What is the core?
This term, ‘the core’ is thrown around all over the place. But what does it really mean?
Many think that the ‘core’ refers to the belly, navel, solar plexus. But actually, the major core muscles comprise of the pelvic floor, abdomen (transverse and rectus abdominis), side body (internal and external obliques), deep thoracic back muscles (erector spinae) and the diaphragm. Fancy that!
So imagine when you hear your instructor say, “activate your core” and you react by mindlessly sucking in the belly versus mindfully raising your awareness to each of these muscles? If properly active, you’ll notice that not only will your practice improve dramatically, but with the help of breathing correctly, you’ll also be protecting yourself from injury in the process. This will naturally aid your alignment in a posture that is right for you and your body – whatever stage you’re at.
It’s a challenge and it will become more natural to you over time. Next time you step on the mat remember to focus on two things:
- activation of the core (as you know it now)
Stay patient and compassionate!