A tight psoas can give the appearance of having a pot belly stomach that is not necessarily about being or having too much fat. A while back in the land of Facebook there were a bunch of images going around about how we carry the fat on our bodies—are you an apple, or a pear, or a triangle etc.?
When the tight psoas messes with the belly it is actually a space issue rather that a fat issue. Have you ever noticed someone who is very skinny and yet they have what looks to be a pot belly stomach? When I teach my Psoas Release Party! workshops I illustrate this point by taking hold of my spare tire and showing the jiggle that occurs.
When this look of a pot belly stomach is actually about a tight psoas there is no fat to take hold of—the belly is hard and fairly rigid. This is one of the first diagnostic cues that I take note of when meeting new clients. It is one of the easy notes I can make on the road to helping people figure out what is going on with them.
The psoas major muscle connects the legs to the spine attaching at the back half of the inner thigh and along the lumbar spine. A long and happy psoas moves down from the spine and curls around the back of the pelvic bowl before making its way forward, down and back to attach on the inner thigh bone. A host of organs and muscles sit in front of the psoas.
A tight psoas pulls forward off the back of the pelvis and takes everything in front of it along for the ride. This includes the small and large intestines which is why a tight psoas can mess with our digestion in a big way. This can happen when one or both of the psoas are tight.
This environment of the psoas and presence of what looks like pot belly stomach is one of the best reasons for doing psoas release work, especially Constructive Rest. Laying flat on the back in this position allows the psoas to fall back towards its natural position deep in the bowl of the pelvis and can create a better space for the psoas, abdominal organs and muscles to live in harmony.