Q & A: How To Recruit Psoas Not Superficial Hip Flexors?

Published by Liz Koch on June 8, 2009 in Question of the Month

Q: I have been working with your book for about three weeks now. I am a pilates and yoga teacher and practitioner but was injured skiing three months ago- broken ribs, collarbone sprained sterno-clavicular joint. I am aware how much I use my superficial hip flexors for everything – I imagine instead of the psoas – so I get terrifically tight through the rec fem and have sacroiliac pain. I am trying to come back to movement by trying to recruit my psoas instead of cheating by using my rec fem and quads. I also practice Bartinieff fundamentals – leg slide and femoral fold but it is extremely difficult to flex the hip without grabbing in the front of the thigh. Please advise – thanks!

A: There are several areas I wish to address  One is that your injury has a trauma aspect to it – the falling reflex and survival response is the psoas and so there will be a reaction from the accident that needs addressing and it will be an important apsect of your healing.  It is not about controlling the core but resolving the disruption.  I recommend the fetal curl (on your side) exploration. You can more described under my article section (Trauma articles)

  • Psoas Health & Trauma Recovery (Massage and Bodywork Magazine)
  • Iliopsoas – The Flee/Fight Muscle for Survival (Positive Health Magazine)
  • The Iliopsoas Muscle (Deep, Complex and Mysterious Part One: A Bio-Reverent Approach (Massage Magazine) and The Iliopsoas Muscle Part Two: A Practical Approach (Massage Magazine)

Second – for the psoas to function well, the sacral iliac joints must function coherently by regaining stability and balance.  I believe you need to rethingk your perpsective regarding the psoas.  You are correct that behind the flexors is this delicious bio-intelligent tissue you will want to access and you are mistaken that you need to engage or in your words recruit the psoas.  Allowing the psoas to inform you is a being and awareness capacity verses a controlling/doing event. I hope you can join me for a workshop…

(Update: Watch for my new article - The Psoas Is NOT A Hip Flexor)



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