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The Vital Psoas Muscle: Physical, Emotional, and Energetic Perspectives

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Course Overview

Learn all about the versatility of the psoas in this short course that’s designed to help you understand the function of this major muscle in your yoga practice and in your overall well-being. Jo Ann Staugaard-Jones, professor of kinesiology and author of The Vital Psoas Muscle, begins with an introduction to the anatomy of the psoas and the connective tissue that surrounds it and to the many ways we can stretch, stabilize, and strengthen the psoas in yoga. 

Then, to give you more context for this “organ of perception” in yoga and in daily movement, Jo Ann discusses how the central nervous system impacts the psoas and how the chakra system is a lens through which you can understand this core muscle. She offers you different ways to think about how your emotions and experiences can affect the health and mobility of your psoas. You’ll do two practices so you can experience these concepts for yourself: “Maintaining a Healthy Psoas” and “Legs on a Chair.” 

The course concludes with a short session where Jo Ann offers you an anatomy checklist so that you can improve the alignment of your psoas during yoga practice and deepen the emotional and spiritual perspective that you bring to your mat.

Certificate of completion

3 CEU’s Upon Completion

Self Paced Learning

Course Outline

1.45hr to complete

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Section 1
  • Jo Ann welcomes you to the course and explains why the psoas is an important muscle for yoga students and yoga teachers to study.
  • In this discussion, you'll learn about connective tissue and the anatomy of the psoas, why the psoas is considered a stabilizer muscle, and why it's called “the fight or flight muscle.” You’ll also learn how it functions as a stabilizer in yoga poses, how you can stretch and strengthen it with yoga, as well as how good breathing benefits the psoas.
  • How can a muscle be emotional? In this discussion, Jo Ann explains how this “organ of perception” is affected by the central nervous system and how psoas relaxation techniques can be employed to release tension and discomfort. You’ll also learn which poses and pranayamas can help you to release your psoas.
  • In this insightful discussion on “the spiritual muscle,” you first learn about the relevance of the chakra system to our understanding of the psoas major. Then, you’ll learn about poses and movements that correspond to the first three chakras, the psoas connection to these energetic centers, how the core is “empowered” in certain poses, and more.
  • Keep your psoas, lumbar spine, and hips healthy with this sequence that stretches, strengthens, and stabilizes the psoas. You’ll begin on your back with a breathing practice. Then, you’ll do pelvic tilts, gentle hip-opening movements, forward bends where you’ll isolate and strengthen your psoas, navasana (boat pose) variations, and more. You’ll also do alternate nostril breathing and then constructive rest pose, where Jo Ann guides you in a calming visualization designed to release your psoas. At the end of the class, Jo Ann also offers you guidelines for how to approach further therapeutic psoas-release...
  • Let go of tension with this leg on a chair practice designed to relax your lower body. Jo Ann explains the therapeutic benefits of this feel-good pose as you rest.
  • Jo Ann gives you an anatomy checklist that contains questions you can ask yourself to improve your or your students’ alignment and to deepen your energetic and emotional awareness in yoga practice. She also talks about how we can become more aware of our physical stability by using props and about balance and wholeness in yoga and in life.

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Meet Your Teacher

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Jo Ann Staugaard-Jones
Jo Ann Staugaard-Jones is an international movement educator and author, an Advanced Pilates and E-RYT500... Read more

Frequently Asked Questions

Absolutely, you can include this course in your Yoga Alliance training hours, with each hour equivalent to one continuing education credit.
This course is entirely self- paced, allowing you to learn at your convenience.There are no imposed deadlines or time constraints for Course completion.
No prerequisites are required; this course is open to anyone interested in deepening their knowledge and practice.
No, the course is accessible to all individuals interested in enriching their understanding and practice of yoga.Yoga teaching certification is not a prerequisite.

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