In my last post, I identified and located the quadratus lomborum (QL) and psoas major muscles, discussed why and how we can develop shortened or imbalanced psoas and practiced a few movements that can assist in countering its shortened length.

Years ago, I went to a massage therapist and shared with him my symptoms of persistent low-back discomfort. After his initial assessment, he recommended a psoas massage, which I had never heard of before and, with hesitation, agreed. It was quite painful and he performed the release with me in a number of different positions, from laying on my back to curled up in child’s pose. Once the massage was complete my back soreness disappeared and it left me bewildered. Remember the QL and psoas share the same attachment points at the transverse processes of the vertebrae of the lumbar spine? My shortened psoas was affecting my QL and therefore sending referral discomfort to my low back.

For this lower back self-massage we’ll use the Yoga Tune Up® ALPHA ball twin set and the classic size Therapy Balls. First the QL: Lay on your back and place the Alpha ball in the soft tissue area between your 12th rib and the top of your pelvis to the right of your spine. Roll onto the ball, bend your knees and place your feet flat on the floor. Stay here, for more pressure open your right knee and lay it on the floor. Then, either lay still or push into your left foot to hover your hips and move your pelvis forward and back and side-to-side. Repeat on the opposite side.

Next, for psoas self-massage, kneel and place your fingertips 2 inches to the right and left side of your navel. This is where the classic Yoga Tune Up® Therapy Balls will be placed to release the psoas major. Lay in sphinx pose on your stomach propped up on your forearms and place the balls, one at a time underneath you. Either remain on your forearms or lay all the way down, be still and breathe and allow the balls to penetrate as they navigate through the abdominal muscles and internal organs to reach the attachment of the psoas major to the anterior surfaces of the transverse processes of the vertebrae (T12-L5).

Access the psoas with sphinx pose

If you suffer from low back irritability maybe your psoas needs to be released. I’ve experienced much success with students and private clients using this technique as well. Perhaps it’ll help you too!

Enjoyed this article? Read Reorganize Your Psoas


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