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The Primordial Psoas and the Chakra System

by Liz Koch(more info)

listed in bodywork, originally published in issue 168 - March 2010

Open your hidden eyes and return to the root of the root of your own self. – Rûmî

Deep within our physical body emerges a bio-intelligent tissue called the Psoas. This mysterious tissue is defined within the biomechanical paradigm as a core stabilizing muscle, yet the Psoas, like the tongue, is more of an organ of perception than it is an anatomical or functional muscle. It is the filet mignon of the human body – juicy, delicate, tender, and very responsive.

Psoas and Chakras

The Psoas is a messenger of the core. Growing out from the embryonic midline, it serves as a bridge intertwining multiple layers, systems, and subtle dynamic expressions. Coalescing the central nervous system with enteric (gut) brain, the Psoas literally embodies our deepest urge for survival, and more profoundly, our elemental desire to flourish. Its message can best be understood when we listen deeply and respectfully to our Psoas and feel into the tissue, which like a pendulum, vibrates inner wisdom. Illuminating an energetic resonance, our Psoas is truly a dedicated support system for being a coherent human organism.

Within the Taoist tradition the Psoas is spoken of as the "muscle of the soul". Merriam-Webster defines the word soul as the immaterial essence, animating principle, a person's total self, active and essential; the moral and emotional nature of human beings.[1] Expressing our deepest desire for integrity, passion, and possibility, our Psoas reveals soul qualities imbued within our very own flesh and blood.

Overlaying the energetic Chakra System with the primordial Psoas helps correlate and track the emotional/feeling qualities of the Psoas while inviting an opportunity for awakening its true nature. Rather than minimizing the Psoas by defining it as a hip flexor, it behoves us to recognize that this smart tissue is a sensory source of primordial energy, not to be manipulated but respected.

The Psoas, which grows out of the spine, spans laterally in a pyramid shape through the abdominal core, fanning open and emerging into the medial femur bones (inner lesser trocanters). It is the only 'muscle' to connect the spine to the legs. The Psoas translates the energy of the midline (one) down and through into the (two) legs and feet. As gravitational flows transfer weight through bones, tissue, and muscle, into the earth, the earth rebounds, flowing back up the legs and spine, energizing, coordinating and animating posture, movement and expression. It is an uninterrupted conversation between self, earth, and cosmos.

The Psoas is wild and primitive. It is part of the reptilian brain, the most ancient interior part of the brain stem and spinal cord involving main motor sensory innervations, and associated with fine touch, vibration sensation and proprioception (one's own capacity to sense oneself). 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. Deep within the primitive core there is an array of energetic patterns, which carry a contextual field of past ancestry, current family patterns, environmental imprints, and most importantly, our birthright for bio-integral wisdom.

Biomorphic in nature, the Psoas is not bias. It is not committed to being or maintaining a bipedal forward facing/thrusting organism. Rather, when released from cultural and historical bondage, the Psoas ignites its primordial origins of possibility, eliciting a moment-to-moment creative emergence. This core resiliency is called for in this moment in time and space – creative solutions, new ideas, and open hearts is what are needed in a rapidly changing world. Being aware of the Psoas reveals not only our personal human experience, but also elicits the human species' unknown potential manifesting within the larger field of life.

The Energy Centres

Chakra is a Sanskrit word representing an energetic phenomenon elucidated within the Indian, Chinese, and Tibetan healing traditions. A Chakra refers to an energetic vortex moving within and throughout the 'subtle' body known as the auric field. According to spiritual/healing traditions, this etheric body or force field permeates our physical being. Although invisible to most people, Chakras take the form of spiralling whorls and rotating vortices that become focal points for the transmission of energies. "Chakras", explains physicist and energy healer Barbara Brennan, "are not only metabolizers of energy, but are also devices that sense energy; they serve to tell us about the world around us".[2]

The Chakras system dates back to both oral and written traditions within the Hinduism Upanishads spiritual teachings and are found within the ancient Yogic Teachings, Taoist Alchemy, Japanese Esoterism, as well as the ancient Chinese Meridian Acupuncture System. Chakras are thought to both receive and transmit energy and also to transmute life energy flowing through channels located throughout the energetic body. These conduits of life force, prana, chi, and electrical/energetic flows accumulate in and connect to each other via the major Chakras Centers. The major Chakras are said to be located along a network of psychic nerves or nadis that follow the autonomic nervous system and its major nerve ganglia of the spinal cord. The nadis when correlated with the Chinese meridian system manifest along the 'governing vessel'.

