In her running series, Tao Minister and mind-body strength expert Tammy Wise is exploring the various areas of the Psyche-Muscular Blueprint. With each column she teaches us to connect to a different area of our internal systems so that we may achieve our best selves. Here she shows us the importance of keeping in touch with your butt. The key is to build a healthy relationship with your buttocks muscles. Sometimes we take it’s power for granted. Instead of focusing on whether or not society deems the size of our posteriors as acceptable, understand what your buttocks muscles do and work to make them as strong and healthy as can be! (Read all the way down to receive a free mind-body video from BodyLogos!)
By Tammy WiseAfter a leg workout or ballet class, my bum can be so sore I can’t sit, but I must lie down. In contrast, there are days I sit writing until my bum is so numb that again I can’t sit, but I must stand up! When their strength is propelling me to my next level of physical excellence or their padding is supporting my passion to author stories, my buttocks is teaching me about comfort—and discomfort.Whether dancing or writing, my buttock muscles want me to use them, but (no pun intended) fluidly. When dancing, they don’t like to be squeezed tight and held like my childhood dance teacher insisted; when writing, they don’t like my weight bearing down into one spot.Buttocks like to be in a conversation; they want a relationship with what you’re doing, and the other muscles that are helping you do it.So when I dance they cavort with my inner thighs and abs, together relating to my heels to propel my legs in various directions and stabilize me to balance. When writing they take up the Jewish praying sway of shuckling, rocking to and fro. Said to improve spiritual intensity, it certainly improves my concentration to compose. Whether swaying front to back or side to side, my buttocks get massaged from the inside and my soul feels rocked like a baby.Buttock muscles help reinforce your connection to your central plumb line—your body’s vertical thoroughfare for communication, strength, and balance. They offer padded strength, and with that help us find comfort in any situation. Their unparalleled power can both move you outward into the world in whichever direction you choose and act as a needed respite once you get there. The buttock muscles animate the seeking of both physical and psychological comfort. But if you’re not actively participating with them in this search, discomfort can ensue.Discomfort is a guide and motivator for spiritual development. Though seemingly dark by nature, discomfort brings to light the ways in which you interfere with your own inner and outer contentment. Notice that the more involved the buttock muscles are in your posture, the more inwardly serene you become. (For a complete description on how the muscular system carries emotions as a Psyche-Muscular Blueprint, read this previous article.)
A Relationship Riddled With Contradictions
You see, comfort lives in the buttock muscles––our body’s strongest muscle group. Yet our relationship with them is obscured and filled with judgments. We worry that our butt is too big or too small, or that it’s being stared at or not stared at. We often don’t even recognize its power; it just, well, follows us around.To stay tapped into the buttock muscles’ strength and allow them to lead you in aligned movement, you want to maintain supple iliopsoas (pelvic muscles that join in your thigh) and lower back muscles. The problem is, though, that the weaker and smaller iliopsoas carry our need to control, and the lower back carries our fears. These are two of our greatest sources of tension! They are both so loud and demanding of attention that they can cause us to take our buttock muscles’ stable, unparalleled strength for granted. Recognizing that you are intended to be comfortable gives you permission to be so. If you can support your buttocks’ core strength rather than your lower back or iliopsoas muscles’ reactive tension, you will experience the joy of fearless presence—ahhhh, real comfort. To do this, pitch your pelvis correctly under your rib cage and position your buttocks so that they’re in correct relationship with your abdominal and inner thigh muscles. Because there is so much room for error at the waistline, a clear understanding of where the pelvis belongs is necessary. The following exercise will make that position clear.
Forward Body Rock Exercise
- Stand with parallel feet hips’ width apart and your legs straight (but do not lock your knee joints). Rock your body’s weight forward onto the balls of your feet, keeping your torso upright; feel a downward surrendering of tension from your low back dimples through your heels.
- With your low back muscles released, rotate your outer heels slightly inward, without changing your feet, to access your inner thighs. Continue to lengthen your lower back downward, but without tucking your tailbone between your legs as the buttock muscles engage under the weight of your torso.
- This pelvic position will place your pelvic floor parallel with the ground, directly between your ankle bones, and elongate your iliopsoas muscles.
This alignment will release the excess tension, or discomfort, held in your iliopsoas and lower back muscles, returning the responsibility of supporting your body’s weight back to your buttocks and abdominals.
Standing In Discomfort Can Be More Comfortable Than Standing Up to Fear
The choice between operating from the fear in your lower back muscles or the comfort in your buttock muscles can feel like an impasse, because they are in constant deliberation regarding your uprightness. Fear, however, often wins your attention; this is evident from the epidemic of lower back pain. When fear wins, you also experience the internal discomfort of conflict. But why does fear usually come out the victor?Do we value fear as a mark of our boldness, or think comfort is an extravagance? Do we believe we must suffer for our comforts, and that comfort is earned only after enough hardship has been endured? Or is discomfort more unbearable than the fear of wanting more?
Get Comfortable Confronting Discomfort
We can stretch beyond these thoughts and choose what is true.The basis of comfort comes from living your truth. True comfort requires little from the outside world. Well-being, purpose, gratitude, serenity, and peaceful actions account for joy-filled comfort. Stretch beyond your fears.Whenever stretching the buttock muscles, you will likely stretch the lower back muscles simultaneously, since they are in such close proximity to each other. The area in which you feel tightness or discomfort will tell you where your inflexibility is rooted and whether fear or comfort is eliciting the unwanted tension. Over-tightness in either muscle group signifies overuse or excessive fear.
Supine Buttock Release Stretch
- Lie supine with your knees folded into your chest. Hold at your knees or under your thighs so you can fully relax your hip flexors and thigh muscles.
- Take a deep breath. As you exhale, drag your knees toward your chest and pull your heels toward your armpits, allowing your lower back to round into the floor and your tailbone to roll off the floor.
- Relax your buttock muscles, lower back, and hip flexors as you hold the position for 10 to 30 seconds. You are looking for a stretch, not pain. Repeat, using an appropriate range, until your movement is easeful.
- Be sure to keep your knees separated so you don’t squash your internal organs, yet within your shoulders’ width so you don’t crush your hip flexors.
Be mindful of your buttock muscles’ core alignment strength; give your weaker lower back and iliopsoas muscles freedom from the unreasonable liability of supporting your alignment on their own.The comfort offered by the buttock muscles offers added fat to rest on and exceptional strength to move from. Whether passive or active, the buttock muscles provide comfort. Without comforts in life, living becomes a task. Without addressing discomforts directly, life becomes a struggle. Just as a summer vacation rejuvenates your life force from a grueling work schedule, balancing your performance strengths with performance respites rejuvenates and restores your training and living. Concentrate on balancing passive and active aspects of your physical, mental, and emotional comforts.—Learn more about how the buttock muscles empower you in this recent blog post.Give yourself the gift of relaxation with this 8-minute video!—Tammy Wise is a Tao Minister, mind-body strength expert, and founder of the BodyLogos holistic fitness method. Her writing and methodology has been widely featured in media including New York, TimeOut New York (where she was voted the Best of Fitness), Fitness, Shape, and Natural Health magazines. She is also a Transformational Authors Contest winner. Tammy is currently writing and producing a BodyLogos book and 3-D video system for online. Learn more about her training, holistic treatments, and products at bodylogos.com, or follow her on Twitter at @BodyLogos.