The "what muscle" I hear you say? Yes, it's quite unfamiliar to most people and hopefully this little blog will enlighten and educate you as to some of it's functions.......
It is the only muscle that connects the upper body to the lower body and works as an important mover and stabilizer of two joints , the iliofemeral joint and the lumbar spine. Because it is located close to our centre of gravity it helps regulate our balance too.
The Psoas comprises a major and minor muscle....
Psoas Major connects the femur to the spine
Psoas Minor connects the pelvis to the spine
Both Major and Minor are part of a larger muscle group called Iliopsoas which includes Iliacus (hope you're all still with me?!) This clever muscle group flexes the hip and aids the pelvis in tilting forward and is therefore very important in achieving good postural alignment which is what we are all striving to achieve in pilates classes! The Psoas also helps channel movement from the spine and aids the transfer of weight from torso to thighs in movements such as walking.
Another function is acting as a support to our internal organs along with the pelvis as a basin and, very cruitally, the pelvic floor!
The Psoas and the Diaphragm come together at a junction point known as the Solar Plexus which accommodates a nerve network. It is associated with the ancient chakra system and is often referred to as the spiritual muscle. Those who have dabbled in yoga may be familiar with this.
In summary:- The Psoas can
. balance the core
. stimuate organs and nerves
. connect the upper and lower body
. create movement and flow and aid balance
Rotational Pelvic Exercises
Will specifically target the Psoas Muscle
. Bring yourself up into the Bridge position (above)
. Hitch your hip up alternating sides 6 times
. Next roll your hips from side to side 6 times
. If that feels alright, lastly combine those two moves by drawing a figure of 8 with your hips 6 times. You may feel a more intense stretch on one side.
Carefully bring your spine down.
This series of exercises encourages the body to move in all three planes of direction as we were designed to do!
You have One Body, don't forget to Love It!