Trees, buildings and our bodies receive their stability from strong cores. The human core consists of several muscle layers in 4 different directions.
When all of these muscles are working for you, you have your own natural built-in girdle that supports the centre of the body. From a strong core, we are then able to transfer strength into the rest of body: our legs will function better, our arms will have more support, and our posture will be more easily held upright. A strong core also has the esthetic benefit of our abdominal area protruding less.
An easy way to practice isolating and engaging the core is to be lying down or sitting, placing a hand just below the navel. From here, take a deep breath in and then exhale through pursed lips, while drawing the navel in towards the spine. Do this a few times. Now try to maintain this contracted feeling while inhaling – it should be held at about 50% contraction and not interfere with regular breathing. Now, from here, you can start to add movement of the legs or arms while maintaining the core and the breath (try your yoga poses). The following is another easy one you can try.
- Stand tall with core lightly engaged
- Inhale- Slowly sit bum back as if you are going as if you are going to sit in a chair
- Only go as low as comfortable: knees not going past toes
- Exhale- push through the feet to slowly return to standing.