Q & A: Can The Psoas Muscle Be Controlled?

Published by Liz Koch on September 10, 2007 in Question of the Month

Q: In a book review, in your recent newsletter, you comment that “because the psoas muscle is part of the “reptilian” or subconscious brain and cannot be controlled by conscious intention…”. However, in your Psoas Book, you have exercises/techniques for releasing, toning and strengthening the psoas muscle…should I be confused?

A: The appearance of confusion may be in defining the word control. The psoas is part of the primitive brain, central nervous system and the enteric brain or what we commonly refer to as our gut feelings. This survival response is vital to our very existence. Although the messages that we receive may be masked, misinterpreted, ignored or repressed, the message is true – just as gut feelings are true. The body doesn’t lie. So although one cannot stop the message (control) one can respond to it by consciously paying attention. In The Psoas Book (which by the way I wrote almost 30 years ago), I understood that one can’t “control” the muscles message however it is possible to sense and experience its movement. Release of tissue tension, the quality of tone and lengthening (not to be confused with strengthening) can feel dynamic and powerful. The key word here is AWARENESS. Release, tone and lengthening are simply movement experiences that enhance body awareness or somatic perception of internal messages within the tissue that is called psoas. One can become aware of the psoas through isolated movements: One can become whole by listening to its message. Awareness, rather than control is the path to wholeness and thus a healthy psoas.



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