Everything You Need to Know About the Psoas Major, or the “Muscle of the Soul”

· September 2, 2017
Although many of us don't even know where it is, caring for your psoas major appropriately with stretches and exercises can help you avoid and relieve many pains and even improve your cardiac strength.

The psoas major is a muscle that is located along the length of the lumbar region of the spinal column and in the pelvis.

Also interesting to know that this largest and strongest muscle of all the muscles, also known as hip flexors.

These are the muscles that enable us to carry out actions as simple as, for example, walking, cycling, lying down, getting up, dancing, stretching, squats, and the majority of the classic yoga exercises.

Curiously, as we mentioned in the title, you’ll also be interested to know that the psoas major is commonly known as the “muscle of the soul.”

The reason for this both evocative and poetic term is based on two key factors:

  • The first is that this muscle is one of the deepest muscles of our body. It promotes movement but, above all, it enables us to be stable.
  • The second aspect, and no less curious, is that it has a lot to do with our emotional world, with the function of releasing tensions, channeling stress, anxiety…

If you’ve never heard of this “muscle of the soul,” we’re sure you’ll find this information interesting.

The psoas major and our emotional world

This structure contributes to our balance and our ability to make broad movements.

We don’t perceive it and if we’ve never heard of it we can’t even locate it, but, in reality, we all notice its presence each time we spend a long time sitting down and our back aches.

We notice it when we suffer from lower back pain, when the pelvis hurts and when we feel shooting pains between our spinal discs.

Between the diaphragm and the pelvic floor: protection, stability, and well-being

The psoas major sits right there in the most intimate area of our body, connected to the diaphragm and the pelvic floor, and divided into two parts:

  • One deep part, going from the first to the fifth lumbar vertebrae.
  • One more superficial part, in the vertebrae of the thorax.

It is also worth mentioning that it not only helps us to stabilize the spinal column but that it is also essential to provide a good “fastening” for the abdominal organs.

  • As well as being a muscle, the psoas major also acts as a messenger for the central nervous system.
  • This structure is the messenger for many of the emotions that we feel intensely in the stomach (sometimes known as the “second brain”) given that it is connected with the diaphragm thought the connective tissue or fascia.
  • So, the muscle of the soul is frequently involved with aspects as basic as breathing or fear reflexes, stress and anxiety.
  • Thus, an accelerated lifestyle, characterized by high doses of cortisol and adrenaline in the blood, will make the psoas major tense up.
  • It prepares us for the flight response, to escape from things that the brain interprets as harmful or dangerous.
  • If we sustain a state of high anxiety or stress during several weeks or months, this muscle will end up hardening.

When the psoas major or the muscle of the soul hardens, back pain, sciatica, and digestive problems will arise, and we can even suffer from more painful menstruation…

Read also: Why you Channel Your Emotions Through Food

The need to care for and pay attention to the muscle of the soul

Negative emotions sustained over a long period of time are not the only thing that affects this muscle’s resistance and elasticity.

  • A sedentary lifestyle and bad postures also affect the major psoas and influence back pain and other medical conditions which we all know about.

What can we do to care for our muscle of the soul?

We’ll explain below.

Discover The Emotional Benefits of Yoga

Appropriate exercises

Many yoga exercises seek to re-balance, care for and strengthen the muscle of the soul or the psoas major.

  • Any stretch that involves the groin area and the waist will allow the tension to flow out of this fantastic muscle.
  • A “liberated” psoas will help us to strengthen our muscles, feel our legs lighter and our pelvis more flexible, agile…
  • So, the ideal thing is to practice at least an hour a day of appropriate stretches.

Bring your knee to your chest, or lie face down while you rotate your hips and move your knee to one side and then the other.

As we said, any yoga exercise will be positive and beneficial for you, and you will also improve the function of your abdominal organs, caring for your breathing, digestion, and heart.

To conclude, it’s never too much to care day-to-day for these muscles that, without us even realizing it, do so much for our well-being.

For many oriental philosophies, the psoas or muscle of the soul is the organ that channels energy and connects us to the earth; it is the structure that gives us balance and vitality.

So why not care for it a bit better? The effort is worth it.