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This article explores pelvic release bodywork for removing and releasing trauma as through trapped muscular tension and potential energy stored in the body. What inspired me to write this article was my own experiences of healing from anxiety, fear and sexual trauma, which has enabled me to feel more comfortable in my body and inner spirit.
I knew I was actually onto something after one or two successive sessions of unwinding as it released a lot of energy into my body, nervous system and subtle channels which produced fleeting images and visions of past events. Upon resting after a session a Chinese god was attracted to what I was doing and considered seeing if I wanted to move to another timeline and practise Reiki and Chinese medicine with a female partner there, although this wasn’t desired.
We hold onto trauma in our muscle tissues, fascias and tendons and this is a very effective technique for healing and releasing a range of trauma including fear, anxiety, stress, PTSD, sexual trauma and past abuse through a technique of deeply relaxing and unwinding the inner pelvic muscle groups using a combination of mind to body mental focusing and awareness, body posturing, relaxation and sustained concentration through meditation in a single technique, which if successful will lead to the surrendering and releasing of painful repressed memories, issues and events in a single therapy session.
I’m not a trained physiotherapist by any stretch of the imagination, so please refer to the pictures and video as you read in order to get an idea or feeling for what’s happening within your body and muscles.
For relief of fears, abuse and post traumatic stress
How does anxiety manifest in the body?
Anxiety is a form of muscular stress and burning anxious energy created in response to certain triggers that make us tighten up, become tense, anxious and worry. When this happens our muscles become tightened and constricted and our thoughts and energy become temporarily acutely heightened and brought into our awareness more than before. At this heightened peak, we may begin responding to our thoughts produced in the mind that correspond to the original sources of our initiating anxiety with fear to the point of becoming a looped-cycle that can snowball into a full-on panic-attack, personal crisis or manic episode which if untreated can cause nervous system burnout, adrenal fatigue and threaten to overwhelm us.
Initiating triggers can be something perceived to be in the immediate or long-term future, an incident from our past that still preoccupies us and makes us feel anxious or even a present-day situation one is facing in life which has yet to be resolved, negotiated or concluded. This may also include encountering a new or different situation for the first time of which we have no prior knowledge or experience of going through.
Anxiety has a wide range of sources, some are common among humans due to encountering perceived life-threatening situations and some are much more personal and subjective like being scared of dogs, snakes or spiders.
However, I have come to realise that there are many shared sources of anxiety that fall outside of expected behaviour patterns that need to be acknowledged, met and addressed under most circumstances else it creates problems for both ourselves and others. For example, if we are not meeting our needs for companionship, intimacy, friendship and family, if we do not have financial stability to support ourselves through life, when we feel threatened by something, someone or at risk, when we neglect an important area of our lives the body automatically responds to the information stored in our consciousness and subsequently produces a physical and mental anxiety response in order to raise our awareness that something is not right or is out of balance. When an individual no longer feels anxious due to normal every day to day living they can be said to be living in a balanced way and have these basic needs and issues addressed a person is comfortable, happy, grounded in both mind, body and the housed spirit.
Physical Grounding and Embodiment
One of the most significant points to consider is that the pelvic floor or under-body floor suspension provides us with bodily support and sense of grounding, safety and comfort. The pelvic floor connection between the legs and torso in the pelvic basin forms our seat of inner security and comfort that I frequently refer to as the seat of the soul (sometimes the same phrase references the Pineal Gland in the brain).
Where do we experience anxiety and stress? The forehead and scalp are one of the first places when muscles in the upper back and neck contract, however, hidden away in the pelvic floor and the pelvic basin is a complex and intricate webbing of inter-connected muscle groups. These pelvic muscles span and connect the legs, thighs, the buttocks, running through the soft fleshy perineum and into both the lower and upper back. They’re connected to most other areas of the body and these muscles serve many different purposes beyond ordinary joint, bone and limb mobility, particularly when it comes to removing trauma. When we heal this area of the body associated in a large part with fear and anxiety, we can begin to resolve many other health issues of both the mind and body responsible for disease or mental health distress including common life stressors.
