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 explains how engaging with the inner thighs can deepen our connection to our inner and outer worlds. Intrigued? (Read all the way down to receive a free mind-body video from BodyLogos!)
By Tammy WiseI have always loved beer. I’ve evolved into a real connoisseur, almost to a fault. These days, it’s either good beer or no beer. I’ve spent perhaps too much time standing in the supermarket aisles trying to decide whether to go with what I know I like or take a risk on a new, artsy label. If you happened to stumble upon me in the market, hovering in front of the open-air horizontal refrigerators in contemplation, you might notice my fingertips squeezed between my inner thighs. In fact, anytime I need to direct my attention inward to make a decision, my thighs are directly involved. I’m either squeezing them together if I need to think fast or stretching them out when called upon to make a judgment. Many people are likely unaware that the job of the inner thighs is primarily to connect you to the central plumb line, your body’s central axis. This connection elongates and strengthens you vertically, taking you beyond your physical body, connecting you energetically with gravity. This connection is more akin to a feeling rather than something you think about, and is the best way to gain an objective perspective on the world around you, allowing you to stretch outside of yourself to see the whole picture. I consider this conscious step toward expansion a necessary and spiritual act. Inward movement, on the other hand, can feel frightening; tension in the body is easily triggered. Luckily, you don’t have to go full-force, mentally or physically, into the places that feel too intimate. You can take baby steps; less can be more. When you temper your inward movement with an appreciation for the elongating properties that connect you to outside world, you build strength rather than tension. And isn’t that the goal?! (For an in-depth look at how the muscular system carries emotions, refer to this previous article).
Why Is It So Scary to Look Inward?
I suspect we’re often afraid to look inward because we’re scared to come face-to-face with our choices, for doing so forces us to confront our own uncertainties.Pressure to make the “right” choices in life, whether in terms of the expectations we put on ourselves or those placed on us by others, can plague our bodies with tension and turmoil, though not necessarily on a conscious level. We end up carrying this tension around daily, wrongly believing our heavy load to be the unchangeable weight of living. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
Facing Your Fears
To recognize whether you are connecting to your inward self or to what is expected of you takes practice. You’ll know you’re genuinely connected inward when you feel an accompanying quiet stillness. This quiet completeness empowers your sense of being in the “now.” Staying in the now, without needing to move ahead or change anyone or anything, makes you a witness to life’s offerings and allows you to decide what you would like to connect with—and to what degree.The central position of your inner thigh muscles makes them related to poise and self-possession. The more practiced you are in connecting your inner thighs (movement inward) to your central plumb line, the more deliberate you can be with manifesting that poise. Once equipped inwardly with a strong sense of center, you can connect outwardly with joy, confidence, and free expression.
Seated Heel Kiss Exercise
- Sit on the floor with the soles of your feet together in front of you and with your knees turned out. Place your feet a comfortable distance in front of you. Maintain a grounded sitting position between your tail and pubic bones by using your hands, placed behind your buttocks, to assist in sitting upright.
- Without disturbing the position of your knees, gently press your heels together. As soon as you sense your inner thigh muscles working, which manifests as a muscular connection with the sitz bones in each buttock, release the pressure in your heels. Notice how exerting more force easily displaces your knees? You can then draw from your hip flexors and quadriceps for added force.
- Repeat this gentle heel press without hip flexion until you are clear about the degree of force your inner thighs can successfully isolate in an inward movement.
Poise is cultivated by drawing both strength and ease equally from the inner thighs. Be mindful of your life force flowing through you unimpeded, and expand your imagination to consider what was once unknown and unrecognizable.The inner thigh muscles generally have the quietest voices in the body; hence they require focused attention to be heard. Connecting the inner thighs with an outside resistance (or an isometric resistance, as in the above exercise) is like drawing the outside world into your center by way of the birth canal or pelvic floor. It’s an intimate invitation that allows you to feel fully present and to experience outside resistance without any distraction. Be resolved in navigating through the more boisterous muscle groups of the hips (quadriceps and iliopsoas muscles) as well.
It’s OK to Deem Yourself Important
The nearby iliopsoas and quadriceps muscles can be overeager to control forward movement, so they often dominate the subtler sensation of the inner thighs’ inward movement and “honor thyself” nature. Relaxing the iliopsoas and quadriceps muscles while gently rotating the inner thighs in and forward before making a decision (like choosing the right beer) or moving through life in a new way (without expectations) connects you to your central plumb line and your sense of self. This alliance with your alignment sensitizes your relationship to your inner needs and wants. As you experience your inner thigh muscles stepping into action, appreciate what you have created in yourself. Feel the significance of who you are. Notice how relaxed you can be when considering your own competence and self-reliance. You are recognizing your own voice as the authority on your own experience. Acknowledge how exercising self-respect supports clear inward discernment and fosters graceful outward communication.To clearly feel the inner thigh muscles, it can be helpful to stretch them. Although they are a fairly large muscle group, the inner thighs are delicate. Be sure to stretch them using only your body’s weight and gravity—resist the temptation to bounce or lunge your body’s weight through them for quicker gain, as injury will most likely follow and ultimately slow down your results.
Supine Frog Stretch
- Lie face up, the soles of your feet together, with your knees turned out. Engage your abdominal muscles gently to maintain skeletal alignment. Do not push your lower back into the floor.
- Place your feet a suitable distance away from your pelvis so that a stretch is established in your inner thighs. Relax and allow gravity and the weight of your legs to increase the stretch.
- Extend your feet a little farther away from your pelvis, relax, and use your legs’ weight to stretch your inner thighs again and again. Be sure to stretch the entire length of the inner thigh muscles, from mid-thigh to pelvis, until your legs are straight.
- Once they are fully straightened, rock the legs in and out to surrender any hip flexor resistance that may have collected while holding the stretch.
It’s more important to build endurance in the inner thighs than brute strength. The delicate experience of self, found in the inner thighs, connects you to an inner strength and emotional sense of belonging. Be gentle as you explore their quiet voice. Lead with the inner thighs and feel yourself respecting your true wishes, whether you’re choosing a beer, a partner, or your next job opportunity! Click to read more about how to connect inwardly using the BodyLogos’ unique mind-body method. To surrender tension in minutes, check out this FREE 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, Fitness, Shape, and Natural Health magazines. She 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.