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Injury to the psoas muscle ~ help!

topic posted Wed, September 19, 2007 - 1:05 PM by  Ela
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I have a deep, internal injury in my psoas muscle - (pulled once, then re-injured many times now). I really must heal this thing once and for all. I have been told to stretch the muscle twice a day, and to basically, cool it with all of my dance practice, and most of my yoga. Can anyone help me in finding poses/stretches to help stretch out the psaos & abdomen muscles? (If anyone has any links to any visuals, that would be great!)
posted by:
Ela
offline Ela
Massachusetts
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    K
    offline 52

    Re: Injury to the psoas muscle ~ help!

    Thu, September 20, 2007 - 7:44 AM
    I like Single Knee to Chest pose, while keeping the straight leg flat on the floor and extending through the heel. To me it's a very gentle yet effective pose.
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      Re: Injury to the psoas muscle ~ help!

      Thu, September 20, 2007 - 9:44 AM
      I think imagery work would be very useful. I've been focusing on the psoas a lot myself, and there are some great exercises in Eric Franklin's books. One is lying in constructive rest, then imagining a silk scarf wrapped around one of your calves like a gentle sling, with a dove holding the ends in its mouth. Then imagining the scarf gentling pulling up the knee until the lower leg is parallel with the floor and gently letting the scarf setting the leg back down - always following the breath and keeping everything else relaxed relaxed relaxed. I like to do this exercise and only move the leg on the exhale, remembering to release the abs to the spine. Do both sides of course.

      Also just imagining the psoas to be strong, released and healed - sending white light to it everyday, may help a lot.

      Good luck! Poor psoas... I'll be thinking of you.
  • Re: Injury to the psoas muscle ~ help!

    Thu, September 20, 2007 - 11:45 AM
    (Ooow, that's so nice Lynn! I shall try...)

    I have also been told to eat animal protein twice a day, and gentle walks, and to be careful with my stretching. I am willing to try anything at this point. Thanks for your advice*
  • Re: Injury to the psoas muscle ~ help!

    Thu, September 20, 2007 - 12:26 PM
    Do gentle circles with the ankle on the same side as your injury. Do gentle circles with the shoulder opposite the side of your injury. Do very gentle flexion and extension of your upper spine and ribcage, letting your breath move with your body.
    • Re: Injury to the psoas muscle ~ help!

      Thu, September 20, 2007 - 10:00 PM

      The key here is proper alignment and action in the legs and pelvis. In all poses create an action that moves the femur to the back of the leg into the hamstring. This combined with gently spinning the inner upper thighs back and widening creates the space for the psoas to align properly.

      In supine poses, don't press the lower back flat to the floor. Instead create a natural lumbar curve (into the body). If the legs are straight on the floor, this will help to set the femurs to the back of the leg and flat on the floor. If you bring in one knee, as suggested above, keep the back of the straight leg pressed to the floor.

      I believe better psoas lengtheners are back bends. Setu Bandha (bridge pose) can be great. Make sure to start with a natural lumbar curve and then lengthen out through your knees in the final pose. You could even have someone place their hands on your knees to keep you something to extend into.

      A more advanced pose (but deeper psoas stretch) is urdhva dhanurasana (sometimes called wheel). Here is one I learned from Sianna Sherman: If you have the strength, do urdhva dhanurasana with your feet on a chair. Go into the full pose with straight arms and an open heart, keep that and then try to lower one foot to the floor in front of the chair. Replace the foot and change sides.

      More problematic are lunge poses (and variations), but very helpful. In a low lunge (with the back knee on the floor) create an action of trying to drag the back knee forward toward the front foot. This will tone the muscles in the leg and help set the femur to the back of the leg. Turn the back thigh in to square the hips forward and widen through the inner back thigh. Keeping those actions then go deeper in the lunge, tucking your tailbone in as you go.

      I hope that helps.
      Love and blessings,
      Scott
  • Re: Injury to the psoas muscle ~ help!

    Fri, September 21, 2007 - 12:47 PM
    A strange note on the Wheel... I can only do the pose for a very short time frame in my regular practice, due to a nauseating, thick-heavy feeling that goes through my whole head. I do wonder why I feel that, but I love the benefits of the pose. For those who like visuals: yogajournal.com/poses/473

    How long do I hold poses when nursing an injured muscle? Wouldn't want to over do it.

    (Many thanks for all this great info!)
    • Re: Injury to the psoas muscle ~ help!

      Fri, September 21, 2007 - 2:40 PM
      You should not be doing that pose at all if it makes you feel like that. We do not get better by pushing through negative sensations like nausea or pain. Never ever ever let yourself experience pain in your practice and you will get better at not putting yourself in pain. If you practice pain, you get more of it.
    • Re: Injury to the psoas muscle ~ help!

      Fri, September 21, 2007 - 3:59 PM

      The feeling you are describing could be caused by changes in blood pressure to the head.

      I would need to check your shoulder and neck alignment and actions in urdhva dhanurasana too, but here are some general rules:
      - Before lifting into the pose, draw strength from your hands into your shoulders, setting the arm bones deep into the shoulder sockets. Only move forward into your heart as much as you can keep the shoulder blade firmly engaged on your upper back.
      - For the neck, a common tendency is to pull the top of head back too quickly, creating a shearing action in the neck. Instead, keeping the throat open, draw the top of the throat back slightly. This will tone the muscle in the neck and keep the length through the neck.

      About length of time: even just a couple of breaths can do the trick. This will probably require experimentation on your part.

      When working with injuries, it will also take mountains of sensitivity and patience on your part, staying with an intense sensation, but not moving into pain.

      Sometime improvements will come quickly, sometimes not so quickly.

      But try to consider working with injuries to be a great opportunity for learning. Learning about your body, even learning about your emotions and the things we attach to areas of our bodies....

      Love and blessings,
      Scott