Chapter 5 :: The Guts Scroll Down >>>
The purpose of the fifth section is to lengthen the front of the core and release the deep muscles of the pelvis.
The theme of this section is "The Guts." The function of the guts - stomach, intestines, and other abdominal organs - is to process energy, particularly in the form of food. Our relationship with food is a great metaphor for our relationship with love and nurturance. Do you tend to metabolize and eliminate very rapidly, so that you eliminate and push away any possible excess food - or love? Or do you tend to retain food - or hold on to the signs of forms of love - perhaps feeling there is a scarcity of sustenance whether in the form of food or love? The guts are also the place where we feel our strongest feeling or emotions, our "gut feelings." What gut feelings do you most often feel? Are there any that you suppress or avoid? Finally, the guts are associated with courage and strength of character. Do you have guts? When do you - and when do you not?
Anatomy and Structure
Anatomically, the focus of this section is the front of the core. First, we work to release tension from the more surface musculature, including the rectus abdominis. Then we can move to the core muscles, including the psoas and the iliacus. In the illustration below, both the surface and deep musculature are shown.
Structurally, the purpose of this section is to lengthen the front of the core, allowing the pelvis to become more horizontal and thus support the guts as if it were a bowl. In the illustration above, the relationship between the psoas and the rectus abdominis is shown. The figure on the left side represents a common imbalance in which the psoas is tight and short, rotating the pelvis forward and causing a "potbelly." Although sit-ups will firm up the rectus abdominis and improve the potbelly somewhat, the overall result is more shortness in the midsection and a pelvis that is still rolled forward. In the figure on the right hand side, the psoas muscle has been lengthened and relaxed so that a balanced relationship between it and the rectus abdominis can emerge. A long and lean look comes from lengthening the psoas - not from shortening the rectus abdominus.
In movement, the goal is for you to be more relaxed in your core and more open in the abdominal area, particularly while walking and moving. Frequently, people "tighten-up" while moving and lose touch with their feelings and intuition. Staying open in your guts will assist you in staying in touch with these feelings.
Movement Lesson :: Moving From the Psoas
There are two ways to determine where our legs begin. Commonly, we use only the skeletal system and assume that the top of the leg is the hip. From this perspective, it is the rectus femoris, one of the quadriceps muscles, that lifts the leg (shown on the left of the drawing to the right). However, if we consider the musculature of the body, we could say that the top of the leg is just beneath the rib cage where the psoas - the prime flexor of the hip - begins (shown on the right of the drawing).
Take a walk and feel that your legs begin at the hip joint. How does that feel? What part of your body is doing the work?
Now walk, imagining that your legs begin just below your rib cage. Envision the psoas muscle contracting and lifting your leg. How does that feel? Now what part of your body is doing the work?
When you walk using the psoas, you engage the spine and core muscles. The movement is smoother and more sustained. It is a movement that is felt through the whole body. Can you feel this?
Pay attention to the feelings in your guts. Be aware of your emotions and how they relate to tension in your body, particularly in your guts. As emotions come up, breathe into your guts and feel your emotions as fully as you can. How does this feel? What happens in your body?