This muscle (the psoas) has got to be my favourite in the body! Why you might ask?….Well when you do some activating movements followed by a stretch, your low back and pelvis feel so so good. I always feel like I’m walking on clouds! Sounds pretty good doesn’t it?
You can look at the psoas as been “hidden” in your unconscious part of your brain. We get the muscle into a pattern of being short and weak due to postures and lack of movement we create. For most of us our week is spent sitting either at work, in the car, and at home.
One should also note that this muscle is connected to the diaphragm (muscle that helps you breathe under your ribcage) by fascia, and affects our breath and fear reflex. Thus stress can chronically tighten and trigger the psoas making it ready for the ‘flight or flight’ response. Interestingly what part of our foot we weight bare can significantly alter the tone of our psoas e.g. by weight baring more on the inner aspect of the foot we allow the inner thigh muscle to gain more tone thus aligning the psoas.
This stretch is for everyone even if you don’t have low back or pelvic issues. The only people I don’t recommend this to are those who have an acute injury of course. If you are not sure always check with your practitioner.
Now before you glance further down, please be kind to your body. Do not go into sharp pain. Yes, you may feel some discomfort as your body starts to open up, and if you focus on your breath it will tell you if you are pushing your body too far e.g. if you start holding your breath, or breathing gets uneven. Once again if you are unsure contact your practitioner, they should guide you through at least once beforehand!
Let’s start by using some movements to wake that psoas up. Do approximately 5-6 repetitions each side making sure to breathe. Here are two options for you, one lying on your back and the other seated.
So you have fired your psoas up. Now it’s time to cool it down with a gentle lunge stretch bringing your pelvis forward and down. Four reps can be done each side, but if you find one side tighter/harder add a couple of more repetitions of 30 second holds. Don’t forget to breathe too!
Good work! You are done. If you feel a little tender take yourself for a walk outside or around the house for a 5 minutes or so allowing your body to adjust itself to the changes.
If you have any questions and concerns with these movement let us know!