After long hours of spent in a chair (where most us tend to stick for 8-10 hours each day), the psoas  appreciates stretching,  stimulation, proper alignment, massage and constructive rest.

Constructive Rest: (Also known as Ardha Savasana) offers a passive release of the psoas.

  • Lie on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
  • Your feet should align with the front of the hip sockets.
  • Your trunk and head need to be parallel to the floor (if your head is tilting backwards,place a rolled up towel or small cushion under your head to keep your  spine in optimum alignment).
  • Feet are parallel to one another.
  • Arms rest several inches away from the midline of the body (with palms faced upwards) or rest your palms on top of your abdomen.
  • Close your eyes;  breathe deeply and allow the force of gravity to release the psoas.

Stretching: releasing the entire psoas (especially the upper portion’s attachment near lungs) with a high lunge and sidebend.

  • Step your right foot forward and left foot about 2,5 feet back, balancing on the ball of the foot.
  • Align your 2 hips so they are square and are pointing straight forward.
  • Keep both of your knees bent and stack your shoulders over your pelvis.
  • As you inhale reach both of your arms over head, loop your left hand around your right wrist.
  • As you exhale lean your torso over toward the right side.Allow your right hand traction the left wrist away from the left shoulder.
  • Finally, begin to straighten the back knee. Breathe deeply and guide your breath into the deep stretch within the gut.
  • Switch sides.

Alignment: the key to balanced, well-maintained psoas is a neutral pelvis. This is a position of the pelvis, which does not involve backward movement (also known as posterior tilt) or forward movement (also referred as anterior tilt).

Learn how to re-align your pelvis by clicking here.

Massage: Give your psoas deep self-induced massage by rolling your guts with a soft inflated ball.

Learn about our Therapy Ball Programs

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Dagmar Khan

Dagmar Khan is the 1st Integrated Yoga Tune Up® teacher in Europe and leading mobility expert in whole Ireland; with over 15 years of experience in Yoga, Pilates, Stress Management and Fitness. She is sought-after core-expert who specializes in helping people overcome physical roadblocks and rehabilitate from serious injuries, such as spinal problems, hip replacements, osteoporosis and arthritis. Dagmar has worked with 1000’s of people and has created successful Yoga Tune Up® programs for athletic clubs, colleges, and university lecturers in sport and medical doctors. Dagmar is the creator of INJURY FREE RUNNING program for the Solas Run For Life, a contributing fitness expert to Beat 102 103 & Waterford Today, and her work has been featured on Dublin City FM, WLR FM, Munster Express and Waterford News & Star. For more information visit www.dagmarkhan.com

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LCF

Thanks for sharing. Resting pose is great for the psoas and it can be made even more resting by supporting the legs so the muscles can really completely relax, particularly the psoas, as is done in Restorative yoga practice. For instance with lower legs on a chair or a pile of cushions, also using a strap to hold the legs in position works well and… cherry on the cake, having someone gently roll your thighs in …!

Wendi

My psoas have been totally out of balance from sitting at work and I really notice the imbalance following driving, and stepping out of the pickup. I’ve been working on consciously balancing my hips and also doing some of the poses from Level 1 YTU training as well as using the Yoga Tune Up balls for a little psoas sequencing. I have amazingly noticed, in such a short amount of time, a release of discomfort as well as better parallel positioning in my walking gait. YAY 🙂

Marie-Michelle Darveau

Good one, need that !

Jen Wheaton

I practice constructive rest on almost a daily basis and have found that it makes a huge difference in my practice and the health of my psoas which previously had always been very tightly wound (or felt that way). My teacher recently led us through constructive rest placing a folded up blanket between our knees and using a strap around the legs to hold the blanket in place during constructive rest. It was AMAZING! I felt like the soft support was a perfect compliment and left my psoas feeling happy and healthy!

Lisa Federico

Thank you Dagmar…gut smashing is such an emotional release as well as physical. Putting all of your suggestions to use regularly is a dream!