When we become anxious, these muscle groups tighten and contract to different degrees giving rise to the unpleasant bodily feeling of muscular burning associated with unease, insecurity and fear. This often gives rise to the common desire to fidget or stretch cross-legged. The pelvic floor typically rises and becomes tucked upwards and inwards as we become tense and uneasy in response to our own personal anxieties and fears.
When we remain surrendered in this region of the body, we slowly begin to release this corresponding tension in order to maintain our physical grounding, security and comfort.
Other muscles in the lower abdominal region may also subsequently begin to tighten resulting in the creation of anxious energy in our core pelvic muscles, which often feels like an unpleasant tingling, mild friction or tension burning and discomfort.
Most of us worry a little or focus on something that gives rise to concern, which will frequently result in fidgeting behaviours such as learning forward uncomfortably or shifting the body into the half leg cross intended to prevent muscles from contracting further and to physically stretch out the thighs and pelvic floor muscles. One can typically observe this during seated conversations and daily interactions between different people engaging with one another and particularly during sensitive topics and where pressured communication and interaction is taking place.
This form of muscular resistance usually occurs unconsciously in response to an internalised fear or in response to our level of security. This form of stretching only offers temporary relief rather than addressing the fear/anxiety cause of the tension and muscular contraction causing un-grounding of the physical body.
The more complete version of this unconscious social half-leg cross is the forward diamond yoga pose, also recognised as a kryia position which is used to release tension from both sides of the legs and pelvis in unison. Whenever we remove tension the mind will often automatically produce or vocalise a thought that corresponds with the reason for the tension forming, which enables us to address areas in our lives that we need to appropriately.
I learned that the tightness stored in this part of the body through our anxious thoughts and tensing corresponds to much of our stored and unresolved trauma. Some of the trauma
Types of Trauma
Some trauma may have been self-inflicted through unfortunate choices we’ve made in our lives, some of it will have been inflicted upon us by others choices and interactions with us and some of it may be a result of what we have done to others and can be referred to as karmic trauma.
A basic degree of unwinding occurs when we naturally relax and when we begin to fall asleep, which corresponds to much of our day to day anxiety and insecurities, however, the deeper, further and longer one uses this technique the more unconscious material one may discover or bring up to the surface of the mind and body for clearing past-life trauma and issues we’ve experienced on a higher spiritual plane of existence.
How to perform Pelvic Release
The form of pelvic release I describe here doesn’t require physical exertion at all but instead requires an inner willingness to surrender and to let go of our issues through inner body relaxation and tension release. The state of being to work with this is to remain inwardly very still in mind and body, so get comfortable before you begin. You will need to become present with your attention placed and sustained on the muscle groups you would like to target, which will be in the pelvic basin, posterior and inner and back thighs. When you come to a still place and find the right inner attitude and surrendered state of peace of mind the muscles will respond and as they do tension will begin to unwind and slowly release.
During this pelvic release exercise, the first step is to choose and experiment with at least one of the poses shown here and then hold it from up to 5 minutes to 15 minutes or longer at a time while placing ones attention and awareness on the soft inner soft spongey muscle.
I began experimenting with what the muscle groups in the pelvis can do and I observed that when holding the Childs Pose found in modern yoga and simultaneously relaxing the pelvic area muscles through focused inner body awareness, sustained attention, concentration and relaxed intent in a present state. Doing this had the effect of initiating the process of unwinding the corresponding muscle groups wherever I inwardly felt into the muscle tissue and followed the sensations in my awareness without stopping them through pulling back on the pelvic muscles. I discovered that in males there is a particular muscle that’s responsible for temporarily blocking off the seminal release, which is what I suspect is the natural means of prolonging sex without loss of energy or fluid release enabling for continuing for longer.
Each tiny muscular movement in the pelvis, pin prickle, rise, all or fluctuation in sensation of the lower body, particularly the pelvic region and aforementioned muscle groups facilitate the process of releasing specific issues, which will eventually becomes heard or played through into in the ego-mind as information containing thoughts if one is present and self-aware enough during the process, else I believe these are processed unconsciously as you go about your day.