In the 1930s, Kirlian photography exposed to the human eye the electrical fields that appear on the edges of objects which up until that moment was spoken about only in the ancient traditions as the Auric Field. Extensive research followed as scientist Dr Valerie Hunt studied not only the auric field phenomenon but also its correlation to the Chakra System. Developing a high frequency instrument, she was able to begin recording the bioelectrical energy that emanates from human beings and in collaboration with clairvoyant visionary Rosalyn L Bruyere, and somatic pioneer Emilie Conrad, were able to scientifically document the existence of the human energy field. Hunt and Bruyere's seven-year project successfully proved that Chakras not only exist, but specifically register as well as are affected by our feelings, thoughts and somatic experiences. Bruyere's studies of auric fields and Chakas have expanded beyond the spiritual/healing traditions of the East to include Native American, ancient Egyptian and Greek healing systems. Having extensively studied the Chakra System, Bruyere recognizes that the human auric field and its corresponding Chakras are not only part of our personal journey but are in actuality an expression of the earth's magnetic resonance. "The Chakras as well as auras and electromagnetic fields, are as old as the earth itself.".... The Chakra System is precisely the means by which we gain awareness. It is how we experience life, how we perceive reality, and how we relate to self, others, and the world, it is life itself."[3]

There are seven major Chakra or portals of awareness along the human midline. The first three are located where the physical Psoas emerges and flows through the abdominal trunk. Although the location of the Psoas intimately circumvents the three lower Chakras (root, navel, and solar plexus), its full expression, when undomesticated, spreads upward into the heart and then continues opening into the higher Psychic Centers. In other words, when the Psoas is liberated from inhibition, its full expression moves both down into the earth and up connecting us to the larger universe. It is a 360-degree multi-directional, and multi dimensional lotus flower blossoming through every fibre of our being – a fulcrum for full-hearted human expression.

Base/Root Chakra

Being grounded, connected, and interdependent is the expression of the first and powerful Root Chakra. It is located at the base of the spine at the perineum and anus, and relates to the element of the earth. The Root Chakra is associated with our ability to stand and feel supported by the earth's ground force reaction or rebound that lifts up and frees us to move on a spinning planet. Only when we are grounded can we begin to self-regulate, differentiate, and develop coherency.

The Root Chakra is associated with our sense of touch, pain and pleasure, power within the legs, the adrenal glands, and our sense of location and orientation. Survival is its essential quality and its colour is red. When disrupted, there is a feeling of fear, anxiousness, insecurity, and frustration as it is within the Root Chakra where issues regarding intimacy and trauma (so prevalent within the Psoas), are experienced and healed.

Navel/Sacral Chakra

Personal relationships, self-gratification, and sexual desire are the expressions of the centred Navel/Sacral/Spleen Chakra. Located behind and between the genitals and the sacral nerve plexus i.e. the navel, this portal, referred to as the Hara or Tan Tien is the center of the cardinal planes of gravitational flow. Within the womb, emerging from the embryonic tree of life, this spiralling force of energy moves through the umbilical cord into our navel nourishing our whole being. The Navel Chakra relates to the element of water and is associated with our emotional body, the immune system, and our capacity for creating and maintaining boundaries. It governs the sexual organs, reproduction, sexual appetite, and willingness to feel our emotions. Its colour is orange. Unbalanced, the Navel Chakra is associated with pelvic pain, poor digestion, hormonal imbalances, irritability, shyness, guilt, sexual obsession, control, and power. Satisfaction, intuition, creativity, and our deepest sense of belonging are all centred within the belly core Chakra.
 

Solar Chakra

Integrity, self-actualization, and confidence are all expressions of the Solar Chakra. It is in this center where, ironically, people are often taught or learn to intentionally control their Psoas. By holding tension or pulling up and out of this portal we use will to reach a goal or attempt to control life's unpredictable changeability. But in doing, we lose our rooted center and cut off a deep connection with the upper Chakras.

