What is the psoas? One muscle that is still shrouded in mystery is this deep hip flexor.
The psoas and its effect on its “owner” – well this is a big player in the health of your hips and your emotional wellbeing. Many of us have a lifestyle or work life that gets quite stressful and involves a lot of sitting, this muscle is getting to be a major player in our physical, mental and emotional well being.
The psoas is a big “player” in the functioning of the hips. I am no expert on anatomy, but do know that it connects your torso to your legs and helps you stay in an upright position. Whether you walk, ride a bike, do your yoga practice, or just hang out on your couch, this muscle is involved and affected in pretty much everything you do, and don’t do. This major hip flexor is “fired up” or engaged, when you lift up your legs as it too needs to stretch and lengthen every time you practice such asana involve deep opening of the front edge hip flexor such as Cobra or Upward facing dog. Like most people, we walk around with a tight psoas and are not aware of it. Luckily, practicing yoga helps to open this muscle to a great extent.
The benefits of having a “happy” psoas, is that you will quite literally feel more grounded and relaxed. Physically, you have a bigger range of movement. The downsides of having a tight psoas can manifest in back and hip pain and even ankle and knee pain. In addition to physical discomforts, a tight psoas is very fatiguing. Mental stress often shows its ugly head quite clearly in a painful neck and shoulders. But the deeper part of the body stores stress as well; the hips. The psoas is the main muscle of the “fight or fight” response of the body. When you are startled, your psoas contracts, when you have mental or emotional stress, the psoas will respond by tightening.
Physically, the hips tension in the hips is not only caused by mental stress or physical fitness; lifestyle, age, genetics, physical accidents and traumas also have an impact on tightness in the hips. Hips, particularly hold deep emotions – metaphysically manifesting in fears or increased anxiety. There is a reason why they are referred to as the “saddle bags’.
As students in Yoga, we know our hip openers can cause feelings of deep frustration, anger, even nausea feelings. So to shift energy and open, here are some tips to soften, create feelings of freedom ultimately a happy psoas:
- take the time to really feel your asana, don’t rush or you will miss the opportunity to feel your transitions. This part of your physical and emotional states
- Beautiful bhada konasana, bound angle butterfly, not only stimulates your kidney K1 meridian but works deeper in abductors, ITB and gluteus
- Warrior 1, crescent lunge, lunge rotations all have a beautiful affect in your hip health
- Send your breathe awareness into your lower chakras – particularly the sacral and root chakras, home to grounding, security and emotional balance
- Create a happy hip routine – in daily life, be conscious of how you ground your feet, any rotation of the knees, engage your core (and activate your manipurna chakra) for stability and courage to sit with your feelings
- Meditate to uncover your thoughts and attitudes toward fear – this is were the golden nectar lies!
Here is to a happy and healthy relationship all things psoas.