The positions that I’ve so far experimented with that best facilitate this process are Child’s Pose, Cat-Cow transitions, a Standing Forward Bend and laying down leg diamond pose pictured above. Many people engage in yoga practice merely for releasing a bit of tension or improving one’s physique which is also beneficial however it often doesn’t get us close to deeper issues. You don’t necessarily need the yoga matt or bolster, although it will provide added back comfort and support from a hard floor.
I found that coming from a place of surrender is integral to performing this exercise, without this, it probably won’t work. Stored trauma by its very nature is often painful, awkward and uncomfortable for our ego to hear and accept as it something most of us would seek to deny, bury or put behind us rather than to re-face them, release them and let them go. A healthy dose of self-forgiveness may be required for some issues and a place of humility for others depending on what content we may unsuspectingly find, however ultimately every negative action we have ever taken is stored in the body.
During an instance of doing the above yoga position, someone came to me afterwards to state “he knows how to pray”, which I found both odd and interesting as what I was doing to my knowledge was from the perspective of eastern yoga spirituality. After this, I made a mental comparison of the similarities between the Childs pose and the traditional prayer position where one typically rests on the floor on one’s knees whilst the pelvic floor rests close the ground and the arms are prostrated out elongated in front of the body.
I realised that these two poses are necessarily the same position, used within two different spiritual contexts by various spiritual and religious traditions, but ultimately serves the same purpose of prayer. As we hold this position we release or acknowledge many of sources of our worries, insecurities and survival needs and child’s pose has the effect of placing the inner spirit into a state of prayer, submission and surrender which ensures we maintain a humble attitude when making requests or asking for things we might need from within divinity. Having an attitude or intention for praying and asking for something immaterial or intangible such as a relationship, friendship or experience is often more effective than praying for want, desire or material need and will more likely mean your prayer will be heard and acknowledged.
I know this particular release technique is significant because the first time I successfully carried out this pelvic release exercise for a long sustained period of time I attracted the attention of a wise master in spirit who came to speak to me who followed up with a dream of their spiritual realm. He seemed to be pleased that I knew how to perform this release technique on my own. During my inner journeying, I was allowed to walk along a muddy mountainside landscape path filled with green vegetation and turquoise quartz crystals, where I learned that their level of consciousness currently far supersedes that of our own.
One of the things that I’ve noted which facilitates the relaxation process further is bending at the knees and I recommend the above diamond position whilst laying on your back when doing this. Bending at the knees itself helps expresses vulnerability and at the same provides a sense of relief and security. At times this release work can verge on feeling arousing as one has their soul’s sexual issues and pelvic space worked on as the root chakra and pelvic floor area is an intimate part of the body and I also found it created a lot of heat. I found by surrendering and letting go of my expectations allowed the body’s own intelligence to work rather than my needing to interfere and do anything yielded more successful results. If we’re afraid to let go and release something, we instead end up holding onto it and it affects our behaviours, attitudes and choices in life on a range of things.
As tension is released you may find yourself coming to a blissful place of peace as your body feels soothed and your inner mental-emotional quiet contentedness as we release a range of deep wounds and sexual traumas. Initially, the felt sensations in this area may feel a little sore or sharp, this felt almost like tiny acupuncture needles being pulled out of me. Once released I found this was a pleasant experience that brought about soothing and freed up a lot of tension energy similar to the tingling one may experience from a reflexology treatment in the soles of the feet. As one engages in this anxious burning or muscular friction is removed and a great deal of energy transmuted and released which brings about a soothing and pleasant sensation.
Muscles in the perineum area would begin to soften, loosen, expand and unwind like an intricate pulley system of muscular fibres and tubes moving like untightened instrument strings which happened quite slowly at first but when allowed to be may continue in a fluid way as one offers no resistance to this. As these hidden muscles relax, one feels a range of subtle micro-movements in the pelvic floor and pelvic basin region, as we release and clear issues and trauma relating to fear, anxiety and sex we may become less held back and begin to feel good and happy in this area again.
Each sensation assists to unpick particular insecurity, worry or fear we’re holding onto. Initially, when practising this, things will feel a bit uncomfortable, disconcerting and make you feel insecure. I would frequently unconsciously or uncontrollably pull back and tighten these muscles again to prevent them from unwinding anymore. However when I began to surrender to this process and go with the flow by holding the attitude of “what will be, will be”, I found a considerable amount of stored muscular pelvic tension was being released and unwound and thoughts surfacing in my mind corresponding with early childhood memories of fearful events and sexual issues in my later adult life.
