1.0 Introduction to Core
Often when we hear the word 'core' in the fitness world, we immediately think of the abdominals or 6-pack abs! The well-defined yet superficial part of the front of your abdomen, technical name, rectus abdominis. With the social media and pre-conceived ideas around the body shapes, core workouts are often targeted around a certain muscle or group of muscles. This does not always include the deep core muscles, and the muscles around your spine, which are critical for core health.
'Core' is defined as the basic and most important part of something according to the Cambridge dictionary, (2020). In the body, core is considered as the muscles around pelvis, hips, abdomen and back. However, there are many who define core in a different way. So, it is something worth exploring.
Huxel Bliven & Anderson, (2013) describe the "core," as the lumbopelvic-hip (lower back & pelvis) complex. They further state that it is a 3-dimensional space with muscular boundaries: diaphragm (superior), abdominal and oblique muscles (anterior-lateral), paraspinal and gluteal muscles (posterior), and pelvic floor and hip girdle (inferior). The inherent nature of these muscular boundaries produces a corset-like stabilization effect on the trunk and spine
Asana and pranayama practices are rooted in core engagement, but demand stability from the core. This stability allows the other parts of the body to move and hold poses in harmony. Lizette Pompa, (2019), states in her article, Core and Yoga, that core is primarily a stabilizer and to a lesser extent a prime mover. The beauty of yoga is that a large variety of asanas integrate core of the body and work on different levels, physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. For instance, core themed practices may include sequences towards energetic shifts through chakras (energy centres), especially the 1st three (Root, Sacral and Solar plexus), deep breathing practices with breath holds on an inbreath and outbreath, cleansing practices like Kapalabhati (skull shining breath), etc.
For me, everything begins from a stable and strong core. The quest to explore core and its role and meaning through Yoga continues. Next time you practice yoga, try to pay attention to your core and bring awareness in this area. See what you find and how you can work with it. The next topic in the core series will be asanas for core strength and stability.
Cambridge Dictionary., (2020). Core. [Online]. Cambridge Dictionary [Viewed 2 October 2020] Available from: https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/core
Huxel Bliven, K. C., & Anderson, B. E. (2013). Core stability training for injury prevention. Sports health, 5(6), 514–522. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3806175/
Pompa, L., (2019). Core and Yoga. [Online]. Yogateket [Viewed 2 October 2020] Available from: https://www.yogateket.com/blog/core-and-yoga