Emma

Thank you for such a helpful article! The simplicity of this method appeals to me, as I often will spiral into a manic frenzy trying to determine what to do about the chronically-tight psoas on my right side. I have gotten active release technique (which works brilliantly), passive stretching (which doesn’t work brilliantly), or adopting a forward-tilted pelvis so I can’t feel it. It is only after a week of Level 1 YTU training that I noticed significant improvement in my right hip. I spent significantly more time in Constructive Rest than usual, I frequently performed abdominal breathing, and I… Read more »

Hana

Do you think releasing the psoas eases or gets rid of clicking in the hip? I want to say with the ease of tension, you will find more fluidity in the hip socket- but I’m not 100% sure that it will impact the “clicking” people usually experience.

Sue Taylor

In a YTU Psoas release workshop I was guided through ‘constructive rest’ to target releasing the Psoas. The teacher (Lynda Jaworski) suggested we try this at home on a daily basis for 2 weeks. Eager to take on the challenge I did. At first I started with 20 minutes. I soon discovered that it was in the last 5 minutes that I felt release and so I increased the time to 30 minutes. I felt huge relief in my Psoas and connective tissues after the suggested 2 weeks and continued into a third week. It was in this third week… Read more »

C. Chiu

I love love love this! Is apanasana on a block considered too much extension in rest?

Miriam Rigney

Dagmar, I have not heard ‘constructive rest ‘ since my teacher training and when I heard it then, it struck a chord with me. Less is definitely more when it comes to tissue release and reset. Love this sequence.

Jimmee Greco

I love the idea of using Ardha Savasana as a passive release for the psoas. I’m definitely going to try it after a long day of sitting!

Julie Thomas

Hello Dagmar,

Great DOMs on the pose! It’s easy to follow and gives a tremendous stretch into the psoas wich I just discover this week. 🙂 I am attending a teacher level 1 training with Jill and we have been all over it, especially yesterday with the restorative hip immersion. Early morning courageous ball rolling is now my new favorite. Thank you and keep blogging about the subject!

Tamar

I have been doing a lot of driving (sitting) lately and already had some psoas issues to deal with. Its nice to start gathering some good info on how to care for this muscle. I would have loved to take your psoas class.

TDY

Dagmar

Lisa, this is such a powerful observation. We need to re-train our often overstretched yogic bodies to sense where we are trying to invest movement; where we need to add some strength, and which tissues we might be bypassing.

Lisa

YES! NEUTRAL PELVIS when doing a lunge stretch for the psoas. It makes such a profound difference without the oh so common anterior tilt of the pelvis in a lunge the stretch becomes more about the psoas rather than a back extension. It might not look quite as impressive (to the untrained eye) without the spinal extension but if a psoas stretch is the intention then this approach is so effective!

Kristin

We’re so type A in our society we don’t often put value on something like a passive release (down regulation) but it’s so important for our mental and physical health. Ardha Savasana- a great one to list as a release for such a meaty beast of a muscle! If we release the abused psoas, no doubt it has an affect on our mental well-being as well as the physical.

Vickie

I used to have quite a few issues with my psoas for many years, and my physical therapist incorporated poses/exercises mentioned above. Did the world of good to me. And oh so simple to do. I cannot recommend doing these exercises enough to those suffering with psoas pain. Thanks Dagmar

Dagmar

Yes Johanna, totally. Jill’s gut smashing video would be super-helpful to help untie muscular and connective tissue restrictions around the whole world of psoas/ illiacus: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C8sSUsJ-bTY

Johanna

My psoas is tight on one side and not the other. Is there a good way to target the tight side?

Shaina Ferguson

I always used to think that my flexibility came from my hips (and psoas), but as I’ve been studying my body more closely during yoga teacher training, I realized that this flexibility came from my hamstrings. My psoas is actually relatively tight. Now, I’m working towards a more flexible psoas muscle and well-rounded flexibility. Thank you for these exercises!

