By Atzín García.
Some studies consider the Ilisopsoas (Psoas) the most vital muscle in your body. It is also the first muscle which can be exhausted by our daily sitting activities or extreme stress.
The Psoas starts from the twelve toraxic vertebreal (T12) crossing in front of the Iliac crest and joining to the Iliac muscle, becoming the Iliopsoas and finally ends in the trochanter of the femur.
It measures around 40 cm and its main job is as a hip flexor, external rotation, and frontal flexion of the trunk. It also works as a stabilizer of the column, and it supports your organs. It strongly influences many bodily functions.
Being close to two tendons of the diaphragm, the psoas can affect or be affected by respiration. This means a stressful situation where the breathing fluctuates will stress the psoas, and any other muscle close to it.
If this muscle is affected by external patterns, as how it can be in a sedentary life, it will cause the shortening and weakening of it. This affects the diaphragm and respiration.
The psoas has direct contact with the kidneys, ureters, renal vessels, colon, iliac arteries, and the lumbar plexus. The shortening of one side or the two sides will eventually disturb the function of these organs. This disturbance could produce scoliosis, a twisting of the spine, and lumbar Hyperlordosis, a concave curving of the lower back.
The main factors that can distress the Psoas can be sitting for long periods of time, bad posture, and an overuse of it in activities that require repetitive hip flexion like walking, running, cycling, etc.
Besides repetitive actions, the Psoas can be upset by emotions like stress and fear. As mentioned before, the psoas starts at the T12 it has a direct connection to the nervous system, this makes it respond every time we feel fear and other severe emotions.
In Taoist tradition it is believed the Psoas is the muscle of the soul and that it is an elementary muscle for core strength. A relaxed psoas means better self-esteem, reveals our soul’s qualities and grounds us to earth letting the earth’s energy flows through our bodies.
Body awareness and movements that extend the Psoas can help us to improve significantly the health of this muscle. By changing our posture every time we are sitting to a long spine posture and helping the spine by activating the core (abdominal muscles) this would give space to the Psoas.
Also by doing yoga postures that extend the legs, posture like Virabhadrasana I & II (Warrior pose), Ashwa Sanchalasana (Runner pose), Parvottanasana (Intense Side stretch pose) Utthita Padangusthasana A and C, Jathara Parivartasana and similar.
By doing some yoga postures you can help to relax the muscle and yourself. All these postures can be done with the help of yoga props like bolsters, chairs, strings , blocks or any others you need to keep the posture.
Using props you will make the posture passive which can let you stay for 3 minutes or more, if you don’t use props try to maintain them for around 1 minute. However the best improvement you can get would be by changing your daily habits.