Low Back Pain and the Psoas

I’ve noticed since I moved back to Pennsylvania that I’m experiencing a TON of pain in my hips and low back. I’ve been sitting more and walking less because it rained pretty much all summer (and now it’s freezing). And as my teaching gigs have decreased, I haven’t been doing as much yoga either. I’m sure there are also some trauma and emotional issues involved, but I’ll save that for another post.

Anyway… Since I generally turn to my yoga practices for healing, I started experimenting with more psoas stretches to see if they might alleviate some of the pain in my hips and low back. (The psoas attaches to the torso to the legs starting in the lumbar spine, through the hips and inner thighs which led me to believe I might be experiencing tension in my psoas.) I was also surprised to learn that a tensed psoas influences the operation of the vagus nerve, which means when your psoas stays tensed, you stay in the fight or flight system! Well I’m happy to report, that in a short amount of time, these practices really seem to be helping. I usually do them first thing in the morning; however, if I’ve been sitting a lot and I notice that painful sensation coming back, I’ll take a few minutes to stretch again – up to three times a day. So here are the asanas that have been working best for me. I make sure to practice full yogic breathing as I hold the postures for about 1 minute on each side.

LOW LUNGE

BOUND ANGLE

COW FACE POSE (legs only)

SUPPORTED BRIDGE POSE

RECLINING PIGEON