This is all carried out whilst maintaining a place of witnessing presence and resisting the urge to resist, tense up or otherwise block this relaxation and unwinding by interfering with the body’s natural inclination to want to uncoil and release it. This is, of course, easier said than done considering the issues, trauma and insecurities that much of this particular bound up tension subsequently represents. It took me quite a bit of practice doing this before I became more adept at doing it and I’ve experimented with different yoga-type positions that were comfortable and could be sustained over time and were seen to help or facilitate the pelvic unwinding process without necessarily falling asleep or becoming unconscious whilst doing it.
What I’ve noticed in western yoga is that someone typically performs a pose for 10 – 20 seconds and then moves into a new position as part of an exercise sequence and subsequently the body and muscles don’t have time to respond and release. Doing this one may release a bit of tension, physically tone, shape and exercise the physical body but it prevents any deeper work from being done. By comparison, unlike yoga and kriyas which often require a great deal of body strength, energy, forced exertion and sustained effort to perform this particular technique works on deeper levels of our muscles without the need for any physical exertion as we’re instead relaxing and releasing rather than stretching and it feels more like a meditation than a physical exercise.
This particular bodywork therapy is beneficial in many ways and I haven’t fully explored it yet, in fact, I don’t expect that I ever will, however, I hope it will beneficial for treating PTSD and that individuals and therapists alike will find this of benefit for self-treatment of their clients.
How we respond to these thoughts in our consciousness or the essence of our being can determine whether or not we re-identify how we feel about an issue or a cause of fear with something more positive in order to release it or whether we choose to hold onto it in the form of stored unprocessed trauma.
This process can release a lot of anxiety, tension, stored tension/anxious energy in a relatively short period of time. The yoga style which best fits this description is Yin-Yoga, which is more about gently stretching out the muscles and then surrendering through relaxation and mind in order to let them uncoil and release inner issues and past traumas. Do your best to go with the flow without mental or physical resistance to what comes up in the mind.
8 Comments on “Pelvic Release Bodywork for PTSD, Anxiety and Trauma”
Dear David, thank you for this article. I’ve been experiencing extreme tension in my perineum area and jaw for years and have been attempting to understand what is going on for a long time. The tension is extremely unpleasant at times and has become for me a blockage that I wondered whether I would ever resolve.
I relate the tension to a deep seared anxiety and stress, perhaps things from childhood, sexual repression or something deep within that I cannot clearly see. Your article describes a potential solution that I hadn’t considered before and I will have a try at what you suggest. I have renewed hope.
With thanks and warm regards, Ben
Excellent article. How long do you hold each pose for and how often do you go through this routine?
Also how long did it take for you to start noticing the difference?
I normally do a yin-style yoga session from 20 – 40 minutes a few times per week and this includes varied positions held for 2-5 minutes each and this had varied beneficial effects. If I’m doing trauma release work specifically, I’ll use the illustrated butterfly pose and this will last from anywhere from between 30 minutes to an hour. It’s normal to either slip into a meditative state or light trance, and as you do this you may see pictures behind your closed eyes and at times they may play out as a short dream sequence showing past traumatic events ranging from present-day relationships to events from past lives. With the trauma exercise, placing the feet together will begin stretching the muscles in the inner thighs and pelvis and the weight of gravity from your knees is enough resistance to ensure they un-contract slowly over time, so there’s no need to force your knees down or deliberately stretch anything quite as you might do in a normal yoga session. Eventually, after more session, the legs will be able to naturally fall further and further apart, which means you’ve unwound more tension in the muscles and thigh tendons.
It really depends on what issues or trauma you’re processing at the time. I don’t know how to choose what I go through, but usually, your attention naturally falls onto the sorest or most sensitive area at the surface. I’ve been doing this about once a month for the last year and I’ve gone through quite a bit of inner psychological material. Most of the dreams or pictures are unpleasant so I wouldn’t do it too frequently unless you’re determined to quickly get through a lot of stuff. There’s a lot of muscles in the pelvis that serve functions for more than just physical movement and stability, they store a lot of information and events that we can access from the psyche similar to a plane’s black box data recorder.
