ANATOMY- ILIOCOSTALIS

Class batch: RYT200hrs, P/T, Apr – Jun 2017

Project title: Anatomy

Project theme: Iliocostalis

Project by: Andre Neo Tai Chin

I’ve practiced Wall Rope Yoga all along. I was told to ‘Drop down and let go my body’ at the side as one of the poses in Wall Rope Yoga. Everything went smooth until the next day when I was practicing Ashtanga Yoga especially in Paschimattanasana I could feel a sharp pain at my side back muscle and when in all Marichyasana poses the twist made the pain even worse. Subsequently for the next one week, I could not sleep soundly and in pain. On the second week, I decided to find out where was the exact cause of pain at my side back muscle’s pull. 

  With the help of ‘The Key Muscles of Yoga’ reference book, back muscles area is ‘Erector-Spinae’ which has three muscles running parallel to the Vertebral column where one of the muscle is called iliocostalis. Forward bend and supine twist asanas target on Iliocostalis. iliocostalis was the answer to my finding. Now that I’d known the caused of my injury. It would be easier for me to recover using the right method (chinese medicine) to target the pain area. It’ll be a slow process to heal, but no pain, no gain.

I’ve to be careful in the future when it comes to ‘Drop down and let go my body’ pose where my body can take to its maximum in ‘Half way drop down and half way body let go’ kinda pose- literally as a saying…  

Yoga and Psoas Major

Psoas Major

Psoas major is a polyarticular muscle, which runs inside body from lower back bone to its forward inward downward direction, front inner thigh bone, by crossing over pelvis. On its way, Psoas major combinds with Iliacus to form Iliopsoas.

Actions of Psoas major are flexion and external rotation of the hip joint.
Since it is an inner muscle, it is very hard to be aware its working. However, it starts functioning in the early stage of human life because when a baby starst to sit up or crawls it is already awakened.
Iliopsoas (Psoas major together with iliacus) is used constantly when we stand, walk or run in regular basis. But if it is not used for a long time, it will get shorten and contracted because it is a typical posture muscle and made with slow twitch fibers. That’s why those old people who have a sedentary life style have lower back pain.
With almost all asanas you can strengthen or stretch this muscle.

Examples

  • Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana D (strengthen by flexion and lateral rotation of the leg)
  • Virabhadrasana 2 (strengthen by flexing the upper body, forward tilting the pelvis, straightening and supporting the lower back)
  • Ustrasana (stretches by extension of the upper body and contracting hip muscles together with contraction of quadriceps)

Antagonists

l  Gluteus maximus
l  Hamstrings

Synergists

l  Tensor fascia lata
l  Satorius
l  Rectus femoris
l  Pectineus
As part of the iliopsoas, psoas major contributes to flexion and external rotation in the hip joint. On the lumbar spine, unilateral contraction bends the trunk laterally, while bilateral contraction raises the trunk from its supine position.
It forms part of a group of muscles called the hip flexors, whose action is primarily to lift the upper leg towards the body when the body is fixed or to pull the body towards the leg when the leg is fixed or to pull nothing when both legs and body are fixed..
For example, when doing a situp that brings the torso (including the lower back) away from the ground and towards the front of the leg, the hip flexors (including the iliopsoas) will flex the spine upon the pelvis.
Due to the frontal attachment on the vertebrae, rotation of the spine will stretch the psoas.
Tightness of the psoas can result in lower back pain by compressing the lumbar discs