I’m sure you’ve been told that your depression, your fear, and your anxiety is all in your head. Actually, it may all be in your ass. That’s thanks to the psoas major muscle, sometimes called the “muscle of the soul.” The muscle is responsible for stabilizing the body. It runs near the hip bone and affects your mobility, balance, joint movements, flexibility, and much more. It’s responsible for helping keep the body upright and moving.
One study suggests that the muscle could be connected to more than just your mobility. It could be related to your overall well being as well.
“The psoas literally embodies our deepest urge for survival, and more profoundly, our elemental desire to flourish,” says Liz Koch, author of The Psoas Book. With that in mind, it’s easy to think there’s a lot more to the psoas.
The psoas is also connected to the diaphragm, where breathing is modulated. It’s also where many of the physical feelings of anxiety manifest. Koch thinks there’s a direct link between the psoas and the spinal cord, which leads to the oldest part of our brains – the reptilian brain.
The reptilian brain is concerned more with fight or flight, not thinking. “Long before the spoken word or the organizing capacity of the cortex developed, the reptilian brain, known for its survival instincts, maintained our essential core functioning,” says Koach.
So when the psoas is tense, your reptilian brain may also be tense, leaving you with a general feeling of misery. So how do we stretch it out? This video is an excellent resource on how to release the tension of the psoas muscles.