On Wednesday I discussed the danger of the psoas major getting tight and weak due to a predominance of sagittal plane movement and long periods of sitting in our modern way of life.  You may remember that I recommended some awesome Yoga Tune Up® poses such as the Pelvic Primer and Leg Stretch Series to wake-up & strengthen those cranky psoas muscles in order to avoid or alleviate hip and lower back issues.  Here you will find a video of another great dynamic YTU pose that also works to stretch and strengthen the psoas major. In the video, Certified Yoga Tune Up® Teacher, Claiborne Davis, demonstrates the Psoas Spiral with his inspired addition of a blanket.  And, of course, don’t forget to give those adductors and abductors a little love, too, for optimum strength and stabilization of the hips, thighs, lower back and pelvic floor.

Read about exercises that can help your hips.

Learn about our hip pain relief products.

Watch other hip stretch videos on YouTube.


Allison McCready

Allison’s breath, alignment & anatomy based classes are a unique combination of introspection, self-enquiry and playfulness. She encourages her students to move into the nuances of each pose by focusing on breath and sensation, guiding students into an intuitive listening to their body’s story. Her popular Deep Flow classes are Yoga Tune Up® inspired and deconstruct the vinyasa into component parts so that students build strength and stability without risk of injury. Allison has completed teacher trainings with Max Strom, Erich Schiffmann, Jamie Elmer, Sherry Brourman and Jill Miller.

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Karin Steinbach

So grateful for this psoas strengthener! Will definitely add it to my practice!

Christine (CJ) Lamborn

I’ve been doing Pilates leg circles for years, never thought to add weight! The blanket is awesome! Will definitely be giving this a try. Thank you

marie josée packwood

What I great idea !


I find these are actually quite an advanced movement for students, due to the demand to anchor and stabilize the hips, and also flex the hips to 90 degrees. It’s a great assessment to check psoas strength, as well as reset/restabilize the psoas after stretching it! My personal journey with the psoas, as a dancer, has been rocky and for years decided to avoid long or extreme leg extensions because I thought I had tendonitis in my hip flexors…I’ve just recently begun to realize that it might not be inflammation at all but actually just weakness! I am doing more… Read more »

Amber Bilak

I like these, but I find I have to take a very reduced range of motion so as not to irritate my snapping hip (I have a longer leg, and on that side the TFL pops over the greater trochanter).

Jan hollander

Short but sweet artical,love the youclip,very educational in further understanding hips


Thanks for sharing this video. My hips are always feeling a little “wobbly” after practicing poses, that are supposed to lengthen the psoas. Since i already had the feeling, there is missing a little strength and stability in my hips I will include the variation into my personal practice.


This technique is amazing! I’ve always had tight hips and learning what’s happening inside the body has me searching for ways to treat my psoas and QL. Thanks for this post!

Gustavo Torres Santiago

I’m looking forward in trying your method. I have extremely tight hips and upper thighs.

Gustavo Torres Santiago

Great video and writeup. I’m extremely tight in this area and will look forward in trying your method.

Catherine de Marin

Thank you for this creative way to progressively weight hip rotation!

Catherine de Marin

Thank you for this creative idea to progressively weight the rotation movement at the hip! So cool.


What a creative approach- using the blanket to add more weight!! Definitely looks like a great strenghtener for the psoas- adding this one to my current practice for sure!


Thanks for this post Allison. Just tried the Psoas Spiral with a blanket and love it. A great way to work on strength, stability and flexibility – all with one exercise. 🙂


What an interesting pose! I hadn’t considered doing poses to specifically strengthen the psoas before I read this. Thanks for expanding my horizon.

Brittany Brie

Interesting article. I would have never thought to add the blanket in.

I’m going to request we try this out in my level 1 cert.

Ashley Everhart

This is what I love about YTU/Roll Model, it all just makes sense. When I saw this exercise I said to myself, “why didn’t I think of that?” Everything makes great anatomical sense. Thanks for sharing!

Amanda Rassam

Awesome variation – and a great coordination exercise, too! I particularly like that there is use of both the sagittal and lateral planes of motion here. I will be sure to use this with my clients.

Josiane O'Rourke

This is a great exercise. Working on hip flexors abductors, adductors and a bit of toe prehension as well! 🙂

Dustin Brown

Great exercise! I just gave it a try as I’m feeling tight after a 10hr flight feeling much better. I have a few studio members that could really use this in their practice. Thanks for sharing!!


