7 Yoga Poses That Stretch Your Psoas Muscles

Try these yoga poses to help stretch the psoas muscles & prevent pain & stiffness…

While you may not be familiar with the iliopsoas muscle (psoas for short) unless you’ve been in therapy for hip or back pain, it is a very important muscle to keep in good working order. This small but powerful muscle is a bilateral deep core muscle that connects the legs to the torso on each side. Dancers and other athletes especially rely on these muscles for power and forward motion, but no matter who you are, tight or weak psoas muscles can lead to core weakness, poor posture, hip pain, and back pain.

The main function of the iliopsoas is to flex the hips in order to help move the legs. The muscle contracts to bring the leg forward, and lengthens to extend backward. It is important to note that spending long periods of time in a seated position shortens and tightens the psoas muscles. Since most of us in modern society sit for much of the day, it is essential to counter this position by spending some time every day stretching the psoas muscles.

Fortunately, yoga is a great way to care for this important muscle! Many balance poses help to improve core muscle strength – including the psoas muscles – and back bend poses offer a great stretch for the front of the hips and psoas.

Here are 7 yoga poses that are awesome to help stretch the psoas muscles (click the links for a full tutorial on each pose):

1.) Tree Pose (Vrksasana)

Tree Pose is a basic standing balance pose. And it is a great way to work the psoas on the side of the lifted leg. All balancing poses require you to use your core muscles for stabilization. And this pose is no exception.

Vrksasana strengthens your legs and core while opening up your hips. It stretches your inner thighs and groin muscles.

2.) Standing Big Toe Pose (Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana)

This pose is particularly appropriate for the psoas. It combines challenging your balance with moving your lifted leg towards your body. You can use a strap around your lifted foot in this pose. This will also prevent your back from rounding forward and your shoulder from reaching out of its socket.

Standing Big Toe Pose strengthens the legs and ankles. It stretches the backs of the legs and improves one’s sense of balance.

3.) King Dancer Pose (Natarajasana)

This is another standing balancing pose. As you lift your back leg into position, the psoas gets a nice stretch. Remember to keep your shoulders down and away from your ears. And avoid locking your standing knee.

King Dancer strengthens the legs and improves balance and core strength. It stretches the shoulders and opens the hip flexors as a counter to tight hips.

4.) Warrior I Pose (Virabhadrasana I)

Warrior I is also a bit of a balancing pose… Overall, this pose provides an excellent stretch for the psoas.

The psoas lengthens on the back leg as the torso stretches away from that leg.

This pose stretches the whole front side of the body while strengthening the thighs, ankles, and back. It develops stamina, balance, and coordination. And it stretches your chest and lungs, improving your breathing.

5. Camel Pose (Ustrasana)

The psoas works on each side to support the lower spine in this pose. They also lengthen through the backend. Get the full benefits of this stretch by making sure your thighs stay perpendicular to the floor.

Camel Pose stretches the front of your body including your chest, abdomen, and quadriceps. It also improves spinal mobility and opens your heart chakra.

6.) Reclined Hero Pose (Supta Virasana)

The forward motion of the lower body counters with the backward motion in the upper body in this pose. This makes for a deep stretch for the abdominal region and psoas.

Note: This pose can be quite intense on the thighs and knees. So approach it with caution.

7.) Wheel Pose (Urdhva Dhanurasana)

Full Wheel provides a strong stretch across the whole midsection. It also requires a lot of back and shoulder flexibility and strength.

If this pose is too intense for you, you can get a similar but slightly less intense psoas stretch in Bridge Pose.

Read More at YogaPractice.com


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