What Is Physical Stress And How To Relieve It
If you’re spending a lot of time at your desk and in front of your computer, chances are that your hips may be locked. Any maybe that’s why you’re not able to dance as well as you used to. Dancing apart, your hips are an important part of your body and need to be cared for if you want to weed out body-related stress.
The Muscle Of The Soul
Your hips contain a muscle known as the psoas muscle. It is a long muscle located on the side of the lumbar region of the vertebral column and the brim of the pelvis. In the Taoist tradition, the psoas is referred to as the muscle of the soul. This muscle is important for many reasons.
The psoas major joins the upper body and the lower body, the axial to the appendicular skeleton, the inside to the outside, and the back to the front. If you have a flexible and strong psoas, it also allows subtle energies to flow through the muscles, bones, and joints. Being one of the largest muscles in the body and given its central position, the psoas muscle is a place where you store trauma and stress which influence your mood and outlook on life.
How Stress Manipulates You
When you’re in a state of stress, you lose your clarity of thought and oft times end up making decisions which you later regret. This is because stress puts you in a vulnerable situation where you can be more easily manipulated. There is still a part of your brain known as the lizard or reptilian brain. This part of the brain is responsible for your survival instincts. From product campaigns to political speeches, a huge number of people have been influenced by capitalizing on this primitive instinct. Stress causes this instinct to dominate and cloud your abilities to reason within a given situation.
Understanding The Source Of Physical Stress
There is a reason why athletic training and holistic exercises like yoga and tai-chi focus on strengthening your core. Your core is the center of your physical body. And the muscle that plays a crucial role in the strength and flexibility of your core is the psoas muscle. It stretches from the lower trunk through your hips into the top of our thighs and is used for core stability and the fight-flight reflex. Every time you are startled or caught by surprise, for example, by an animal crossing the road as you drive or an accident that’s happened in front of you, your brain puts your body into survival mode by releasing a chemical called epinephrine.
When you don’t act on the threat, the stress hormones get stored in your body, including your muscles. Since the psoas muscle is one of the largest muscles and the focal point of the fight-flight response, it becomes a storehouse of stress which could lead to health problems like eating disorders, anxiety, lower immune response, and insomnia.
Relieving Stress From The Body
Most physical stress is happening unconsciously. In fact, your body keeps going through stress without you even knowing it. There may be times you feel tired or fatigued and think that a good night’s sleep is all you need. While rest is important, physical stress needs to be tackled differently. Apart from making lifestyle changes, you need to consciously work towards relieving physical stress from your body.
Another way to deal with physical stress is to use your own body as a medium of healing through yoga. There are several practices in yoga that can help you regulate your breath and open the various joints and muscles in your body including the psoas. If you’ve ever tried a yoga class, you know that feeling of relaxation and freshness that lingers long after the session is over. This is because yoga works both on the physical and the energy level to release stress and harmonize your physical system.