Standing Psoas Stretch | Standing Psoas Stretch Variations
The psoas muscle attaches at one end to the lumbar vertebrae. After folding around the front of the pelvis the other end attaches to the inside of the femur, just below the neck, at the lesser trochanter. This point is towards the rear of the inner surface of the femur.
In terms of stretching the psoas muscle it can be useful to think of the psoas in two parts, the upper psoas muscle and the lower.
You may find that to stretch the upper fibers, those that attach to the renal fascia, or if you like, to the backs of the kidneys, you can focus on lifting the 12th pair of ribs (to which the renal fascia have an attachment).
To stretch the lower portion, you may have to flatten the curve of the lumbar spine.
Both of these actions can be done while standing upright with knees straight.
To get to the thigh bone from the lumbar spine, the psoas actually passes beneath the inguinal ligament.
This ligament can be used as a reference flattening the lumbar spine to stretch the lower fibers of the psoas.
Standing upright with feet parallel and knees slightly bent, :
Draw your lumbar vertebrae away from your inguinal ligaments so that the back of your lumbar spine flattens.
Your pelvis will more than likely tilt back as a result, that's fine, but rather than focusing on tilting your pelvis back, focus on flattening your lumbar spine so that your pelvis tilts back as a result of that.
Relax and repeat this action so that you get used to doing it without having to think about it.
Once you get a feel for the action, work at making both actions (flattening and then relaxing) slow and smooth.
You may notice that as you flatten your lumbar spine, you lower belly pulls in. This may be more likely to happen if you focus on pulling your lumbars away from your inguinal ligaments.
The lower transverse abdominis attaches to the inguinal ligament (as well as the ASICs) and your lower belly pulling it is a sign that they, the lower fibers of the Transverse Abdominus, are contracting.
Note that because the knees are slightly bent you may not be stretching your psoas yet (unless it is particularly tight).
An action that may help in stretching the lower fibers of your psoas is pulling your tailbone towards the pubic bone so that the pelvic floor muscles activate.
For guys the amount of movement of the sacrum relative to the pelvis will probably be very slight, none the less, the muscle tension created may be helpful in stabilizing the SI Joint.
That in turn may make it easier to stretch your psoas.
Note that drawing the tailbone towards the pubic bone is not the same as tilting the pelvis back. Instead this actions shortens the distance between tailbone and pubic bone by tilting the sacrum backwards relative to the pelvis. The amount of tilt will be slight, barely perceptible. But see if you can feel a change in tension when doing this action.
To practice it draw your tailbone towards you pubic bone, then relax. Then repeat.
To combine these actions
All of these actions so far will probably affect the lower fibers of the psoas. To affect the upper fibers lift your back ribs. Here again, practice this in isolation.
Now there are two possible sequences for putting all of these actions together, and I'd suggest playing with both to find the one that feels best, or easiest to implement.
If you have difficulty with any of the actions, you may find it helps to lead with that action.
Now so far we've only talked about affecting the upper point of attachment of the psoas.
To stretch the psoas we need to work on both ends, fixing one end (either the upper end or the lower end) while drawing the other end away from it.
By doing the above actions first (activating pelvic floor, flattening lumbar spine, lifting lower back ribs), you secure the upper end.
Note that one way that you could deepen the psoas stretch is to press your hips forwards. If doing this, work at keeping your lumbar spine flat (and your pelvic floor muscles activated). Also keep pressing rearwards through your inner thighs.
In the lying psoas stretch the psoas stretch is accentuated by reaching the arm past the head. You can do the same in the standing psoas stretch, reach both arms upwards and while doing so focusing on lifting the ribs and in general lengthening your spine upwards.
I'd suggest that this action is separate from lifting the lower back ribs. The feeling (and the effect) is slightly different. Lifting the arm and reaching the ribs up tends to affect the sides of the ribs more than the back, especially if reaching with both arms at the same time.
To that end, if you start with your arms lifted, but relaxed, then after activating your pelvic floor, flattening your lumbar and lifting your lower back ribs, then reach the arms up and lift the side ribs at the same time.
With practice all of these little actions become automatic and you can do them without having to think about them, while still being able to notice whether or not you've done them.
Continue reading Psoas Stretch Variations.
More Hip Flexor Stretches
Counter Psoas Stretches with Glute Stretches
Learn how to use Friction to improve leg and arm strength.
Simple exercises with easy to follow instructions
Making difficult poses like Chaturanga Dandasana easier to learn.
Learn Your Body with
Frictional Arm and Leg Strength
PDF or Video
Improve Strength, Flexiblity, Body Awareness. Muscle control is at the heart of all of these.
You can practice scapular control with the arm movements of the dance of shiva. Scapular stabilization and control can be important when trying to bind in yoga poses like Marichyasana A.
Lifting up into eka pada bakasana from marichyasana A with tips on lifting up and balancing while transitioning from the binding yoga pose to the arm balance.
How to grab your hand behind your back. Tips for binding in Marichyasana A.
Grabbing a wrist behind your back. Tips for Binding in Marichyasana C.
Modified Marichyasana B is done with the other leg not in lotus. This pose can still be challenging to bind it, so some tips on how to bind with awareness.
Steps for working towards bound side angle so that you can bind a little more easily.
Steps for Binding in Seated Half Bound Lotus Pose as well as modifications if you can't bind, and actions you can do when you do bind.
Tips for working towards binding in Bound Twisting Side Angle Pose.
Balancing in side plank can be made easier to learn if you learn the necessary actions step-by-step with this sensational yoga poses yoga tutorial.
The standing forward bend yoga pose can be used to stretch or strengthen the hamstrings and glutes. It can also be used to stretch and strengthen the calves and as a balance exercise.
Yoga forward bends includes forwards bends for the hips and spine. Forward bends for the hips include both bent and straight straight positions.
Your iphone needs power in order to sense your touch. Proprioception needs muscle activity in order to sense your body.
Some simple exercises so that you can work towards the pistol squat gradually.
Arm supported yoga poses can be used to strengthen the arms and shoulders. Includes plank, chaturanga dandasana, downward dog, dolphin pose, side plank, wheel, reverse plank, table top pose.
This sequence of seated yoga poses includes lotus and virasana variations, janu sirsasana and marichyasana variations as well as more basic seated poses like bound angle, pigeon and seated forward bend.
These hip flexor stretches open up the fronts of the hips and can be used as a preparation for front to back splits. Bent knee hip stretches can be used to focus on rectus fermoris.
Strengthen your hands, your arms, glutes and hamstrings with these standing forward bend variations.
The small actions in this standing psoas stretch can be used to stretch both the upper and lower fibers of the psoas muscle.
Variations of the standing psoas stretch that use the same basic actions.