Located between the sternum and the navel, the Solar Plexus is the center of the Solar Chakra, and like the sun, its colour is golden yellow and its element is fire. From within the Solar Chakra we are able to make good decisions, develop a healthy ego and will power. It governs our capability to not only simply digest but also assimilate and utilize our life experiences. The Solar Chakra is associated with the pancreas, enzymes, and the balance of fats and proteins. When compromised, this centre expresses our lack of self-esteem, eating disorders, depression, indecisiveness or poor decision-making, and expresses feelings of anger, rage, and hostility. Responsible and productive, it is from our Solar Chakra that we truly shine, manifesting our very best Self.

Heart Chakra

Wisdom, power, balance, and love are all expressive of the Heart Chakra. It is within the heart Chakra that if grounded, centred we connect with our true passion, and fulfil our potential for expression. The Heart Chakra is the Center for balancing opposites and transcending duality: yin and yang, Eros and Thanatos, and the male and female couple in harmony within the portal of the heart.

The Heart Chakra's element is air and its colour is green. Unconditional love, hope, compassion, social identity, trust, forgiveness, stability, and balance are associated with the fourth center.  It governs the thymus gland and when disrupted, is associated with upper back and shoulder, lung, breathing, and spinal problems as well as feelings of despair, envy, fear, and jealously. Completeness and wholeness are essential aspects of the Heart Chakra where compassion, empathy, optimistic nurturing naturally over flow.

Throat Chakra

Truthful communication and expression is the essential energy of the Throat Chakra. Some say the delicate fascial fibres of the Psoas tissue emerge through the fifth Chakra. The Throat Chakra is located on the level of the thyroid and is connected to all phases of healing. It specifically corresponds to the Root Chakra, giving voice to our heart's desire. Its colour is blue and it represents trust, loyalty, wisdom, confidence, intelligence, faith and truth. The Throat Chakra governs the thyroid gland, which secrets hormones that influence all the organs, tissue, and cellular processes. It is here at the thyroid where hormones regulate the body's metabolism and organ function, affecting heart rate, cholesterol level, body weight, energy levels, muscle strength, skin condition, menstrual regularity, and memory. This center also is associated with the parathyroid gland, trachea, cervical vertebrae, vocal cords, neck, shoulder, arms, hands, oesophagus, mouth, teeth, and gums. Center for communication, creativity, and healing, we take responsibility for our own needs and express our self-knowledge when grounded in speaking our truth from the fifth Chakra.

Sixth and Seventh Chakras

Window into the soul and the gateway to the mysteries and the unknown is the powerful third eye (sixth) and crown (seventh) Chakras. Both are located in the upper cranium and are located within the pineal gland or center of the two hemispheres, as well as above the head culminating in our birth right – true awakened presence.

References

1. www.merriam-webster.com/ and specifically www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/soul
2. Barbara Ann Brennan. Hands of Life: A Guide To Healing Through The Human Energy Field. Bantam New Age Books. NY/London. ISBN 0-553-34539-7. 1988.
3. Rosalyn L. Bruyere. Wheels of Light: Chakras, Auras, and the Healing Energy of The Body. Fireside. California USA. Simon & Schuster Ltd UK. ISBN-13: 978-0671796242.1994.

Further Information

Liz will be teaching a Stalking The Wild Psoas Workshop focused on undomesticating the Psoas in Warwickshire England in May 1-3 2010. For more details please visit www.coreawareness.com

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About Liz Koch

Liz Koch is an international somatic educator, and creator of Core Awareness ( focusing on awareness for developing human potential. With 30 years experience working with and specializing in the iliopsoas, she is recognized in the somatic, bodywork and fitness professions as an authority on the core muscle. Liz is a nationally and internationally published writer and the author of The Psoas Book, Unraveling Scoliosis CD, Core Awareness; Enhancing Yoga, Pilates, Exercise & Dance, and her new release Psoas & Back Pain CD. Approved by the USA National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork (NCBTMB), as a continuing education provider, Liz Koch is a member of the International Movement Educators Assoc. (IMA).  She may be contacted via liz@coreawareness.com    www.coreawareness.com

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