Attaching to the spine at the 12th thoracic vertebrae (T12) and to each of the 5 lumbar vertebrae, the Psoas muscles flow through the pelvis and insert into the lesser trocantor (inside) of the femur (leg) bone. A large muscle located one on each side of the spine, they connect the trunk and the legs. The Psoas muscles are the only muscles to attach the spine to the leg allowing for free swing during walking. They impact your hips, pelvis, knees, spine, ribs, shoulder blades, and shoulders so it’s important to take good care of them.
The Psoas muscles relationship to the diaphragm affect the breath and the fear reflex. They impact our sense of emotional well-being. According to Liz Koch, author of Core Awareness, the Psoas muscles are considered the “fight or flight” muscles. She says, “the Psoas is the primal messenger of the central nervous system.” When these muscles are tight, the body naturally curls in towards a fetal position keeping you in a feeling of stress. Consequently, when you feel stress, the psoas tighten. It causes a vicious cycle. Relax your psoas muscles and the angsty feelings starts to dissolve.
This Psoas stretch is my current favorite pose! It makes everything better. It relieves stress, allows my body (and mind and spirit) to unwind, and preps it for yoga. I’m amazed at the difference in my body during yoga class after I practice this pose.
Every day for this psoas stretch! Before switching sides, notice the difference. We often don’t realize how much stress we carry. It becomes second nature to us but when you can feel the difference after releasing one side, well, why wouldn’t you want that for both sides all the time?!
Enjoy this, my stressed yogis. Hugs to you all ~