The poor psoas often gets blamed as a common culprit when it comes to issues in the body. From postural stability and hip function to breath and emotional resiliency, the psoas plays a major role in our performance. And if it ain’t happy, you’re not going to be either.
When people try to address psoas issues, conventional wisdom says one of two things.
- You have a tight psoas. Roll it out and stretch it. You’re a piece of meat, after all.
- You have a weak psoas. Strengthen it. Leg lifts ad nauseum. Because you can outwork dysfunction if you push hard enough…
Let’s bring some sanity to the psoas. To clarify the problem at hand, we should begin by understanding what it is we’re working with.
The Most Complicated Muscle You’ve Never Heard Of
So what does the psoas do? Depending on the person you ask, you’ll hear 15 different answers. Some folks say it primarily acts as a hip flexor. Others claim its main role is that of spinal stability. Others give it a more esoteric function. I say: yes, yes, and yes, because it does a bit of each.
- Global extension, a reaching out
- Global flexion, a pulling in
- Crying (typically)
When we break this down we can see how crucial psoas function is to each step. Organizing the spine, coordinating the hips, facilitating the breath…if we have a sticky psoas, these functions can’t proceed properly.
A Soft Reset for Your Psoas
You might be asking: so what? I’m not a baby. Ain’t nothin’ scares me.
Here’s where it gets interesting. You can think of this as a generalized response to trauma, one that helps us negotiate threats to ourselves. When it’s inhibited, that energy gets bottled up. We get stuck, physically and emotionally. The following daily practice will help you release excess tension psoas, no stretching or strengthening required.
Rather than stretch (adding tension to an overly tense system), a far better approach is to release. We can do this through something called a constructive resting position. Check out the image below:
And there we have it. A properly organized psoas is a powerful thing. After each session, tune in to your body and notice what you’re aware of. Can you sense shifts in tension? In alignment? Has your mood changed? Think of this as a soft reset for your body, and make it a daily practice.