I’m going to try this!
I have so many students with tight…but weak hip flexors. I’ve been using hip flexor releases I learned in Pilates that help the hamstrings fire, but that doesn’t address the weakness.


I’m super inspired to help my students get to know their pelvis, and will be using this!

Amy Moore

This video intrigues me. I had never thought to stretch or strengthen my psoas in that manner. Love the creativity and out of the box thinking.

Susan J

This open chain movement with added weight of blanket and griping of the blanket between the toes really helped me isolate and deeply become aware of the psoas!

Tracey Arnold

I like the creative use of the blanket to deeply stimulate the posts. I look forward to trying it and also with ankle weights.

Patricia Lamontagne

Very interesting exercise ! In equine massage, we use a “TTouch” technique (touch) to spiral the limbs of the horse towards the ground. I knew it was good for the health of the shoulders and hips muscles and ligaments, but I never thought it could have an impact on the psoas of the horse too ? Did you know that the horse’s psoas run from the front of the femur and attach to the 14e vertebrea, right under the rider’s seat ? I guess I’ll read more on that soon. Thanks Yoga Tune up ! It gives me the opportunity… Read more »


oh i like the blanket!! thanks for sharing this!

Michelle Preyde

Love this blog! Now part of my toolbox.

Shannon Algeo

I understand how the psoas spirals strengthen the psoas (because the hip is in flexion as the left circumducts). How do the psoas spirals (shown in Clairborne’s video) stretch psoas major? Thank you!


I really like this variation. I’m use to a traditional pilates leg circles, but love the slowly circling wider and then smaller to mix it up. And the blanket is great to up the ante.


Thanks for another great psoas pose….. I have been working on mine for sometime now….. I was dealing with low back pain and came to realize of a lot of work else where that I needed to address my psoas……. I’m still in the procse of doing that but am making good progress and enjoy trying out all the suggestions I can find.



Awesome article and video. This is a great exercise for the psoas.

Stacy Jackson

Just did the leg stretch series today and there was so much more length in my hip flerxors, my psoas was definietly feeling the love!
Excited to try the Psoas Spiral exercise with the blanket. The extra weight adds2382 some compression which will add an extra layer of difficulty. I can’t wait to try it!

Cindy Runzer

The psoas is something I try to focus on regularily, as I don’t realize how tight it gets sometimes (and how different one side can be from the other). What I particularly like about this pose is the option to vary the weight of the blanket. Thank you for this infomation!

Victoria Ryder-Burbidge

This was a great variation. Just a little bit of weight can make a huge difference. I find that when I do this improperly, my back cluncks and clicks. When I do this properly, the movement is smooth. So cool to really connect the core with the hip flexors.

Marla Brackman

I occasionally have cranky psoas. It’s probably both tight and weak. The Psoas Spiral with the blanket was wonderfully challenging! I’ll be doing this exercise consistently now. The blanket brings that extra challenge to my core stability. Thank you for sharing!

Shakti Rowan

This is a great way to stretch out the muscles of the hips and address imbalances in the sacral joints as well. Sometimes there is nothing I can do to release the SI joint and it can get pretty cranky! I have found these asymmetrical poses can offer great relief and reset the whole hip! What a great way to take care of myself and not pay the chiropractor!! Thank you!

pam everson

I can’t wait to share this with my friend with a nagging groin pain!!


I have noticed that my warrier two pose has become increasingly tight in one hip flexor – psoas. Similar to what Clairborne describes as his student’s problem in triangle. I am really looking forward to incorporating the psoas spiral into my workout – I already do an abodominal exercise on the floor and this will work in perfectly before or after while I’m at the gym.
I like how this is going to work on both strength and flexibility and stability.

Allison Shapiro

This is an exercise I do daily. I make sure to keep neutral pelvis. I usually use a theraband on the instep of the foot but I love the blanket idea, especially for the action of the toes. I’ll be adding that to my action plan!


Thanks for this post! this are great exercices. We are not aware how tight our psoas can become after sitting in front of our computers for long time, and we don’t strech as much as we need. As a consequence our gluteals muscles become weak bringing us in misaligned pelvis leading to lower bak pain. I’ll make sure I’ll parctice this stretches regularly.

Jona Joyce

I love this! I do the spinal at least once a day. It’s great. I love the addition of the blanket. I’ll be trying that tomorrow!
Thanks for sharing sister!

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