Main menu

Psoas Release

Stabilizing the hip joint to release the psoas

All

Psoas Release: stabilizing the hip joint to release the psoas

Lower back muscles: psoas muscle. The psoas attaches to the lumbar bodies and intervening vertebral discs. It also attaches to the fronts of the lumbar transverse processes. It passes forwards and downwards from the lumbar spine, bends around the front of the hip bone and from there reaches back to attach to the lesser trochanter, at the top of the inner thighs inner surface, towards the back edge and just below the neck of the femur. The psoa Neil Keleher, Sensational Yoga Poses.

For effective psoas release, it's helpful to understand why the psoas is tense in the first place.

One reason for a contracted psoas is that the hips (and legs) are too relaxed.

If the legs are too relaxed, the psoas may engage to help create hip stability.

Activating the abs, particularly the external obliques (lengthen the neck, lift the front ribs, pull the top of the pelvis (iliac crests) rearwards) may help create a psoas release by creating a stable core but then this requires the external obliques to always be engaged, which seems "inelegant" and may lead to other problems down the road.

In my own experience, tensing the muscles of the legs or hips, particularly the gluteus maximus also isn't the answer. (Though if it works for you then definitely use it!)

Counter Nutation

In the mula bandha and sacroiliac joint articles I talk about how the pelvic floor muscles can be used to counter-nutate the sacrum, tilting it backwards relative to the pelvis.

My feeling and experience is that this action is good to use prior to psoas activation.

It helps to stabilize the spine which in turn gives the psoas a stable foundation from which to act on the thighs.

(I found this helpful when trying to lift or jump up into handstand.)

To facilitate this movement these same muscles pull the sitting bones inwards which in turn causes the iliac crests to spread outwards. The act of "counter-nutation" is more than just the sacrum tilting backards. It's also the bottom of the pelvis moving laterally inwards and the top of the pelvis moving laterally outwards. ("Laterally" means side to side.)

Nutation

In contrast, in my hip joint and muscles of the hip articles I talk about how the obturators (especially obturator internus) and the gemelli may help to spread the sitting bones when active which in turn causes the iliac crests (the hip bones) to move inwards. And I'm guessing tha this will be accompanied by a nutation of the sacrum which means it nods forwards relative to the pelvis.

Core Stability versus Hip Stability

Counter nutation may at times be a key action in creating core stability.

Meanwhile nutation and opening the hips may play a role in creating stable hips.

It may be that when standing it's desirable to have one but not the other. So if the hips are stable then the core doesn't need to be stable or strong. Nor does the psoas need to be contracted. The muscles of the core can then be used to move the upper body relative to the platform of the hips and pelvis.

If standing on one leg, then if that hip is stable then you might have the option of making the core stable so that you can kick or do something with the free leg, or you can relax the core if the other leg is also relaxed.

Creating Stable Hips to Help Cause A Psoas Release

For the following exercise, stand with your weight even on both legs, knees slightly bent.

Forward Tilt the Pelvis

If you have a chronically short psoas, the first step towards helping the psoas to release may be to let the pelvis tilt forwards while at the same time increasing the curve of the lower back. This will shorten the distance between the end points of the psoas. And if this is done without using the psoas to cause the action then this may actually take tension out of the psoas which may result in decrease of pain in the lower back (if you had it in the first place.)

This may or may not be enough to cause your psoas to release. However, walking around with a forwards pelvic tilt isn't ideal. The ideal is being able to control pelvic tilt without causing unnecessary tension in the psoas.

And so the next task is learning to control the muscles of the pelvic floor and hip joint.

Relax the Pelvic Floor Muscles

Relax the pelvic floor muscles so that the tail bone can move away form the pubic bone (sacrum tilts forwards relative to pelvis.)

Create Space in the Hip Joint

The next step is to activate the obturators and gemelli to help "lift" the pelvis off of the thigh bones. Think of pushing your knees away form your hip joints or do the opposite and push your pelvis up away from your knees.

Stand on One Leg, Level the Pelvis

To activate the side glutes and inner thighs, it might be easier if you stand with your weight on one leg.

Instead of letting your non weighted hip sink down, see if you can use your side glutes to level the pelvis. Keep your torso vertical (viewed from front.) And keep your pelvis tilted forwards. Once you can feel your side glutes activate, add more tension by "squeezing" the adductors of your weighted leg. But continue to keep your pelvis level.