After a single session, you may feel more relaxed and after a number of sessions, you may find that your body feels less stressed overall from tension and contractions in the thighs, legs and pelvis normally associated with stress, worry, fear or traumatic events. Once something has been processed, you may either take the lesson inwardly so you don’t repeat it or when you encounter a similar situation it may not have the same negative impact or fearful effect on you that it may once have had, a common example might be a memory of being bitten by a dog.
Hope this helps.
Thank you for replying. I was referring to the release of tension in muscles that control ejaculation and urination. It seems like those are very difficult to fully release. I have been dealing with pelvic floor “dysfunction” issues for many years. Can manage but cant fully get back to “normal”. Is there a specific pose that gets to these muscles most efficiently in your observation?
Yoga isn’t my exact speciality by any means, so I’m speculating and going by some of my experiences, so that said, there are particular poses that seem to work on the pelvic muscles more than others. The prayer position known as Childs Pose works to help you inwardly ‘surrender’ and release tension stored here as fear/trauma, often it’s an inner being battle of resistance and not wanting to revisit certain traumatic events or experiences rather than it being an unwillingness to physically release something, and so people stay stuck with their trauma as baggage and ill health. As stated some yoga poses will assist in releasing this, but will not completely do everything for you, it’s as much of a mental, inner being and your higher consciousness being willing to let go of some things and re-experiencing and processing the emotional pain or disturbance that comes with it. Just sitting crossed legged in meditation will begin to stretch the thigh and pelvic muscles associated with fear and in the stillness of mind, you can begin to process any number of events from the psyche that will surface during the session, usually one at a time. It is the trauma from past events that I believe is responsible for many types of illness and health issues and they normally affect the muscular system through tension or tightening and contracting certain muscles beyond their optimal normal state eventually causing physical dysfunctions. I recommend you either try a class or follow along with an online video of which there are many free ones to be found on youtube.
The male phallus is connected to muscles responsible for storing trauma located in the pelvis and the backs of the thighs and glutes, which are what you normally sit on. At the point of a physical orgasm, these muscles contract and release several times in quick succession throwing up psychological content into mind and thoughts that relate to sources of worries, fear and at certain times also trauma and I believe this must be similar for both men and women. To process historical violent abuses or sexual trauma you normally have to massage the genitals over a much longer period of time and the aim isn’t about quickly reaching a point of climax or ejaculation. If you search online some more you may be able to find some specialist tantric blogs that focus on the healing or trauma release side of certain practises, often referred to as “lingam massage” but this isn’t to be confused with the side of things that deal with eroticism, pleasure or enjoyment.
Thank you David,
I have been working for about three years (age 61-64) on healing from childhood sexual abuse trauma. Mostly through daily meditation practice and therapy. My amazing counselor has suggested bodywork. A bit of SE (not through a trained practitioner), some physical activity, yoga etc. I read your article and I will try to add what you suggest too. I have been doing yin yoga but will add your specific poses. I really feel that the bodywork is the final key to my healing journey. Thanks!
Iv been suffering from immense tension in the pelvic area for the past 5 years , which I believe started 3 months into taking an anti depressant, and here I am , still looking for answers on how to resolve this pelvic tension . I really feel body work/massage and pelvic floor exercises might be the solution I was always looking for , but I think I need someone who understands this to guide me through . Just wondering if you can refer me to someone or do you offer consultations ?
I believe depression is very much connected to the pelvis and the root chakra, tension and constriction can be caused by excess fear, sustaining trauma from a bad experience, even things experienced or carried out in mind. I’m not qualified or experienced as a therapist and I don’t provide consultations, however you might like to check out the website for a therapy called TRE – it has a number of similarities to what I’ve written about here and the site includes a find a therapist section, someone whom can provide guidance. https://traumaprevention.com/what-is-tre/
Yoga, bodywork, massage, but especially tantric style massage is useful for highly sensitive types of trauma release and emotional detoxing from the body and most often I’ve found that problems can be found to have a spiritual cause and are the resulting consequences of karmic interactions or events.
Hope this is useful to you.
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