I’ve been teaching yoga therapy workshops recently and am super inspired by the amazing healing power of the Ashaya Yoga™ method. I’ve seen many people get out of pain using yoga therapeutics, and I thought it would be wonderful to share some tips over the next few months that can help heal the lower back. Today I will focus on the psoas (so-as) muscle.
Pain-free living is our birthright. Our factory setting is joy. Whenever you move towards better alignment, your body will shift from pain towards greater freedom. Good alignment is good therapy. Pain is a teacher and we need to listen to it. Physical pain can point to something out of alignment in the body. It can also carry the message that we need to change something in life or in our mental or emotional landscape. Your body is not separate from your life. The body is the microcosm of how you are living. Carolyn Myss says, “Your biography becomes your biology.”
It’s easier than you think to heal your body. I’ve had many injuries over the years and I’ve healed through refined alignment in yoga. I’m not opposed to using the medical model to heal. But I am a firm believer in the efficacy of yoga to bring integration, wholeness and healing. I recorded a short video for stretching the psoas muscle that focuses on the physical actions in the body. This video shows you how to do Lunge Pose, (2.5 minutes). By learning a few simple techniques and actions in the body, you will be able to align and stretch the psoas muscle to relieve and perhaps eliminate back problems.
Fun Facts About the Psoas Muscle
- It’s the muscle in the middle. It joins the back body to the front body and the upper body to the lower body. As above “psoas” below.
- It’s a muscle that tends to store fear. When you let go of fear, the psoas will release. You will be closer to experiencing heaven on earth.
- The psoas spans from the transverse processes of T12 to L4, and the vertebral bodies of L1-L5. It merges with the iliacus in the pelvis in the lower end of the psoas and attaches to the lesser trochanter.
- It’s the tenderloin muscle in humans. It is approximately 14-16 inches long.
- When tight, it can affect your breathing since it interacts with the diaphragm. A tight psoas can create shallow breathing which leads to tiredness and lack of vitality.
- It’s the muscle of embodiment. It makes us flex the hip and walk.
- It’s a bridge between the universal back body and the individual front body.
- It gets tight through prolonged sitting which is so much a part of our current lifestyle. Someone recently said, “Sitting is the new smoking.”
How to Align and Stretch the Psoas
- Open to a bigger energy and soften.
- Engage your muscles. Hug the midline.
- Maintaining engagement, internally rotate your thighs.
- Take your thighbones back.
- Keeping the thighs back, draw the tailbone down and forward.
- Lift the lower belly in and up.
- Take your front ribs down and back. Take your waistline back. Then from the core of the pelvis lengthen through the legs and from the core of the pelvis stretch up through the torso.