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Gentle Yoga for Calm; Toning the Psoas Muscle

In yoga this week we will have a special focus on the psoas muscle, one of the strongest muscles of the human body. The psoas connects the upper body to the lower and front to back. It affects how we walk, how we breathe, how we sit and stand, and our state of calm, or lack of it.

The psoas (pronounced so’as) muscle starts in the mid back and connects by a fascia with the diaphragm. It comes down to the pelvis, joins with the iliacus muscle, and attaches to the upper leg bone. It lifts our leg forward and to the side; it helps us bend forward ( say to tie a shoe or pick something up). And it stabilizes our vertebrae for good posture and healthy movement.

When the psoas muscle is tight or weak, it can lead to physical problems such as lower back pain, hip pain, and poor posture. Typical Americans sit for 12 hours a day. Spending a lot of time sitting is an important factor in psoas problems. Emotional issues can play a role too.

Here is how: the psoas is the first muscular responder when the sympathetic nervous system (the fight or flight system) is aroused. When we feel endangered, the psoas contracts to get us ready either to fight or run away.

When the danger passes we hope to go back into the parasympathetic state of relaxation and rest. But this only happens if we feel safe enough and can release the tension in the psoas. Sometimes tension can get stuck there. The psoas greatly determines the ability to relax and influences our sense of well-being and stability.

Toning the psoas can help us heal physically, emotionally, and energetically. Yoga is an ideal way to do it. Our yoga practice this week will include poses to stretch and strengthen the psoas and bathe us in a sense of safety and calm.

“You are the sky. Everything else is just the weather.” ~Pema Chodron

“Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows. It empties today of its strength.” ~Corrie Ten Boom

“Calmness is the cradle of power.” —Josiah Gilbert Holland

“Set peace of mind as your highest goal, and organize your life around it.” ~Brian Tracey

It’s all about finding the calm in the chaos.” ~Donna Karen

“Stress is caused by being ‘here’ but wanting to be ‘there.'” ~Eckhart Tolle

“One of the best ways to reduce stress is to accept the things that you cannot control.” ~M.P. Neary

Hope you can make it to Willow Street Yoga from 11 am until 12:30 pm on this and every Wednesday. You can sign up in advance at or at the door.



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