I’ll never forget the first time I experienced an emotional release in a yoga class. A few weeks before my relationship had ended with a man I had really fallen for, I was incredibly hurt and very slowly on the mend.
There we were in pigeon pose being told to do deep ujjayi breath through the discomfort, (not pain but that kind of feeling where you know the stretch is good but it’s extremely intense) when I just burst into tears. Craig, the teacher, was reading us a passage about letting go and said with every exhale to imagine just letting what ever you need to let go of into the mat.
I made a decision in that moment to let my ex go. I cried through the rest of the class and then in Savasana at the end I found myself distracted by what to wear to a festival I was going to the next day. A big smile came over my face and I knew I was going to be ok!
Pigeon pose often stirs up emotions to the surface to be released because it’s an intense stretch for the psoas muscle. The psoas is the only muscle that connects the spine to the legs, it runs from the top of our lumbar spine (around just behind the belly button) right down to the top of femur bone of the leg. At the top it also comes together with the diaphragm, the major breathing muscle at an energy centre called the solar plexus.
The Psoas is known as the fight or flight muscle as it’s linked with that sympathetic nervous system response, to get ready to run or kick. Through the science of somatics, or the body, it’s now understood we embed traumatic emotions in our bodies, as well as in our brains, and the Psoas is believed to be an emotional muscle that feels and holds on them because of it’s deep position in the body and it’s connection to all the organs around it.
So any asana (pose) that creates a release around the Psoas has the potential to create an emotional release too. This is only ever a good thing, as you release tension in the body you will start to heal and come back to harmonious balance emotionally too.
Pose’s like pigeon, crescent lunge, camel, bridge, cobra, fish are all great stretches for the psoas. What is really effective for emotional release though is to relax and release the Psoas which can be as simple as lying in fetal position and visualising the Psoas relaxing or letting go in childs pose.
Another recommended restorative pose for the Psoas is called the Constructive Rest Position. if you’d like to read how to do this and find out more about the Psoas I recommend reading Liz Koch’s articles, she is an expert in this area.
On November 2nd I am running a yoga workshop purely based around emotional release alongside Amy Branton who is an EFT practioner. EFT stands for Emotional Freedom Technique, which is a process of tapping along meridian points in the body to release stuck emotions. We will start off with a yoga routine based around the Psoas and then Amy will lead us through a group tapping session. Please do get in touch if you are interested as spaces are limited. 07779 150886/ firstname.lastname@example.org