Here’s the first blog in my Riders anatomy series and I’m going to start with the Psoas (said soas).
These are deep muscles of the pelvis that cross the hip joint. The psoas are part of the group of muscles also known as the hip flexors and are responsible for flexing the thigh upwards.
As you can see from the picture above they connect to the lumber vertebrae and the inside of the femur (thigh bone). This means when then contract they pull the thigh upwards.
These muscles are also part of our deep core and help with stability too.
I’m focusing on these today as when they are tight they cause the rider a world of problems. In today’s modern world we spend a lot of time sitting, we also want flat toned stomachs so do things like sit ups. Both of these things causes the psoas muscles to shorten and tighten.
When we ride a horse if these muscles are short they restrict the ability of the rider to bring their leg back or even ride with a long stirrup, they can also cause the thighs to rotate inwards causing a clamping effect around the horses back. This then restricts the muscles of the horses back from moving properly and the horses stride length decreases. If you’re a rider that struggles to keep their stirrups unless they’re quite short, if you have a tendency to lean forwards or tilt the upper body forwards when riding or when you go to apply your leg behind the girth you only move from your knee and not from your hip these are all signs that you have tight Psoas.
We need these muscles to be strong as they help with or balance and stability but we also need them to be able to relax and stretch to aid our posture on and off the horse.
So how can yoga help this? Even those these muscles are deep core muscles they are pretty easy to improve due to most postures in yoga require an element of stretch to the psoas but also a requirement for balance. This works both the flexibility and strength of these muscles. This means by just doing a basic yoga session you’ll start to have an effect on the psoas.
So next time you’re on your mat focus in on these very deep muscles and see what you observe.
Namaste beautiful people