What is core? What is so important about it? Is core support equivalent to having an awesome set of abs?
Core is where our central nervous system and our organs reside and function. Core is what is at the very center of our physical and energetic bodies.
Our muscular core gives functional dynamic support of our structure as we move. Our visceral core gives us feedback about how we are doing as interactive biological beings in our lives.
How we live, move and feel in our bodies shapes us and affects us.
Think about our modern lifestyle
Think about the shape our bodies take when we spend our days sitting and slouching over devices. That shape undermines the natural curves of our spine which is meant to support us in movement and protect our central nervous system. Think of the way our organs get squished in that shape and therefore cannot work at their best. Over time tension and discomfort develop. Over time disconnection and numbness grow.
Think about a lifestyle that is closer to nature
Think about the posture of native cultures. Straight, flexible, plenty of easeful options in movement and in rest. Women walk while carrying large parcels on their head and carry a child without a lot of efforting or bracing. This inner buoyancy is the Core at work: it leads to ease in moving and ease in staying–physically, emotionally, mentally.
How we feel in our bodies also shapes us
This past month I had a sudden back spasm that took my breath out. It came out of nowhere at a time when I was feeling strong, flexible and fit. I felt shocked and confused and SCARED. It was difficult to take deep breaths. The last time anything like this happened it was twenty years ago. It took me 8 months to recover. This time it took about 3 days.
When we don’t breathe the body begins to brace around the painful area and the contraction becomes a pattern. Part of that pattern contains emotional qualities (fear), neurological qualities (neurons firing to contract the muscles), thought patterns that drive the whole cycle (“I may be in pain for 8 months again!”), further physical patterns to compensate for the pain (slouching, leaning away from the pain,etc.).
How I worked with it
I felt into the tight places with my breath, stayed with the sensations and the feelings that were arising, noticed emotions arising, like fear that this may not go away, felt deeper. As I stayed with the process I noticed more emotions and with some time and patience eventually the spasm softened.
There are some simple physical principles at work here: when you focus on breathing and relaxing, you bring more blood flow to the muscles, which leads to more softening, more room to feel sensations and the possibility of information to percolate: like “when my pelvis is in this position, my back hurts more” or “no wonder I am bracing in my upper back, I am feeling some emotions in my heart that want some tending to”.
So when I talk about core support I mean feeling the presence of something that is already there and that gives me support from a place that profoundly supports me, guides my movement and helps me make choices by informing me from an “embodied” place.
Come to one of my classes to move and breathe slowly together, to feel into yourself, an alignment that offers more freedom as well as strength, to experience true core support.