A few weeks ago, I taught a Yoga Tune Up® class that focused on the psoas.
I started by educating my students on the very basic anatomy of this deep gut muscle. All across the room I begin to witness complete silence. I guess most of the students have not connected to their p-s-o-a-s in a very long time.
The psoas, also known as a primary hip flexor and ‘’13th Organ,’’ originates at the transverse processes of last thoracic and 5 lumbar vertebrae (T12-L5), bisects through deep inside of the gut and attaches at the inner femur (thigh bone). This is a very unique muscle that both flexes and laterally rotates the hip, and is one of the major muscles responsible for walking.
The lower portion of the psoas intertwines with the fibers of the iliacus, and together they form a muscle group known as iliopsoas.
The psoas also affects the structure of our upper body. It originates at T12 which is a major attachment site for the trapezius muscle. Through this junction the psoas can send forces into the upper body and directly affects the level of shoulder flexion (reaching your arm above your head).
In addition, the most important role of the psoas is the muscular support it provides for the lumbar plexus, a network of nerves which originate in the spinal cord and impact the wellbeing of the body’s digestion and elimination systems. Unlike muscles such as the hamstrings, which you can feel immediately due to their nerve endings informing us when they’re being worked, the psoas is much more challenging to propriocept (sense and feel). This is because it’s situated deep within the body behind the abdominal organs. It is the deepest and largest core muscle of the body.
In a nutshell-the health & vitality of our psoas affects the health of our entire body.
WHAT MAKES THE PSOAS TIGHT AND RESTRICTED?
Most of us tend to weaken our psoas just by living in today’s busy world. Prolonged hours of sitting,running, cycling or any repetitive movement which involves lot of hip flexion would create imbalances within the psoas tissues.
Other psoas pain causes and areas of concern:
BAD SHOE CHOICES
EMOTIONAL & PHYSICAL INJURIES
Come back for part 2 of this article on Friday (and then read how you can re-balance your psoas from inside-out).