bones allows life to support us. By living on the axis of our core, we nourish a harmonious relationship with gravity that enables us to stand our ground while wholeheartedly expressing our true selves. That is, we show up fully in life.