Yoga for Athletes: Psoas Awakening

The psoas and hip flexors make up the only major muscle group that connects the trunk to the legs; they give us the ability to operate in the world the way that we do (walking up right, running, etc.)  As athletes, runners, weightlifters and yoga practitioners, we spend a lot of time with the hips in flexion which can result in shortened, contracted and potentially weak psoas muscles.  These deeply rooted muscles are often a mystery because they can be the source lower back pain and misalignment in the hips/spine in ways that aren't immediately obvious.  This is because the psoas connects directly from the interior side of the femur bone to the lumbar vertebrae and the lower portion of the thoracic spine, crossing several major bones and joints along the way.

The psoas also interacts with the diaphragm through connective tissue and can impact the way we breathe.  It is one of the first muscles to activate in the flight or flight response chain drawing the two ends of the spine closer together.  This response occurs any time the body is under stress, real or perceived.  Therefore, the psoas is often overworked and under-paid (attention to).  Made up of bio intelligent tissue, the psoas is a vital messenger from the body to the brain and carries primal, intuitive information. 

This class begins by gently releasing the psoas and then progresses through alternating cycles of awakening (strengthening) and letting go (stretching).  This is more than just a physical muscle; the psoas has the ability to affect our health on many more subtle layers of being.