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Yoga Day 6


June 30, 2022

I was getting psyched to do some planks when I decided I would start with a bit of yoga. This practice was core specific; meaning after doing it, I am skipping my planks until this afternoon.

Felt great to do these exercises -- I can't get my legs up as high as Adriene -- that may be a guy thing. The leg work exposed my tight hip flexors including my psoas.

I found this discussion helpful about the psoas:

How a Tight Psoas Feels

A tight psoas is commonly associated with lower back pain.1 If your psoas muscle is tight, you may find that you've been compensating by arching your back.

When a psoas muscle is shortened and weakened it becomes harder to flex your hip. The psoas moves over the head of the femur in the hip socket and becomes constrained with overuse, which limits hip mobility.2 As a result, discomfort, pain, and aches in the front of the hip socket are also symptoms of tightened psoas muscles in the L4 region. This could affect your ability to climb a flight of stairs, walk uphill, stand up from sitting, or get up from lying down.

In the upper psoas, tension and shortness of breath is often a symptom of tightness. The diaphragm connects to T12 at the bottom of the thoracic spine, causing a restriction in the abdomen and limitation of the breath. Not only is the psoas a deep core muscle (and a Pilates powerhouse muscle), but it is also linked to the central nervous system.3

The Pelvis and SI Joint Connection

The psoas becomes tight when it has to compensate for overstretched or torn ligaments as a result of dysfunction in the sacroiliac (SI) joint, which connects your spine to your pelvis.

Biomechanical descriptions of the psoas classify the psoas as a hip flexor. But Liz Koch, author of "The Psoas Book and Core Awareness: Enhancing Yoga, Pilates, Exercise, and Dance," believes that the psoas is neutral since it literally grows out of the spine. She says that it's more like a messenger of the midline than a hip flexor.

Koch, who has been investigating, teaching, and writing about the psoas for over 30 years, says that pelvic stability and neutrality is more about balance more than anything else. Problems with the psoas can signal an imbalance in the SI joint or pelvis. For instance, if your pelvis moves with your leg instead of from your core, you will likely develop tight psoas. Over time, this static, unnatural movement pattern causes the psoas to lose its supple dynamic behavior as it starts to shrink and create tension.

Pilates teaches how to perform exercises from the core or midline, which can help you maintain the function of your hip from the core versus the leg. In other words, you cannot approach your body's movements assuming that the spine is static and the legs are what's moving the body. According to the Pilates Method, movement should originate from the core.


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