Melinda Kausek

So important to use a multi-faceted approach when trying to reset the psoas – I agree especially with starting with constructive rest before stretching – the psoas holds so much of our stress and needs to be calm before it can change length. Thanks for a great post!

Meredith Brockriede

Thank you for these four steps to better psoas health and your accompanying article! I was just discussing the psoas with a fellow teacher yesterday, and she mentioned the role the psoas plays in jutting ribs. I am certainly a ribby person, and see it in many of my students in tadasana, and certainly in savasana. I’d be interested to hear how psoas strength and tightness can cause or contribute to an anterior protrusion of the lower ribs.

Jenna

I love that such a simple, relaxed posture can have such great benefits. Simply by bending your knees in savasana and not forcing your lower back to the floor, you can release your psoas with the help of gravity. Simple, easy, effective. LOVE.

Elise Gibney

I had never thought about ardha savasana as a pose that stretched the psoas. What an informative and helpful post – I’m forwarding this to my sister, who sits at a desk all day long! Thank you!

ellen

Very helpful and accessible post for a muscle that is sometimes tough to access. I just did the stretch a few minutes ago and felt a difference. Thanks!

Anastasia

Can anyone recommend a massage therapist/body worker in the Los angeles area for psoas release?

Anastasia

Wow, that “rolling your guts” video is something! I can’t wait to try it! It makes sense on how it would help release the psoas/iliacus by moving/diluting all the tension in between the layers of the core muscles that we work so hard on making “tight” aka stable all the time. For me, just a simple boomerang stretch against the wall is plenty of stretch in the psoas, or sometimes just not having the psoas in a contacted state is a stretch in of itself!

Ariana

I like Amanda’s point – I almost overlooked that vital part. Yes it is so important to allow the psoas a passive release in Ardha Savasana. I do find it is a very hard muscle to stretch though. I find that rounding my back and posteriorly tilting the pelvis while I reach the arms forward also helps.

Marilyn gibson

I reallly apprecate the constructive rest informataion. It makes so much sense yet is a neglected portion of working our muscles. i frequently say that we sometimes forget to include the obvious and most helpful we work to heal ourselves. Thank for clear directtions to all of the stages.

Gary Carlisle

Nice and simple,and when done provides great results.Slowing down and relaxing enough to do the simple things might be a challenge for some type A personalities or anyone who feels really busy. Some times people might play a trick on themselves
and think because it is simple it will not work or their time is too valuable to be bothered by such simple things.
But it is the simple fundamental things that are what work.

Alicia

Thank you for this nice post! I like the term constructive rest and the idea that the psoas can be released in this pose. We pay little attention to this important muscles that we overuse during our dayly activities, and most importantly the relation between the psoas and breathing. Being in constructive rest will help to feel that conexion.

MaryBeth Frosco

Hello Dagmar. I took a course a few years ago with Liz Koch where I first came upon the term and the idea of contructive rest for the psoas. It was one of the earliest times I learned about “self care” for myself and my students. What I found is that it was harder to get my students to rest in this pose for 20 min on their own than it was to get them to do a 90 min vinyasa or power yoga class, where they willingly would hang in lunges putting an enorous amount of strain and pressure… Read more »

Amanda Joyce

Hi Dagmar! It is amazing how valuable these tools could be to just about everyone! I especially appreciate the fact that you included “Constructive Rest” as one of the categories in your plan to help reset the psoas to it’s best state. I find that I can tend to “bully” my psoas via stretching more than adopting a more passive approach and this is a great reminder that bringing passive peace to the area is also powerful in its own way! Thank you!

Gary Carlisle

The psoas attaches to the diaphragm and affects breathing. Sound like there is more to learn on this blog than i imagined
What a great tool for all of us..Also very informative ways to give the psoas a rest and a stretch.

