When I am dealing with a recent or chronic injury, I am constantly reminded of the interconnectedness of all things, most especially our bodies, and how they are micro/macrocosms – ultimate metaphors – for universes within & without.
I’ve had multiple injuries involving my psoas, a deep muscle traversing the thoracic cavity, pelvis and upper legs. As a result, I am very aware of the ways I use the muscle and careful when I explore new ways of moving, responsive at the first sign of strain.
My last injury was almost two years ago now and I’m no longer in daily pain, more aware of the structural limatations which make my right psoas a place prone to take the brundt of injury and the emotional issues I tend to store around it.
I’ve focused for almost a year on asana which stretch and strengthen it and invite conscious connection to it. It’s not a muscle that I think most people actually “feel” because it’s so deep in the body and one we take for granted. So it took me some time and attention to create that connection.
Who knew that the bottom of the ball of your big toe connection could have such a radical impact on how your psoas functions? It’s both a sign and a lever. When I don’t engage my psoas, which is my unconscious pattern because of years of pain, I tend to rely on other muscles of the hip & thigh to lift my leg. They’ll do the job, but they also cause me to walk on the outside of my foot, a pattern referred to as supination. This leads to tightness in the outside of the leg and back buttocks – IT band, piriformis, glutes, etc.
By simply shortening my stride and paying attention to the bottom of my foot, I can relieve pain, strengthen my psoas and harmonize the two sides of my body. When I get home, yoga helps me investigate, relax, stretch and further strengthen the psoas and all the pelvic structures coming into play when the psoas is in motion (which is any time you are extending or lifting your leg, sportsfans).
I’ve also noted that it helps me relax my shoulders, open and broaden my chest and breathe more deeply. Gives personal meaning to “it’s all one” and “it’s all connected”.