Meanwhile, the non-weighted foot can just "rest" on the ground.

Tilt Your Pelvis Backwards Slowly

The next exercise is to keep tension in the hip muscles of the weighted leg and work at tilting your pelvis back while trying to keep the psoas release.

As you tilt your pelvis back and straighten your lumbar spine, if you notice tension coming back into the lower back, then stop and return to the start.

Tilt your pelvis backwards slowly. And then return, and then try this same exercise on the other leg.

Standing On Both Legs

Then try doing this with weight on both legs. So that your psoas stays relaxed when standing on both legs, try to keep the hip stable by using adductors, abductors and gemelli and obturators.

Remember:

Published: 2020 08 03

Neil Keleher

Hi, I'm Neil Keleher

I have a bachelor's degree in Systems Design Engineering from the University of Waterloo.

I've taught yoga for over 20 years with a focus on force perception and using it to improve body awareness, stability, strength and flexibility.

My main interest is in basic principles that can be applied in any endeavor to make learning and doing easier and to make problem solving easier.

You can find more by me on my other website zeroparallax

Clearly defined poses, exercises and stretches for improving stability, body awareness and flexibility.

Ebooks and video courses by Neil Keleher

Balance Basics ebook. Neil Keleher, Sensational Yoga Poses.

Ebook

Yoga Basics 1 ebook. Neil Keleher, Sensational Yoga Poses.

Ebook

Yoga Basics 2 ebook. Neil Keleher, Sensational Yoga Poses.

Ebook

Yoga for shoulders ebook. Neil Keleher, Sensational Yoga Poses.

Ebook

Hip control Guide ebook. Neil Keleher, Sensational Yoga Poses.

Ebook

Working towards wheel pose ebook. Neil Keleher, Sensational Yoga Poses.

Ebook

Dance of Shiva ebook. Neil Keleher, Sensational Yoga Poses.

Ebook

know to flow ebook. Neil Keleher, Sensational Yoga Poses.

Ebook

ebook bundle including: the dance of shiva, balance basics, yoga for your shoulders, yoga basics 1, yoga basics 2, the hip control guide, working towards wheel pose, know to flow.

Ebook bundle: 8 books

take out the slack. Neil Keleher, Sensational Yoga Poses.

Video Membership

5 Sensational yoga routines for beginners. Neil Keleher, Sensational Yoga Poses.

Video routine and workshop

Frictional muscle control. Neil Keleher, Sensational Yoga Poses.

Video routine and workshop

Extreme stability, Foot and Ankle Stability for Better Hip Control. Neil Keleher, Sensational Yoga Poses.

Video routine and workshop

Mindful muscle control and proprioception. Neil Keleher, Sensational Yoga Poses.

Video routine and workshop

Ribcage mobility video course. Neil Keleher, Sensational Yoga Poses.

Video workshop

Muscle control for your Spine video course. Neil Keleher, Sensational Yoga Poses.

Video workshop

Hip flexor control video course. Neil Keleher, Sensational Yoga Poses.

Video workshop

Hamstring control video course. Neil Keleher, Sensational Yoga Poses.

Video workshop

Thigh muscle control video course. Neil Keleher, Sensational Yoga Poses.

Video workshop

Long thigh muscle control video course. Neil Keleher, Sensational Yoga Poses.

Video workshop

Deep hip muscle control video course. Neil Keleher, Sensational Yoga Poses.

Video workshop

SI joints, hips and spine control video course. Neil Keleher, Sensational Yoga Poses.

Video workshop

Shoulder control video course. Neil Keleher, Sensational Yoga Poses.

Video workshop

Arm strength for push ups video course. Neil Keleher, Sensational Yoga Poses.

Video workshop

Better hip joint control. Neil Keleher, Sensational Yoga Poses.

Video workshop

Leg anatomy video course. Neil Keleher, Sensational Yoga Poses.

Video workshop

take out the slack. Neil Keleher, Sensational Yoga Poses.

Video Membership

Related:
Psoas Stretching
(Psoas Stretching)

Psoas Stretch

Psoas Stretches

Psoas Stretches

Reclining psoas stretch

Standing Psoas Stretch Variations

Stretching the Psoas

More Psoas Stretching articles

Return to TOP of Page

Main menu