Tag Archives: Hellerwork

The Sensitive Psoas

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Just over a week ago, a random sequence of events arrived at me confronting an injury that I did not fully understand. I went from having some slight pain and stiffness in the outside of my hip to not being able to sit up, bend down, or walk. I was limping and unbalanced. My gait was completely altered. I was fortunate enough to be seen by the amazing Hellerwork practitioner Anne-Marie Duschene the next day. She works at Reflections Yoga doing bodywork for many of the cast members of Fela! The Musical, amongst others.  I know Anne-Marie from the studio but doing bodywork is a very different way of knowing someone. Especially in the attuned, intuitive presence of a master, this work can allow you to feel the state of your being physically, emotionally, and spiritually. It can be very intense, but in the safety Anne-Marie provides, it’s all good.

At this time, I thought something was wrong with my psoas, a long, deep postural core muscle that can be thought of as the top of the leg (for a far more in-depth look at this concept, this series entitled The Opinionated Psoas is fantastic).  I came to find out it was inflammation in the area around my greater trochanter (more anatomy geekery: the outside knob on the femur/thigh bone where leg muscles attach). Turns out there is a whole diagnosis of this condition: greater trochanteric pain syndrome. Since my psoas was not injured, but was responding to the things around it, I came to find out something about an entirely new part of my body that I would have never known was so complex. I also came to have even more respect for the sensitive psoas.

The psoas is something of a witness: never itself being directly involved, but transmitting information about the body with the expressive range of a violin. This amazing article sees the psoas as an organ of perception, more like a tongue than an anatomical muscle. It calls the psoas “the filet mignon of the human body: juicy, delicate, tender, and very responsive.” There is even a book dedicated to the psoas, outlining the various roles of the muscle, including its connection to childhood conditioning and growth, the fear reflex, and labor and childbirth.

This is not the first time the psoas has literally called out to me by indicating pain or discomfort or an altered gait or something just off in that area. I have a feeling the psoas has some things to teach me. I will let you know what I discover!

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