I am in awe.
I am in awe of a pair of muscles and their influence on our overall health as women.
The psoas muscles are large muscles that traverse the physical core of our bodies – at one end attaching to the twelfth rib and all of the lumbar (lower back) vertebrae – at the other end attaching to the top inner aspect of the thigh bone (the lesser trochanter of the femur).
This pair of muscles is largely responsible for flexing our hips, tucking our bum, stabilizing our low back and providing a shelf for the abdominal organs.
Why my fascination? As a result of its location and function, the psoas influences:
- Skeletal balance
- Range of motion
- Joint rotation
- Organ functioning
- Circulation (of blood & lymph)
- Adrenal health
- Nerve functioning
- Emotional stability
- Giving Birth Naturally
Tension in the psoas is aggravated in our modern world by our physical positioning and chronic stress. Working in a seated position all day, riding in cars, wearing restrictive clothing and shoes that influence our posture, all contribute to increased psoas tension. Stress, overwhelm and anxiety trigger psoas tension and tension in this muscle pair can contribute to aggravation of stress, overwhelm and anxiety.
In the Taoist tradition, the psoas is called the muscle of the soul, as it resides in a major energy centre, at the core of the body. And through her research and experience, Liz Koch, author of “The Psoas Book” says the psoas is far more than a core stabilizing muscle; it is an organ of perception composed of bio-intelligent tissue and “literally embodies our deepest urge for survival, and more profoundly, our elemental desire to flourish.”
From an energetic perspective, these muscles traverse the three lower chakras – energy centres related to foundation, connection to the earth, strength for living, feeling of trust and security, connection to the Feminine, connection to sexuality, connection to our unconscious mind, willpower, self-confidence, self-awareness, sensitivity and power.
All of this.
This is the foundation of my awe.
And, this is only the beginning of my exploration of this beautiful, powerful muscle.
Wondering if your psoas muscles are tight? With a partner or friend, try this easy test at home.
Looking for more information about how a tight psoas may be influencing your health? I’ll continue to share my learning on this journey and in the meantime, check out the references below – especially Liz Koch’s website Core Awareness.
- Core Awareness (Liz Koch)
- The Muscle of the Soul May Be Triggering Your Anxiety
- The Psoas: Muscle of the Soul
- Spinning Babies: Birth Anatomy (scroll to section on soft tissues)
- Unraveling the Psoas Muscle
- Gentle Stretch with Foam Roller
- Yoga Practice Focused on Psoas Release (**Note: Remember to modify these poses, when necessary, to ensure you are practicing at your own pace. For in person guidance, visit a local yoga studio. If you are pregnant, seek guidance from a prenatal yoga instructor on ways you can gently stretch & release your psoas.)