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The Mighty PSOAS Muscle

Updated: Jul 27, 2019


Not many weeks go by where I don’t get the pleasure ( all mine I’m sure as it’s not the most pleasant experience for the person receiving ) of working very deep into the body and releasing this amazing intelligent sensitive highly strung muscle from a client who is suffering lower back discomfort. By the way this happens in my Remedial massage practice not my yoga classes .. 😀

You see this intelligent muscle is involved in not only flexing the trunk of the body, it’s also a hip flexor which means every time we sit, flex the trunk of the body or bend the knee and lift the leg it engages and shortens . So imagine being slumped over a desk 40hrs a week .Yep the psoas shortens. Then throw in a crossed leg which then can cause rotation of the pelvis. contributing to spinal curvature. All this contributes to the lower back pain. And even if we aren’t slumped over the desk our standing posture can still have major effects on this muscle as well.

And to top it off our emotions that challenge our fight and flight mode such as fear, anxiety, stress in general, will cause our psoas to become tense via its connection with the fascia of the diaphragm muscle. Combine this with our lack of deep breathing (which happens when we are in emotional turmoil) also contributes to an unhappy, unbalanced psoas , an overactive sympathetic nervous system , and an underactive diaphragm. All of these imbalances can contribute in aroundabout way to weight gain,depression and fatigue. Phew ……

So now for the good news …. structural integration work, and yoga …. can assist in restoring the balance in the psoas and other associated muscles . . Yoga teaches us to stay connected to our breath and breathe deep into our belly activating the diaphragm muscle as well as providing an asana practice to lengthen and tone the psoas . And best of us it relaxes our nervous system. Nothing like being in charge of our own wellbeing is there.

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Meredith Harrison, Embodied Feminine Journeys