Kate Krumsiek

Thank you for describing the lunge with sidebend – it is clear and accessible for readers. I’ll surely try it out. The psoas is a challenging muscle to understand but an easy one to have trouble with in the body. Students of their body, like me, welcome concrete ways to connect with this elusive muscle. Thank you!

Helen McAvoy

Good information and informative. Very interesting from the commentor who referred to digestion and elimanation. I never really included that in the realm of complications it can effect. thank you!

Lynne S

I will definitely be trying these two moves. I have spent the last few years sitting at a desk and have developed a slight backward tilt to my pelvis, something I’ve never had before. I never thought about it being caused by a tightening of the psoas. It will be interesting to see what happens if I do these on a regular basis.

Simone

This is so doable – just a few inches away from the chair, I tired it out today (as I spend a lot of time sitting and writing) and it felt good. I will keep doing it. Thanks for the clear directions.

Marc Nelles

Dagmar, thank you for your two Psoas articles – understanding your Psoas, where it attaches, and its role is very important in regards to understanding your lower back pain and what a complex problem it can be or become.
Thank you also for pointing out the supportive role to the lumbar plexus, and therefore its impact on the digestion and elimination systems in the body. I never knew about this correlation, and it makes so much more sense now that my back pain issues sometimes interfere with my digestion.

Matt sharpe

I can’t tell you how much I have to work the iliopsoas after sitting in my office all day and then biking home. I find the side bend to be too deep immediately following work and prefer something like bridge lifts minivini or anjaneyasana as easier poses to create space leading up to the side bend.

Veronica

My day job has me sitting all day in front of the computer and oftentimes, I find release of the stress on my back and hips by playing around with the tilt of my pelvis while lunging. After reading this article i will be looking out for the psoas and its upper attachement near the lungs during propriception.

Oliana

I second all your opinions on the importance of maintaining healthy and fit psoas. The more I read about them, the more I care. One of the things I learned recently about the psoas was that a handful of other core muscles originate or attach to the psoas, thus making them such a key player of the human anatomy.
Also, I have had a psoas release a couple of times, and find that to be extremely painful. I am not sure however, that it helped me. Or perhaps I have to find a better therapist.

Amy

It seems to me that any type of balanced exercise regime must incorporate some form of propioceptive learning for the body. In this case, the psoas which is buried so deeply within the core would benefit so much from the larger core ball by directly resting one’s body weight, core facing down to the floor to awaken the psoas and the soft tissue which surrounds it. In addition, the relationship of the YTU Breathing sequences would also stimulate and awaken the psoas – on or off of the ball, working towards more equilibrium with the psoas on both the right… Read more »

Yelimar

Dagmar, Thanks for sharing. Matt, I totally agree. It’s a magical muscle. When I found out it was attached to my diaphram and affected my capacity to breath it was like the finding the holy grail of body links.

Erin

Amazing how just a simple stretch,breath and pose and release, activate an area of our body that can hold so much tension- and can reeducate the body into a better place.

Matt Sharpe

Great post. These are both great, simple poses that I’ve admittedly used as a break from sitting at my desk all day. Seriously, the coolest muscle.

Dagmar

Yes Lisa, releasing your psoas by a therapist can be extremely grueling, even painful experience-however sometimes it is the quickest way to get some results. I remember years of my ”swayed back” (way before I became certified YTU teacher, and my incorrect posture has been pointed out to me by my teacher Jill Miller), have caused me enormous tightness in the upper fibers of psoas (around T12). I have gone to the manual therapist seeking for release in order tp access optimal alignment (which just did not feel comfortable) and her hands on way one of the most deep treatments… Read more »

Lisa Asch

I have heard so many different ways to release the psoas, but this is actually something I can do, thank you! I have heard of lacrosse balls used at the psoas while the body weight helps initiate the release (while in prone position and lifting opposing arms and legs to go deeper), but this is really painful and not for everyone. I have also heard of the psoas being released by a therapist, but that seems awfully intimate ; ). Thank you for posting, I will be sending to my students to complement what we learned yesterday in our Integrated… Read more »