Finding Core: Body, Mind & Soul

Where is your “core”? You’ve heard the commonplace that “it’s not your abs,” which is true, but doesn’t tell us where to look. The name itself, though, is instructive, and with breath and attention we can find our “core” experientially. While practicing 3 part yogic breath (dirgha), move between the poles of abundance on the in breath, and stillness on the out breath. After becoming established in this rhythm, notice and accentuate all your muscles hugging toward center as you gently press your breath out. Feel the pattern and rhythm, and pay direct attention from the floor, all the way up to the roof of your mouth, 360 degrees. As your body expands and contracts, you’ll begin to feel the center around which your body is moving.

Did you know, that your core is closer to your back than your belly button? That’s why one of the instructions in moving from the core is often to bring your navel back towards the spine.

Did you know, that your core traverses the upper and lower bodies? One of the most used stabilizing muscle sets, the illiopsoas, connects the upper and lower body, attaching about a third of the way down the inner thigh, zigging and zagging up from there to the inside of the pelvic bowl, and back to its midline origin, fanning out along the low spine on either side.

Did you know, that your core can be drawn away from midline by injury and habitual holding patterns? In yoga, we call these “samskara” and they are precisely what we are unearthing in yoga asana by moving in ways unusual to everyday life, with attention and breath. When you practice the breathing above and find your core feels off-center, you already have the tools to use your muscular awareness to bring it back to center. This weakens the grooves of habits and realigns you to increase your focus, energy and awareness in everything you do!

The “abdominals” – rectus (middle front), transverse (lower belly, the one we use in kapalabhati), and obliques (sides) – are part of the core, and when given awareness through breathing, a great way into your true, literal center!

Moving: Revolving and Evolving

find future posts at Same writing, same Christine, just a new name. Thanks for reading!

6 Second Alignment

Human female pelvis, viewed from front.

Image via Wikipedia

  • Increase energy
  • Increase alertness
  • Generate Focus
  • Cultivate Concentration
  • Feel Taller!

Place your thumbs on your lower side ribs and your fingers on the bony prominences at the top of your pelvis. Using the muscles in between, gently and evenly lift your ribcage up from your pelvis, centering the oval of your ribcage over the oval of your pelvis, and taking care not to lift more in the front, back or either side. Allow your arms to fall gracefully at your sides.  Cultivate Dirgha, or Three part Yogic Complete Breath, and feel your whole body return center on the outbreath.

Do this any time – at your desk, standing in line, even mowing the lawn – you want to become more present, cultivate your energy or just change your perspective!


Align to Center: Revolve and Evolve

Welcome to our new home! I’m still living yoga every day, and wanted a new focus for writing, and a fresh start with the tags. When I started writing 6 or 7 years ago at yogaguide & yogaeveryday, I often reflected on how my  job as a Paramedic rippled my mind and grew my soul, alongside the occasional sequence. I’ve blogged through an assault, the death of a friend, teacher training, injury, healing and marriage.

Everyday life will always be at the heart of what you find here, because that’s where I find yoga matters the most. It’s always fabulous to find myself in a pose I’ve never found before, but what keeps me coming to the mat is everything off the mat: traffic, meetings, relationships, students, movement, keeping my mind open to the beauty of the sky and the mountain.

Here at Align to Center, you can expect to find yoga-focused writing, not always technical, but always revolving around finding, living and breathing from the center. Sometimes the best way to find center is play in the field at the edges, exploring the perimeter and gingerly hugging in, finding what’s there more than anticipating. Dancing, spinning, sitting and feeling the way to the center of experience, where the core of one body and consciousness is indiscernible from the silent source of all.