Everybody has a “Muscle of Happiness“: did you know?
Training it is good for your mind and body: its name is Psoas and it is responsible for your good posture and your mental well-being. In fact, if a patient is sad, a posturologist is able to deduce it from the lumbar curve: if it is accentuated it means that the psoas is suffering and patient’s mood is too… For this reason, in the yoga glossary, the psoas is also called “Muscle of the Soul”.
It is a strong and deep muscle. It is about 40 centimeters long and connects the torso to the legs and – when it is in shape – it supports self-confidence and promotes the courage to face the world. A psoas in shape is clear from the person’s posture and breathing. As a matter of fact, this muscle works in tandem with the diaphragm which is always a spy of your anxious states and emotional illness. The well-being of the psoas is not in harmony with sedentariness, overweight, tight clothing and too many hours spent sitting. If you want a healthy psoas, stretching exercises, hip and thigh extensions, such as lunges could be useful.
Psoas is the only muscle that connects the spine to the legs: it is responsible for keeping us upright and allowing us to lift our legs to walk. It is also – as some scientist suggest – a perceptual organ composed of bio-intelligent tissue that literally incorporates our deeper desire to survive…Psoas is the first messenger of the central nervous system, so it is also considered a great spokesperson for emotions. This is because it is connected with the diaphragm through the connective tissue, influencing both breathing and reflex fear.
If we constantly keep psoas in tension it will begin to shorten and harden: this will hamper our posture and the functions of organs that are located in the abdomen, resulting in back pain, disc problems, hip degeneration or digestive problems. A released psoas allows you to stretch the back of the muscles farther and allows the legs and pelvis to move more easily and independently. It improves the position of the vertebral column and of the whole torso, with repercussion in the improvement of the functions of the abdominal organs, the breathing and the heart.
In some philosophies the psoas is known as “Muscle of the Soul”, the body’s primary energy center. More flexible and strong the psoas is, more our flow of vital energy will move through the bones, muscles and joints. The psoas would be like an organ of energy channeling, a nucleus that connects us with the earth, allows us to create a strong and balanced support from the center of our pelvis.
Having a “happy” psoas will quite literally make you feel more grounded and relaxed. Physically, you have a bigger range of movement. The downsides of having a tight psoas can manifest in back and hip pain and even ankle and knee pain. In addition to physical discomforts, a tight psoas is very fatiguing. When you are startled, your psoas contracts, when you have mental or emotional stress, the psoas will respond by tightening.
I don’t know if you know that you rely on your psoas to do pretty much anything: walk, run, dance, bike, climb stairs, do sit-ups and down dogs, bend over to hug a kid, lift a foot to put on a sock and, of course, do countless yoga poses. The upshot? If either psoas is unhappy—tight, sore, strained, weak—so are you. Practicing yoga allow you to have a healthy Psoas and training is the key to a balanced, well-organized body and mind as it is closely linked to our fight or flight response.
Yoga and meditation are a natural way to happiness, so breath deep and enjoy!
Happiness is… a healthy Psoas!