Self Myofascial Release: Psoas

Beloved Friends,

I missed writing a blog last month and therefore am especially eager to share this one! The self myofascial release practice for the psoas major muscle is one of my FAVORITE self practices; and it is probably one of the more important muscles to release for most of us modern folk who sit more than we (and our bodies!) would like to.

Before diving into the step by step, a few reasons why you would SKIP THIS ONE: 1. You are pregnant; 2. You have a mesh insert from an inguinal hernia repair; 3. You just intuitively sense that it is not the right thing to do, for your body.

Otherwise, this is a great one to do as a stand alone if you don’t have a ton of time to do a longer practice. Here goes!…

The Psoas major is a large muscle that originates in your low back and inserts on the inner upper thigh bone. It tethers not only the upper and lower parts of your body but also the front and back of your body… as it diagonally crosses from the the lateral and back portion of the spine – to the front body on the inner upper portion of the femur. The area you will be placing the medicine ball is at the region where the psoas is crossing this upper/lower and front/back midline threshold.

When we have connective tissue adhesions in the hip, groin, or low back region this puts pressure on pain sensitive nerves. Therefore, we want to break up, soften, loosen the adhesions in the connective tissue and take the pressure off of those sensitive nerves; as well we want to release the adhesions so that this large powerful muscle doesn’t pull the bony structures out of alignment.

The image that goes along with this blog post gives you a good visual of positioning, but I am going to walk you through it here too…

What you need: a timer + a large (about the size of a softball) soft to medium firm medicine ball (if the ball is too hard it will cause the body to resist relaxation/softening).

1. Set your timer for 5 1/2 minutes 

2. Lie on your belly (you can use your hands, a blanket, or a pillow to rest your head)

3. Locate the top of your hip bone (Ilium) the point closest to the floating ribs, trace your hand forward and down about half way to the groin, place the medicine ball just inside the Ilium (hip bone) in the soft, somewhat hollow area, lateral to (a few inches) and lower than (a few inches) the level of the belly button.

4. You can position the other leg straight or bend the knee and bring it out to the side to help control the amount of pressure you place on the psoas muscle from your body weight.

5. Close your eyes, breath deeply, and allow the weight of your body to soften around the medicine ball and feel the support of the floor beneath you.

6. If the area that was tender starts to soften and your hips wants to move slightly to follow that release, trust that! Move toward the next area of tension and then waite there. You may have this process of: softening, moving, waiting, softening moving, waiting — several times.

8. Another thing to note is that sometimes when we have a release in the fascia (connective tissue) emotions will want to release too, if this occurs — allow it if you feel safe to do so (eg: cry, sigh, moan, laugh). As well, sometimes the body will intuitively want to move after a release (eg: shake, writhe, or simply stretch and contract) give your body some integration time – space to do this as well if it happens organically, no need to make it happen if it doesn’t.

9. Once your timer goes off, take a moment to integrate; and then do the same steps on the opposite side.

Give yourself a minute or two to rest on your belly, back, or side once you are complete; notice how you feel. Take some deep breaths and then see if you experience pain/sensation in any other parts of your body. If so, that is an indicator that those other parts will need some attention next time you practice… so, stay tuned here for more instruction on releasing other parts of the body.

As always: feel free to email, facebook message, or private message me on instagram with any questions you might have or how this practice went for you. I would love to hear about your experiences!

In Radiance + A Lotta Love,

Jahara

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