Q: If the psoas is part of the reptilian or subconscious brain, as you allude to in your recent book review (found in the quarterly newsletter) and can not be controlled why do you offer exercises and techniques in The Psoas Book for releasing, toning and lengthening the psoas? Should I be confused?
A: As part of the reptilian brain (or brain stem), the psoas muscle is expressive of the central nervous system. Just as breathing and organ functioning are part of the autonomic nervous system, so too the survival responses, of which the psoas is part, continues to function whether awake or asleep – aware or unconscious. But just as our heart is influenced by what we think, how we express our emotions or the choices we make, so too the psoas is influenced by our intentional awareness. Thus I call my work with the psoas – Core Awareness!
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.
The first step towards experiencing toning and lengthening of the healthy functioning psoas is “releasing” unnecessary tension; another step is to open to the expressive possibilities of the iliopsoas outside our culturally accepted functioning (driving cars, sitting at desks, exercising in linear patterns).
PS: I wrote the original Psoas Book over 26 years ago and although it provides very helpful information, my continuing explorations with the psoas innovates new ways of understanding this most amazing muscle!