The Almighty Psoas Muscle

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By David Keil • April 3rd, 2006 • 30054 Views

The Almighty Psoas Muscle

Your Body's Center of Movement - The foundation of our bodies and our yoga practice lies at our feet. In order to incorporate both physical and energetic foundations, we must examine our body's center of energy, movement and balance which begins near the psoas muscle -- the pair of deep muscles extending from the sides of the spine to the femur that are activated in postures like forward bending (paschimottanasana) and Boat pose; and lengthened in poses like Warrior I and Bow.

To understand the psoas muscles, we first need to describe some of the surrounding structures. Imagine looking at a body from the front (anterior) then stripping the skin away. Peel away the layer of muscles over the abdomen and then remove the organs.

You'll now be looking at the front of the spine with its large vertebral bodies sandwiching those sometimes not-so- happy, but very important discs. You're now looking at your back/spine from the front.

Looking down a bit you see the inside of your bowl-shaped pelvis with your sacrum towards the back and the pelvic floor muscles in place connecting from it to your pubic bone. Lying over the front, and to the sides of your pubic bone, is a thick muscle that heads up to the sides of your vertebral bodies and drops down to connect to a spot on the inside and back of your thigh bone (femur). This is the almighty psoas.

The psoas gets a lot of attention, and for good reason. Roughly triangular in shape, the top of the psoas attaches along five vertebral bodies starting at the last thoracic vertebrae (T12) and continues to attach to each vertebral body, usually terminating at the next to last Lumbar vertebrae (L4). This completes one side of the triangle. From the ends of this side, we create two more sides that slowly come together and attach at that spot on the femur.

Because the psoas is triangular, the different portions of the triangle can have different effects on the spine, and therefore the body. Usually when we describe a muscle and the action that it does we talk about the bone that it makes move, in this case, the femur. The psoas insertion is on the femur. ...


David Keil

Location:  Miami, US

David Keil was introduced to yoga in 1989 by his Tai Chi Chuan  teacher. Both the Tai Chi and Yoga practice at the ripe age of 17 began his research into his own mind-body connections. As...